Things to do in Sarasota

Things to do in  Sarasota

The lord of the Ringling

Florida fun at its finest is on offer in Sarasota, a city on the Gulf Coast that's known for white-sand beaches, outdoor adventures, and artistic attractions. Located south of Tampa, Sarasota was once the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus and is today home to cultural landmarks such as the Ringling Museum of Art. Many of the other things to do in Sarasota are connected to the sand and surf, though, including kayaking excursions, fishing charters, parasailing adventures, and dolphin-spotting tours. However, cycling along Siesta Key at sunset is a Sarasota must.

Top 3 attractions in Sarasota

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

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The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, situated on the breezy shores of the bay, are an ideal destination for gardeners, nature lovers, and travelers looking for a calm, nature-focused outing in Sarasota. Stroll through the gardens, visit the conservatory, and browse the Museum of Botany and Arts at this 15-acre oasis.More

The Ringling

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The once winter estate of wealthy circus magnate John Ringling and his wife Mable is today a museum complex showcasing Ringling’s vast private art collection alongside the state of Florida’s art collection. There’s also a circus museum, the Ringling Bayfront Gardens, the historic Asolo Theater and Ca'd'Zan, the Ringling’s opulent Prohibition-era mansion, built in the in the Venetian Gothic style, complete with ceiling frescos and abundant marble.More

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

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Founded by famed marine scientist Eugenie Clark in 1955 to study sharks, the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota has broadened its scope to a range of marine life. At the heart of the facility is an aquarium with more than 100 species of marine life and a massive 130,000-gallon (490,000-liter) shark habitat.More

Top activities in Sarasota

City Sightseeing Trolley Tour of Sarasota
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Circus Secrets of Sarasota
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Circus Secrets of Sarasota

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Sarasota Art Crawl Trolley Tour
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Jumpin Fun Inflata Park

Jumpin Fun Inflata Park

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TreeUmph Adventure Course

TreeUmph Adventure Course

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$67.20
2 Hour Guided Segway Tour
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2 Hour Guided Segway Tour

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Public Art Tour
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Public Art Tour

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Psychic Sundays Tour
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Psychic Sundays Tour

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Sarasota Inshore Fishing Charters

Sarasota Inshore Fishing Charters

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All about Sarasota

When to visit

Late autumn is a wonderful time to visit Sarasota, as the period between mid-October and mid-November offers the right balance of sunshine and pleasant temperatures for beach days. The Ringling International Arts Festival and Siesta Key Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition (both held during these months) really capture the spirit of Sarasota. Late spring is also a great time to visit, as there are fewer snowbirds and vacationing tourists. The Sarasota Film Festival is another favorite local event that takes place every April.

Getting around

In Sarasota, SCAT isn’t a dirty word. The Sarasota County Area Transit has two bus systems connecting the north and south area of the county. There’s also the Siesta Key Breeze Trolley which runs north and south on the island. The county is very bike-friendly with the Legacy Trail’s 20 miles of terrain running through the city. Cabs and rideshares are available, but nothing beats the freedom and flexibility of renting your own car.

Traveler tips

Sarasota may be the major city in its county, but don’t assume it’s the only place to have a good time. The highway US 41 will take you to a number of great beach towns in Sarasota County within minutes. The secret’s out on Nokomis Beach and the amazing sunset dining at Pop’s Sunset Grill. A visit to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Osprey is also worth a quick trip just outside of the city proper.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
EST (UTC -5)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English
Attractions
3
Tours
118
Reviews
7,762
EN
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People Also Ask

What is Sarasota known for?

Sarasota is traditionally known for the Ringling Circus Museum, which pays homage to the famed circus. Today’s visitors may know Sarasota as the city connected to the Siesta Key beach, a popular stretch of white sand and turquoise waters that has dazzling sunsets. For nearby locals, Sarasota is a prime shopping and dining destination.

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How do I spend a day in Sarasota?

Start a day in Sarasota by catching rays on the beach. Visit the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, or Marie Selby Botanical Gardens to see exotic plants and animals. Explore the city’s art galleries and museums, indulge in upscale dining and shopping, and then admire the sunset.

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Can you walk around downtown Sarasota?

Yes, downtown Sarasota is walkable, though the strong sunlight and warm weather may convince you to utilize the Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) public buses. Trolleys are also available, like the Bay Runner, which is a free service that connects downtown Sarasota to the beaches. Rideshares and cabs are available as well.

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How many days is enough in Sarasota?

Sarasota is best explored over a full weekend. Though the downtown area is compact, you’ll want ample time to visit the many Gulf beaches and towns. Spend hours under the sun on Siesta Key, Lido Key, and Longboat Key, and then drive down the coast to Turtle Beach or Venice.

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What is there to do in Sarasota for free?

Along with visiting one of the many nearby beaches, one of the best things to do for free in Sarasota is spending the day exploring St. Armands Circle. You can park and walk on this key for free. Locals host events throughout the year including car shows and art festivals.

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Is Sarasota a fun town?

Yes, Sarasota offers plenty of fun for visitors with all kinds of interests. Art lovers will enjoy the many museums and galleries, including the Friday Funday art walks that happen seasonally. Beachgoers can take in plenty of sun thanks to the sandy keys nearby, while shoppers will find opportunities for boutique browsing throughout downtown.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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