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Five Reasons to Visit St. Pete/Clearwater in 2022

Five Reasons to Visit St. Pete/Clearwater in 2022
13 January 2022 James Brooke

From award-winning beaches, to the biggest pride celebration in Florida, to the incredible arts and culture scene, here’s why you should visit the Gulf Coast’s most diverse destination this year…

Whether it’s a bustling arts and culture scene, a larger-than-life party or simply a relaxing week in the sun you’re after, St. Pete/Clearwater on Florida’s west coast is the perfect spot for your 2022 travels. Not only home to breath-taking beaches that have been voted some of the very best across the whole of America, St. Pete/Clearwater offers a plethora of vibrant attractions that can be enjoyed by, friends, families and couples alike.

To make your holiday planning a little bit easier, we’ve rounded up the top events and attractions in the destination for the forthcoming year…

1. The new St. Pete Pier – a waterfront playground for all ages

New to Brits after opening in 2020, the new $92m St. Pete Pier offers the Southeast’s largest waterfront attraction, with over 26 acres of activated space.

Surrounded by the warm Tampa Bay waters, the new St. Pete Pier brings entertainment, dining, shopping, and even an urban beach to the already vibrant downtown St. Pete area. The Pier stays true to St. Pete’s artistic vibe by incorporating artworks and installations from local and international artists, features five dining options, including two large restaurants; Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, serving up fresh local seafood, and Teak, a Florida-themed family-friendly spot, serving local seafood as well as vegan and gluten free options.

As a city surrounded by water, environmental education is paramount to ensuring the area’s marine life thrives for years to come. As such, the St. Pete Pier is also home to the Tampa Bay Discovery Centre, operated by Tampa Bay Watch, featuring interactive displays, presentations and tours designed to educate and inform visitors and locals alike.

2. The 20th anniversary of St. Pete Pride

While the city always throws an incredible party for St. Pete Pride, this year’s event marks the 20th anniversary and is sure to be bigger and better than ever before. Already one of the biggest pride celebrations in the USA and the largest in Florida, and with over 250,000 people expected to join in on the fun, this year’s festivities will take place throughout the month of June.

Showcasing the best of the city, the month-long celebrations will highlight the power and beauty of diversity with over-the-top parade floats, lavish costumes, incredible live performances, and a firework spectacular along St. Pete’s beautiful waterfront. If there has ever been a year St. Pete Pride is not to be missed, it’s surely 2022!

3. SHINE® Mural Festival

Now in its eighth year and taking place every October, the SHINE® Mural Festival shines a light on art in public spaces, using the walls and streets around St. Pete as canvases for experimental and bold works.

Showcasing the best of St. Pete’s vibrant and creative community, SHINE® is a world-class outdoor gallery featuring murals from local, national, and international artists. Since its debut, SHINE® and the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance have created more than 100 murals to inspire, delight and unite communities and visitors alike. For arts and culture lovers, it’s certainly not one to miss!

4. Vibrant new hotels

Last year saw two new hotel openings in St. Pete/Clearwater, meaning Brits travelling to the sunshine state are set to be spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation this year.

The first to open was the new Hilton Garden Inn St. Pete Beach, providing the ultimate tropical retreat. Complete with 144 spacious and airy rooms, including six suites, the whimsical touches throughout the exterior showcase the work of local artists Alyssa Marie and Braden Everly of the Alyssa Marie Gallery.

Also new to the region is the Bellwether Beach Resort, which mixes vintage-Florida charm with a modern touch. The new hotel is complete with 156 bright and colourful rooms, including 16 spacious suites. With a retro-feel throughout the hotel, the Bellwether is decorated with mid-century furnishings, vintage artworks and terrazzo tiles to set a nostalgic tone as soon as guests walk through the sprawling lobby that offers views across the Gulf of Mexico.

5. Revival of the museum

From immersive art-meets-tech experiences to unique museums, those looking for a dose of culture will not be disappointed on a trip to St. Pete/Clearwater.

If it’s an escape from reality you’re after, then the brand-new Fairgrounds St. Pete in St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District is a must see. The 15,000 ft artist-made environment allows visitors to choose their own adventure, celebrating the “weird, wacky, and wonderful of Florida” with creativity and imagination.

Take a step back in time at the world’s only museum dedicated to the American Arts and Crafts Movement – opened in September 2021. The hotly anticipated Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement (MAACM) showcases over 2,000 remarkable examples of fine and decorative art produced between 1890-1930, when the arts and crafts movement swept the US.

And if that wasn’t enough, in collaboration with the Musée national Picasso-Paris, the Dalí Museum St. Petersburg will host an ambitious exhibition, Picasso and the Allure of the South (29 Jan – 22 May) showcasing revolutionary and prolific works influenced by the famous artist’s extensive journeys through northern Spain and France’s Mediterranean coast.

Not only is St. Pete/Clearwater the home of America’s best beaches, it’s clear that the destination has so much more to offer. From colourful events to new hotel openings and some incredible new attractions and exhibits, there is a whole host of extraordinary things to do in the region.

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About Visit St. Pete/Clearwater:
Visit St. Pete/Clearwater (VSPC) is the official destination marketing organisation of Pinellas County in Florida and covers 26 municipalities in the area. The region is located on the peninsula on Florida’s west coast, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico to the west and Tampa Bay to the east.

The area offers 35 miles of award-winning white-sandy beaches, exotic nature trails, culture and arts. It is home to independent restaurants, boutique shops and a unique craft beer trail running from Tarpon Springs to Treasure Island showcasing 40+ local breweries’ fresh artisanal beer. Both Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach have consistently been listed among the top 5 beaches in America, in the annual TripAdvisor Readers’ Choice Awards.

Boasting the largest collection of Dali artwork outside of Spain in the Dali Museum, the county has a significant art scene, with walking mural tours, regular exhibitions and the impressive Chihuly Collection of hand-blown glass sculptures.

The destination is renowned for sunshine and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest run of sunshine days, a massive 768.