Sarasota is a town that prides itself on having the lavish luxuries of big city life while maintaining its identity as a down to Earth, cozy community. Say goodbye to traffic headaches and hello to plenty of culture!
The attractions, beaches and events are never substantially far from one another, and connecting islands known as "keys" geographically connect to the mainland by gorgeous bridges, providing splendid views of the sea ports as you hop from one section to another.
With everything from deep sea fishing, optical illusion encounters and conversations with Cockatoo parrots, a trip to Sarasota is everything but your run-of-the-mill Florida experience.
Start the trip out with a little education by taking a tour of several museums and historical centres around Sarasota:
- The Historic Spanish Point is where you can learn about the origins of not just Sarasota, but of Florida as well, with tour guides taking guests through 18th century houses, botanical gardens and even boat rides.
- The Ringling Museum Complex serves as an eclectic provider of art, history and circus artifacts while also holding monthly performing art exhibits and showcases with past themes including Japanese warriors, optical illusions and the 19th century Wild West.
- The Mote Marine Laboratory is where to stop and see aquariums full of exotic marine life including sharks, sea turtles and dolphins, as well as a number of boat tours that take you through ocean animals in their natural habitat.
- The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens provides a place to observe rare and vibrant plants like exotic ferns and delicate orchids, along with a ton of arts and culture showcases happening throughout the year.
- If you are looking to witness the gripping suspense and drama of theater and opera, stop at the Sarasota Opera House to watch professionals put on some of the finest renditions of timeless playhouse masterpieces such as The Barber of Seville, Il Travatore and The Flying Dutchman.
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Things to Do
- Head to St. Armand's Circle for some shopping splurges, where you can spend hours peering through the windows of the city's finest jewelry stores, shoe departments and clothing outlets. You'll probably want to leave time to squeeze in a little ice cream at Kilwin's Chocolates or a massage at Cristobal's.
- Spend some quality time with the kids by taking them to the Gulfcoast Wonder and Imagination Zone, where you can participate in many interesting exhibits such as freezing your shadow, standing inside a bubble or even learning how sound waves travel.
Of course, you can't spend a trip to Sarasota without relaxing by the beach. Siesta Beach, also known as "Doctor Beach," was referred to as the No. 1 most beautiful beach in the world by ecologist Stephen Leatherman.
The sands at Siesta are almost 100 percent pure quartz, which means the sand never heats up no matter how hot the temperatures get, and every Sunday is the Siesta Beach Drum Circle, where hundreds gather to bang on percussion instruments and feel the rhythm on a perfect Sarasota evening.
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Where to eat
The steaks are always sizzling and the seafood is never average in Sarasota. Here are some great standouts in the foodie scene:
- For some finer dining, make a reservation at The Bijou Cafe, where crab cake sliders and cocktails are the ideal way to summon your appetite for an entree of basil crusted goat cheese, herb crusted salmon or Australian rack of lamb.
- Spend an intimate evening dining under the stars at a table for two at Shore Diner, where the outdoor patio and retractable roof allow you to enjoy a meal of organic fried chicken or watermelon Greek salad under the Sarasota night sky.
- If in need of a perfect sandwich for lunch, head on over to Mozzarella Fella, where freshly baked New York bread provide shelter for a number of genius sub toppings ranging from fried eggplant and yellow peppers to the ultimate chicken parmesan and melted mozzarella concoction.
- An amazing late night food option is Melange, with scrumptious appetizers include things like duck spring rolls and roasted bone marrow, to extravagant entree choices such as rabbit tacos and wild boar spare ribs.
- Don't leave your sweet tooth hanging: Be sure to make a visit to Sirard's Chocolate Cafe, where you can indulge in heavenly tastes of white raspberry truffles and homemade peanut butter cups.