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Sarasota is a popular city on the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida. It is known for its vibrant arts community, excellent restaurants, unique shopping, and beautiful beaches. Sarasota, although a mid-sized city, is considered to be the cultural center of West Central Florida. The city has a metropolitan flavor unique to cities of its size and to cities in Florida.


The Asolo Theater, Florida West Coast Symphony, Sarasota Opera, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, and frequent art shows add to the cultural theme of the city, rivaling the facilities of Florida's largest cities. Sarasota is also home to the Ringling Museum of Art, the Selby Botanical Gardens, New College (Florida's public honors college), a USF branch, and the Ringling School of Art and Design.

Sarasota's downtown cityscape features office buildings and several upscale downtown condominiums. It is complemented by Saint Armands Circle, on Saint Armands Key, which is surrounded by Lido Key, across Sarasota Bay from downtown via the Ringling Causeway (with sweeping views of Sarasota Bay.) Saint Armands Circle is an upscale outdoor shopping area, with several cafes, reminiscent of Europe. The idea for Saint Armands was from John Ringling who also intended to build a Ritz hotel on Longboat Key. Today, Sarasota has a Ritz hotel downtown, and the Longboat Key Club on Ringling's original site. The Longboat Key Club includes two golf courses, tennis, and all other resort facilities and is located just north of Saint Armands on Longboat Key.

The fine white-sand beaches are a major draw to the area. Siesta Key Beach is consistently ranked among the most beautiful beaches on Earth. (Siesta Key was also the site chosen for the marriage of Chrissy and Brian, of Home Today fame.) Crescent Beach, Turtle Beach, Lido Beach, and the beach running the 15-mile (25-km) span of Longboat Key are equally beautiful and accessible. Indeed, much of Sarasota's charm comes from the fact that the beaches are so plentiful and accessible.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

By car[edit]

  • Sarasota has one primary expressway, Interstate 75, which runs north to south.
  • The major roads in Sarasota include the Tamiami Trail (which is the name given to US 41 between Tampa and Miami), US Route 301, Beneva Rd., Tuttle Ave/Swift Rd., Honore Avenue and Cattlemen Rd., all running north-to-south, and Clark Rd., Proctor Rd., Bee Ridge Rd., Fruitville Rd. and University Pkwy., all running east-to-west.

By bus[edit]

  • Greyhound, (bus stop) Cattleman Transfer Center @ 5950 Porter Way, toll-free: +1 800 231-2222. Travels primarily on Interstate 75 (Naples, Ft Myers, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, Tampa). Some variations of the route continue east towards Miami through Clewiston, Belle Glade & West Palm Beach from Ft Myers on US Hwy 27. Others continue north from Tampa to Orlando on I-4. Passengers transfer in Tampa, Miami or Orlando to reach other cities. Check Schedules. Tickets must be pre-paid & pre-printed from online or purchased from a full service station elsewhere.
  • Flixbus (Operated by Escot or Umbrella Bus Lines), (bus stop) Cattleman Transfer Center @ 5950 Porter Way. Travels primarily on Interstate 75 (Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Naples, Ft Myers, Sarasota, Tampa). From $15.

Get around[edit]

Map of Sarasota

The city includes the mainland downtown as well as three islands, called "keys." These are Longboat Key, Lido Key, and Siesta Key. Causeways to all these keys are free and very picturesque. Downtown Sarasota is very vibrant with a healthy mix of businesses, residences, restaurants, and city services.


