is it cheaper to stay in tampa or st petersburg


When planning a trip to the beautiful coast of Florida, many travelers often find themselves torn between the vibrant city life of Tampa and the laid-back charm of St Petersburg. One of the biggest factors that come into play when deciding between the two cities is the cost of accommodation. In this article, I will delve into the various aspects of staying in Tampa versus St Petersburg, exploring the cost differences, amenities, and overall value for money.

Affordability of Accommodation


Tampa, being a larger city, offers a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly motels. The average cost of a hotel room in Tampa is around $150 per night, but it can vary greatly depending on the time of year and the location. If you’re willing to stay in the outskirts of the city, you might be able to find more affordable options.

St Petersburg

On the other hand, St Petersburg is known for its cozy bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, and vacation rentals. The average cost of accommodation in St Petersburg is slightly lower than Tampa, with hotel rooms ranging from $100 to $130 per night. The advantage of staying in St Petersburg is that you’ll have a more intimate and personalized experience, as these accommodations are often family-owned and operated.

Food and Dining


Tampa boasts a diverse culinary scene, offering everything from high-end waterfront restaurants to casual eateries. The cost of dining out in Tampa can vary widely, but on average, you can expect to spend around $20 to $50 per meal at a mid-range restaurant. If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of affordable dining options, including food trucks and local diners.

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St Petersburg

St Petersburg, with its emphasis on local and sustainable dining, offers a unique food experience. The city is home to a variety of farm-to-table restaurants and artisanal cafes, where you can savor fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The cost of dining out in St Petersburg tends to be slightly lower than Tampa, with mid-range restaurant meals ranging from $15 to $40 per person.

Transportation and Parking


Public transportation in Tampa is well-developed, with an extensive bus network and a streetcar line that connects downtown to Ybor City. If you prefer to drive, you might encounter some challenges with parking, especially in the busier areas. The cost of parking in downtown Tampa can be steep, with hourly rates ranging from $2 to $4. However, if you’re willing to explore the city on foot or by public transport, you can save money on parking fees.

St Petersburg

In St Petersburg, getting around is a breeze, thanks to the city’s compact layout and pedestrian-friendly streets. You can easily explore the downtown area on foot, or opt for the city’s inexpensive bike-share program. If you’re driving, parking in St Petersburg is generally more affordable than Tampa, with hourly rates ranging from $1 to $3 in most areas.

Entertainment and Attractions


Tampa is home to a multitude of entertainment options, from theme parks and museums to sports events and live music venues. While some attractions can be on the pricier side, there are plenty of free or low-cost activities to enjoy, such as visiting the Tampa Riverwalk or taking a stroll through the historic Ybor City district.

St Petersburg

St Petersburg, often referred to as the “Sunshine City,” offers a wealth of outdoor attractions, including beautiful beaches, waterfront parks, and art galleries. The city is also known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, with regular events and festivals open to the public. Many of these attractions are free or have a minimal entrance fee, making it an affordable option for travelers.

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After considering the various aspects of staying in Tampa versus St Petersburg, it’s clear that both cities have their own unique charm and affordability. While Tampa offers a wider range of accommodation and dining options, St Petersburg stands out for its intimate atmosphere and budget-friendly attractions. Ultimately, the decision of which city is cheaper to stay in depends on your personal preferences and budgetary constraints.


Q: Is it more cost-effective to stay in Tampa or St Petersburg?

A: The cost of accommodation and dining in St Petersburg tends to be slightly lower than Tampa, but the overall affordability depends on your travel habits and preferences.

Q: Are there any budget-friendly activities to enjoy in Tampa?

A: Yes, Tampa offers a variety of free or inexpensive activities, such as exploring the city’s parks and waterfront, visiting local markets, and attending community events.

Q: What are the best transportation options for getting around St Petersburg?

A: St Petersburg is very walkable, so you can easily navigate the downtown area on foot. Additionally, the city offers an affordable bike-share program and a well-connected public transportation system.

Q: Can I find affordable accommodations in downtown Tampa?

A: While downtown Tampa tends to have more upscale hotels, you can still find budget-friendly options in the surrounding areas, such as Ybor City and the Westshore district.

Q: What makes St Petersburg a budget-friendly destination for travelers?

A: St Petersburg offers a wealth of free and low-cost attractions, including beautiful beaches, public art installations, and regular cultural events, making it an affordable destination for all types of travelers.