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St. Augustine, FL City Guide

by Stephanie

cityguide_staugustine
Andrew Deming and Rachel Gant are the designers behind Yield, a brand of minimalist, high quality homewares and accessories. Both originally Southern natives, the two met at California College of the Arts (CCA) in San Francisco. After gaining experience at various agencies in SF (Andrew at ID firm fuseproject, Rachel at architecture firm CCS) the two joined together and formed Yield.

After years of living in and enjoying the Bay Area, they relocated their company to the small town of Saint Augustine in search of a simpler existence and the ability to grow design opportunities in the South. Today they are touring us around this Florida town, sharing some must-see stops, restaurants, shops, attractions and more! –Stephanie

As the oldest city in the United States, Saint Augustine has drawn visitors to its historic sites for centuries. Ponce de Leon originally landed here in 1513 and the town of “San Augustin” was officially established by Spanish settlers in 1565. Situated along the coast in Northeast Florida, Saint Augustine is a vibrant living city in an idyllic historic setting with world class restaurants, college town vibes and an emergent arts scene.

Be sure to check out this Google Map with all of the listings below!

St. Augustine, FL City Guide

photos by Rachel Gant and Andrew Deming

SPANISH COLONIAL DISTRICT
The original Spanish town plan of Saint Augustine remains well intact and is the heart of the broader historic downtown. It’s a very walkable area full of Spanish colonial buildings and narrow cobblestone streets. Here you’ll find a mixture of authentic history and good food located right alongside kitschy touristy shops.

EAT + DRINK
Casa Maya — Fresh modern Mexican cuisine served in a historic home with balcony and indoor seating. You can’t really go wrong here, but their guacamole is a must.

The Floridian — Bringing a fresh approach to Southern cuisine, the Floridian focuses on locally sourced ingredients that are true Florida. You’ll find dishes like grit cakes and fried green tomatoes paired with seasonal vegetables. 

The Hyppo —  Gourmet natural popsicles with an eclectic and inventive array of flavors. If you haven’t had enough sweets, stop into their sister shop Cousteau’s Waffle & Milkshake Bar across the street.

Gaufres & Goods — A small, quaint family-run Polish restaurant located on the old cobblestone Aviles Street. Owners Darius and Grace serve up amazing pierogies, salads, soups and crispy waffles.

The Kookaburra — The go-to coffee shop in Saint Augustine. The Kookaburra uses beans from Jacksonville third-wave roastery Bold Bean.

Stogies Jazz Club & Cigar Bar — A dark, cozy bar with a good beer and wine list. It gets a little smoky inside but there’s outdoor seating and firepits that are especially nice on cooler evenings.

STAY

St. Francis Inn — Built in 1791, this charming bed and breakfast is located on a picturesque, quiet street corner downtown, just a few blocks off the main Plaza.

Casa Monica — Originally built in 1888, the Casa Monica is a large hotel near the central Plaza with historic charm and modern conveniences including a nice swimming pool.

Casa de Solana — A clean and comfortable, more budget-friendly bed and breakfast on Aviles St.

SEE

Castillo de San Marcos — Perhaps the most recognizable landmark in the city, the Castillo is an iconic fort on the waterfront that was built in 1672. Take a self-guided tour of the interior if you have the time, but do not miss taking a walk around the grounds. The fort moat and coquina rock barrier wall along the water are all open-access walking areas with great views.

Aviles Street — As the oldest street in the US, Aviles has a charming European feel. Aside from the occasional ghost tour, Aviles isn’t as overrun with touristy attractions as the St. George Street shopping area.

The Oldest House — Occupied since the 1600s, the González-Alvarez House is the oldest surviving Spanish Colonial house in Florida. The house tour offers an interesting insight into the 400+ years of the city’s history and has a few external exhibits including an amazing collection of vintage maps dating back to the first European ventures to North America.

SHOP

One Twenty 2 — Located on a well traveled stretch of St. George Street, this new addition offers a nice selection of women’s clothing, jewelry and housewares.