  • 1 Sarasota Jungle Gardens, 3701 Bay Shore Rd, +1 941-355-5305. 10AM-5PM. There are 4 shows at the gardens in addition to the grounds which are filled with many interesting plants. As with most early attractions, they offer some animal shows and a chance to see some rare plants, many of which are of extraordinary size. This attraction is a rare opportunity to see what Florida was like in the tourist boom of the early 1900s. $18/adult, $17/senior, $13/child. Sarasota Jungle Gardens (Q7423241) on Wikidata Sarasota Jungle Gardens on Wikipedia
The garden of the Cà d'Zan mansion
  • The Ringling Estate, 5401 Bay Shore Road, +1 941-359-5700. 10AM-5PM. The Ringling Estate finished a six-year restoration and expansion phase that restored all of the existing buildings and added four new buildings to the estate. Features of the 66-acre estate include the lush grounds and landscaping including Mable’s Rose Garden, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, the Cà d’Zan Mansion, the Tibbals Learning Center, and the Historic Asolo Theater in the Visitor’s Pavilion. 3-day passes are available. $25 adult, $23 senior, $5 student, $5 child.
    • 2 The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The Museum of Art, built by John Ringling to house his personal collection of masterpieces, today features the great Old Masters including Rubens, van Dyck, Velàzquez, Titian, Tintoretto, Vernonese, El Greco, and Gainsborough. The museum opened in October 1931, and added the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing in 2007, with an additional 30,000 square feet of exhibition space. The museum’s 21 galleries feature internationally renowned European, American, and Asian art with masterpieces from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The Courtyard of the Museum of Art features casts of original statues including the towering David by Michelangelo. The Courtyard features two fountains - Fountain of Tortoises, one of three replicas from the Piazza Mattei in Rome, and the Oceanus Fountain, copied from the 16th-century original by Giovanni Bologna in Florence’s Boboli Gardens. John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (Q612530) on Wikidata John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art on Wikipedia
    • Circus Museum. Established in 1948, the Ringling Museum of the American Circus was the first museum of its kind to document the rich history of the circus. The museum has a fine collection including rare handbills, posters and art prints, circus paper, business records, wardrobe, performing props, and all types of circus equipment, including beautifully carved parade wagons. In the Circus Museum’s Tibbals Learning Center, you'll find the Howard Bros. Circus Model, a replica of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from 1919 – 1938. It has 8 main tents, 152 wagons, 1,300 circus performers and workers, more than 800 animals and a 59-car train. The model is built in ¾-inch-to-the-foot scale replica and occupies 3,800 square feet.
    • 3 Cà d’Zan. The Ringlings' dazzling palatial mansion is a tribute to the American Dream and reflects the splendor and romance of Italy. Described as “the last of the Gilded Age mansions” to be built in America, Cà d’Zan has 56 incredible rooms filled with art and original furnishings. With its Venetian Gothic architecture, the mansion is a combination of the grandeur of Venice’s Doge’s Palace, combined with the gothic grace of Cà d’Oro and Sarasota Bay serves as the Grand Canal. Cà d'Zan (Q5202299) on Wikidata Ca' d'Zan on Wikipedia
  • 4 The Historic Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, +1 941 359-5700. An 18th-century treasure in a 21st-century venue, the Historic Asolo Theater is a work of art in its own right. The palace playhouse was created in Asolo, Italy to honor the 15th-century exiled Queen of Cyprus. In the late 1940s, the theater was brought to the Ringling Estate and served as the first stage for many of the community’s most recognized performance organizations. Today the theater features a diverse performance schedule including theatre, dance, film, music, and lectures. Historic Asolo Theatre (Q66892979) on Wikidata
  • 5 Sarasota Classic Car Museum, 5500 North Tamiami Trail, +1 941-355-6228, . Daily 9AM-6PM. Adults $14.85, seniors $12.85, military $11.85, ages 6-12 $4, ages 5 and under free. Sarasota Classic Car Museum (Q7423224) on Wikidata Sarasota Classic Car Museum on Wikipedia
  • The Mote Marine Lab Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, +1 941-388-4441, . Daily 10AM-5PM. Includes a 1950s-style diner. $24/adult, $18/child (3-12).
  • 6 Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S Palm Ave, +1 941-366-5731. 10AM-5PM. A tropical, urban oasis featuring unparalleled horticulture displays and a Sarasota bay-front setting. $19/adult, $6/child. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Q6763018) on Wikidata Marie Selby Botanical Gardens on Wikipedia
  • 7 Art Center Sarasota, 707 N Tamiami Trail, +1 941-365-2032. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM. Usually, 2 or 3 art exhibitions going on concurrently. Some pieces in gallery available for sale. Free, $3 Donation requested. Art Center Sarasota (Q16161820) on Wikidata Art Center Sarasota on Wikipedia


