10 Things to Do in Sarasota That You Shouldn't Miss

March 3, 2018 Deane Carmody

What kind of beachgoer are you? Chances are, you’ll find something in the Sarasota area that appeals to you. Soft sand, fishing piers, shells—you can find it around here. Just don’t go looking for a nude beach—that’s the one thing they don’t have.
Restaurants in Sarasota

1. Sarasota National Cemetery

Route 72, Sarasota, FL +1 941-922-7200
Excellent
91%
Good
8%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 322 reviews

Sarasota National Cemetery

Reviewed By Henry D - East Amherst, New York

I had heard of this location when searching for things to do. We rode past on the way to a wildlife tour and stopped in on our way back. It is truly awe inspiring. It is hard to not to be overcome by the amount of sacrifice embodied here.

2. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

811 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236-7726 +1 941-366-5731
Excellent
76%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

A sprawling botanical garden.

Reviewed By Darleen C - Rye, New Hampshire

What a treasure this place is. It’s pricy for a day admission $25. but we thoroughly enjoyed the orchid exhibit and all the rare trees and plants. Several water displays and places to rest and take in all the beauty.

3. The Ringling

5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243-2161 +1 941-359-5700
Excellent
79%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 5 reviews

The Ringling

The Ringling is located in Sarasota, Florida and preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling. It is home to the State Art Museum of Florida, the historic Ca' d'Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, an Art Library, the Circus Museums and the Historic Asolo Theater. The grounds and gardens are free to visit, and the Museum of Art offers free admission on Mondays.

Reviewed By femmechaude

Wow! Ringling left the art museum to Florida....fortunate Florida. We walked three miles to see this collection on the free admission day and it was well worth it. The collection is impressive and diverse. Avoid thinking circus: think NYC or Paris art collection.

4. Sarasota Opera

61 N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236-5723 +1 941-366-8450
Excellent
84%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 222 reviews

Sarasota Opera

The excitement is palpable during the Sarasota Opera season. As you arrive at your seats, you'll see the familiar faces of opera lovers just like you, and also meet new people. Our intimate 1119-seat theater—with the perfect acoustics for live opera—gives a sense of intimacy to our performances while enhancing your overall experience. Now in its 59th Season, Sarasota Opera is the only opera company in the world to have performed all of Verdi's works. People from all corners of the world come to see our world-class productions, which range from early Italian Bel Canto to contemporary American opera. This Winter, we are bringing to you Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Bizet’s Carmen, Bellini’s Norma, and d’Albert’s Tiefland. All performances have simultaneous English translations above the stage and opera goers are encouraged to dress as they feel comfortable: suits and ties mix with khaki and jeans. Tickets start at only $19!! Come and experience the magic that is Sarasota Opera!

Reviewed By JordanS8 - Sarasota, Florida

Start with a wonderful venue, fill in with a world class orchestra and finish it off with hugely talented singers, scenery and settings. Sarasota’s Opera can easily complete with March larger companies in bigger cities.
Tonight we saw Carmen and it was an awesome production In fact, over the 18 years I have been coming here, I have not seen a production that was not excellent. Definitely worth the time and money.

5. Marietta Museum-Art & Whimsy

2121 N Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34234-8344 +1 941-364-3399
Excellent
80%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 279 reviews

Marietta Museum-Art & Whimsy

Closed for the summer Reopening November 24, 2017 (the day after Thanksgiving)

Reviewed By Alan N - Montgomery Village, Maryland

We pass the Marietta Museum often just wondering what it’s all about? Surprise surprise a real treasure for all ages. Creative art at its finest. Let’s you dream of Alice of Wonderland, tea party with dogs behaving badly, flying pigs, and Elvis at his best. The gardens are a fantasy of art of every imagination. The docents were knowledgeable and just happy to be in this wonderland. It’s well worth the donation of $5:00/person. Parking can be a challenge but not a deterrent.

6. Ca d'Zan Mansion

5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243-2161 +1 941-359-5700
Excellent
75%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Ca d'Zan Mansion

Ca' d'Zan is one of the venues at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. 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. Please visit ringling.org for Ca' d'Zan tour times and admission info.

