Discover Sarasota....and raise your expectations! The city enjoys a magnetism that always brings new residents to the Sunshine. The blue skies, the crystal sand beaches, the waters, the restaurants, and all the places of interest also add value. Sarasota's dynamic cultural mix of artists, talented individuals, musicians, performers, writers, and other creative people attracts everybody who wants to live in a beautifully vibrant and friendly community.
And don't forget "The Greatest Show On Earth." Sarasota has long had ties to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baily Circus. It was used as the winter retreat for the circus animals and performers alike. The is long gone but the Ringling Museum and the Cà d' Zan (House of John) are still around and worth a visit. If you are bored at the beach and tired of theme parks, you may want to enjoy a great museum experience.
So much to do, so much to explore in Sarasota
There is so much to do in Sarasota that we are pretty sure you will get hooked on something. Of course, with its 55,000 residents, the city of Sarasota may look more like a small town to you, especially when you are coming from a big city like New York or L.A., but it has all the amenities you can find in a big city as well.
Combined with its mild year-round climate, this place is also ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you love golfing, boating, kayaking, walking, and biking - it is all available at your doorsteps. Several area beaches are close by, and they are absolutely great for swimming, walking, and shelling. Do you like what you are seeing? Well, just search for your next home in Sarasota here.
Real Estate in Sarasota
People who want to buy a nice home in Sarasota are spoilt for choices. The homes on the market are simple, sophisticated, or extravagant. There are modern, contemporary, or historic homes to choose from. Small, big, or supersize homes on the water (bay, ICW, canal, or lake), and with no water view. However, it all boils down to one question: How much do you want to spend? The buyer's bank account is actually the limiting factor.
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Schools and Education
Sarasota (incl. Sarasota County) has 33 schools, many of them are top rated, and they are among the best in the state. Also, there are several colleges and universities in the area providing higher education; and the John Ringling College of Art and Design is something only Sarasota has to offer. But be prepared, being able to paint matchstick men is not sufficient enough to pass the entry exam for the John Ringling College. Your kid needs to try a little harder.
Dining and Shopping
Dining, shopping, and fun. Does that sound good? Roughly speaking, the opportunities in Sarasota are not endless but manifold. First of all, there are more than 100 different restaurants to chose from. They cover almost every culinary aspect possible. Mediterranean food, Mexican food, Italian cuisine, French cuisine, Japanese food, German food, the sky is the limit. Almost.
If you want to go shopping, the Mall at University Town Center is the latest addition, while the Square Mall is already well established. The Ellenton Premium Outlet Mall is only a short trip away and offers a huge variety of everything for good prices. This is the destination for the bargain hunters. If that is not enough, there are plenty of shopping and dining opportunities in Bradenton as well. By the way, even St Petersburg/Tampa or Fort Myers are not too far away.
When it comes to entertainment, Sarasota is probably one of the best choices on Florida’s Sun Coast. Circus Sarasota, Jungle Gardens, the Sarasota Ballet of Florida, the Towles Court Artist Colony, the South Florida Museum, Sarasota Film Society, Art Center Sarasota, the Sarasota Classic Car Museum, the Circus Galleries at the Ringling Museum, the Ringling Museum of Art, the Crowley Museum, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Mote Marine Aquarium, Florida West Coast Symphony, The Jazz Club of Sarasota, Sarasota Opera House, Asolo Theater Festival, The Players Theater, Venice Theater, Florida Studio Theater, The Van Wezel…these are all names you may want to keep in mind.
On top of year-round entertainment, there are also events held on certain dates. The Cine-World Film Festival in November, or the Suncoast Powerboat Grand Prix, or the Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash are only some of them.
Parks and Recreation
Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources in Sarasota. The Sarasota County website gives you only a hint about what you can do in Sarasota. All those opportunities, combined with endless hours of sunshine, guarantee a lot of fun. No matter what the season. There is always something special going on.
Are you looking for a golf course? Lucky you! Sarasota/Sarasota County has more than 60 public, semi-public, and private golf courses. Some of them are really challenging, some are easy, some are a little on the expensive side, and others are pretty reasonable.
