7 Best Things To Do in Sarasota, FL

January 30th, 2023

7 Best Things To Do in Sarasota, FL

Things To Do in Sarasota

Are you wondering if there are fun things to do in Sarasota, FL? Whether you are moving to Sarasota or already live in the area, check out some of these local top favorite attractions!

Sarasota, FL, has been where people move to and retire for many years. Considered to be one of the best places to live in Florida, this city is located on the Gulf Coast of Florida and is known for its beautiful beaches with pearl white sand. Found south of Tampa and St. Petersburg, a total of fifteen new residents move to the area daily, bringing Sarasota to its current population of nearly 55,000. 

Sarasota is roughly 24 square miles and is full of the most breathtaking scenery. Home to the Myakka Canopy Walkway, Sarasota is an 85-foot-long boardwalk that is 25 feet above the ground. Whether you are planning on moving to the area or visiting, this walkway is one of the most beautiful sights in Sarasota!

People tend to flock to Florida from northern states to either retire or move to a warmer climate. But Sarasota offers something different than other cities within Florida, a peaceful beach town with many family-friendly attractions, dining options, and shopping malls. Sarasota also has many beaches you can visit just minutes from downtown Sarasota! Filled with fun things you can enjoy with your friends and family, you will never be bored living in Sarasota

Keep reading to find out what you should do first in Sarasota, Florida! 

Sarasota, FL skyline at night next to the coast

Here are seven things to do in Sarasota!

Beach Life

One of the most incredible things about living in Sarasota, or visiting, is its location on the coast! Because of its location, you can quickly access various beaches depending on your preferred atmosphere. If you would like to go to the beach to relax, they have just that. If you would like to visit a touristy beach with tons of beach attractions, they also have a handful!

Being in Florida with the warm weather, a beach or pool will soon become your best friend! They are perfect for days when you want to be outside and don't want to sweat. Take a dip in the water to cool off and return to enjoying your day! 

If you are taking a beach trip with your friends or little children, bring all the beach toys and games to enjoy throughout your visit. Most people enjoy playing catch in the water or on the shore to have fun and stay calm. Bring shovels and buckets and build your own sand castle village while enjoying the Florida sun. 

Now here are some of the top beaches in Sarasota!

longboat beach sarasota florida during a beautiful orange sunset

Local Favorites:

Let's Learn History

Sarasota has a fantastic story behind how it became the great, beautiful city it is today. A big part of why Sarasota is what it is today is because of the people who first settled here and made it known worldwide how great it is! 

The Ringling family is one of the leading "founders" of Sarasota. You may wonder why Sarasota is referred to as "Circus City" because of this family and business. John Ringling was a huge Circus fame and one of the earliest investors in the new town. Sarasota was the winter home for the Ringling Brothers, Barnum, and Bailey circus! 

Sarasota started to emerge when a millionaire, Bertha Palmer, bought more than 80,000 acres of land in 1910. She became a considerable land developer, banker, cattle rancher, farm, and a Florida socialite. With her recognition, she encouraged many weather friends to move to Sarasota.

Some of the lands she previously owned are known as the Palmer Ranch, one of the best neighborhoods in Sarasota. She also founded Palmer Bank, now known as Southeast Bank. The family eventually handed over their cattle ranch to the state of Florida, now the Myakka River State Park!

It is incredible how a city blossoms into what it is today because of its past settlers and investors. You can learn more about the history and see authentic artifacts at these incredible museums around Sarasota!

Local Favorites:

ringling mansion museum of art in Sarasota, FL palm trees

Stunning Gardens

Sarasota is highly known for its beautiful scenery around town. All of the gardens in Sarasota are well taken care of, so you can enjoy the true beauty of nature. You may come across rare, unique plants and flowers that are picture-perfect in these gardens! What a perfect attraction to visit when you want to take a stroll surrounded by beauty!

While visiting these gardens, don't be alarmed by the wildlife. Some parks are on the water, and with water in Florida comes alligators. You may also get to see beautiful birds and even Flamingos! 

Some of these gardens date back when Sarasota was first established, which is insane! You will also notice while visiting these gardens that some even allow events to be used as venues for celebrations and weddings. 

Local Favorites:

Fun Parks & Nature Attractions

Who doesn't love a park when you have children or furry friends? Check out some local parks if you want to get out and about on a nice day in Florida. Most of these parks are located just minutes from wherever you reside; there are that many!

These parks have playgrounds for young children to enjoy, walking and biking trails, open fields for your pets to run and play fetch, and shaded areas to enjoy a relaxing picnic.