St. Augustine, FL City Guide

HISTORIC DOWNTOWN / LINCOLNVILLE / WEST KING

St. Augustine has expanded far outside of the original Spanish Town Plan and there is a rich history behind that expansion. The historic downtown area is home to Henry Flagler’s Gilded Age hotels that brought in a new era in St. Augustine and the city’s reputation as a “Newport of the South.” Just south of Flagler’s hotels is the Lincolnville district, a historic residential area that was home to Martin Luther King during his stay at the crux of the Civil Rights movement.

EAT + DRINK

The Ice Plant — This newcomer has raised the bar for food and craft cocktails in the city. The restaurant is located in a beautiful historic ice plant from the early 1900s and makes use of the original equipment to produce quality ice for cocktails.

Yardbird — This is your spot for a truly Southern breakfast or lunch. Don’t miss their house made biscuits with peach butter.

Present Moment — Raw vegan food done exquisitely well. It’s a casual sit-down restaurant with a juice bar and a small natural foods market selection.

SEE

St. Augustine Distillery — Adjacent to the Ice Plant restaurant, the Distillery makes small-batch liquors including rum, bourbon, gin and vodka from locally farmed ingredients and offers free tours of their facility.

Ponce de Leon Hotel — The Ponce, now Flagler College, was built by oil magnate Henry Flagler in the late 1800s as a resort destination for the society elite. The “Spanish Renaissance” structure is a national historic landmark and resembles a Spanish Hogwarts. Today it’s home to Flagler College and is open for tours.

Lightner Museum — Directly across the street from Ponce is the Lightner, formerly the Alcazar Hotel, another one of Henry Flagler’s late 19th century destination resorts. The museum can be skipped if you’re in a hurry, but don’t miss the antique mall at the very rear of the building. The space the antique mall occupies is open to the public and was once the largest indoor swimming pool in the world.

Corazon Cinema & Cafe — A cozy historic theatre with just a few screens that serves a full menu of food, drinks and wine.

Memorial Presbyterian Church — This building was built by Henry Flagler as a memorial to his late daughter and is an architectural gem well worth a visit. The church is open for self-guided tours most days of the week.

SHOP

Yield — Yield is a design house originally from San Francisco, now based in Saint Augustine, producing housewares, bags, jewelry and more. Yield goods are available in a small street-front retail shop adjacent to their warehouse. Open on weekdays.

St. Augustine Distillery Shop — Here you’ll find the best selection of bitters and bar utensils sold alongside their own spirits.

St. Augustine, FL City Guide

UPTOWN / SAN MARCO

The Uptown area is bordered by the Intracoastal Waterway to the east and highway US-1 to the west. It’s known for antique shops and historic houses and is also home to a number of tourist attractions in cool locations like the Authentic Old Jail and the Fountain of Youth Park.

EAT + DRINK

Juniper Market / Coastal Traders — You’ll find cold brew coffee and baked goods at the back of this furniture shop that boasts some great mid-century tiki furniture from Indonesia.

Dos — Coffee shop and roastery by day. Wine bar by night.

SHOP

Anchor Boutique — Owned by local jewelry artist Laurel Baker and photographer/artist Jenna Alexander, Anchor sells goods from local designers and makers.

Philosophie Salon & Apothecary — This hair salon and boutique is a local’s favorite with a well curated offering of style products for men and women.

Cool & Collected — Located in an old house on the antique row, this vintage shop has some great mid-century furniture and homewares.

Conservatorie — On the northern end of San Marco, this local floral and event design company sells nice wedding and home goods in their studio shop.

Declaration — Here you’ll find a wide range of home goods and gifts including their original line of printed cards and textiles.

SEE

Mission Nombre de Dios — While San Marco shops are the main attraction in Uptown, there are some beautiful natural sights like the grounds of the Mission. The park is part of the Catholic church but is open to the public. Within the park is a small Spanish mission

Magnolia Ave — Just a short walk from San Marco you’ll find this neighborhood street lined with giant oaks and Spanish Moss. The street borders the kitschy Fountain of Youth Park and has been named “One of the most beautiful streets in America” by National Geographic.

St. Augustine, FL City Guide
ANASTASIA ISLAND / SAINT AUGUSTINE BEACH

The beachside area has the feeling of a small surf town getaway just minutes from downtown and here you’ll find some of the nicest white sand beaches on the East Coast. The beaches are good for swimming and surfing a good portion of the year.

