15 Best Things To Do in Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota resides on the Gulf coast of the sunshine state Florida. There are innumerable things that can be done in Sarasota, from a traveler`s point of view. Museums to gardens, Sarasota is diverse in its tourist attractions. With its romantic restaurant options, it is an ideal getaway for couples.

Let's explore Sarasota points of interest and 15 best things to do in Sarasota:

1. The Ringling

Sarasota attractionsImage Source: flickr.com

Located on the Bay Shore Road of Sarasota, Ringling is a museum of fine arts that started in 1927. This is one of the most popular places that people visit in Sarasota, locals and tourists alike. It is a state art museum of the state of FL.Made of 21 galleries that contain a variety of artwork from America, Asia and Europe, it has an overall collection of around 10,000 artifacts. All forms of art can be found here, from paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures. 

2. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

This research center was established in 1955, and its aquarium is open for public visits. The aquarium has more than 100 species of local marine animals. The aquarium is functional since 1980. There are narrated shark feeding sessions in this aquarium that is an interesting tourist attraction that should not be given a miss. 

3. Siesta Key Village, Sarasota, Florida

Siesta Key Village - ImageImage Source: flickr.com

This is a small island of Siesta Key that resides on the Gulf of Mexico. This place is just a few hours from downtown Sarasota. The island has some magnificent beaches. The Siesta Key Village in itself is a fun and happening beach village, dotted with bars, restaurants and spas. The village has a festive vibe all year round that tourists just enjoy.  The Siesta Fiesta is one of the popular festivals that this village hosts. 

4. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

This beautiful sanctuary is for spotting some big cats and other wild animals. It is currently a non-profit organization that rescues and provides a home for exotic species of cats and other wild animals that include bears. They also have some pretty birds in their sanctuary enclosure. While conducting their tours, they also educate their visitors about wildlife preservation and the importance of a well-maintained eco-system in the world. The sanctuary has both indoor and outdoor habitats that mimic the natural environment of the animals with swimming pools and plants. 

5. Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, FL

Sarasota Jungle Gardens - ImageImage Source: flickr.com

A garden cum animal attraction defines Sarasota jungle gardens just right. Started in 1939, this place comes under some of the oldest attractions of the state that is still functional. The 1970s saw the first Exotic Bird Show cockatoos and macaws in this garden. Presently there are a bunch of animals shows happen here. From reptiles to primates, a variety of fauna is found in these premises.

6. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, Florida

The architectural beauty of this hall is one to behold the eyes and the soul. This popular spot in Sarasota is known for dance, music and theatrical performances. With a whopping 1,736 seating capacity and a majestic 6000 square foot Grand Foyer, this place welcomes guest with a big heart.

7. Central Sarasota Farmers Market

Farmer`s market in Sarasota comprises of a colorful mix of fresh produce gathered by the locals. Other than juicy looking produce, there are also freshly baked items like cheesecake that you would want to put your hands on. This bustling scene of vendors and customers is an every Saturday event in the Central Sarasota Farmers Market. Also present are musicians and artisan who display their talent to keep the customers happy in here. The farmers at the stalls also share their farming stories with the buyers who are interested. 

8. Sarasota Paddleboard Company

If just relaxing is not your motto when you are on a beach, you can rent a paddleboard or a kayak in Sarasota Paddleboard Company to explore the waters of Sarasota. They will provide you with the best equipment and also will deliver it at your doorstep. For beginners, they also provide an instructor to come along with their kayaks, who will also act as a guide for the tourists and take them around. 

9. Ted Sperling Nature Park

When on your kayak, you can venture to this place to explore the mangrove tunnels that it offers. You can also spot manatees and dolphins here. This place is ideal to just paddle around and take-in the beauty of the beaches and surroundings. 

10. Drum Circle Distilling, Sarasota, FL

This distillery and its samplers are for all rum lovers. The still is small and made of shiny copper to give rise to smooth tasting rum. The rum is made with local sugar cane and natural local spices of the Siesta Key. Their tasting room gives out free samples to the visitors. You can also chat with the rum-makers who can give valuable information about the science that goes behind making the rum. 

11. Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, FL

This park has a huge man-made lake in its premises. A run, a dog walk, or just casual kayaking or paddling, are what locals come here for. The park is spread out over 600-acres land and the lake itself is 400-acre.  The lake also has first class rowing facilities. Hence, regular regatta competitions are held here with complete pomp and show. 

12. Myakka River State Park

Spread over 37,000 acres, Myakka River State Park is one other old parks in Florida. Its name comes from the Myakka River. There is also a boardwalk here along with a canopy walkway that makes it way above the trees. Kayak, canoe and fishing can be done in two of the lakes that are present here. This state park also has several hiking trails for your adventurous streak. 

13. Legacy Trail

Talking about biking, legacy trail is a paved trail that was opened in 2008.  Beginning at the Palmer Ranch and running through Oscar Scherer State Park, the legacy trail connects with the other trails around. 

14. Sarasota Opera, Sarasota, Florida

This professional opera company is age-old but has been renovated again in 2008. The company conducts a winter opera festival in February and March. Their performances are quite a show that attracts crowd from in and around Sarasota. If you are a kind of tourist who would love to imbibe some local culture of the place that you visit, then you must get yourself a ticket to this opera house.

15. Sarasota Classic Car Museum

Sarasota Classic Car Museum - ImageImage Source: flickr.com

A car enthusiast or not, you will definitely appreciate this car museum. The entire facility is 60,000 square foot in total and it comes second in the list of oldest and continuously operating classic car museums in the entire United States. Their collection boasts of around 75 cars that range from everything vintage and exotic. Their collection is complete one of its kind and stays unique in your second visit since they rotate their displays quite often.

Author: Meghana Agashe
Oscillating between reality and day-dreaming, Meghana is a journalist by education and a travel-blogger by profession. The eternal love for exploring different places and cuisines, the urge to interact with people across cultures and the thirst for a...

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Sarasota

Check out the list of top tourist attractions in Sarasota! These are some inspiring things to do in Sarasota to create a wish list of your dream destinations.

  1. # 1 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 623 times in trip plans
    The Ringling

    Tags: Art And Culture, Museum, Garden, View Point

    Address: 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243, United States

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Mable and John Ringling have left behind their legacy to serve and entertain people from all corners of the world through what is now the State of Art Museum of Florida. This museum is divided into va...Read more

  2. # 2 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 490 times in trip plans
    Mote Marine Laboratory And Aquarium

    Tags: Museum, Aquarium

    Address: 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    This is a complete Non-Profit organization that aims at researching and developing the science of marine world through its displays in the marine and estuarine laboratories. All these divisions posses...Read more

  3. # 3 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 421 times in trip plans
    Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

    Tags: Garden, Botanical Garden, Nature

    Address: 811 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    This garden is said to be one of the largest gardens in the continent that mostly is based on the purpose of research of epiphytes especially orchids and bromeliads. It is also said that the thousands...Read more

  4. # 4 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 241 times in trip plans
    Ca D'zan Mansion

    Tags: Art And Culture, Art Museum, Art Gallery, Castle

    Address: 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243, United States

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    This mansion is one of the oldest as well as an important part of the very famous Mable and John Ringling Museum situated in the main city. It was the residence of the couple on the waterfront of The ...Read more

  5. # 5 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 348 times in trip plans
    Sarasota Jungle Garden

    Tags: Forest, Garden, Leisure, Picnic Spot

    Address: 3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34234, United States

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    This garden has been serving as a favorite of people from all parts of the world for quite a few decades. The garden and park is in the main sphere of the city and is often considered as the best loca...Read more

  6. # 6 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 225 times in trip plans
    Big Cat Habitat And Gulf Coast Sanctuary

    Tags: Wildlife Sanctuary , Wildlife Park, Wildlife Safari, Nature

    Address: 7101 Palmer Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34240, United States

    Timings: 12:30 pm - 04:00 pm Details

    A big cat is not actually a cat but interestingly it is another name for a tiger which is an animal also of the cat family. This place is set up with a purpose of providing care and protection to wild...Read more

  7. # 7 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 467 times in trip plans
    Legacy Trail

    Tags: Trail, Walking Area, Nature

    Address: 595 Church Street, Nokomis, FL 34275, United States

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    This is an 11 mile paved way that runs from Palmer Ranch in the city to Venice. It was inaugurated along with the famous rail corridor in 2008. This trail is rated as one of the top 10 biking trails a...Read more

