A Local's Guide to St. Augustine
St. Augustine's history makes it a national treasure, an ideal vacation destination, and a comfortable place to call home. I'm Alex and I've lived here for a little over a year. I'm so excited that other people will be able to experience my town, and all the great things to do and places to eat while visiting the nation's oldest city!
To welcome our visitors into town and ensure everyone gets the most out of their stay, I've put together this guide with useful tips from a local perspective on how to spend your time here.
Watch the Sunrise!
There are 3 great places to watch the sunrise...
1. St. Augustine Beach and Vilano Beach have the most spectacular and clear views.
2. On the bayfront near the Castillo.
3. And finally, at the Mission Nombre De Dios, down near the intracoastal.
Grab Coffee and a Pastry
A fresh-made pastry and Belgian chocolate hot coffee at Les Petits Pleasures.
10 Can't-Miss Photo Ops!
These are some places and props that every proud tourist to the Oldest City needs a snapshot with!
1. The marble lions on the Bridge of Lions
2. The statue of Henry Flagler in front of Flagler College
3. A cannon at the Fort.
4. Father Lopez statue at Mission Nombre De Dios
5. The Oldest Wooden Schoolhouse
6. The City Gate
7. Top of the Lighthouse
8.The shark teeth outside Tom's Seashells and Souvenirs near AIA and 312
9. Sunrise at St. Augustine Beach
10. Gomek outside the Alligator Farm
Off the Beaten Path
The Absolute Americana Art Gallery in Lincolnville features amazing paintings and cultural creations from the international art community. Tucked away on St. George Street, the St. Photios National Shrine contains a Minorcan museum and beautiful murals that you have to see to believe. Visit the Oldest House Museum on the south end of downtown and see what Spanish colonial life was like in Saint Augustine.
Buy Local Art
Visit P.A.St.A. Fine Art Gallery if you're looking for a keepsake work of art on a budget. Get something unique, local, and affordable. You can also save money on St. Augustine art at The Starving Artist.
Local art displayed at P.A.St.A. Fine Art Gallery.
Eat Local Dishes
Fresh catch in Florida is popular, and the freshest catches come from Catch 27. Spanish-inspired dishes are also a must. Hit up the local Spanish Bakery, which will be reopening just in time for the concert.
The Hyppo has taken St. Augustine by storm. Try one of their gourmet and guiltlessly healthy popsicles made from crushed fruits and veggies. Cupcakes reign supreme in America, and everyone in St. Augustine loves Luli's Cupcakes. Grab some frozen, chocolate-covered Key Lime pie on a stick at the Key Lime Shop on Treasury Street.
Away from the Crowds
Panama Hatties in St. Augustine Beach at night.
Glossary of Parts of Town and Landmarks
When a visitor asks for directions around town during their visit to St. Augustine, these are some landmarks and words residents will mention, and this is what they mean.
The Island - Anastasia Island and St. Augustine Beach. There are 3 ways to get there. Over the Bridge of Lions, over 312, and over 206 at the south end.
The Fort - The Castillo de San Marcos National Monument. A 300+ year old fort on the bayfront. You seriously can't miss it.
Flagler - Also known as the Ponce de Leon Hotel. It's currently home to Flagler College. The old hotel is a prominent part of the St. Augustine skyline.
The Mission - Mission Nombre de Dios and the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche, noticeable for the Great Cross that towers over the grounds.
Uptown - North of West Castillo Drive, characterized by boutiques, antique stores, and small restaurants.
Aviles - Hub for art and local restaurants, the oldest street in the city.
Lincolnville - Located in the area of King Street and MLK. A historically African American community with strong ties to the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
The Plaza - The Plaza de la Constitucion is the park downtown with gazebo, trees, pavilion, obelisk and other monuments. Near the bridge of Lions and the Cathedral.
Vilano - The beach across the Vilano Bridge on A1A north, past the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.
And remember, if you're having trouble navigating the city, pick up a St. Augustine Sightseeing Map & Guide in many of the stores around town, and don't forget to check out our listings for more things to do and places to eat!
For more info...
Check out these articles for exciting activities to enjoy during your stay!
- Where The Locals Go and Why Features the best bars and pubs to hit for St. Augustine's nightlife.
- Feast Before the Festivities Find a local restaurant to grab some grub during the weekend.
- Boutique Shopping for Every Style Make time to shop at some of the Ancient City's boutiques! Many will be open the whole weekend.
- The Very Best Unique Antique Shops Pick out the perfect rustic keepsake to remember your visit to the oldest city in the nation.
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