Anastasia Island and the Beaches
Anastasia Island is a barrier island just east of the historic district and across the Bridge of Lions. There you will find access to Anastasia State Park and miles of pristine beaches. You will also discover unique restaurants and one-of-a-kind shops including the eclectic Simple Gestures art gallery, located next to the iconic Gypsy Cab Co. restaurant. For fun, try your luck at Anastasia Miniature Golf, across from Gypsy, which offers a sweeping view of the St. Augustine Lighthouse from its mountainous course. And just a few doors from Gypsy is South Beach Barber Shop & Salon where Denise Demming and Mischa Dux offer reasonably priced men and women’s hair cuts and styling.
Across from the entrance to the state park, Christé Blue is a designer consignment and new clothing boutique with an extensive collection of women’s clothing, furniture, art and accessories. Further south, St. Jorge Tobacco has everything for the smoker plus a nice selection of gifts.
A1A Beach Boulevard and Ocean Pier
Follow A1A Beach Boulevard to the perfect place for relaxing and sightseeing. A Visitors Information Center is located inside the Pier Gift Shop. The Fishing Pier is within a 4-acre beachfront park. Many community events are held at the Pier Pavilion including arts and craft shows, concerts, festivals. The park also offers beach volleyball courts, a play ground, Splash Park for kids and free parking and public restrooms. Directly across from the pier and park are two favorite restaurants: Salt Life Food Shack and Sunset Grille. Both offer ocean views, full bar and great food in a casual, beachy environment.
Heading south on A1A Beach Boulevard you will find La Cocina International Restaurant within the elegant Castillo Real Hotel on your left and Zaba’s, a casual coffee shop and eatery on your right (at the A Street Beach Access Intersection). At the end of A Street, you’ll discover the Beachcomber Restaurant, which has an enviable location right on the beach. Back on the main road and a little further south, you’ll find the festive, family-owned Playa Chac Mool, for authentic Mexican fare and music for lunch and dinner.
Winn-Dixie Beach Plaza
Anchor tenant Winn-Dixie Supermarket makes this shopping center off of A1A South a convenient location for various services and shops located here. With locations facing A1A, newly opened eateries Bai Tong Thai Sushi and La Taza Coffee & More offer excellent cuisine inspired by world cuisines.
Next up is Seaside Plaza which contains several local favorite restaurants and unique shops. Hurricane Grill & Wings offers outdoor seating, live music and a fun, beachy setting for their famous wings and full menu. Purple Olive, a family-operated eatery offering New American dinners with international flair.
As you continue your trek down scenic A1A South, you’ll come across the intersection of SR 206 and A1A, the location of a huge beach parking lot, picnic area and access. Numerous shops and restaurants surround this intersection and hub, including South Beach Grill, one of the St. Augustine’s most popular restaurants, famous for its spectacular oceanfront location and innovative fresh fish and seafood specials offered daily.
SeaGrove Town Center
Located off of A1A at A Street, SeaGrove Town Center is the location for the beach post office and library and a gathering place for beaches residents and visitors. For modern Northern Italian fare, visit Terra & Aqua with indoor and outdoor seating and delicious wood-fired pizza. London Looks Hair Design is an elegant, first-class salon featuring full hair design services and a wide selection of high-end hair care products. Next door, Tim’s Wine is one of the best wine shops in St. Augustine and offers weekly tasting events, a wine club and knowledgeable guidance. Across the way from Tim’s Wine, City Wellness is an elegant two-story center for wellness, offering yoga classes and healing and spa services such as massage, acupuncture, and nail services.
Often refered to as “Beaches Publix Plaza,” this shopping center off of A1A South, is always abuzz with activity. In addition to a full-service salon and specialty shops, the plaza hosts several of the island’s favorite eateries including Verrazano Pizza and Marble Slab Creamery.
Ponce de Leon Boulevard South and vicinity
This major entrance corridor into and throughout St. Augustine is experiencing a renaissance of sorts with numerous major new projects and businesses in various stages of development. Located just across from the intersection of U.S. 1 and S.R. 206 is the brand-new Dianes Marketplace Shopping Center where a glorious, new Diane’s Natural Market and Organic Cafe will open this summer, flanked by neighboring shops and other eateries.