  • 1 Siesta Key Beach. Siesta Key Beach is among the first and foremost reasons for many visitors to come to Sarasota. The sand, which is 99% pure crystal quartz, is often cited as being the cleanest, whitest sand in the world. With an athletic area equipped with volleyball courts, a cookout area complete with grills (bring your own charcoal), and life guards on duty all day, Siesta Key Beach is a great place for families and spring breakers alike. On Sundays at sundown, there is a tourist-heavy drum circle where local hippies play and everyone dances. Siesta Beach (Q7511756) on Wikidata Siesta Beach on Wikipedia
  • 2 Historic Spanish Point, 337 N. Tamiami Trail, +1 941-366-5731. Open to the general public from M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su noon to 5PM. Visit Historic Spanish Point and experience the past 5,000 years of history in Southwest Florida. Exhibits range from learning about the Florida Environment, Southwest Florida’s Maritime Heritage, Pioneer Homesteaders, Archaeology and the Bertha Palmer time period of growth in Southwest Florida. The 30 acres of land used as Historic Spanish Point was once the winter estate of Mrs. Palmer. Adults $7, ages 6-12 $3, and under 6 free. Historic Spanish Point (Q5773679) on Wikidata Historic Spanish Point on Wikipedia
  • 3 Sky Zone Sarasota, 6180 Edgelake Dr, +1 941-363-6359, . - located in Sarasota
  • 4 Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St. The spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles. If you are in the Venice area between February and March, catch a preseason game for between $5 and $12. Ed Smith Stadium (Q3047203) on Wikidata Ed Smith Stadium on Wikipedia
  • 5 The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 10th Street West, +1 941-746-4131. Bradenton. Open Jan-Apr and July M-Sa 10AM-5PM; Su noon-5PM. Rest of the year Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM; Su noon-5PM. Planetarium and aquarium with manatee rehabilitation center, plus Native American collection and a Spanish courtyard containing replicas of 16th-century buildings. From U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) take Manatee Av. west to 10th St. W. and turn right. Admission is $9.50 adults, $7.50 seniors, $6 students with ID, $5 children 5-12, free for children 4 and under. Bishop Museum of Science and Nature (Q7567242) on Wikidata Bishop_Museum_of_Science_and_Nature on Wikipedia
  • Marina Jack, +1 941 365-4232. Bayfront Dr. Marina Plaza on the waterfront. Keep your feet on the land while dining at the Marina Jack Restaurant or take off for an evening around Sarasota Bay on the Marina Jack Dinner Boat. Located on Sarasota Bay, the restaurant offers theatre seating so that everyone can enjoy a view of the waterfront. There is also the Portside Patio Bar for light meals or a drink before dinner. The Dinner Boat is an hour and a half lunch cruise or a two-hour dinner cruise. Plenty of temporarily marina slips available.
  • 6 Nathan Benderson Park. A world-class rowing facility that hosted the 2017 World Rowing Championships. Nathan Benderson Park (Q41411344) on Wikidata Nathan Benderson Park on Wikipedia
  • 7 Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N Tamiami Trail, +1 941-263-6799, toll-free: +1-800-826-9303. Box office: M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 10AM-4PM (later on show days). Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall (Q7913767) on Wikidata Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Wikipedia


  • Historic Palm Avenue. Downtown Sarasota's "Best Walk in Town" one block from Sarasota's Bayfront, between the Ritz Carlton and Selby Gardens. Stroll the Galleries, Restaurants, Antique and Specialty Shops. "Palm Avenue's First Friday Art Walks" are held the first Friday of every month from 6PM-9PM. Enjoy gallery openings, live performances and hors d'oeuvres as Palm Avenue Merchants serenade the Avenue and its guests.
  • St. Armands Circle. Removed from the intensity of downtown Sarasota, St. Armands Circle has a great selection of original shops, galleries and restaurants. It is designed in a charming circular pattern that makes for a breathtaking shopping or afternoon strolling or evening dining experience. Take Tamiami Trail (US 41) to SR 780 W to St. Armands Key, travel over the Ringling Causeway and Sarasota Bay and you will run right into lovely St. Armands Circle.
  • 1 Sarasota Square Mall, 8201 S Tamiami Trail, +1 941-922-9609. Westfield Sarasota Square (Q7988743) on Wikidata Sarasota Square Mall on Wikipedia
  • Sarasota Pavilion.
  • The Landings Shopping Center.
  • 2 The Mall at University Town Center, 140 University Town Center Dr., Sarasota (At southwest corner of I-75 and University Parkway), +1 941 552-7030. M-Sa 10AM to 9PM; Su 11AM to 6PM. 880,000 sq. ft. of retail space. More than 100 stores and restaurants, including Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillard's. Has children's play area. Includes sit-down restaurants. Retail upscale, but pricing varies. Mall at University Town Center (Q17019910) on Wikidata Mall at University Town Center on Wikipedia
  • 3 Crossings at Siesta Key, 3501 South Tamiami Trail. Westfield Siesta Key (Q6166990) on Wikidata Crossings at Siesta Key on Wikipedia

Main Street in downtown also has several shops.


