St. Petersburg is a city in Pinellas County, Florida, United States. It is known as a vacation destination for both American and foreign tourists. As of the 2010 census, the population was 244,769, making St. Petersburg the fourth most populous city in the state of Florida and the largest city in Florida that is not a county seat. Although the city of Clearwater is the county seat of Pinellas County, all county services are available through county offices in St. Petersburg. St. Petersburg is the second largest city in the Tampa Bay Area, which is composed of roughly 2.8 million residents, making it the second largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the state.
The city is often referred to by locals as St. Pete. Neighboring St. Pete Beach formally shortened its name in 1994 after a vote by its residents.
The city is located on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to mainland Florida to the north; with the city of Tampa to the east by causeways and bridges across Tampa Bay; and to Bradenton in the south by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (Interstate 275), which traverses the mouth of the bay. It is also served by Interstates 175 and 375, which branch off I-275 into the southern and northern areas of downtown respectively. The Gandy Bridge, conceived by George Gandy and opened in 1924, was the first causeway to be built across Tampa Bay, connecting St. Petersburg and Tampa cities without a circuitous 43-mile (69 km) trip around the bay through Oldsmar.
With a purported average of some 360 days of sunshine each year, it is nicknamed “The Sunshine City”. For that reason, the city has long been a popular retirement destination, especially for those in the United States from colder Northern climates. This reputation earned the city the derisive nickname of “God’s waiting room”. In recent years, though, the population has shifted in a more youthful direction. American Style magazine ranked St. Petersburg its top mid-size city in 2011, citing its “vibrant” arts scene.