ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The St. Pete Pier is gaining national attention.

USA Today describes it as one of the best new destinations in the country.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said it’s an amazing honor.

What You Need To Know

For residents, the new pier is just latest thing on the list to love about St. Petersburg. Residents in other areas may see the pier as a great new place to visit.

“We always had hoped that what we were delivering was something that visitors and residents alike would love,” Kriseman said. “Being the #2 new destination in the country, it was beyond anything we could’ve dreamed of.”

With the pier ranking second only to the Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, the mayor says there’s a lot to be proud of here.

“There’s so much that you can do each time that’s different,” he said. “And I think that’s why people keep coming back over and over again as opposed to one and done which is what we did not want.”

From the marketplace to the childrens’ park, the splash pad to the pier itself, it’s been a long road from that original and controversial lens design that then lead to the election of a new mayor and a new design.

And now, as Kriseman finishes up his final term, he says that makes this pier more than a destination, it’s a journey.

“The (Janet) Echelman piece (Bending Art), not that it’s not great during the day, but at night it’s spectacular,” Kriseman said.

And with this new national ranking, the pier’s popularity is expected to grow even more when people emerge from the pandemic.

“When this pandemic is over,” he said. “I think it’s going to be insane out here which is wonderful.

“People are going to flock here from all over and people are going to know about it all over the world.”