You want to take advantage of the natural attractions in Sarasota. Some of these attractions have been a part of Sarasota since it was founded.

Myakka River State Park Sarasota Florida bridge

Local Favorites: 

Shop 'til You Drop

Sarasota has a plethora of things to do, as you can tell. Whether you fill your day with outdoor activities, visiting historic museums and buildings, or dining at a five-star restaurant, the shopping scene in this city is incredible.

Whether you are just visiting Sarasota or residing here, you should know about the great places to visit when you want to shop. The shopping experience in Sarasota is something you will want to take advantage of! You can visit any local mall and shop at high-end brands or chain stores, but in Sarasota, there is an abundance of local stores and boutiques that are guaranteed to appreciate your support.

Local Favorites:

Entertaining Performances

If you are trying to decide what fun thing to do on a random night, check out the local theaters. Most of these theaters have shows nonstop and are well worth the watch. These performances range from comedy shows, orchestras, symphonies, plays, circuses, and much more!

Theaters are the best destination when winding down in the evening after having a long busy day outside in the Florida sun. Whether you want to laugh, be amazed by acrobats, or listen to a beautiful relaxing symphony, the theaters around Sarasota have it all! Visit their websites to see what shows they are currently hosting!

four circus acrobats performing

Local Favorites:

  • McCurdy's Comedy Theatre: This downtown Sarasota establishment holds the best stand-up comedy shows! They also have a full bar and a great menu. 
  • The Circus Arts Conservatory: This is a perfect place to take your friends and family to watch an insane circus performance! 
  • Urbanite Theatre: This attraction is a more intimate theater space that is charming and comfortable. 
  • Asolo Repertory Theatre: This theater is one of Sarasota's local favorites! It is located on the property of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Here they are always casting the best and most entertaining shows! 

Good Food & Drinks

Nothing is better than a delicious meal after a busy day exploring all Sarasota offers. Since Sarasota is a tourist city and home to many residents, the restaurant options are never-ending! More and more businesses are opening stores here in Sarasota for the locals and visitors to enjoy!

Finding a restaurant after a long day can be pretty exhausting. Here are a few of the best restaurants in Sarasota for great food, drinks, and atmosphere!

Local Favorites:

  • meLange: Known as Sarasota's most creative dining experience. This restaurant has a delicious menu, including Ceviche, Bruschetta, duck, salmon, and more.
  • Selva Grill: This award-winning restaurant serves Latin fusion cuisine! A place you need to try.
  • Antoine's: This restaurant is perfect if you want a fine dining destination. They serve elaborate seafood dishes but have some of the best steak options.
  • La Mucca Ballerina: This establishment is perfect if you are looking for an Italian restaurant that serves authentic food!
  • State Street Eating House: This restaurant offers some of the best burgers and sandwiches. You can also enjoy one of the cocktails that have been voted "Best Cocktail"! 

Things to do in Sarasota, FL - Our Last Words

As you can see, most of Sarasota's fun attractions are based on the city's history. It is exciting to see how Sarasota became the town today based on what the latest settlers and investors did for the city. Because you can walk around Sarasota and almost everywhere you look, you will get a little taste of what life was like back in the 1900s.

Sarasota has become some tourists' favorite destination! And the residents love where they live. This is all because of the abundance of things to do to stay busy and to stay entertained. As you read in the guide, there are plenty of options when deciding whether to enjoy an activity outside or inside.

The greatest thing about this city is that they stay true to their roots. Around the town, they have tons of historical buildings that you can tour and visit, nature parks that are home to some of the most beautiful and unique plants you can experience and take pictures of, and so much more. It would be impossible to get bored in Sarasota!

If you or anyone you know are considering moving to Sarasota, you can contact us here to get connected with a local Real Estate specialist to help with the buying and selling process. Also, we're here to help you if you have questions about Sarasota or the home-buying process. 

Check out our other local area guides: 

Best Neighborhoods in Sarasota 

Moving to Tampa 

Best Neighborhoods in Tampa 

Moving to St. Petersburg 

Best Neighborhoods in St. Petersburg 

Moving to Lakeland

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Ryan Fitzgerald

Ryan Fitzgerald

Hi there! My name is Ryan Fitzgerald, and I am a REALTOR®. My goal is to help you learn more about real estate through our Real Estate Blog! Hopefully, you enjoyed the above blog post and it found a way to provide help or value to you. When you're ready to buy or sell a home of your own let us know here. Please feel free to join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.