Historic District and Downtown
Stroll through St. Augustine’s historic district and you’ll find a wealth of cafés, restaurants, galleries, shops, boutiques amid the astounding historical architecture and ambience. Buildings dating back to the city’s colonial period and a coquina fort built in 1565 give St. Augustine its unique European flavor. Flagler College, the Lightner Museum and an historic Plaza, which used to serve as a slave market and now is the site of several Civil Rights monuments, are not to be missed. Villa Zorayda Museum, built in 1883 as a winter home, has the distinction of being a scale replica of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, and offers daily tours.
Enjoy free summer concerts on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. in the Plaza from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The holiday season brings the annual Nights of Lights celebration to downtown and the Plaza is the site for the official light up ceremony in November. The city glitters with over 3 million little white lights from November to January. Also, mostly focused in the downtown area is First Friday Art Walk, hosted by Art Galleries of St. Augustine, every first Friday of the month from 5-9 p.m.
St. George Street
The historic district’s main thoroughfare is St. George Street, which from the city gates to the plaza, is blocked off for pedestrian-only traffic. Pizzalley’s and The Chianti Room offer pizza and Italian fare, while The Bull & Crown Publick House and Taberna del Caballo in The Colonial Quarter, an immersive living history experience, offer themed dining in the heart of the city. The Colonial Quarter’s third restaurant, The St. Augustine Seafood Company, opens this summer and will offer a fresh take on classic seafood favorites. Diners can enjoy indoor dining or outside seating in the Colonial Oak Music Park.
And, speaking of themed dining, step back into the era of flappers and speakeasies in the newly opened Prohibition Kitchen, a “gastrolounge” offering experiential dining and live themed music at its best!
Around the corner on King Street get a taste of gourmet olive oil and find unique cooking accouterments at The Ancient Olive. Around the corner from this lovely shop on St. George Street are two fascinating galleries--Lost Art Gallery and Sea Spirits Gallery & Gifts, both owned by Victoria Golden, who is also an estemed appraiser. Lost Art features museum-quality artworks from classical to contemporary, while Sea Spirits has a breezier style and offers handmade jewelry and gifts in addition to original artwork—all with colors and themes inpired by the sea. Journeying back to King Street, head west to take a tour and shop for local products at both San Sebastian Winery, located on King Street, or the St. Augustine Distillery Co., located just off of King on Riberia Street. Just a few doors down from the Winery is Rembrandtz, an amazing gallery and gift shop voted St. Augustine’s best for 21 years. Shop for unique gifts, stunning handmade jewelry and local art or make your own mosaic art in their onsite studio.
This lovely street is a great example of why getting off the beaten track is always worthwhile. Here you will find lovely bed & breakfasts, interesting shops and one of St. Augustine’s finest downtown restaurants, La Pentola. Noted for its Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, owners Jorge and Susan Talavera offer seasonal cuisine in a reconstructed Spanish Colonial style home with heritage dating from the 1700s. Interestingly, Susan and Jorge’s newest neighbors are also Susan and Jorge—the Herreras, owners of Amistad, a fascinating, colorful fair trade store offering decor, textiles, clothing and jewelry from around the globe as well as local art and a diverse wine selection.
Uptown San Marco District
San Marco Avenue is one of St. Augustine’s main entrance corridors and is lined with vintage buildings that now house numerous restaurants, antique stores, galleries, specialty shops, bed & breakfasts and hotels. Two of St. Augustine’s legendary restaurants are both located in historic homes: The Raintree and Le Pavillon. Both restaurants are the perfect place to dine prior to attending a show at Limelight Theatre, which offers live theatre performances year ‘round. Also just off the avenue is Neff Jewelers offering fine jewelry, custom design and estate pieces. Upstairs from Neff’s is #7 Rohde Gallery with fine art on exhibit.
Two unique shops flank the north and south end of the street. The Spice & Tea Exchange is located further north on the Avenue, on the grounds of the Old Jail Museum and is a fun, fascinating shop that draws you in a first whiff! This is the second of two locations, the other is downtown on Hypolita Street and is the original location of this growing franchise with more than 50 locations around the country. Carrera Wine Cellar is located closer to the historic district and is a warm, inviting wine shop and bar that offers interactive classes.
Known as “ Uptown”, San Marco Avenue business owners in this district have created a very successful merchant’s association, which hosts Uptown Saturday Night. This festival-like open house event, featuring gallery openings, book signings, live music, refreshments, and more, is held rain or shine on the last Saturday of the month from 5-9 p.m.