Grand Central, St. Petersburg, Florida

A Local’s Guide to St. Pete: Grand Central District

The Grand Central District of St. Pete is my favorite area along Central Ave. It’s the area between 16th St and 31st St along Central Ave, 1st Ave S, and 1st Ave N.

As you step into the Grand Central District, you’ll immediately be captivated by its picturesque streets lined with colorful buildings and an eclectic mix of shops, boutiques, and restaurants. The district’s rich history is evident in its well-preserved architecture, showcasing a harmonious fusion of past and present.

SHINE Mural Festival
SHINE Mural Festival, St. Pete Grand Central District” by CityofStPete

Hidden gems and local favorites in the area

The Grand Central District in St. Pete is not only known for its vibrant atmosphere and unique shops, but it is also home to some hidden gems and local favorites that are worth exploring. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, these hidden gems will give you a glimpse into the true essence of this captivating district.

Craft Kafe

6653 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33710; (727) 914-7443

One of the local favorites is the Craft Kafe, a cozy cafe that specializes in delicious gluten-free and vegan treats. From their mouthwatering pastries to their refreshing smoothies, every item on their menu is crafted with love and attention to detail. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, making it the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea.

Craft Kafe
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Morean Arts Center

719 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33701; (727) 822-7872

For art enthusiasts, the Morean Arts Center is a must-visit. Nestled in the heart of the Grand Central District, this center showcases a diverse range of contemporary art exhibitions and offers art classes for all ages. It’s a hub for creativity and a place where you can immerse yourself in the local art scene.

Morean Arts Center
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St. Pete Side Lot

2133 2nd Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712; (727) 804-4672

If you’re a fan of vintage treasures and unique finds, then you won’t want to miss the St. Pete Side Lot. This hidden gem is a vintage and antique store filled with an eclectic mix of furniture, clothing, and accessories. You can spend hours browsing through their carefully curated collection and uncovering one-of-a-kind pieces that will add character to your home or wardrobe.

Haslam’s Book Store

2025 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33713; (727) 822-8616

Another local favorite is Haslam’s Book Store, a true literary paradise. With its towering shelves filled with books of all genres, this independent bookstore is a haven for bookworms. You can easily get lost within its labyrinth of books, discovering new authors and hidden literary gems.

Casita Taqueria

2663 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33713; (727) 498-8749

For those seeking a unique dining experience, Casita Taqueria is a hidden gem that serves up mouthwatering tacos and Mexican-inspired dishes. From their flavorful fillings to their homemade salsas, every bite is a burst of authentic Mexican flavors. The vibrant and colorful decor adds to the overall experience, making it a favorite among locals.

Casita Taqueria
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What’s to love about St. Pete’s Grand Central District?

The Grand Central District is a little more off-the-beaten-path, which gives it a more “locals only” feel. There are no chains and most businesses are independently owned. The food and bars are unique, and there is a whole block of antique shops. There are also many wonderful art organizations that offer classes and workshops.

Many know Grand Central District as the most LGBTQ-friendly area, especially because for a long time the St. Pete Pride Parade took place in the neighborhood. Last year, the parade was moved downtown but the St. Pete Pride Festival goes on in Grand Central District the Sunday after the parade. Which just so happens to be this weekend. Woo!

I have a lot of love for the Grand Central District because I live in the adjacent neighborhood, Palmetto Park, just one block South of Central.

Yes, I consider myself very lucky because somehow I’m not paying a fortune in rent to live in one of St. Pete’s hippest neighborhoods. This is pure luck and we just so happen to be in the right place at the right time.

What to do in St. Pete’s Grand Central District

There is much more to do and see in Grand Central District than you would think. This guide is geared towards those looking to live like a local in St. Pete and includes places to eat, drink, hang out, and more.

Events and festivals in the Grand Central District

The Grand Central District in St. Pete is not only known for its charming shops and eateries but also for its vibrant events and festivals that bring the community together. Throughout the year, this district hosts a variety of exciting and engaging events that showcase the local culture and talent.

First Friday

One of the highlights of the Grand Central District’s event calendar is the monthly “First Friday” celebration. Held on the first Friday of each month, this lively street party features live music, food vendors, art displays, and extended hours for local businesses. It’s a fantastic opportunity to explore the district’s unique offerings while enjoying the energetic atmosphere and connecting with fellow residents and visitors.

Art Walk

Another highly anticipated event in the Grand Central District is the annual “Art Walk.” This popular event takes place on the second Saturday of every month and showcases the vibrant art scene in the area. Galleries, studios, and local businesses open their doors to art enthusiasts, offering a chance to view and purchase stunning artworks created by talented local artists. The Art Walk also often includes live demonstrations, interactive exhibits, and opportunities to meet the artists behind the works.

Food & Drinks

Food lovers will find their taste buds tantalized by the diverse culinary offerings in the Grand Central District. From cozy cafes serving up freshly brewed coffee and delectable pastries to trendy bistros dishing out innovative fusion cuisine, there’s something to satisfy every palate. Whether you’re craving hearty comfort food or seeking a unique gastronomic adventure, the district’s eateries will leave you wanting more.

  • Zaytoon Grill: Middle Eastern food with delicious house-made dips like hummus and baba ghanoush. Locals love the shawarma!
  • Leafy Greens: Healthy eatery with vegan, gluten-free, and raw food options.
  • St. Pete Winesmith: A wine bar and retail shop run by owner and wine aficionado, Todd Smith, who handpicks the selection. Weekly tastings take place Friday nights 6pm-9pm.
  • The Burg: Neighborhood bar and grille with daily specials and great burgers. A lot of the food is inspired by the owner’s Greek roots, like the award-winning Greek Gyro Feta Burger (it’s a beast.. but a delicious one!) Mahi tacos, chicken & waffles, and the Greek salads are all great.
  • Lolita’s: A cozy wine bar with a neighborhood feel to it serving up some of my favorite food in St. Pete. Create-your-own charcuterie by picking the meats and cheeses for them to cut, prepare, and make look pretty. You must also try their homemade jars like the lavender-honey ricotta and their small plates. On Wednesdays, they do $5 glasses of wine.
  • Love Food Central: All gluten-free and vegan with a lot of raw foods. This is a restaurant that’s loved by the locals, no matter their diet. My personal favorite is the falafel salad. They also create amazing vegan desserts, including vegan ice cream and ice cream sandwiches.
  • Trophy Fish: New fresh fish concept is only open Thurs-Sunday because the other days they are Gone ‘Fishin to provide the freshest fish possible – usually grouper or snapper. Don’t miss ordering a drink from the extensive (and delicious) craft cocktail menu. Same owners as the Mandarin Hide so you know the cocktails are damn good.
  • Swah-Rey: A dessert bar with mini-sized desserts, giant slices of cake, and boozy (& non-boozy) cupcake shooters. My all-time favorite mini is the rum cake, which pairs well with the cream ale!
  • Urban Brews & BBQ: The OG concept by the Urban Restaurant Group that serves a variety of scratch-made-in-house BBQ and a killer skillet mac + cheese. They have a lot of rotating beers on tap and host brewery battles where reps from local craft breweries compete in blindly pairing a 4-course dinner with their brewery’s beers.
  • CA CAFE: Inside the old train station where Morean Clay Center is just a couple blocks off Central. They have my favorite Italian sub ever – The Locomotive!
  • Community Cafe: Coffee bar and cafe with a lot of vegetarian options and breakfast on the weekends.
  • Old Key West Bar: Old Florida charm at it’s finest. On Tuesdays, they have a Folk Music night and brunch on the weekends with an AYCD bloody mary bar ($20) and mimosas ($15). My favorite thing on the menu is the Chicken N’ Dumplings.
  • Queenshead: British food (think Fish & Chips and shepherd’s pie) with hip decor. They’re always jamming out on Friday nights with live music.
  • Urban Comfort: Finger-linking fried chicken, craft brewery, shuffleboard courts under stringed lights. A lot of ambiance, atmosphere, and greasy Southern food at this well-known spot.
  • Casita Taqueria: Mexican street food and tacos, a lot made in-house, including the tortillas. I love their polo verde salad, burrito bowls, and especially the homemade soups! They do $2 tacos every Mon-Thurs from 4pm-6pm. Better than Taco Tuesday, am I right?
  • Numex: Only place you will find New Mexican style food like the Frito pie and hatch chiles. On weekends they have brunch, usually with live music. The blue corn pancakes are really interesting and tasty!
  • Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria: Delicious and inventive soup, salads, and sammies. They carry a wide variety of tea blends and do breakfast sandwiches on the weekend.
  • Cappy’s Pizzeria: Known for their Chicago deep dish pizza but their New York Style slices are great, too. I love the casual and friendly vibe of this spot, one of the OG restaurants in this area.
  • Punky’s Bar & Grill: A good spot for cheap-ish drinks and bar food done right. They have a monthly Saturday crafts and art fair market in their parking lot.

