Northeast St. Pete is no longer just for tourists and snowbirds. Over the past decade, the area has become a desirable destination for a new breed of resident — young hipsters looking to settle down and start families, students attending the ever-expanding USF-St. Petersburg and post-grads who've decided to take root, artists looking for new audiences and less competition, and even Tampa refugees craving a change of scenery and a more laid-back, less-isolated lifestyle.
It helps that Northeast St. Petersburg encompasses a wide range of picturesque neighborhoods, each possessing its own sense of character and community pride. Among the gems are Crescent Lake a bit north of downtown, its verdant, centrally-located park teeming with strollers, doggies and ducks, and surrounded by a neighborhood of Better Homes and Gardens-style houses and retro-chic apartment buildings; Snell Isle and Shore Acres along the bay, both offering canal and waterfront views from luxury homes and McMansions; and Greater Woodlawn at the northeastern end of the district, a family-oriented neighborhood marked by a huge recreation complex and cozy middle-class homes circa 1920s through the 1950s. All are located within close proximity to St. Pete's small but dynamic core, and a wealth of area amenities — beaches, retail shops, grocery stores, live music venues, bars, restaurants, museums, parks and plenty else — are only a short car ride away, among them a profusion of locally-owned and family-operated businesses.
One of the most desirable (and still somewhat reasonably-priced) places to live is the City of St. Petersburg's oldest neighborhood, Historic Old Northeast, which is within walking distance of downtown and Tampa Bay. Stately, well-maintained old homes — some dating to the early 20th century — stand on either side of red brick streets. The spreading branches of oaks, maples and magnolias shade lush front yards where Old Northeasterners get to show off their landscaping skills.
As a jaded Bay area almost-native, I was feeling a little down on the 'Burg until getting reacquainted with the Northeast. Maybe it was the trees, all the people out walking and riding bikes, the generally pristine surroundings — but after a while, I started to fall in love again. Granted, Northeast St. Pete is not the most culturally diverse district in Tampa Bay, but there's a palpable sense of community here that makes you feel good about its potential.
Rhonda Shear, TV-personality-turned-local-lingerie-store-owner; Bill and Hazel Hough, philanthropists (Hazel's name adorns the new wing at the Museum of Fine Arts); Philip Gailey, St. Pete Times editor of editorials; Dan Wheldon, professional race car driver; John J. Loftus, U.S. Justice Department Nazi war crimes prosecutor and president of the Florida Holocaust Museum.
A natural treasure in North Shore Park.
The top 20 draws in Northeast St. Pete.
"We're both from up north, where you have a lot of neighborhood taverns.