There are really only two markets in Pinellas County that are worth venturing to; Gulfport’s Tuesday Market and St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market. Of course, there are regulars that attend only one exclusively. They’ll tell you that their choice is the right choice, whether it is Gulfport’s market or St. Pete’s. Lucky for you, I went to both and can give you the pros and cons of each.
First, let’s start with Gulfport’s Tuesday Market. The first thing to be said is that Tuesdays are less convenient than Saturdays for most people. However, this does mean that you can attend both if you wish.
Gulfport’s Fresh Market is open every Tuesday year round from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tents stand edge to edge on either side of 28th Ave. There are local vendors selling produce, fudge, exotic meals and hand crafted jewelry. Parking is free too!
There are more than 60 vendors at the market all selling locally produced goods. Local boutiques and cafes are open as well. Pastel colored houses with local art and coffee have their doors open for market goers. Most of these establishments are also dog friendly, some offering organic dog treats.
Beach bars like Salty’s and O’Maddy’s are also on the path of the market. After the market ends at three, you can grab a cocktail and watch the sunset right off of Gulfport Beach. Live music is played all throughout.
Overall, Gulfport’s market has a much more quaint and intimate feel. There are many people there, but nothing compared to the crowds of St. Petersburg’s Saturday Morning Market.
The St. Petersburg Saturday Morning Market is open on Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., so the window is a little shorter than Gulfport’s market. St. Pete’s market is much larger. There are roughly 130 vendors and they estimate about 10,000 people attend each week. If you are looking for a wide variety of products and a crowd, St. Pete is definitely your market.
The Saturday Morning Market is in its 13 season and they claim is one of the top 20 markets in the U.S. It is the largest market in the Southeast. The market is located in the Al Lang Field parking lot. Though the parking is metered not free, it is entirely enclosed; it does not line streets. Some may prefer this as it seems to be more of a “destination” rather than tents along houses.
The St. Petersburg market is also dog friendly; many of the vendors put out water bowls and treats for those passing by. They also sell only local foods. In fact, many of the vendors that appear at this market also set up shop at Gulfport’s market. There are a million types of food to choose from, fresh produce, art etc.
There is also always live music and performances taking place with seating in the middle of the market. This creates great atmosphere for making new friends over a fresh meal. This sort of seating is not present at Gulfport’s market because of the difference in layout. The St. Pete market also dead ends at water, so you can enjoy a drink there just as you can at Gulfport’s market.
After going to each of these markets, my advice is to make time to attend both. They are both wonderful places to pick up quality goods from friendly locals. Market going is such a fun activity that getting a chance to do it twice in one week is a blessing. They are both different, but offer the same great time.
Can’t wait to see you there this week!