Falling in love with St. Augustine

Students around town
February 14, 2023
It can be love at first sight when you visit a new place. But when you’re living here, it can be easy to take the history and charm of St. Augustine for granted. This Valentine’s Day, take time to fall in love with your home again and rediscover the excitement of your first visit.

There’s so much to admire:

The atmosphere

When it comes to setting, St. Augustine is the total package.

If it was the coastal beauty that first caught your eye, be intentional about finding times during your day-to-day routine to admire your favorite beach and waterfront spots. As a fixture of Florida’s Historic Coast, there’s no shortage of beach options for your lunchtime excursions, nature study sessions, and late-night stargazing.

The magic of St. Augustine’s historical architecture attracts tourists from around the world, and maybe it was what made you seal the deal on calling this town your home. But when you’re studying amidst the grandiose designs of the Gilded Age and spending your time walking past gems of its Spanish influence, you’ll have to find new ways to rediscover your wonder. Whether you’re a social media fiend or chronically offline, snap pictures throughout your day to remind yourself of the beauty that first caught your eye. You live in a place worth romanticizing, so take your work with you and explore. 

The food

St. Augustine has its fair share of restaurants geared toward feeding busloads of visitors and fueling your late-night adventures like Taco Shop and Cousteau’s. But don’t forget about the digs that make this a foodie town.

It can be overwhelming to decide on what restaurants you should check off the list first, so start with some of the tried-and-true restaurants of St. Augustine’s food scene like Columbia Restaurant or Harry’s. Whether they were one of the first spots you sat down for a meal in town or a recommendation you never took up, find an occasion to treat yourself.

If you’re ready to get a taste of something new, restaurants like Llama Restaurant, with modern Peruvian food, or Ice Plant Bar serving up farm-to-table faire and specialty cocktails, are ideal for a celebratory dinner or special date. But it’s worth starting a must-try list with other restaurants like Casa Reina, Mexican food with a stunning view of the waterfront, Cafè Alcazar situated in the old swimming pool of the Lightner Museum, and brunch spot Sunday with an atmosphere sure to start your day off right.

The art

Starting in the heart of campus with the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum, St. Augustine’s artist community is thriving. Between a bustling lineup of regional markets, an abundance of local cafes decorated with remarkable pieces by local artists, and the curated galleries downtown, creativity is flowing in this town.

Next time you’re waiting for your coffee in Sweetwater, take a closer glance at the walls filled with paintings of all sizes by resident artist Hannah Keats. Or next time you take a mental health day, give yourself a walking tour of the impressively curated galleries you might usually overlook like the St. Augustine Art Association.

If planning your own tour around the art of St. Augustine seems like a chore, be sure to mark your calendars for the First Friday Art Walk, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m. monthly. This community event highlights all the must-hit galleries, many of which open new exhibits for the event and offer live music, or if you’re lucky- refreshments.

The shopping

You don’t need to go on a full-blown shopping spree to appreciate the quality of clothing, home décor, and other hand-crafted items you’ll find around town. Support local businesses by filling your home and closet with finds from around St. Augustine.

If vintage and thrifted clothes are a staple of your wardrobe, head to The Way We Were for a selectively curated shop of vintage pieces spanning the decades. It’s great for fashion-inspo and might have that gem of a statement piece you’re ready to invest in. For a more eclectic and affordable vintage experience, check out Cool and Collected. Or hit the Island for a day of perusing the racks of Christè Blue, S.A.F.E thrift store, or Rochelle’s Clothing.

For fresh fashion finds and home décor, check out stores you might usually overlook like Two Sparrows- a women’s clothing and home boutique near the Lightner Museum, Market to Market- an outdoor home décor and artisan boutique on St. George Street, and Golden Gypsy- an eccentric two-story shop filled with knick-knacks and bohemian fashion.