St. Petersburg Communities
A sun-drenched sanctuary with a vibrant downtown scene, St. Petersburg, Florida contains over 100 neighborhoods, each with a strong, distinct sense of community.
Downtown St. Petersburg
The cosmopolitan and urban core of St. Petersburg, much of the lively downtown area also stands as a U.S. Historic District. This blend of history and modernity permeates all aspects of the neighborhood and explains the variety of architectural styles, from Mediterranean Revival to Art Deco to Modern. Downtown St. Petersburg comprises the business district, many government buildings (including City Hall), museums and art galleries, myriad restaurants, retail shops, hotels, entertainment venues (such as the historic Coliseum Ballroom and the distinctive Pier) and miles of waterfront parks.
Proudly the setting of the 1985 movie Cocoon, Bahama Shores is in reality an idyllic community on the scenic Tampa Bay waterfront of southern St. Petersburg. Only 10 minutes from downtown, the fairly affluent Bahama Shores neighborhood boasts large homes, spacious tree-lined streets and a wide range of residents from young professionals to families to retirees.
Teeming with untamed wildlife and quirky charm, the tiny Driftwood neighborhood hides unique homes and narrow, winding streets within a dense growth of abundant oak trees and wild vegetation. Historic, beautiful and whimsical, Driftwood is home to night herons as well as to artists, professors and other independent-minded folk, many of whom live in houses designed by a local artist during the 1930s (which rarely go on the open market). Located in southeast St. Petersburg on the Big Bayou, Driftwood inhabitants embrace its natural beauty and close-knit, though individualistic and bohemian, population.
Formerly an untouched wildlife haven, Placido Bayou derives its name from the Italian word for "tranquil" and is today a gated waterfront community of primarily affluent young families. Placido Bayou residents cherish the security, privacy and cared-for lawns that come with inhabiting a quiet, controlled neighborhood, as well as the private schools, low crime rate and upscale dining and shopping of the northeast St. Petersburg region.
At the heart of the Old Northeast region of St. Petersburg sits North Shore, a suburban haven where shady oak trees line brick streets and a strong sense of tradition recalls a 1950s-era lifestyle. Though residences span from lower-income apartments to conventional houses and sizeable mansions, North Shore notoriously boasts some of the most expensive real estate in St. Petersburg and elicits some healthy envy from other neighborhoods. The North Shore population enjoys great economic, social and political clout, and residents rarely find reason to stray from the close-knit, traditional North Shore community.
One of the most multicultural and racially integrated neighborhoods in St. Petersburg, Lakewood contains a variety of single-family properties, from rambling ranch houses to sizeable Mediterranean-style homes. Complete with 18-hole golf course, nature park, library and the St. Petersburg Country Club, Lakewood maintains a tranquility reminiscent of the '50s and '60s.
Originally a semi-rural community, Harshaw sits today in central St. Petersburg as a neighborhood where concrete-block houses give 1950s-style subdivisions a lasting appeal (despite a pervading sense of uniformity). Quiet and convenient to shopping centers and churches, Harshaw is a middle-class haven for residents of all ages.
On the far north side of St. Petersburg sits the Gateway neighborhood, where convenience keeps the many long-time residents from straying. With a flourishing shopping center, active business district, and selection of expansive apartment complexes and single-family homes, Gateway is an ideal, constantly developing community.
In the shadow of Tropicana Field sits Campbell Park, a passionately unified, virtually all-black community. Many of the frame and concrete-block homes are somewhat dated, but life in Campbell Park revolves around the 22-acre park itself, which serves as a place to play and the backdrop of festivals and reunions for neighborhood residents.
Quiet, comfortable and settled, the formerly countryside Azalea neighborhood retains its charm today in northwest St. Petersburg. Huge old trees and Spanish moss shade the central park and yards of Azalea, where a sense of community and character pervade the houses and population.
St. Petersburg Beach Communities
Despite accommodating tourists virtually year-round, the coastal, Gulf of Mexico cities and towns of St. Petersburg's Pinellas County hold discrete communities proud to call paradise home.
St. Pete Beach
Pinellas County's largest beach city, St. Pete Beach is famously tourist-driven and pricey but maintains an unpretentious, laid-back attitude and constantly has a great entertainment lineup.
The partially manmade island of Tierra Verde, formerly barren but becoming increasingly lush, holds an unincorporated community of notoriously affluent residents.
Originally a quaint fishing town, Madeira Beach has developed into a city of expensive homes and condos that still revolves around the commercial grouper fishing industry. But also tourism—the population easily triples on weekends.
A city comprising five distinct communities, Treasure Island embodies tranquility and beauty while having a 9-hole golf course, a downtown area and an active live entertainment scene.
"The Redingtons," a region of upscale houses, condos and wealthy beach enthusiasts of all ages, consist of three quiet towns: Redington Beach (a residential district of single-family homes), North Redington Beach (known for particularly large homes and the gulf-front Tides Beach Club) and Redington Shores (a friendly, diverse area of tourism and commerce).
Indian Shores and Indian Rocks Beach
With half of its housing seasonal or recreational, the beautiful, tiny town of Indian Shores faces constant development. The much larger city of Indian Rocks Beach, however, contains many single-family houses, apartments and cottages and harbors a strong sense of community and local pride. Oak-tree-studded Indian Rocks Beach also features multiple parks and a nature preserve.
A diverse city rich in waterside views, amenities and a sense of community, Gulfport showcases large, oak-covered properties and quaint bungalows alongside its parks, library, theater and casino.
A dense one-square-mile cluster of high-rise condos, South Pasadena houses mostly retirees (the median age is 70.6) and offers beautiful views with the utmost in convenience—virtually all services are within walking distance.
Quiet, beachside and completely residential, the two Belleair communities (the larger city of Belleair Beach and the tiny, very expensive Belleair Shore) together contain approximately 1,800 residents and absolutely no commerce, save for one motel.
Northwest St. Petersburg
Northwest of St. Petersburg are the unincorporated West and East Lealman (approximately 5 square miles), the tiny town of Kenneth City (less than 1 square mile), the city of Pinellas Park (15 square miles) and the city of Seminole (3 square miles).
Once a global floral supplier, Pinellas Park today holds much of Tampa Bay-area industry as well as having everything from undeveloped land to new businesses and youth sports complexes to million-dollar homes. Pinellas Park hosts many popular community festivals and events such as "Festival in the Park" in March.
Though Seminole technically covers a scant 3 square miles, many residents of surrounding areas claim it as well, making it larger than it may seem. A quiet, close-knit, family-friendly suburban community, Seminole has good schools, strongly supported youth athletics, shopping, parks and Lake Seminole. Nearly half of the Seminole population is over age 65.
—St. Petersburg neighborhoods by Courtney Winn