Published 12 hours ago
on October 6, 2020
By Jaymi ButlerDeputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, Mayor Rick Kriseman and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater CEO and President Steve Hayes take in the view at the Pier following Tuesday’s announcement that St. Pete was named one of the best big cities in the U.S. by Condé Nast Traveler.
St. Pete has something new to brag about.
“This kind of recognition is what we set out to achieve nearly seven years ago,” said Mayor Rick Kriseman, standing behind a podium at Teak on the St. Pete Pier, the downtown skyline at his back. “Elevating St. Pete nationally and internationally was a priority and I think we’ve succeeded. Today is certainly more proof of that.”
This is the first time St. Pete has made the list, which includes cities with populations of 250,000 or more, and it’s an especially big achievement this year. More than 715,000 readers submitted a record-breaking number of responses, many of them praising St. Pete as “perfect for a weekend getaway” where visitors can enjoy arts, culture, fine dining and, of course, the nearby beaches.
Kriseman said that being named a top 10 city is even more special in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and stressed that anyone who visits will be safe due to the precautions in place.
“We take safety seriously here,” he said. “We wear masks and we want everyone to be healthy.”
He also pointed out all the outdoor options that visitors can enjoy, including the 26-acre pier district, one of the largest waterfront park systems in North America and plenty of spots for dining al fresco.
As for the economic benefit to the city, Steve Hayes, president and CEO of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, said he expects being named to the top 10 list will bring in both Traveler readers and others who might be hearing about St. Pete for the first time.
“It gives us as a destination something to hang our hat on,” he said, adding that the visitors who come to town will support small businesses, the arts and restaurants who were hit hard by the pandemic. “And if we can get new visitors who maybe hadn’t considered us before – that’s important.”
Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin said the city will be spreading the word about the award and it also plans to help small businesses leverage being named a top 10 city.
To see St. Pete recognized amongst the better known destinations on the list is an honor, Kriseman said, and he’s looking forward to attracting more visitors in the future.
“We have so many things that big cities have to offer, but we have a community feel,” Kriseman said. “That’s what makes St. Pete so different from so many other places.”
The Best Big Cities according to Condé Nast Traveler’s Best Big Cities in the U.S.
- Washington D.C.
- New Orleans
- San Antonio
- New York
- San Diego
- St. Petersburg