  8. # 8 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 192 times in trip plans
    South Lido Park

    Tags: Beach, Trail, Garden, Park

    Address: 2201 Benjamin Franklin Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States

    Timings: 09:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    This is a beach park that is hidden from the rest of the city in terms of its remote location but it is certainly worth checking out. This is basically an island beach and the park enhances the beauty...Read more

  9. # 9 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 416 times in trip plans
    Sarasota Classic Car Museum

    Tags: Museum, Specialty Museum, Automobile Museum

    Address: 5500 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243, United States

    Timings: 09:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    This car museum is the only one in this region and has a collection of a few hundreds of vintage cars out of which some are used and some are not. These cars were either on auction at a time or were u...Read more

  10. # 10 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 313 times in trip plans
    Save Our Seabirds

    Tags: Wildlife Park, Nature

    Address: 1708 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States

    Timings: 10:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    This is an initiative to conserve the rarest varieties of seabirds and other migratory species of little creatures. This park covers a large area and possesses abundant amount of greenery. This place ...Read more

  11. # 11 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 386 times in trip plans
    Marina Jack II

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Fine Dining, Cruise

    Address: 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236

    Timings: 11:15 am - 11:59 pm Details

    As you come on your vacation, forget everything and enjoy the most fantastic cruise ride along the whole Sarasota Bay and please your sight with the most spectacular views of the blue sky and the rich...Read more

  12. # 12 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 157 times in trip plans
    Marietta Museum - Art And Whimsy

    Tags: Art And Culture, Art Museum, Art Gallery, Museum

    Address: 2121 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234, United States

    Timings: 01:00 pm - 04:00 pm Details

    This is a one of a kind museum that is hardly found in any other place in the world. The kind of art that is patronized over here is abstract and whimsical. The name comes from the fact that a differe...Read more

  13. # 13 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 218 times in trip plans
    Westcoast Black Theatre Group

    Tags: Entertainment, Performance, Theatre

    Address: 1646 10th Way, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States

    Timings: 08:00 pm - 10:00 pm Details

    This is a group of people who are gifted artists are mostly all founders of the troupe that is very famous in the whole city. The specialty of these people is staging contemporary dramas and performan...Read more

  14. # 14 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 198 times in trip plans
    Sarasota National Cemetery

    Tags: Historical Site, Memorial, Cemetery

    Address: 9810 State Road 72, Sarasota, FL 34241, United States

    Timings: 08:00 am - 04:30 pm Details

    This cemetery is the 6th National cemetery set up in this region and it is administered by the Department of Veteran Affairs of the State. The cemetery witnesses at least ten burials every day. This i...Read more

  15. # 15 of 978 Things To Do in Sarasota | Added 306 times in trip plans
    The Celery Fields

    Tags: Estate, Nature

    Address: 6799 Palmer Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34240, United States

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    The place is not actually what the name tells about it. Most of the people have a notion that this is where there is celery vegetation. This is one of the best places for bird watching in the state an...Read more

Activities And Tours

Explore these activities and tours for awesome experiences in Sarasota:

  • Save 4% Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Ecotour
    Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Ecotour30 Reviews

    Duration: 2 Hrs

    Come along on one of Sarasota's most popular outdoor activities, a guided eco-tour by kayak, which introduces you to these Fl...

    Book Now
  • Save 7% Anna Maria Island Segway Tour
    Anna Maria Island Segway Tour1 Reviews

    Duration: 1 Hrs

    Coquina Trail Segway Tour - 1 HourOn this breathtaking one-hour tour, gliders will get to experience the beauty of Anna Maria...

    Book Now
  • Save 1% Sarasota Inshore Fishing Charter
    Sarasota Inshore Fishing CharterNew on TripHobo

    Duration: Flexible

    Experience and explore backwaters of the Sarasota Bay! Always a short distant and boat ride to great fishing in Sarasota Inle...

    Book Now
  • Save 4% TreeUmph Adventure Course
    TreeUmph Adventure Course1 Reviews

    Duration: Flexible

    Are you a Ninja Warrior or just looking for a fun family adventure? TreeUmph! offers half day adventures like no other. You w...

    Book Now