Offering all of the advantages of a big city mixed with small town charm, Downtown Sarasota is a sophisticated urban area that draws arts and cultural enthusiasts from around the globe. Originally discovered by the Spanish conquistadors, Sarasota became a popular fishing and trader post before families with names like Whitaker, Webb, Palmer and Gillespie settled in the area in the mid-1800s. The Ringling family, well known as developers, circus magnates and art collectors, made Sarasota their winter retreat for decades. Today, visitors can still see the legacy that lives on from these early founders.
Sarasota’s historic neighborhoods display examples of grand old-style Florida mansions mixed with modern designs. Beautifully manicured landscapes, waterfront retreats, and private enclaves with tree-lined streets are all tucked into the surrounding downtown district embracing Laurel Park, Harbor Acres, and other West of Trail areas. A collection of new sophisticated, architecturally designed high-rise condominiums and hotels will dot the skyline in the next few years, offering a carefree, luxury lifestyle that beckons both new and established professionals as well as retirees.
From Pineapple Avenue to the Bayfront, Downtown Sarasota is filled with a rich palate of cultural amenities and festivals year-round. Greater Main Street boasts downtown’s largest collection of specialty boutiques, organic grocers and markets as a bevy of award-winning chefs serve cuisines for every taste. Neighboring districts contribute to stylish options and art galleries, including historic Burns Court, lively Palm Avenue, art-centered Towles Court, and the revitalized Rosemary District. For those seeking a waterfront view while dining, Marina Jack offers fine dining and casual bites, and a perfect perch to watch magnificent yachts and sailboats set sail for an evening cruise.
Sarasota is renowned for its arts and cultural offerings as the Cultural Capital of Southwest Florida, offering live performances in theater, music, ballet and the opera. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art showcases the largest collection of Baroque art and features several international art exhibits and events each year. The historic Asolo Repertory Theatre, originally constructed near Venice, Italy, was carefully dismantled and reconstructed on the museum grounds, and hosts a variety of live performances to packed audiences. With so many options to live, work and play, Downtown Sarasota is transforming city living into a multipurpose destination.
WHERE TO EAT
Serving culinary art that is simply scrumptious, Selva Grill turns a meal into an artistic event full of exciting Nuevo Latino flavor, color, and freshness.
WHAT TO DO
A visit to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a sensory experience for visitors, with more than 20,000 plants beautifully adorning the Bay.
PLACES TO STAY
Overlooking Sarasota Bay and the downtown area, the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota pampers guests with legendary service and posh surroundings.