Our beautiful city offers an abundance of fun and unique things to do including sporting events, cultural events, shopping, dining, and beautiful beaches. From arts and culture to local attractions, discover some of the best things to do in Sarasota, Bradenton, and Longboat Key, Florida.
The information below is a list I compiled for public use as a guide of things to do. My goal is to provide you with quality recommendations and support our local business.
I am always looking to expand my list of local attractions. If you are a business owner or if you know of a reputable provider that you feel should be included on my list, please contact me or complete the form on the last page of the ebook.
Note: Information provided is intended solely for informational purposes only and is obtained from sources believed to be reliable but are not guaranteed. No guarantee of any kind is implied.
Baltimore Orioles Spring Training
Address: 2700 12th St, Sarasota, FL 34237
If you are looking for some Sarasota things to do with kids, pick up some tickets to watch spring training at Ed Smith Stadium.
Phone: (941) 954-4105
Address: Marina Jack Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
Experience the most beautiful Sarasota Bay views while picnicking, fishing, or taking a relaxing stroll along the bayside. For entertaining the children, there is a playground area and play fountain, providing hours of enjoyment.
Phone: (941) 861-5000
Address: 6893 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34240
This 360-acre manmade hill, owned by Sarasota County is great for bird watching, walking, and biking. See more than 200,000 aquatic plants, wildlife, and trees. Access points and two boardwalks are located off Palmer Blvd and the other off Raymond Road.
Christmas Boat Parade
Held every December, boats decked out in holiday decor and festive music parade along the waters of Sarasota Bay.
Classic Car Museum
Phone: (941) 355-6228
Address: 5500 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243
Located across the street from the Ringling Museum, this nostalgic museum boasts over 90 cars with over 100 years of man’s greatest invention.
DeSoto National Memorial Park
Phone: (941) 792-0458 x105
Address: 8300 Desoto Memorial Hwy, Bradenton, FL 34209
Located in NW Bradenton, this park offers guided tours on the history of DeSoto along with walking trails and beautiful views of the Manatee River.
Phone: (941) 225-9256
Address: 1487 2nd St c, Sarasota, FL 34236
Pick up fresh fruit and produce at the Farmer’s Market, held each Saturday in downtown Sarasota.
Florida Maritime Museum
Phone: (941) 708-6120
Address: 4415 119th St W, Cortez, FL 34215
Located in a historic schoolhouse on almost four acres in the historic Cortez Village, this museum is dedicated to the maritime history of FL. Enjoy exhibits, artifacts, photographs, boat models, tools, and a library with archives including diaries from the past, ship logs, letters, and more.
Florida Studio Theater
Phone: (941) 366-9017
Address: 1241 N Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
Also known as FST, this non-profit organization, located on Palm Avenue in downtown Sarasota, offers enlightening contemporary plays for all to enjoy.
Freedom Fest – Longboat Key
Address: 501 Bay Isles Road, Longboat Key, FL 34228
The quarter-mile Fourth of July parade loops around Bay Isles Road. Games and old-fashioned fun follow the parade.
Address: 3708 Patten Ave, Ellenton, FL 34222-2152
The mansion of Major Robert Gamble and headquarters of an extensive sugar plantation, this is currently the only surviving plantation house in South Florida.
Historic Spanish Point
Phone: (941) 966-5214
Address: 337 N Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229
This is a preserved Sarasota archeological site once inhabited by Indians. See prehistoric shell middens and learn about our Sarasota Prehistory, Pioneers, and Plants.
Historical Downtown Sarasota Walking Tour
Phone: (941) 400-8583
Address: 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236
Sarasota is an interesting city full of history and architecture, so if you are looking for things to do in downtown Sarasota, don’t miss out on this experience. During this guided walking tour, you will discover the history and folklore of our area, both past, present, and future.
Horseback Riding on the Beach
Phone: (941) 907-7272
Address: Palma Sola Bay
A unique and authentic old world Florida experience of horseback riding on the beach with highly skilled horses and trainers.
