St. Petersburg (often shortened to St. Pete) is a city in Pinellas County, Florida. The city is known as a vacation destination for North American and European vacationers, as well as a politically important battleground in U.S. Presidential politics and home of the highly-regarded St. Petersburg Times. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 248,232. As of 2004, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 249,090 , making it the fourth largest city in the state of Florida and the largest city in Florida that is not a county seat. St. Petersburg is the second largest city in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, which is composed of roughly 2.7 million residents in the core, making it the second largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the state behind Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, and the third largest in the southeast. The city is commonly referred to by locals as "St Pete"; neighboring St. Pete Beach, Florida formally shortened its name in 1994 after a vote by its residents.
Night view of the downtown skyline
The city is located on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to the mainland to the north, connected with the city of Tampa, Florida to the east by causeways and bridges across Tampa Bay, and to Bradenton, Florida 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 of 275 into the southern and northern areas of downtown respectively.
With a purported average of some 360 days of sunshine each year, it is nicknamed "The Sunshine City." For that reason, the city is a popular tourist, and retirement destination, especially for those in the United States from colder Northern climates particularly New York, Detroit, and Chicago.