It is easy to get around in the city and the county alike. SCAT (Sarasota County Area Transit) is the keyword. Although, it is also easy to get around by car, in high season you may not always be able to find a spot to park your car. For example, Siesta Key in the month of March can be such a tough spot.
If you still want to enjoy the white sand and the balmy air, think about those four letters: S C A T. Take a bus. The SCAT bus system is excellent, and for less than two dollars you can get almost everywhere (all the way down to Englewood). By the way, parking violations on Siesta Key come with a steep ticket price, therefore, don't take a chance. Cops are riding around on horseback and they love to write tickets.
On the SCAT bus, you can even take your bicycles with you. So? What else do you need? Leave your car at home and relax with your feet in the warm water. Life is good on Siesta Key
Information about the Area
Well, let us explain what Sarasota has to offer: The vibrant arts landscaping includes the world-class Florida West Coast Symphony, Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, and the Opera. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Asolo Center for Performing Arts and the John Ringling Museum are all names to keep in mind if you are looking for some entertainment in Sarasota. However, all this is only a fraction of what you can expect. There is so much more to discover in Sarasota which we can not cover on this website. But, let us try a little better.
Yes, Sarasota has a lot more to offer
Do you like ballet? Probably the Sarasota Ballet, founded in 1987, may be of interest for you. Over the years it has grown to national and international recognition because the repertoire includes works by some of the greatest choreographers in the world.
Marie Selby's Botanical Gardens, Jungle Gardens, and Mote Marine Lab & Aquarium are for the nature lovers. While Mary Selby's is all about beautiful plants, Mote Marine is getting you in contact with various sea creatures. Animals you do not necessarily see when walking along the beach because they are "hiding" in the water.
Jungle Gardens, established in 1939, introduces the visitor to more than 150 animal species. Their animal shows are educating and entertaining alike, and fun for the whole family.
Sarasota is Successfully Converting Visitors to Residents
Visitors planning to make a move here permanently may soon recognize that the cards are stacked in their favor. National and international visitors alike, who come to explore the area, leave imprints of millions of toes in the beautiful white sand.
Quite a remarkable number of visitors decides to leave a more permanent mark. They move to the Sarasota area for good. If they can not make up their mind they stay at least during the dark and cold winter months. Yes, winter can be so miserable further north. But we do not need to tell you that. Those guys are referred to as "snowbirds." Like the migratory birds they are "flying" south when it gets cold, and they are heading north when the ice is melting. Overall, no bad idea. When it works for birds - it works for humans as well.
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Movies, Theaters and the Circus
The International Film Festival and the Sarasota Film Society are events enjoyable for movie fans. If you like to watch movies which are not mainstream, this might be something for you. The Music Festival is another highlight in Sarasota. The Sarasota Music Festival is an American classical music festival held annually during the month of June. It is an intense 3-week experience and the highlight for lovers of classical music.
However, if you like to go to the theater instead you also have a variety of options: The Banyan Theater Corporation, the Players Theater or the Manatee Players are waiting for you. It may also make sense to put out your feelers further south as well - towards Venice. Don't forget the Venice Theater if you like stage performances. It is a small and cozy theater, but they have great performances.
Circus Sarasota needs mentioning, too. Why? Sarasota is a "Circus Town." John Ringling left quite a few imprints in Sarasota. It is worth reading the story of this fascinating man and his exciting life. There are numerous impressive artifacts and remnants of that glorious time.
So, you need more entertainment?
Is there anything else you can do in Sarasota?
Yes, of course. In downtown Sarasota, you can visit the Friday night gallery walks, catch the music once a month at “Downtown after 5” or spend a Saturday morning at the Sarasota Farmers Market, the Whole Foods Market, or relax at the Sarasota News and Bookstore.
More than 30 golf courses, challenging and designed for all levels of players and budgets, are waiting for the golf pros and "wannabe" golf pros.
Other favorite outdoor activities include tennis, windsurfing, parasailing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, diving,... and ice skating? Yes, crazy enough – if you want to do it - just do it! There is an ice skating ring in Ellenton, right next to the outlet mall, only a 15-minute drive away. You did not expect that, right?
And the beaches are attracting many people as well. You have many area beaches, which offer you plenty of choices. There are remote beaches, busy beaches, natural beaches, or even a dog beach for your furry companion. He will love it. It is down in Venice, though.