John Ringling Bridge Causeway Park
Address: 420 John Ringling Causeway
The landmark John Ringling Bridge, which connects downtown Sarasota to St. Armand’s Circle, is a great way to get in some exercise while capturing the gorgeous Sarasota Bay views. Parking is available at both ends of the approximate mile long bridge.
John Ringling Museum
Phone: (941) 359-5700
Address: 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243
Located on the grounds of John and Mabel’s Sarasota mansion, visitors will enjoy Ringling’s art collection, circus museum, and their breathtaking gardens.
Phone: (941) 355-5305
Address: 3701 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34234
A wonderful children’s attraction featuring interactive experiences with birds, reptiles, animals, and entertaining shows.
LeBarge Tropical Cruises
Phone: (941) 366-6116
Address: 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236
Enjoy a two-hour cruise along the Sarasota Bay where you will see dolphins, manatees, and various other marine mammals. Select from a menu of cruises, each offering something totally different.
Manatee Village Historical Park
Phone: (941) 749-7165
Address: 1404 Manatee Ave E, Bradenton, FL 34208
Located in Manatee County, this historical village takes you back in time with historical landmarks dating back to the 1860’s – 1930’s. Historic structures include a courthouse, church, store, school, and cracker house.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Phone: (941) 366-5731
Address: 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
Located in downtown Sarasota, along Sarasota Bay, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a tropical oasis not just for adults, but for kids too. The Children’s Rainforest offers a hands-on experience of discovery and exploration.
Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsey
Phone: (941) 364-3399
Address: 2121 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234
Stroll through a garden setting of art and whimsey. Open November through May.
Marina Jack Dinner Cruise
Phone: (941) 365-4232
Address: 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236
Enjoy sightseeing on the Gulf of Mexico. Located on the downtown Sarasota bayfront, this narrated lunch or dinner cruise is a must do.
Address: 1611 9th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205
The spring training home of the Pittsburg Pirates. Friendly staff and players frequently toss balls to the kids in attendance.
Address: 601 S Pompano Ave, Sarasota, FL 34237
This annual event is held in November of each year. Enjoy food, rides and games, face painting, artisan and craft demonstrations, and entertainment.
Phone: (941) 388-4441
Address: 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236
Say hello to Hugh and Buffet, the aquarium Manatees. See sharks, sea turtles, and other marine life through touch pools, working labs, and interactive exhibits.
Music on Main – Lakewood Ranch
Held the first Friday of each month on Lakewood Ranch Main Street from 6-9 pm. This is a free concert series and block party with music, food, friends, and fun.
Myakka Wildlife Tours
Phone: (941) 365-0100
Address: 13208 State Rd 72, Sarasota, FL 34241
See and learn about alligators and our area wildlife on a narrated, one hour covered airboat tour.
Nathan Benderson Park
Phone: (941) 358-7275
Address: 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota, FL 34235
The perfect setting for a 3.5-mile walk or jog along neatly manicured trails. If water sports are your passion, then drop a paddleboard, canoe, rowboat or kayak into the pristine 400-acre lake or enjoy a picnic in the 600-acre park. Pets are welcome! The park is also host to a number of events including rowing championships, 5K runs, movie nights, and Circus Sarasota.
Palm Avenue First Friday Walk
Held on the first Friday of every month, the Palm Avenue Arts Alliance sings, performs, and dances for the community as guests shop and dine along the historic Palm Avenue in downtown Sarasota.
Palma Sola Botanical Park
Phone: (941) 761-2866
Address: 9800 17th Ave NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
A 10-acre site in northwest Bradenton. It is home to an assortment of palms, rare flowering trees, fruits and subtropical plants. The tranquil gardens are also home to 3 large lakes where one can unwind and relish the scenic views.
17th St. Paw Park
Address: 4570 17th St., Sarasota (17th Street between Honore & Beneva)
Separate gated areas for both small and large dogs with hoses for water.
Arlington Dog Park
Address: Arlington Paw Park
2650 Waldemere Street, Sarasota (Waldemere between Swift & Beneva)
A repurposed baseball field is now a play area for pets with separate gated areas for small and large dogs.
Bird Key Park
Address: 101 Bird Key Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236
A great place to bring your dog for a swim. There is a dog poo station and a hose down area for your pup after they go for a splash.
