Guide to Sarasota
Sarasota is a beautiful city in Florida that lies south of Tampa on Florida?s Gulf Coast. As Florida?s ?Cultural Coast,? Sarasota boasts many museums, theaters, art galleries, and much more. However, its cultural amenities are not it's only claim to fame. Sarasota is also lined with pristine beaches, beautiful golf courses, and state parks. There really is something for everyone here.
Top Attractions in the City
- The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art: John Ringling was one of five brothers who owned the Ringling Bros. Circus. In the Roaring Twenties, he was one of the richest men in America, and decided to build a mansion on 20 acres of waterfront property with his wife. Today, this mansion is Ca?d?Zan, a beautiful terracotta and tiled Venetian inspired masterpiece for visitors to enjoy. The Ringling Museum itself is one of the most renowned art and cultural collections in the country.
- Siesta Key Beach: Considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Siesta Key has sand made of 99% pure Quartz. With shallow waters and year-round lifeguards, it is also one of the safest beaches out there, perfect for family trips.
- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens: Located on the grounds of the former home of Marie and William Selby, these botanical gardens span 15 acres. The gardens feature more than 20,000 living plants, a butterfly garden, a fragrance garden, an edible garden, and a koi pond, making it a one stop shop for plant and nature lovers everywhere.
- South Florida Museum: The South Florida museum is a natural and cultural museum with a planetarium, aquarium, and history museum, all under one roof. This is the perfect spot for visitors interested in the history of Southern Florida, from prehistoric times to the present.
Best Places to Stay
There are a wide variety of places you can choose to stay when visiting Sarasota. If you?re on a budget, there are many hotels that can ensure a great stay without breaking the bank. You can also choose a boutique hotel, a resort or luxury hotel, rent a vacation home, or stay at campgrounds or RV parks. The options are endless.
- Siesta Key Palms Hotel: If you?re looking for tropical vibes, the Siesta Keys Palms Hotel is the place for you. With rooms surrounded by hammocks and two tropical themed outdoor pools, tiki huts, and a tropical garden ambiance, you?ll forget you?re still in the United States.
- Hotel Indigo: This hotel is a trendy option, perhaps catering to the art lovers visiting Sarasota. It?s perfect for business or leisure as Hotel Indigo is close to cultural attractions and business centers and only 3 miles from the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport.
- The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota: For a truly luxurious stay, the Ritz is a familiar name that will be sure to deliver, every time. With beach-front views, award-winning dining, spacious golf ranges, and tons of premium options, this is the perfect place for those looking to relax in luxury.
- Lido Beach Resort: for something right on the soft white sands of Lido Beach, this is your go-to. With pools, restaurants, lounges, and of course, the beautiful beach, you?ll never run out of ways to kick back and relax. If that?s not enough, Lido Beach Resort sits just three blocks away from the finest Sarasota has to offer.
- OurBus offers rides to and from Sarasota from Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Miami, and Tampa, for very affordable rides. This is your best bet to get into the city from other spots in the state.
- If you?re traveling from elsewhere, you can fly into the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. The airport is located extremely close to the main city and all of its attractions, making it very convenient to travel to your hotel and any sightseeing spots, once you land.
- The SCAT Bus Service is Sarasota?s local county bus service that can take you around the entire Sarasota area in the most affordable way. Service is only $1.25 for a one-way ticket and stops are made near many of the local attractions.
- Of course, you can always rent a car through many available services for the most flexible mode of transportation. Bus routes are limited to certain locations at times, so having a car may be beneficial to get there easily and on your own time. Many places downtown also offer free parking for the entire day or at least a few hours.
- For the visitors looking for a relaxing but culture filled night, The Ringling Museum offers ?Art After 5,? allowing you to explore its exhibits with a cocktail in hand.
- The theater and music lovers can also spend the night at the Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra, and Asolo Repertory Theatre.
- Check out the Perspective Rooftop Bar for spectacular views and great drinks. You can enjoy the best of Florida?s weather here and watch the sunset after you?ve spent your day soaking in the culture of Sarasota.
- The Pangea Alchemy Lab is for those looking to try something different. Their ?liquid chefs? are always creating new and imaginative drinks for visitors. Would you ever order a drink featuring beet infused wine? How about sweet plantain infused vermouth? Well, here you can!
- For a fun night out of drinks and dancing, be sure to head to Five O?Clock Club. With live music on the weekends and fire pits in the back, you?re sure to have a great time!
- Westfield Sarasota Square: If you?re looking for your usual stores to shop at, be sure to stop by here. Forever 21, American Eagle Outfitters, Express, and Macy?s all make an appearance at this trendy spot.
- St. Armand?s Circle: Not only will you find unique shops here like Little Bo-Tique or Foxy Lady, you?ll also run into some of Sarasota?s best restaurants. Spend a day here shopping and end the night with a scrumptious dinner.
- Ellenton Premium Outlets: If you?re a bargain hunter and you?re visiting Sarasota on a budget, you?d be missing out without checking out the Ellenton Premium Outlets. Although it?s a little out of Sarasota, the fact that you can shop at over 125 outlet stores to find the best of the best at great prices, makes it totally worth the trip!
Taking a Bus trip to Sarasota
Taking a bus trip to Sarasota has been found to be more beneficial, flexible, cheap, comfortable and safe than any other option. Ourbus is one of the Sarasota?s favorite bus services. There are so many benefits that come along with it too:
- Bus tracking service
- Free bottled water
- Free rescheduling
- Personal power outlets
- Free internet (Wi-Fi)