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i love the burg tours with monica kile

Take a tour of St. Petersburg with popular local historian Monica Kile.

An authority on St. Petersburg’s history and built environment, Monica is known for her dynamic delivery and passion for sharing local history. She has offered walking tours, bus tours, virtual tours, historic videos, and lectures on the history and development of St. Petersburg for more than 15 years. 

Join Monica on one of her regularly scheduled tours for I Love the Burg, or contact her to book a private tour or presentation, and learn exactly how St. Petersburg became the best place to live, work and play in Florida!

The Grand Tour of Downtown St. Pete

This comprehensive tour winds you through downtown to see the highlights of St. Pete’s fascinating history.

We’ll visit the most beautiful building, the oldest hotel, the World’s Largest Shuffleboard Club, and the hidden arcades, and learn how urban design has influenced our evolution. We will also see how African-American citizens built the city’s infrastructure but were then restricted from many places in the city that they helped build.  

Tourists + Locals looking for an intro to St. Pete history

Saturday mornings • 2 hours • 2 miles

Beyond Downtown: The Edge and More

This in-depth tour delves further into St. Pete’s past by visiting parts of the city that many people have never seen: the Edge District, the Gas Plant, and Methodist Town.

Once the hub of St. Pete’s industrial life, the Edge is now an eclectic mix of historic spaces and modern amenities, bordered on either side by historically African-American neighborhoods that also offered a refuge for some of St. Pete’s Jewish merchants during periods of anti-semitism. We’ll visit the remaining buildings and lost landmarks of these constantly changing neighborhoods.

Tourists + Locals looking for a deeper dive into the city’s beginnings, African-American history, and Jewish history. 

Rotating Sun. afternoons • 1.5 hours • 1.5 miles

The Wonderful Waterfront

This tour visits the breezy and beautiful waterfront to study its evolution from a gritty coastline filled with fishing boats and smokestacks to a glittering promenade teeming with tourists.

We’ll learn about the waterfront parks, the history of Spring Training, and how zoning changed Beach Drive. We’ll view the stunning Vinoy Hotel and the prettiest public restroom, while gaining an appreciation for how the things we don’t see anymore – like the segregated beach and the grand hotel that Hollywood blew up, have influenced our past.

Tourists + Locals looking to understand the importance of urban planning, baseball, and tourism in the city’s history (and a breezy stroll!)

Rotating Wed. afternoons • 1.5 hours • 1.5 miles

Local historian Monica Kile poses in front of the Downtown Looper trolley

Join one of our St. Pete History trolley tours aboard the Looper

Explore downtown and nearby neighborhoods through new eyes as local historian Monica Kile shows you city secrets hiding in plain sight.

Tour guests will learn about St. Pete’s diverse and fascinating history and see sites that only a longtime local would know.

Each of our trolley tours will be limited to only 28 guests. We expect these to sell fast so make sure to get your tickets while they last!

A historic Allendale home

Northeast St. Pete

November 5
Tour locations include: The Old Northeast, Snell Isle, Allendale, Crescent Lake, Euclid St. Paul, Round Lake/Uptown, Methodist Town, Lang Court, and more.

the driftwood neighborhood sign surrounded by green foliage

Southeast St. Pete

November 12
Tour locations include: The Old Southeast, Roser Park, Driftwood, The Deuces, Child’s Park, Coquina Key, the Pink Streets, Princess Mound, Maximo and more.

What people are saying about the tours:

Specialty Tours

Specialty neighborhood tours are offered on a rotating basis, usually one per month. Check our calendar for availability, or email Monica to request a particular tour. 

Duration: 90 Minutes
Distance: 1.5 Miles

Originally home to farms and orange groves, Round Lake became one of the first neighborhoods to be developed outside of the downtown core in the early 1900s. Home to some of the city’s oldest homes, this National Register Historic District retains all of the charm and ambience that made it so attractive as the city’s first “streetcar suburb.” It features what is likely the city’s oldest house and boasts a fantastic mix of architectural styles, including over 200 Craftsman bungalows. During the Great Depression, Round Lake residents capitalized on St. Pete’s popularity as America’s “health city” by building boarding houses and mother-in-law apartments that offered tourists easy access to nearby social hubs like the Coliseum and the Shuffleboard Club, and maximized property values for the owners. The picturesque lake that gave the area its name has survived attempts to fill it in, and challenges of crime and homelessness on its banks in the 1990s and early 2000s. Today the shops and restaurants on the lake’s periphery again attract vibrant crowds, and real estate values are soaring. Join us as we reveal the history of gems like the hidden horseshoe courts, the towering Banyan tree, the magnificent Boone House, and more.