Coffee & Juice Shops

  • Bandit Coffee Co: One of the most beloved (and Instagrammed) coffee shops in all of Tampa Bay. Known for their minimal decor, co-working-like space, pour, and specialty lattes – like the bouquet latte made in collaboration with Urban Canning Co. Recently, they even started roasting their own beans, which I hear are delicious. 2662 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33712
  • Squeeze Juice Works: You may only know Squeeze Juice works as selling juice but at their Grand Central District location, they also have house coffee and tea drinks with their housemade milks. Some are even made with local bee pollen and adaptogens. I love to hide in their cozy but bright space looking out onto the courtyard. 18 22nd St S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712
  • The Bikery: A coffee AND bike shop. Not only can you get a cup of nitro cold brew coffee, you can also browse bikes and gear or get your bike serviced. 2222 1st Ave S, St. Petersburg, FL 33712
  • Creative Soul: This is where I go when I needed a quieter more relaxed space to think. They have all your typical coffee concoctions and most of their food – like the quiches and baked goods – is made in-house. There are a lot of different seating options, some more lounge-worthy than others. Most recently, I noticed a nude art exhibit displayed on the wall that I couldn’t stop staring at. Wonder why? 2425 Central Ave, St. Petersburg, FL 33713

Breweries & Bars

  • Taphouse 61: A beer bar that carries a variety of craft beers many of which are local. They just recently started serving food. On Fridays, all drafts are HALF OFF from 4pm-8pm. Pretty killer beer happy hour. They also have live music on the weekend and do weekly Wednesday trivia.
  • Pinellas Ale Works (PAW for short): A dog-themed brewery that brews a few award-winning stouts, and has a spacious outside area with games and a weekly Wednesday trivia night.
  • Cage Brewing: The artsier (dare I say hippie/hipster) brewery that has free arcade games, two bars, and a sprawling patio with plenty of tables where people love to play cornhole. Plus a large lawn area for kids and dogs to run around. As of recently, they’ve been having more live music and have an impressive sound system and stage.
  • The Hideaway Cafe & Recording Studio: One of my favorite ways to spend an intimate evening with local & national musical acts is at this “listening room”. I’ve seen Have Gun, and Will Travel there while they recorded a LIVE album. Truly, one of the most unique experiences in town. They also make some mean flatbreads & thin-crust pizzas.
  • Right Around the Corner Bar: The first brewery arcade with a ton of arcade and video games to keep you entertained. Originally starting off as a beer bar, they just recently became a brewery.
  • The Dog Bar: Perhaps the most well-known bar for dog owners and dog lovers. This doggie playground offers a fenced-off area with astroturf and a watcher so doggie parents can drink and let their pups off the leash without having to keep such a close eye on them.
  • The Garage: A dive bar that you can still smoke in but don’t worry there’s an outside patio with a colorful St. Petersburg FL mural on the wall.  This area is very LGBTQ-friendly and this bar is among the friendliest.
  • Lucky Star: I call this the super secret bar that until a few months ago, I wasn’t even sure was accessible to the public. Hidden behind the attached liquor store if you can find the entrance is worth going in.
  • Hawthorne Bottle Shop: This women-owned retail shop and tasting room carries specialty and seasonal brews from some of the best breweries, along with $2 Milwaukee’s Best. Grab any beer or wine from their retail shop and enjoy it in the bar (no corkage fee) over a sandwich named after a music festival. Or do a “bubble box” where you get a bottle of bubbly and a flight of different juices. Even cooler is their love of the 90s, especially Biggie Smalls and 90s hip-hop, is apparent throughout the eclectically decorated open space.
  • 3 Daughters: The part brewery part adult playground that often has live music and a food truck. The newest addition to this massive space is their Cider bar in the warehouse. Don’t miss Yoga On Tap every other Wednesday put on by The Body Electric Yoga Company.
  • Avid Brewing: The place to go for brewing & growing supplies, but in a few months they’ll open their own brewery behind the current location.