EAT + DRINK

Gas Full Service Restaurant — Located on the Island, directly across the Bridge of Lions from downtown, Gas is a lunch and dinner spot with great food and an excellent beer selection.

Cafe Eleven — This restaurant/venue is conveniently located right across the street from the from a nice beach access point. They serve good food and smoothies and have great happy hour deals.

Stir it Up — As you might gather from the name, Stir it Up is a very casual, walk-up beachfront spot. It’s the perfect place to grab a smoothie and a wrap after swimming at the beach.

Conch House — If you’re looking for a very “Florida” experience, this is your spot for happy hour margaritas in a straw tiki hut on the water. Enjoy the cocktails and skip the food. The bar is best enjoyed on quiet weekdays as weekends get rowdy.

SEE

St. Augustine Lighthouse — If you’re up for walking some steps, take a tour of the historic Lighthouse and enjoy the rewarding view at the top. 

Anastasia State Park — This is a great spot for camping and watersports like kayaking, windsurfing and sailing. There’s a small entrance parking fee.

St. Augustine Amphitheatre — Check listings for any shows while you’re in the area. This venue is just walking distance from the state park and is surrounded by lush greenery. On Saturday mornings there’s a local farmers’ market held on the grounds.

A Street Beach Access — You won’t go wrong with really any beach access along A1A Beach Boulevard, but A Street is one of the favorites located near a few good restaurants.

SHOP

Diane’s New Dawn — For healthy snacks and natural care products, stop into this natural food market on your way to the beach.

 

NOTABLE LOCALS

Sara Pedigo – Painter, professor at Flagler

Ryan Dettra – Owner/Manager, Ice Plant

Danielle & Luke Brodersen – Owners, Spacecamp

Amy Fretto – Owner, Conservatorie

Suggested For You

Comments

  • Check out Catch 27 (near the hyppo) for a cozy BYOB dining experience or The Gourmet Hut to eat in a garden under sun or stars (atmosphere is great and the food does not disappoint though the portions are LARGE).

  • Thanks so much for including Cool and Collected on San Marco Ave! We just completed our expansion into the whole building so we have even more wonderful mid-century finds!

  • Don’t forget Dan Holiday’s leather shop on Aviles. He has been making amazing handmade sandals and handbags for forty years. The sandals I bought almost ten years ago still look great.

  • I think it’s one of those rare towns that people stumble on and never leave. Kind of like Glenwood Springs Colorado, or Beaufort SC. There is so much to do here that days are as full as you want them. The wild, surf blown beaches and kayaking with the dolphins in the Matanzas River are awesome, in the true sense of the word. It also has one of the best live music scenes in Florida.

  • Simple Gestures on the island is a gallery/store that has unique local artists and gifts! Totally worth the visit!

  • Ned’s Southside Kitchen is where we locals eat. It is the BEST food in town with the BEST service. You’ve got to try their Shrimp & Grits; it can’t be beat.

  • Uptown Saturday Night is the last Saturday of each month and the shops along San Marco, and some on the connecting streets, stay open until 9pm with all types of fun…..Live music outside Cool and Collected!!

  • Amistad just moved to St augustine Beach from San Marco Ave and it has fantastic fair trade goodies from all over the world and also beautiful wines. Their new location is near Purple Olive restaurant another great place to eat!

  • Feeling super nostalgic about the oldest city when I read this…Lived here and studied at Flagler and am now out in San Francisco. Congrats to yield for choosing such an inspiring new city!

  • Two cool galleries on Aviles Street, Amiro Art & Found (local artisans and vintage finds) and sister gallery, Amiro Art+Design (contemporary art)…the “original art district” strives and rocks every month on First Friday Art Walk with featured artists, wine, and live music!

  • Hey! I own a pretty chill vintage boutique and rustic food market in the historic district of St. Augustine(Lincolnville) . Its called Corner Market from the early 1920’s. Would love to be apart of this. Saint Augustines 450th anniversary is coming up September 8th. I really appreciate what you guys represent, your site and blog..

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