• Melanie Loves Tampa Bay

Why Everybody Wants to Live in Downtown St. Petersburg

So you want to live in Downtown St. Pete - me too! And we aren't alone. Downtown St. Pete is one of the most coveted areas to move to in the Tampa Bay area. So why does everyone want to move there and how much does it cost to live there?


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Honestly, it's just a really cool and beautiful place to live. Downtown St. Petersburg truly does have it all - the whole bay front is lined with gorgeous parks that host different festivals and events throughout the year. It's the perfect place for a long walk with your pet, a bike ride, or just to sit and enjoy the water view. It's a walkable city with a vibrant, inclusive energy.


Art galleries such as The Salvador Dali Museum, the Chihuly Collection, home to some of the most stunning glass art, at the Morean Art Center, and the Museum of Fine Arts on Beach Drive.


If you feel like shopping, Downtown St. Pete has lots of options from national store brands to local boutiques. These stores are throughout the vicinity, but check out the Sundial area for a concentration of some of the more well-known retailers.


Restaurants could be an episode all of its own, with so many amazing choices it's hard to go wrong. My favorites include modern wine bar Annata, The Mill on Central Avenue, Stillwaters Tavern, and Central Melt for grilled cheese. Buya has crazy good ramen, and Hawkers is a small chain specializing in Asian fusion.


St. Pete has sports teams! The Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field and the Tampa Bay Rowdies professional soccer team.


For a night out or happy hour, the thriving downtown is one of the things that puts St. Pete on the map. One of my favorite spots as the sun is going down is the rooftop bar at The Birchwood called The Canopy. It offers Instagram-worthy backdrops and you can rent a cabana! Champagne and whiskey fans can check out Flute & Dram. Even if you just walk down Central Avenue and the surrounding streets, you won't have a hard time finding the right bar for you.


Downtown St. Pete is also known for local breweries including Cycle Brewing, Overflow Brewing Company, and Green Bench Brewing.


Music lovers can catch great shows at The Mahaffey theater, or Jannus Live for smaller outdoor shows. Many bars and restaurants also boast live music - one of my picks is Ruby's Elixir.


Downtown St. Petersburg is located on the east side of Pinellas County, only about a 15-20 minute drive away from St. Pete Beach on the west side.


Okay, so I've convinced you... Now, how do you live in Downtown St. Petersburg?


Because so many people want to live there, it has become pretty expensive to own or rent. If you want to live in the heart of downtown, you'll probably have to choose from a townhouse or a condominium - many are in high rises. They range from small studio to penthouses. If you're lucky, you might be able to find a few for around $200,000 - but the median price is in the $500,000 range with prices going up well over $2 million.


What about rentals? The same is true. Look to pay a minimum of $1,000 / month with most costing more than $2,000 / month.


If you don't want to live right in the middle of the city and prefer single-family homes, there's an area north of downtown called the Historic Old Northeast - one of my favorite neighborhoods. Homes have so much charm and character, with many built in the early 1900s. With brick streets and mature trees, it's an easy area to fall in love with. But it isn't cheap either - homes range in prices from around $400,000 to well over $1 million. The median sold price in that area at this time (August 2019) is approximately $650,000.


Snell Isle is another popular neighborhood closer to the water. Brightwaters Boulevard is one of the most beautiful and coveted streets, with custom built homes anywhere from 100 years old to new construction. Price ranges here start in the mid-$400s to over $3 million. It's an enviable place to live, but does have a pretty hefty price tag.


If you keep driving north from Downtown St. Pete, another area with great waterfront options is Venetian Isles. Homes start in the high-$500s, with most of them in the $700s - $900s.


What about affordable areas near Downtown St. Petersburg? The short answer is, yes, of course there are. More budget-friendly neighborhoods tend to be farther away from the downtown core and the houses may need some TLC. It's possible to find a single-family home for under $300,000.


Remember that most of St. Petersburg was developed quite a while ago, so there are lots of older, traditional, Florida-style ranch homes.


In closing, Downtown St. Petersburg is as beautiful and as fun as it seems. There are always resale opportunities in the area and new condo projects to look into.

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Melanie is a Tampa Bay area Realtor with Smith & Associates. She loves Tampa Bay area area, houses, and helping clients buy and sell real estate. She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or matkinson@smithandassociates.com


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