For shopaholics, a visit to the Grand Central District is a must. From trendy fashion boutiques to vintage stores and art galleries, there’s something for everyone’s taste. You can browse through racks of one-of-a-kind clothing pieces, discover local artists’ masterpieces, or find that perfect antique to add to your collection. The district is known for its diverse mix of shops, where you can find both established brands and hidden gems waiting to be uncovered.

  • Wild Roots: Go wild for houseplants at this charming plant shop run by Amanda Hill. There’s also an area to make-your-own-terrarium. Be sure to snap a pic in front of the newly painted Stay Wild mural by local artist, Leo Gomez. (Hurry, go before everyone else does and it’s all over the ‘Gram!)
  • Haslam’s Book Store: A longest standing bookstore in town (I’m guessing). Go here – it’s a St. Pete staple. Easy for a book lover to spend a whole afternoon here.
  • Art Pool Gallery: A seriously large collection of Vintage goods, especially clothes, that takes up two neighboring buildings (one for the guys, one for the girls). You could spend a day browsing the goods and even create a fun movie montage like Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate do in The Sweetest Thing. They also do a monthly Crafty Fest market where they host local vendors every second Saturday of the month.
  • “Antique Row”: That’s what I’ve dubbed this almost entire block between 25th and 26th street that is dedicated to antique shops, such as Janet’s Antiques (home of the “Price Fairy”), Lion’s Paw, Buster’s, and Refound Antiques.
  • Metro Thrift: You know I love browsing a good thrift store and Metro Thrift is no exception.
  • Herbach’s Rattan Furniture: Where a rattan lover’s dreams come true.
  • Urban Burg Eclectic Home Decor & Gifts: Home decor and other funky items in a converted townhome.
  • Roots of the Sun: All-natural herbal apothecary with handmade tea blends and tinctures that encourage wellness and self-care.
  • Tony’s Bike Shop: New, used, and custom bike shop. He also has affordable local bike rentals.
  • Grayspeed: Custom motorcycles, parts, accessories & apparel
  • Pieces of a Dream Gifts: Unique gifts and women’s clothing boutique
  • Grand Central Stained Glass: Custom stained glass and a variety of glass classes as well as jewelry making.
  • Acupuncture & Herbal Therapies: All the bulk herbs you can imagine in one spot. I’ve gotten loose lavender, rose petals, and kava here, but they literally have everything. If you’re really looking to learn about herbs, you can enroll in the Traditions School of Herbal Studies.
  • Castaway’s Recycled Style: Repurposed and vintage furniture & goods at an affordable price. I find a lot of goodies here and she always has good deals!
  • The Bungaleaux on Central: Home decor and antique store in an old bungalow home.
  • Asian Willow Gallery: Antique Chinese furniture and Asian art.
  • Salty Roots Salon & Boutique – Boho chic selection for everyday wear, a hair salon, & skin studio.
  • Stash-a Place for Yarn – Yarn shop that moved from its previous location on the 600 Block last year.

Art Scene in the Grand Central District

The Grand Central District in St. Pete is a hub of artistic expression and creativity. As you wander through its streets, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant art scene that thrives in this charming neighborhood.

The district is adorned with colorful murals, stunning sculptures, and unique art installations that line the sidewalks and buildings. These artistic displays breathe life into the area, creating an immersive experience for visitors and residents alike.

