We are so blessed to live in a day and age where we are free to be who we want to be, dress how we want to dress, and act how we want to act! I was so excited to celebrate my second PRIDE weekend in St. Petersburg this year. We stayed at the same hotel as last time – Hilton Bayside. We really enjoyed the location, pool, rooms, and amenities on our trip last year. Located right near Central Ave – the main street that crosses downtown St. Petersburg; a nice walking distance to downtown, a Starbucks downstairs, and a Publix right behind.
Saturday my best friend, Chelsea, needed a haircut and she made an appointment at Machine Shop Barber Company, 5 minutes from our hotel. The salon offered drinks during the service (to me, too!) including canned beer, seltzers, soda, and Capri Sun. The haircut only took about 25 minutes, and I admired the artwork around the salon while I waited. We then went back to the hotel, ordered lunch, and got dressed into our fun rainbow outfits and glitter accessories.
We decided to UberEats food to the hotel while we were getting ready – I got Freya’s Diner and Chelsea got Tropical Smoothie. I ordered the Nashville Ch’kn Sandwich- a vegan ch’kn patty coated in Nashville hot sauce with tomatoes, pickles, and special vegan sauce on a delicious buttery-like bun. I’m always a big fan of trying new places and supporting local businesses – and I loved how many vegan options are around St. Pete.
Once we were sparkling and dressed for the event, we ordered an Uber to the far end of the PRIDE festival and walk around. We bar hopped from Cocktail to The Dog Bar, and I made a stop by Speakeasy Central Kava. Since I’m participating in Dry July, I grabbed a Kava to-go! I loved the whole vibe of this place- from kava and kombucha to coconut water and vegan/gluten-free snacks- this had my name written all over it. Kava is a delicious, natural, relaxing drink that I wouldn’t recommend mixing with alcohol.
Then we walked to the actual PRIDE parade area – where they had hundreds of vendors and food trucks. We all gathered to watch the parade – hundreds of Jeeps with people holding up fun signs, sporting their best rainbow décor, and tossing out merchandise from stickers to necklaces. My favorite float was a blow up Jesus holding a sign that says “If hate is loud, we must love louder.”
We stopped for a drink at an Irish pub on the way back to the hotel, where Chelsea and I ordered UberEats once again. This time I tried Flatbread and Butter – the Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Pizza. Buffalo sauce as the base, cauliflower tossed in buffalo, two vegan cheeses, topped with arugula and vegan ranch. I’m a sauce girl, so I definitely got the extra side of ranch $2. We whipped off our glitter form the day, changed outfits, and were ready for the nighttime PRIDE celebrations downtown.
We Ubered again to the furthest bar, Enigma. The building was lit up in rainbow colors and the music was blasting as people danced from the streets around town. We continued to bar hop along the way back down Central- some 90’s themed parties, some House music parties, and some classical PRIDE parties. I especially loved the drag queens (they’re so funny!) and the fire dancers. We danced all night and celebrated living our best lives all night long!
We headed to Caddy’s St. Pete – a beachfront restaurant with a DJ, great food and drinks, and a beach area with chairs and umbrellas. There wasn’t a lot of parking, so we ended up parking in a lot 2 blocks away for a flat rate of $45 all day. We ordered our food inside first, grabbed a drink, and headed to find a good view of the ocean. The beach chairs and umbrellas were complimentary on a first-come-first-serve-basis; they all taken when we first sat down, but we were able to get some after a dip in the water. Caddy’s had servers walking around bringing people drinks and food from inside the restaurant- how relaxing!
On the drive back to the resort, we stopped by the PRIDE Sunday Festival – a street market on Central Avenue. There were hundreds on vendors and small businesses along the streets, with activities, music, and dancing all along the way. Chelsea really wanted the official event flag – Grand Central PRIDE- and all weekend we couldn’t find them for sale. She eventually asked a small business owner and they sold her one of theirs- what a win! Next we headed back to the hotel and got ready for our first Burlesque show. We got the tickets on Eventbrite- Showbar was located on Ybor Street in downtown Tampa. This was my first time visiting Tampa (not just driving through!) The performers were absolutely amazing- and there were many nods to support the LGBTQ+ community throughout the show.
Overall we had an amazing weekend getaway and I was back at work Monday morning at 9AM! I loved getting to know and support some amazing local businesses on the West Coast and find some delicious vegan food along the way. Have you ever visited St. Petersburg?