Sarasota is known for its vibrant fine arts and performing community, beautiful beaches, eclectic mix of restaurants and varied shopping options, Sarasota and its Gulf of Mexico barrier islands have a unique metropolitan flavor that attracts retirees from throughout the world.
Year-round Sunshine & World’s Finest Beaches
Enjoying spectacular sunsets or walks on miles of the legendary sugary sands of Sarasota’s barrier islands add immeasurably to the charm of this lush subtropical area. Siesta Beach on Siesta Key is consistently ranked among the most beautiful beaches on the planet. The equally beautiful Crescent Beach, Turtle Beach, Lido Beach and the beach running the 15-mile span along Longboat Key, offer year-round access to Sarasota’s great outdoors.
Other outdoor adventures include visits to Sarasota Jungle Gardens, The Sarasota Children’s Garden, Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary and Historic Spanish Point, which offers a glimpse into the lives of Florida pioneers.
Florida’s Cultural Arts Capital
Long considered Florida’s cultural arts capital, AmericanStyle Magazine ranked Sarasota “the No. 1 small U.S. city for art” in its Summer 2012 edition. In 2010 and 2011, Sarasota had been ranked No. 5 in the publication’s annual Top 25 Small Cities for Art list.
The area is home to the Florida West Coast Symphony, Sarasota Opera, the Sarasota Ballet and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Ringling Museum features galleries of world-renowned Peter Paul Ruben’s tapestries, Old Masters paintings, contemporary American art, Asian and Cypriot antiquities and special exhibitions. The Ringling complex also includes The Circus Museum, The Tibbals Learning Center at Ringling, and Cá d’Zan (House of John), the Venetian-inspired mansion on built by the circus magnate.
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Asolo Theater, Florida Studio Theater and The Players are some of the outstanding performing arts venues that rival the facilities of Florida’s largest cities.
The downtown urban cityscape is a cosmopolitan mix of offices, retail shops, restaurants and upscale residences. The Ritz-Carlton is a five-star hotel option among boutique and beach hotels, and Whole Foods cater to foodies and gourmet cooks. Trader Joe’s recently moved into town to tantalize local taste buds. Downtown Sarasota is complemented by St. Armand’s Circle on St. Armand’s Key, an upscale outdoor shopping area with several cafes reminiscent of Europe.
From seafood shacks on the water to European-style five-star restaurants, residents enjoy one of the highest concentrations of Zagat-rated restaurants in Florida. Sarasota chefs are known for serving up creative menus, blending local ingredients with international flavors.