Duration: 90 Minutes
Distance: 1 Mile

The moment one enters the hidden neighborhood of Driftwood they notice an atmospheric change. Perhaps it’s the dense tree canopy whose shade keeps the neighborhood remarkably cool, even in the doldrums of summer. Or perhaps it’s the charming homes nestled along the shores of Big Bayou, designed by architect Archie Parrish and artist Mark Dixon Dodd. Maybe it’s the depth of history to be found in this tiny enclave, from early Native American inhabitation, through a Civil War skirmish, to the founding of the earliest white settlement in the city that would come to be known as St. Petersburg. Whatever it is, there is something special about the neighborhood of Driftwood.

Duration: 90 Minutes
Distance: 1.5 Miles

The Historic Old Northeast’s canopied brick-lined streets and hex-block sidewalks charm residents and visitors alike, and its proximity to St. Pete’s burgeoning downtown has made it one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city. But the neighborhood also offers a fascinating lesson in urban history and design, from the grand vision of developer Perry Snell, to its period of decline and later renaissance. In addition to enjoying the diverse architecture, you’ll learn the history of the “mother-in-law” apartment and why there are so many in the neighborhood, what an analemmatic sundial is (and why there’s one located in the Old Northeast) and which house was owned by the founder of the world’s largest broiler-chick hatchery!

Duration: 90 Minutes
Distance: 1.5 Miles

Join us on the romantic and historic Pink Streets of Pinellas Point. Learn about the Native American princess whose daring story of rescue may have influenced the later tale of Pocahontas, and see the magnificent Indian Mound that still remains from her time.  We’ll lament the loss of the millions of wading birds that once called this area home, while also celebrating the achievements of the early environmentalist Katherine Bell Tippetts, whose name now graces part of the nine-acre park in this splendid neighborhood.  Marvel at the Argenteau Castle, once home to a Belgian princess and, later, Mayor Al Lang. And of course, we’ll talk about why those streets are pink, and how they keep them that way!

Duration: 90 Minutes
Distance: 1.25 Miles

The earliest of St. Pete’s “streetcar suburbs” Roser Park remains perhaps the most visually striking neighborhood in the city. Straddling the storied Booker Creek, the hills (yes, hills!) of Roser Park along with its eclectic mix of architectural styles can mislead a visitor to conclude they’ve left Florida altogether! Founded in 1918, by Charels Roser – who may or may not have invented the Fig Newton cookie – the neighborhood was designed on the principles of the City Beautiful movement, and was designated as the first local historic district in St. Petersburg. Bordered on one side by the historic Greenwood Cemetery, the mix of history, beauty, architecture, and topography make Roser Park one of the most fascinating neighborhoods in the city.

Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 2 Miles

Join us for an introduction to the history of the Deuces, the historically African American neighborhood along 22nd Street South. This tour reveals the vibrant business life of the historic corridor, introduces the legendary Elder Jordan, and shows some of the remaining landmarks like the Manhattan Casino, the Jordan Elementary School, and the churches along the Avenue of Faith.  We will visit the Woodson Museum and discuss the building’s evolution from a bustling community center to a museum showcasing both local and national history and culture, and share the grand vision for the museum’s future. Drawing upon research from the groundbreaking African-American Heritage Trail, we will pay tribute to tireless foot soldiers like Dr. Ralph Wimbish and Dr. Robert Swain, who desegregated Spring Training through their heroic activism, and trailblazers like Fanny Ayer Ponder, an educator who in a single night sold $85,000 in U.S. World War II bonds, and founded the local chapter of the National Council of Negro Women.

Get notified of future tours!

Private Tours and Presentations

Monica can offer any of the above tours (or a combination of several) as private tours, on foot or by bus as a step-on-guide. The minimum charge for a private tour is $250. For groups of more than 10 people, an additional charge is added per person. 

Monica also offers a number of dynamic lectures with outstanding visual aids in the form of a Power-Point type presentation. Lectures last 45 minutes to 1 hour, with time for questions. Rates for presentations are negotiable, with a discount for non-profit organizations. Potential topics include: 

  • Becoming the Burg: How St. Petersburg evolved from a sleepy fishing village in 1888 to the dynamic city we see today. A history of the city and its major touchpoints and leaders throughout the past.
  • St. Petersburg’s African-American History
  • St. Petersburg’s early Jewish History

Meet our Historian

Monica Kile has lived in St. Petersburg since 2003, when she became the first student in the newly established Florida Studies master’s degree program at USF St. Petersburg.  She ended up falling in love with both the city and fellow graduate student Jon Kile, and never left.

Monica has served as the Executive Director of the local historic preservation advocacy organization Preserve the ‘Burg, the Director of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Eckerd College, and the Special Projects Director at the Florida Humanities Council. But Monica’s first love is tour-guiding, a love that began at 22 years old when she took a job distributing leaflets for an English-speaking walking tour company in Berlin, Germany, and continued with leading guided tours in St. Augustine and throughout Florida. 

Monica holds a B.S. in Communication from Florida State University, a M.L.A from the University of South Florida, and is a Certified Tour Director from the International Tour Management Institute in San Francisco. She loves the opportunity that tours present for introducing St. Petersburg’s  fascinating history to residents and visitors alike.