  • The Breakfast House, 1817 Fruitville Road, +1 941-366-6860. Breakfast and lunch.
  • Cafe Amici, 1371 Main St, +1 941-951-6896.
  • Cafe Epicure, 1298 N Palm Ave, +1 941-366-5648. Italian upscale casual.
  • Caragiulos, 69 S Palm Ave, +1 941-951-0866. One of Sarasota's best-known Italian-American restaurants.
  • Columbia Restaurant, 411 St. Armands Circle, +1 941-388-3987. Cuban-American food.
  • DaRuMa Restaurant, 5459 Fruitville Road, +1 941 342-6600. Japanese steakhouse and seafood
  • Main Street Bar and Sandwich Shop, 1944 Main Street, +1 941-955-8733.
  • Mattison's City Grill, 1 North Lemon Avenue, +1 941-330-0440. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. An open-air but covered restaurant and bar with live music, on the corner of Main and Lemon downtown.
  • Miguel's Restaurant, 6631 Midnight Pass Rd. (On Midnight Pass Rd. 1/4 mile south of Stickney Point Rd.), +1 941-349-4024. open at 5PM. Quaint French Continental cuisine at the south end of Siesta Key. Wonderful food, full bar and early bird specials.
  • Miller's Ale House, 3800 Kenny Dr, +1 941-378-8888.
  • Stoneybrook Golf and Country Club, 8801 Stoneybrook Blvd, +1 941 918-9595. Lunch and dinner.
  • Tasty Home Cookin, 3854 S Tuttle Ave, +1 941-921-4969.
  • Yoder's Restaurant, 3434 Bahia Vista St, +1 941-955-7771. Nationally-known Amish restaurant.
  • Shakespeare's English Pub, 3550 S. Osprey Ave, +1 941-364-5938. Gourmet burgers and other typical pub food. 80 beers from around the world.
  • Oriental Food & Gifts, 2234 Gulf Gate Dr., +1 941 924-8066. M-Sa 9:30AM-6:30PM; closed Sun. Most of this shop is devoted to selling Oriental decorative items and Oriental groceries. However, at the back of the shop is a small restaurant area. Fresh Korean dishes are cooked to order and some food is pre-cooked. Food can be eaten at one of the six tables or can be taken home. The food quality is excellent. Inexpensive.
  • 1 Yummy House Chinese Bistro Sarasota, 3232 N. Tamiami Trail (North of downtown; Tamiami Trail is the main north-south road through the coastal area of Sarasota), +1 941 351-1688. Daily 11AM-2:30PM and 5:30-9:30PM. Yummy House has locations in Tampa, Orlando, Ocala and Gainesville, all in Florida. This location serves excellent food. $8.95 and up.
  • 2 Thailand Restaurant, 2238 Gulf Gate Drive (From Tamiaimi Trail go east on Gulf Gate Dr.; restaurant is in first strip mall on the right), +1-941-927-8424. M-Sa 11:30AM–2:30PM & 5-9PM; Su 5-10PM. Traditional Thai and Vietnamese food. Good quality. Moderately priced.




Stay safe[edit]

Sarasota is a rather safe city, although regular precautions should be taken just to be safe. The only real place a tourist should avoid is Newtown. Located right near downtown, Newtown is rather small and is normally fine to drive through during the day. However vigilance is required if traveling through Newtown at night.

There is a nice downtown park at the Five Points intersection of Main Street,Pineapple and Central Avenues. Some homeless people congregate there but there is a city ordinance against panhandling and sleeping outdoors.

The northern end of Tamiami Trail near University Parkway is also known for run-down motels and some prostitution arrests. However there are also college campuses nearby and several coffee shops and a comedy club so people do safely walk around the area.

Go next[edit]

  • Myakka River State Park – 9 miles (14 km) east of Sarasota on SR 72. One of the oldest and largest state parks, Myakka protects one of the state's most diverse natural areas. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, flows through 58 square miles (150 square kilometers) of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing from a boardwalk that stretches out over the Upper Myakka Lake, then take to the treetops with a stroll along the canopy walkway. The park's river and two lakes provide ample opportunities for boating, freshwater fishing, canoeing, and kayaking; a boat ramp provides access to Upper Myakka Lake. Hikers can explore trails that cross large expanses of rare Florida dry prairie. Scenic lake tours are offered daily on the world's two largest airboats. Safari tram tours of the park's backcountry are offered from mid-December through May.
  • Tampa and St. Petersburg are an easy drive North via I-75 and the Sunshine Skyway. Professional Football, baseball, NHL, and most other sports venues can be found there. Tampa also has more shopping at International Plaza and Westshore malls. Ybor City and the University of South Florida are also in Tampa, as is a Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and Busch Gardens.
  • Disney World
Routes through Sarasota
TampaBradenton  N  S  Port CharlotteMiami
TampaBradenton  N  S  Port CharlotteMiami
END  W  E  ArcadiaFort Pierce via
Anna Maria IslandLongboat Key  N  S  END

This city travel guide to Sarasota is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.