Dog Leg Park
Address: 7550 69th Street East, Palmetto, FL 34221
This 3-acre off leash park has an enclosed area for small or elderly dogs. Amenities include a doggie drinking fountain, waste bags, and covered shelter.
Happy Tails Park
Address: 51st Street West, B Bradenton, FL 34209
A fenced, 3-acre park located at the northern corner of GT Bray Park.
Holmes Beach Dog Park
Address: 51st Street West, Bradenton, FL 34209
A smaller park offering a place for your dog to run and play. There is a hose for water but you must bring your own bowl. Shade at this park is limited.
Lakeview Paw Park
Address: 7150 Lago Street, Sarasota (Between Proctor & Bee Ridge)
A shared entry leads to the separate gated areas, one for small dogs and a separate area for larger dogs. There is a shared pup drinking area, benches, picnic tables, but no covered shelter.
Address: 6050 Longwood Run Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34243
A leash is required at this county maintained dog park.
Paw Patch Park
Address: 7025 44th Avenue East, Bradenton, FL 34203
A 2-acre off leash dog park located in the community of Creekwood in East Bradenton. The park offers separate areas of small and large dogs.
Professional and Amateur Theaters
Take your pick of theaters including Florida Studio, Asolo Repertory Theater, West Coast Black Theater Troupe, Urbanite Theater, Players Center for Performing Arts, and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.
Phone: (941) 742-5923
Address: Entrances at the West end of 9th Ave NW and 17th Ave NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
Run by the Natural Resources Department, Robinson Preserve offers a wealth of fun along with educational activities for nature and outdoor lovers of all ages. Head here for a day of birdwatching, horse riding or canoeing or bounce over to one of the observation towers and platforms to see the native plants, wildlife, and habitats along the Gulf Coast. Open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset all year round.
Sarasota Architectural Gems Trolley Tour
Address:265 S. Orange Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236
Learn about Sarasota’s rich architectural history which a trolley tour. These guided tours are offered Thursdays from 10-12 am from February – May and October – December. The fee for the tour runs $35-$45. Registration is required.
Sarasota Film Festival
This 10-day long annual event showcases local and independent filmmaking. With over 850 film festivals across the nation, the Sarasota Film Festival (SFF) consistently ranks in the top 10%.
Sarasota National Cemetary
Phone: (941) 922-7200
Address: 9810 State Rd 72, Sarasota, FL 34241
Although it may seem odd to suggest a cemetery, this place of honor is a worthwhile experience that touches many who visit. Rich in military history, the impeccably cared for grounds, rows of grave sites, contemporary amphitheater, and photographic pillars with actual photos and letters from our military heroes are subtle reminders that our freedoms do not come for free.
Sarasota Polo at Lakewood Ranch
Phone: (941) 907-0000
Address: 8201 Polo Club Ln, Sarasota, FL 34240
A unique alternative to Sunday football. The polo club hosts Sunday matches from December through March, starting at noon. The combination of beautiful horses, high-end guests, and a face paced match make for a beautiful afternoon.
Sarasota Ski Show A Rees
Phone: (941) 388-1666
Address: 1602 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236
Watch skiers practice for their upcoming competitions. Starting in mid-September, taking place on the Mote Aquarium grounds, this show is enjoyable and informative.
Siesta Key Beach
Address: 948 Beach Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242
Having ranked more than once as the #1 beach in the nation, Siesta Key Beach is made famous for its soft white sand and crystal blue waters and is well worth the visit.
Siesta Key Crystal Classic | Sand Sculpting Festival
Held around November of each year, this event attracts professionals from all over in an annual sand sculpting festival. These masterpieces are a must see.
Siesta Key Drum Circle
Phone: (941) 861-5000
Address: 948 Beach Rd, Siesta Key, FL 34242
For an out-of-the-ordinary experience, on Sunday evenings before dark, head out to Siesta Key Beach to watch the Drum Circle. You will find super-friendly people from all walks of life, music, and dancing. If you are looking for free things to do in Sarasota, this is it! This is a free event and great for people of all ages, including young children.
