downtown-sarasota_01Sarasota has long been known as “Florida's Cultural Coast,” and downtown Sarasota epitomizes that honor.  It is home to a professional symphony, ballet, opera, jazz clubs, nearly a dozen theaters and 30 art galleries.  Sarasota was recently ranked #1 on American Style Magazine’s annual list of the “25 Best Arts Destinations.”   But downtown Sarasota is also much more than an arts and cultural gem.

There are dozens of boutique shops, restaurants and nightclubs.  Nearby, there are 35 miles of beaches including nearby world-famous Siesta Beach known for having the whitest, quartz sand, and, of course, St Armands Circle and with its famous collection of eclectic shops and casual restaurants.

The boundaries of “Downtown Sarasota” are roughly Sarasota Bay and the Golden Gate peninsula on the west, the Rosemary District and Citrus Square areas on the north, Washington Boulevard (or U.S. Route 301) to the east, and Mound Street and where some of the city’s oldest, and most desirable suburbs begin  and Selby Botanical Gardens on the south. 

Inside this area of roughly one square mile are a surprising number and variety of neighborhoods and living spaces, from the stretch of opulent high-rise condominiums lining the waterfront to vintage neighborhoods like Laurel Park, which in 2008 was named a National Register of Historic Places District with homes dating from the 1920s. In other neighborhoods, “Old Florida” bungalows are intermixed with newer and larger homes of all architectural styles. And then, there are the lofts of the Rosemary District.  Downtown Sarasota housing options offer something for every taste and budget all in a very “walkable” urban environment.

Downtown is the county seat of Sarasota County. During the daytime hours, it is also home to financial, business and consulting services, a number of high-tech entrepreneurial enterprises, as well as a shopping and dining mecca.  During lunch those who choose a light lunch or a walk enjoy the tree-shaded esplanade of Main Street.  Along the waterfront, you’ll also find people engaged in maintaining and operating all sorts of watercraft from simple sailboats to enormous ocean-worthy yachts.

They used to say that when the sun goes down, “Sarasota rolls up the sidewalks”, but no longer.  Now bistros and casual dining spots take over for some while the Arts and Cultural District attracts another set of devoted patrons. Yet others visit the salons and art galleries of Palm Avenue, the cinema at Burns Court or the artist colony at Towles Court.  Downtown now vibrates with activity until well into to evening.

 On just about every weekend, there’s a festival or community event of some sort. There’s always an art festival, a live music event, a motorcycle or boat show, a boat parade or off-shore boat race, a film festival, or something as unique as the sidewalk chalk festival on Pineapple Avenue going on.  There’s even a Farmer’s Market held every Saturday morning at the intersection of Main Street and Lemon Avenue.

During the spring season, Baltimore Orioles spring training baseball takes the field at Ed Smith Stadium. For those to need a fishing pole in hand to be truly happy, there are day-long fishing charters from downtown slips.  And finally, not far from downtown, there are those 80 golf courses of every description from public courses to exclusive private clubs, one of which is the perfect challenge to your golf game.

In short, there is literally something for everyone in Downtown Sarasota.  If you haven’t spent some time “downtown,” you’ve missed perhaps the biggest single thing that brings so many people to our fair city.

If you have been thinking about buying a retirement home or vacation getaway spot and a setting within walking distance of arts and cultural venues, dining, shopping, or just taking a comfortable stroll through the city is something you’d like, Downtown Sarasota, is surely a place you should consider.  I invite you to call me directly at 941-232-4053 or email me at  I would be delighted to answer your questions.

Posted by Andree Huffine on
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