- Where the Locals Go
Hey there, city-lovers! It might be getting cold in most of the U.S. right now, but in Sarasota, Florida, it’s still nice and warm. Barbara Ann Weibel tells us why we should spend winter in this southern city.
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Sarasota, Florida is My City
The first place I take a visitor from out of town is a walking tour of the colorful, historic downtown.
When I crave culture I go to one of the dozens of theaters around Sarasota, such as the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre, the Players Theatre, or the Florida Studio Theatre.
To escape the heat I head to cool breezes on the white sand beach at Siesta Key.
If I want to quiet my mind I go to Yoga classes at Rosemary Court, located in the SoHo-like Rosemary District just north of downtown.
For complete quiet, I can hide away at Myakka State Park, where I can walk along the Myakka River, look for alligators, and spot an amazing diversity of birds.
If you come to my city, get your picture taken in front of the giant sculpture modeled after the famous WWII photo of a returning GI kissing a nurse.
If you have to order one thing off the menu from Columbia on St. Armand’s Circle it has to be seafood paella.
Pastry Art is my one-stop shop for great coffee and desserts.
Locals know to skip the grocery store and check out the Saturday morning downtown Farmer’s Market instead.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped I shop at one of dozens of secondhand, antique, and resale shops along Fruitville Road.
For a huge splurge I go to the Opera (left) and dinner.
Photo ops in my city include the sculpture, sculpture, sculpture, found all around town, but the best vantage points are along Sarasota Bay and throughout downtown.
The most random thing about my city are the pockets of art galleries all around town, such as Palm Avenue Galleries and Towles Court.
My city has the most community activist men.
My city has the most philanthropic women.
If my city were a pet it would be a circus dog, the perfect symbol for the city that was the historic wintering grounds for the Ringling Circus.
In my city, an active day outdoors involves biking, kayaking, and swimming in the Gulf.
My city’s best museum is the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
My favorite jogging/walking route is along the miles of Sarasota’s beautiful bayfront.
For live music, check out the Sarasota Jazz Club, which has live performances every Friday.
Esca Restaurant is the spot for late-night eats (and live music).
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read either the print or the online version of Creative Loafing Sarasota.
You can tell a lot about my city from the fantastic energy brought by the students of the four local colleges.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they veg at the coffee shop for hours at a time.
In the spring you should attend the Sarasota Film Festival.
In the summer you should go the spectacular white sand beaches and swim in the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
In the fall you should attend the live star talk program at the Bishop Planetarium in nearby Bradenton.
In the winter you should see the display of Christmas lights at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
A hidden gem in my city is Warm Mineral Springs, a sink hole containing a natural springs that contains the second highest mineral content in the world.
For a great breakfast joint try Word of Mouth.
Don’t miss the Sarasota Blues Festival festival in October each year.
Just outside my city, you can swim with the manatees.
If you have kids, you won’t want to miss Mote Aquarium and G-WIZ Science Museum.
This much culture is a city with only 50,000 residents could only happen in Sarasota.
My city should be featured on your cover or website because it is absolutely the best place to live or visit in Florida.
Photos: robertclark311, ahknight, rusty_one, and rumpleproofskin via Flickr