Reviewed By Ryan S

We visited Sarasota the week of 3/12/18 through 3/16/18. One of our best days was visiting the Ringling museum and mansion. There are two large museums with incredible circus items. The first museum contains a to scale model of the circus that alone took approximately 45 minutes to go through and we would have spent more time there, but we had a tour scheduled. The hand craftsmanship, detail, and time it took to set everything up was amazing. The tour of the mansion was a great way to learn about the Ringling history and take a step back in time. We did the first and second floor tour which was well worth it. In addition the rose garden and grounds are absolutely beautiful. We also ate lunch at the restaurant which had a delicious clam chowder and fish platter. I am excited to go back on our next trip to Sarasota.

7. Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

1646 10th Way, Sarasota, FL 34236-4104 +1 941-366-1505
Excellent
82%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 109 reviews

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

Reviewed By JohnBA7411 - Sarasota, Florida

The WBTT of Sarasota, FL is the only black performing theatre in the Florida West Coast that has achieved national acclaim for its consistent great presentation of lively entertainment that can only be successful with a talented troupe of black performers. We are season ticket subscribers, together with friends who appreciate the good things in life. For all the years we have been part of the entertained audience, there has not been one show we did not enjoy. We just saw Broadway in Black, and, together with the other productions created by founder Nate Jacobs, it was a hit! We are so enthused and thrilled by their forthcoming plans to expanded and redesign their physical properties.

8. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

7101 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34240-9407 +1 941-371-6377
Excellent
72%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary provides a sanctuary "for life" for the exotic animals currently calling the sanctuary home. Our goal is to create habitats that mimic native environments and are complete with a staff that can provide daily behavioral, sensory, and manipulative enrichment which is the basis for a happy healthy animal in captivity. As we grow and open our habitat to more rescues we will provide the same excellent care while educating the public.

Reviewed By frenchchef2016 - Heidelberg, Germany

The bid cat sanctuary is a first class operation and very well run. The place is spotless and the animals very well looked after. All the employees are very professional and are very passionate about their jobs and taking good care of the animals.
The bird and big cat shows are first class and cannot be missed.
The baby alligator is also a hit.
The food variety sold at the fast food restaurant is very good and the food are excellent.
Value for money is excellent. Do not hesitate to buy the food. You will love it.
Loved the fries and the Italian sausages.

9. Detwilers Farm Market

6000 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34232-2844 +1 941-378-2727
Excellent
75%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 126 reviews

Detwilers Farm Market

Detwiler's Farm Market is a family owned and operated grocery store with 3 locations in the Sarasota area. We provide fresh produce, seafood, meats, deli meats & cheeses, baked goods & an ice cream shop! One visit and you'll be hooked. We have the best deals in town.

Reviewed By Sandy4556 - Chicago, Illinois

Wonderful experience at this impressive shop, will return and certainly share great find with others! We enjoyed the pastry department and the "take-out" foods as well as fresh fruits and other produce. It might be possible to shop here for all grocery items, and rarely supplement from other commercial stores.

10. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236-1004 +1 706-453-2920
Excellent
64%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Located at the Mote Marine Laboratory, this is home to a 135,000 gallon outdoor shark tank and many other marine species.

Reviewed By motordavid - Waynesville,NC & Naples, FL

We have been to a dozen plus big name aquariums, but this research facility with aquarium and exhibits is worth the time, imo.

It was our first trip. Took 15 yr old granddaughter who also has been to several aquariums with us...but she/we enjoyed the Mote very much.

It it obviously SW FL species oriented, very educational and informative, and offers many different exhibit and educational areas.

The volunteers do an excellent job of offering short lectures/info if one chooses to listen at the different exhibits.

We took the Sarasota Bay Explorers eco boat trip first, (connected with/but separate booking from the Mote), and highly recommend doing both. An earlier morning boat trip, (couple of hours), followed by a couple hours in the Mote is a very enjoyable informative half day for visitors of all ages.

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