1. News

One of 'Money' magazine's top spots to retire: St. Petersburg

The St. Peterburg waterfront at sunrise.
The St. Peterburg waterfront at sunrise.
Published Dec. 17, 2013

Seems it wasn't that long ago that people called St. Petersburg "God's waiting room," conjuring thoughts of frail seniors heading to park benches to feed the pigeons.

Today, the city is on Money magazine's list of Best Places to Retire, conjuring thoughts of active older people going to concerts, riding bikes at the beach or taking classes.

Retirees are looking for things to do, places to go, people to meet.

And St. Petersburg is a great place to kick back and relax after having worked 40-hour weeks, raising children, paying for college and simply taking care of business.

The other nine cities on the magazine's Top 10 list share some attributes with St. Pete: They are affordable, there is a lot to do, there is access to culture and health care. Many are college towns with lifelong-learning programs. But they don't all have nearby beaches or our year-round warm weather. (The magazine said it steered away from West Coast cities that are too expensive, and large, congested cities.)

Here's a brief look at the finalists in Money's Best Retirement pageant. See if you think we deserve to be at the top. (By the way, the cities weren't ranked.)

News researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.

Sources: Money magazine, American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, 2007-2011, Weather Channel

St. Petersburg

Median age: 41.3

Median home value: $167,800

Typical home price: $108,000

Average high/low temps: 91/54

Why? The Sunshine City holds the Guinness World Record for logging the most consecutive days of sunshine — a stretch lasting 768 days that began in 1967. And beaches, beaches, beaches in the area. Swim in the Gulf of Mexico in the dead of winter (well, tourists do anyway). While the city has always been a hot spot for retirees, it also draws younger people and families who keep the area vibrant and packed with things to do. There is a festival in the region almost every weekend, and restaurants, art galleries and craft breweries are exploding downtown. We haven't even mentioned the Dalí Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Fort De Soto Park, Tropicana Field and the proximity to Tampa.

Boise, Idaho

Median age: 35.3

Median home value: $197,900

Typical home price: $137,020

Average high/low temps: 91/24

Why? Active, vibrant, alive is the way its tourism bureau describes this city with a mild four-season climate and easy access to mountains, rivers and lakes in the southwest section of Idaho. Its medals of honor include No. 1 Town in the Western U.S. (Outside magazine), one of Top Five Healthiest Cities (Men's Health), No. 1 Adventure City (National Geographic Adventure) and No. 1 Biking Town (Bike Magazine).

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Median age: 35

Median home value: $212,700

Typical home price: $210,000

Average high/low temps: 85/18

Why? Definitely a unique place of contrasts. There's astonishing beauty and tranquility (Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods) nestled amid government (North American Aerospace Defense Command) and military (Air Force Academy and Fort Carson), and ultraconservative groups like Focus on the Family and New Life Church. It's the only state on the list where marijuana is legal medicinally and recreationally.

Fort Lauderdale

Median age: 42.3

Median home value: $291,600

Typical home price: $216,000

Average high/low temps: 90/57

Why? Fort Lauderdale may be famous for its beaches, arts and culture but you can also take a gondola ride on its canals. Close to the quintessential Florida Everglades, its beaches are lined with luxury hotels and condominiums.

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Keep up with Tampa Bay’s top headlines

Subscribe to our free DayStarter newsletter

We’ll deliver the latest news and information you need to know every weekday morning.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Lexington, Ky.

Median age: 33.6

Median home value: $161,100

Typical home price: $162,400

Average high/low temps: 86/25

Why? Always known for its horses, bourbon and basketball, the bluegrass city seems to be emerging on the culinary and cultural scenes as well. Its tourism sites claim its location in the heart of the eastern United States makes it a day's drive from 60 percent of the U.S. population.

Norfolk, Va.

Median age: 29.6

Median home value: $211,600

Typical home price: $189,950

Average high/low temps: 88/33

Why? Home of the world's largest naval base and NATO's North American headquarters, Norfolk has 7 miles of Chesapeake Bay waterfront. It is home to Old Dominion University and Eastern Virginia Medical School and its four research institutes.


Median age: 33.9

Median home value: $87,800

Typical home price: $149,450

Average high/low temps: 85/20

Why? The Steel City has the lowest median home value of any city on the list. It also has rabid fans for its pro sports teams, the Pirates (who play in PNC Park, named by ESPN as the No. 1 baseball stadium in the country) and the Steelers, who once played in Three Rivers Stadium, so named for the beautiful waterways that surround the city.

Raleigh, N.C.

Median age: 31.8

Median home value: $205,200

Typical home price: $200,000

Average high/low temps: 90/30

Why? North Carolina's state capital, which is dotted with historic landmarks, is undergoing an urban revival. Its mild climate and closeness to Durham, home of Duke University and its excellent medical research facilities, give Raleigh a leg up on other East Coast cities.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Median age: 30.9

Median home value: $244,400

Typical home price: $137,446

Average high/low temps: 90/27

Why? The capital of Utah with its wide open skies lies between two mountain ranges in northern Utah. Much of its history is centered around the Mormons — the city was founded by Brigham Young — and mining. Modern-day Salt Lake is alive with new hotels, museums, galleries and restaurants.

Spokane, Wash.

Median age: 34.8

Median home value: $165,500

Typical home price: $146,180

Average high/low temps: 83/23

Why? Tucked near the Idaho border, which makes it less cloudy and rainy than Seattle, Spokane is close enough to California and Oregon for long weekend trips. Its history is evident with Victorian houses made by early railroad workers, but modern-day perks include the medical community and a 100-block "hot zone" where residents have free wireless access.


This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge