Destination Guide

Stay close to Sarasota’s cultural, recreational, educational, entertainment, shopping and dining destinations.

Main Street & Five Points Roundabout

This beautifully designed historical landmark is at the heart of downtown Sarasota, known as Five Points. It’s at the intersection of Main Street, Pineapple Avenue, and Central Avenue. Most shops, restaurants and other businesses can be found along Main Street, Palm Avenue, and First Street. There is a wide selection of restaurants and cafes.

Bayfront Park Unconditional Surrender Sculpture

This iconic statue is part of a series of sculptures by Seward Johnson resembling a photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt, on V-J Day in Times Square, but said by Johnson to be based on a similar, less well known, photograph by Victor Jorgensen. The original statue was first installed in Sarasota, then was moved to San Diego, CA and New York City. Other versions have been also been installed in Hamilton, New Jersey, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Normandy, France.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Sarasota Jungle Gardens is home to more than 200 native and exotic animals including birds of prey, many different species of parrots and macaws, primates, small mammals, dozens of snakes, lizards, iguanas, alligators, crocodiles and other reptiles – many of them rescued or donated – including Florida’s noted pink flamingos. All nestled within 10 acres of lush tropical landscaping connected by winding jungle trails.

St. Armands Circle

Renowned as a continental marketplace, the Circle is a charming and graceful synthesis of past and present, with its lush tropical plants, courtyards and patios, antique statuary and contemporary architectural design. Whether shopping for trinkets and treasures, high fashion or home décor, gourmet snacks to candlelit feasts under the stars, you’ll find it all on the Circle.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

A true pioneer in the cultural development of Sarasota, the Van Wezel, (pronounced Van Wayzull), presents a broad spectrum of the world’s finest performers representing the diverse tastes of Southwest Florida residents and visitors.

Local Art Galleries

Sarasota has a vibrant and radiant spectrum of visual arts amenities, which should hardly be a surprise considering the communities visibly deep roots in the arts. Ringling Museum and Ringling College are just two notable examples of the long-standing arts institutions that act as hubs for elevated visual arts experiences — available for visitors and locals alike.

Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Mote Aquarium is located at 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota, FL 34236. Mote Aquarium is located on City Island, just a few minutes from downtown Sarasota by way of the Ringling Causeway, and one mile north of St. Armands Circle.

Ca’ d’Zan Mansion

The home of the circus king and his wife, a couple from humble mid-western origins, Ca’ d’Zan stands as a testament to the American Dream of the Roaring Twenties. Inspired by and designed in the Venetian Gothic style of the palazzos that ring the Venice canals, this dazzling palatial mansion perfectly captures the splendor and romance of the Italy the Ringlings so loved. To honor its owner, they named it Ca’ d’Zan, “House of John”, in the dialect of their beloved Venice.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Nestled on the shores of beautiful Sarasota Bay, Selby Gardens is a tropical urban oasis with something for everyone. Relax amidst nature’s beauty and allow the scenery of unparalleled botanical bliss to carry you away.

Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is an ever-growing large-animal rescue in eastern Sarasota County. Founded in 1987 by Kay Rosaire, the non-profit sanctuary is a permanent home for dozens of exotic animals, offers placement for animals in need, and works to educate the public about animal care and conservation.

Longboat Key

Longboat Key is a barrier island community located on Florida’s west coast. The Town lies within two counties. The northern portion of Longboat Key is in Manatee County and the southern portion is in Sarasota County. Longboat Key was the vacation land of the Timucuan and Caloosa Indians for hundreds of years. Shellmounds have been found showing that picnics and fish fries were commonplace.

Siesta Key

Enjoying its reputation as one of America’s Best Beaches, Siesta Beach is made famous by its sugar-fine, quartz-white sand. A short jaunt from the public beach is a village of outdoor dining, coffee shops and shopping. Turtle Beach sits beyond the sea grapes on the Key’s southern end and is a popular site for launching kayaks.

Sarasota Ballet

The Sarasota Ballet was founded in 1987 by Jean Weidner Goldstein as a presenting organization with the goal of becoming a full resident ballet company, which was achieved in 1990 with the appointment of The Company’s first Director. However, it wasn’t until January 2007 that her dream was fully realized—and far exceeded—when The Sarasota Ballet announced the appointment of the new Director, Iain Webb. Webb’s background, experience and close personal relationships with some of the biggest names in the dance world have taken The Sarasota Ballet to a higher level of national and international recognition.

Ringling College of Art & Design

Since 1931, creatives from every corner of the world come to Ringling College of Art and Design to deepen, transform, and explore their passions.

Art Center Sarasota

Art Center Sarasota offers creative opportunities that are affordable and accessible to the entire community with curated and juried exhibitions, classes, workshops and educational programs for youth and adults plus special events each year.

Asolo Repertory Theatre

Asolo Repertory Theatre, Florida’s premier professional theatre, is one of the most important cultural forces in the Southeastern United States. A center for theatrical excellence, Asolo Rep stages up to fifteen productions every season, spanning a diverse repertoire of newly commissioned plays, bold reinterpretations of contemporary and classical works, and provocative new musical theatre experiences.

Florida Studio Theater

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is Sarasota’s contemporary theatre, located in the heart of downtown. It has been in operation in Sarasota since 1973. The Florida Studio Theatre campus is a village of theatres – the historic Keating and Gompertz Theatres, the Parisian-style Goldstein and John C. Court Cabarets, and Bowne’s Lab Theatre.

Lido Park Beach

Lido Beach is located on Lido Key, one quarter mile northwest of St. Armands Circle, off of John Ringling Blvd. The beach is maintained in a natural state and features a dune system that is home to many nesting shore birds.

Sarasota Opera

The Sarasota Opera House plays host to everything from opera, symphony and classical ballet to film festivals, popular music concerts, comedy shows and clowns. In addition to the theater, the Opera Complex includes a Pavilion with a spacious, multi-purpose banquet/performance facility; the Peterson Great Room, which can seat up to 390 people.

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