One of the highlights of exploring the art scene in the Grand Central District is the abundance of art galleries and studios that showcase local talent. From contemporary paintings to avant-garde sculptures, there is something for every art enthusiast to admire and appreciate.

Art walks and events are a regular occurrence in this district, providing an opportunity to engage with the artists themselves and gain insight into their creative process. You can meet the talented individuals behind the artwork, learn about their inspirations, and even purchase a one-of-a-kind piece to take home as a memento of your visit.

The Grand Central District also hosts annual art festivals and exhibitions, drawing artists from all over to display their masterpieces. These events create a bustling atmosphere, where art enthusiasts can immerse themselves in the diverse range of artistic expressions and discover new favorites.

  • Creative Clay: One of St. Pete’s most beloved arts organizations with numerous community art programs, including its core program that serves those with disabilities.
  • Calusa Printing Press: Speciality letterpress designers and creators of the various colorful printings of all the St. Pete neighborhoods.
  • St. Pete Opera Company: Ever been curious about the Opera? I know I have. They open the Opera Central building up for the Second Saturday Art Walk.
  • Clay Center of St. Petersburg: Full-service clay center with classes and a shop
  • Imagine Museum: One of the newer St. Pete museums that is home to various studio glass artwork.
  • Grand Central Stained Glass: Decorative glass tools & equipment for sale along with classes and commission pieces.
  • St. Pete ArtWorks: A cooperative art gallery with 18 different local artists’ work.
  • Morean Center for Clay: Clay and Ceramics gallery offering studio space and ceramics classes and workshops. Every Friday is Friday Night Clay where you can create your own handmade clay piece while sipping on wine (that you bring) for $25. Goes from 7pm-9pm and you’ll want to register in advance.
  • Craftsman House Gallery & Cafe: One of the hidden gems of the GC District that showcases American craft artwork displayed throughout the restored 1920s craftsman house (hence the name). They also have a cafe with many housemade items that you can enjoy on the porch. The owner, Jeff Schorr, is one of the most involved members of the community.

Outdoor activities and parks nearby

Historic Crescent Lake Park

One of the must-visit destinations is the historic Crescent Lake Park, located just a stone’s throw away from the heart of the district. This picturesque park offers a serene retreat from the bustling city with its stunning lake, lush greenery, and charming walking paths. Take a leisurely stroll or jog around the lake, have a picnic in the shade of the towering oak trees, or simply sit on a bench and enjoy the tranquil ambiance.

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

For nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve is a true gem. This expansive nature preserve is home to various ecosystems, including pine flatwoods, swamp woodlands, and lakes. Explore the miles of nature trails that wind through the preserve, keeping an eye out for native wildlife such as alligators, turtles, and a myriad of bird species. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Birds of Prey exhibit, where you can witness majestic raptors up close.

Walter Fuller Park

If you’re in the mood for some outdoor recreation, head over to the nearby Walter Fuller Park. This popular park offers a range of amenities, including sports fields, tennis courts, and a playground. Challenge your friends to a game of basketball or volleyball, or enjoy a leisurely round of disc golf. The park also features a dog park, perfect for furry friends to socialize and burn off some energy.

Sunken Gardens

For a unique outdoor experience, venture just outside of the district to the iconic Sunken Gardens. This historic botanical paradise is a hidden oasis filled with vibrant tropical plants, cascading waterfalls, and winding pathways. Take a self-guided tour and immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of this urban sanctuary. Keep your camera handy, as you’re bound to find countless photo opportunities at every turn.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoyed our journey through the vibrant and enchanting Grand Central District in St. Pete. From its eclectic mix of shops and boutiques to its mouthwatering culinary scene, this neighborhood truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re a local looking to discover hidden gems or a visitor seeking an authentic experience, the Grand Central District is a must-visit destination. So, grab a cup of coffee from a local café, stroll along the colorful streets, and immerse yourself in the undeniable charms of this captivating district. Don’t forget to share your favorite discoveries with us and spread your love for St. Pete!

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