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Best things to do in Sarasota

Discover the city according to locals. Find the best things to do, places to eat, and get priceless advice from the people who live here.

Aquarium
“Learn about marine life and see how Mote Marine Biologists are saving our sea life.”
110 locals recommend
Garden
$$
“Beautiful gardens and trees throughout. Nice history of a Sarasota landmark. Kids will love the play area too.”
91 locals recommend
Art Museum
“Ringling museum is a surprisingly diverse collection of fine art from Europe, circus memorabilia, and beautiful gardens. Situated on the ocean side of Sarasota, FL, it is a must see for locals and visitors alike!”
95 locals recommend
Shopping Plaza
“Tons of upscale shops and restaurants. There are a few local joints on the circle, but it is also pretty commercial and touristy. Navigate the circle like a pro: - Best pizza is at Venezia. - The Colombia Restaurant has been serving up fantastic Spanish style food for over 100 years. Try some while you're in town, you won't regret it. - Plot twist - best ice cream is not at Kilwins, it's at Big Olaf which is one one of the side streets. Warning - Big Olaf only takes cash. ”
94 locals recommend
Art Museum
“The Ringling Museum provides an interesting glimpse into the life of John and Mabel Ringling (of the Ringling Barnum and Bailey Circus fame). Attractions include their vast art collection, rotating exhibits, a beautiful courtyard, a tour of their mansion, and circus memorabilia.”
95 locals recommend
Seafood Restaurant
$$
“Little spot by the marina where you can have a bite, a drink, and watch the boats traffic in and out. Indoor seating or outdoor. They also have an upscale restaurant and bar upstairs indoors, and an indoor restaurant. Full bar in and outdoors. Live entertainment indoors and outdoors.”
66 locals recommend
Garden
“Historic attraction featuring more than 150 animals & shows in a tropical setting.”
48 locals recommend
Seafood Restaurant
$$
“The outdoor space behind the restaurant is amazing with live music going on most nights, oysters being grilled over an open fire, and so much more. Pro tip: The wait can be super long, so visit when you have some time on your hands, put your name in with the host and then sit out back, listen to music and sip some drinks while you wait. ”
68 locals recommend
Beach
“Lido beach plays second fiddle to Siesta Key Beach, but it is still a great beach. The drive out to it is nicer then the one to Siesta and there are tons of nearby upscale shops and restaurants. ”
43 locals recommend
Performing Arts Venue
“October 5, 2019 - assemble your krewe and join in on the party like no other for a worthy cause. Live music, incredible food, pirates, and rum brands from around the world. ”
42 locals recommend
Bus Station
“If you delight in human creativity, passion, engineering and craft The World's Largest Miniature Circus is a must see For over 50 years Howard Tibbals has worked with excruciating effort to recreate old circuses from photographs, posters, schematics and old news articles. Thousands of figures the size of your thumb populate the tiny grounds as patrons and performers. Animals from pups to elephants number in the hundreds. Tents tower overhead. In fact, there's so much going on that an observation deck was created just for you to get a bird's eye view and take it all in. The Howard Tibbal workshop is also part of the museum, so you can watch as figures and scenes are sculpted or repaired.”
29 locals recommend
Route
“This is a large traffic circle with a large variety of shops and restaurants all around it. Really fun place to hang out, especially if you're into people watching. There are lots of unique stores and boutiques. ”
62 locals recommend
American Restaurant
$$
“This is a great place to meet locals for a drink and live music. you can watch the boats come in and out of the Marina. if you want to get out on the water, this is the place to rent jet skies and boats. ”
45 locals recommend
Seafood Restaurant
$$
“This is a Sarasota icon. It’s both a fresh fish market and restaurant (which is always packed with people). When it’s high season and I haven’t been out diving to spear my own fish, I come here to buy rather than Big Water fish market due to traffic to get over to Siesta Key. They have an extensive selection of fish, both local and imported. I tend to buy locally sourced for a variety of reasons, but if you’re in need of a nice tuna steak or another variety, they’ve got it. They also have very good Key Lime pie. You can buy a whole one to take with you! ”
30 locals recommend
Nightclub
$$
“Another one of Sarasota's long established nightclubs. Live bands every night.”
27 locals recommend
Beach
“Lido Key Beach is one of the easiest beaches to reach from Sarasota downtown. Situated less than 5 miles southwest of the city center, Lido Key Beach offers more than 3,000 feet of white sand. Several recreation areas, with amenities like picnic tables and a pool (which can be enjoyed for a fee), are also available. What's more, Lido Key Beach sits within walking distance of St. Armands Circle, where various shops and eateries reside.”
31 locals recommend