Siesta Key Village
Located in the heart of Siesta Key, this lively and colorful village is filled with shops, restaurants, ice cream shops, bars, and more. View a village map of all its shops at http://www.simplysiestakey.com/VillageShopsMap.html.
Siesta Key Rum – Distillery & Tasting Room
Phone: (941) 702-8143
Address: 2212 Industrial Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34234
Using local sugar cane and natural spices this award winning rum has won stellar reviews. A limited number of tours are available in the small but beautiful distillery. Pre-registration is required but stop in at any time for a free tasting. Gifts and bottles of Siesta Key rum are available for purchase. This is the perfect option for things to do in Sarasota on a rainy day!
South Florida Museum
Phone: (941) 746-4131
Address: 201 10th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205
Visit the biggest natural museum on the Gulf Coast with dozens of historic artifacts, environmental displays, and prehistoric collections. In addition to the assortment of fossils of Florida’s mammals along with marine life, the museum is home to a complete scale replica of a 16th-century manor house.
Sports enthusiasts will have their share of sporting events to choose from including the Sarasota Polo Grounds, Premier Sports Campus Lakewood Ranch, Premier Rowing Facility of Benderson Park, Fiesta on Siesta, Sarasota Power Boat Grand Prix, or the Baltimore Orioles Spring Training Facility.
St. Armands Circle
Located just over the Ringling Bridge from downtown Sarasota, the circle offers fabulous dining, shopping, and sightseeing.
State Parks & Forests
Spend the afternoon at one of our area’s beautiful state parks including Oscar Scherer State Park, Myakka River State Park, Myakka State Forest.
SUP Sarasota | Kayaking & Paddleboard
Phone: 941-281- 0215
Stand up paddle board and kayak rentals, sales, lessons, tours, race and fitness training.
The Children’s Garden and Art Center
Phone: (941) 330-1711
Address: 1670 10th Way, Sarasota, FL 34236
An enchanting place to bring the kids! Children can dig, play, and explore the magical gardens with fairies, dragons, pirates, and more. Art and nature classes are offered weekly.
The Players Center
Phone: (941) 365-2494
Address: 838 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
Enjoy performances by a cast of volunteer non-professional performers with incredible talents. For a schedule of current and upcoming shows visit https://www.theplayers.org/shows/.
The Premier Sports Campus
Phone: (941) 757-1582
Address: 5895 Post Blvd, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
Located off SR 70 in Lakewood Ranch, the campus is host to a number of sports including Soccer, Lacrosse, Rugby, Ultimate Frisbee, and Football. Guest can come to watch sporting events on the local, state, regional and national levels.
The Sarasota Opera House
Address: 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236
The historic Opera House is host to a number of performances throughout the year.
Phone: (941) 266-7318
Address: 1938 Adams Ln, Sarasota, FL 34236
Explore this artful neighborhood in downtown Sarasota filled with artist studios, galleries, and restaurants. From October – May, from 5-9 PM meet the artists and enjoy some live music while you stroll the Towels Court Friday Night Art Walk.
TreeUmph Adventure Course
Phone: (941) 322-2130
Address: 21805 E State Rd 70, Bradenton, FL 34202
For a unique athletic experience, gear up for some climbing, swinging, zip lining, and aerial adventures at the TreeUmp Adventure Course located in east Bradenton.
UTC Mall – (University Town Center)
Address: 140 University Town Center Dr, Sarasota, FL 34243
UTC is a mega mall with fine boutiques, high-end department stores, shops, and a variety of restaurants. Be sure to check out their event calendar for fun and exciting activities held at the mall throughout the year.
Yolo Adventures – Parasailing, Boat Tours, Fishing Charters
Address: 4110 127th St W, Cortez, FL 34215
Parasailing, Boat Tours, and Fishing Charters.
Helpful Sarasota Resources
This quaint, little city is dotted with spectacular waterfront mansions and award winning beaches. It’s home to many including the rich and famous. See who has lived here and why it is the choice over many other popular areas.
Ten well-known home warranty providers were evaluated and after careful research, here are the 4 best home warranty companies for 2018. (Information courtesy of retirementliving.com).