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Sarasota, Florida: What To Do

Posted by Samantha Benge on Monday, February 16th, 2015 at 2:01pm.

Sarasota is a beautiful city with a lot to offer. A city known for its culture, Sarasota truly has something for everyone. One of the unique features of the city is its population. Sarasota hosts residents of all kinds: Florida natives, those who have relocated full-time, Snowbirds, and vacationers. It has some of the best beaches in the country and a climate that makes outdoor activities possible year round. 

Below are popular options for things to do in and around Sarasota. Whether you are moving here for good or just visiting, there is no reason to be bored while you are here.

1.  Soak up the Sun – Sarasota is surrounded by beaches, and some of the best in the country. Siesta Key is a popular beach, for a more quiet time try Anna Maria Island where there are fun tiki bar options. If you aren’t into the beach, head east and visit the Myakka River State Park. There you can take a boat tour and view wild alligators, or enjoy unspoiled Florida nature trails.

2.  Visit Downtown – Downtown Sarasota and Main St. can be fun for everyone. Not only is there a Farmer’s Market held every Saturday from 7am to 1pm, but there are plenty of shops and restaurants. With close proximity to the marina, walking around downtown can be a full day for the family. For night owls, Sarasota offers plenty of places to eat, drink, and be merry!

3.  Visit Lido Key – St. Armand’s Circle is a part of Lido Key, directly across from downtown. The Ringling Bridge offers great views of Sarasota and leads directly to the dinning and shopping available in St. Armand’s Circle. Lido Key offers beautiful beaches to tie into your day exploring the island.

4.  Visit Siesta Key – Siesta Key not only has the best beaches around, it also features the Siesta Key Village which has some shopping and restaurants. Siesta Key also has multiple ‘free ride’ services, carts that will pick you up and take you around the island for tip only. Siesta Key has an excellent live music community who entertains nightly at different bars and restaurants.

5.  The Ringling Museum - 5401 Bay Shore Rd 941.359.5700 - The Ringling is located in Sarasota, Florida and preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling. It is home to a Museum of Art, the historic Ca' d'Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, an Art Library, the Circus Museums and the Historic Asolo Theater.

6.  Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - 811 South Palm Ave. 941.366.5731 – Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a favorite of tourists and locals alike. They host multiple events depending on the season, but the garden itself is sprawling enough to make a visit to walk around worth it.

7.  Marietta Museum-Art & Whimsy - 2121 North Tamiami Trail, 941.364.3399 – Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy is fun for the whole family. Many reviewers say this place will instantly put a smile on your face. The subjects of art vary but they have a common theme of bright colors and happiness

8. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium - 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, 941.388.4441 - Located at the Mote Marine Laboratory; this is home to a 135,000 gallon outdoor shark tank and many other marine species. Children and adults love the aquarium for not only its wildlife, but also for the educational purposes.

9.  Take a Hike on The Legacy Trail – The north end of the Legacy Trail is just south of the Seminole Gulf Railway's current terminus near Palmer Ranch. From there, it travels south in a straight line towards Venice. It passes through Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey and has a direct connection with the park's trails. After leaving the park, the trail continues south, passes underneath State Road 681 and through Nokomis. South of Nokomis, the trail crosses Dona Bay and enters Venice. The trail overpasses U.S. 41 Bypass then to the historic Venice Seaboard Air Line Railway Station, which is currently in used as a bus station. At the station, the trail goes on to connect with the Venetian Waterway Park at Venice Avenue, another trail that continues south along the Intracoastal Waterway to the Gulf of Mexico.

10.  Sarasota Jungle Gardens – 3701 Bay Shore Rd, 941.355.5305 - An Old Florida attraction since 1939, Sarasota Jungle Gardens allows visitors to experience things they won't find anywhere else. Feed free-roaming flamingos, watch parrots ride bicycles, catch lemurs at play, stare down a vulture, or pet a skunk. Be sure to visit the Flamingo Cafe for a refreshing lunch or snack. Enjoy one or more of their acclaimed animal shows. Annual events include Holiday Lights, select nights in December, and Jungle Trails and Bunny Tails, every year on Good Friday.

 This is only the beginning. Sarasota is also home to a professional symphony, ballet and opera. With over 10 theaters and 30 art galleries, there is plenty more where this list came from. Good luck and have fun while you are here! 

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