The city of Sarasota is home to two ICON townhome communities and is renowned for its vibrant culture, award-winning beaches and full spectrum of entertainment amenities. Whether it be culinary pursuits, art venues or shopping establishments, one can easily see what is making the city so popular among residents and visitors. Here are 5 must-visit places for those who are thinking of exploring the city of white beaches:
1. Florida Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key Beach has been ranked the #1 Beach in America by Tripadvisor and Dr. Beach, and is known for its sugar-fine quartz crystal white sand, beautifully-colored water and plethora of surrounding activities. If you’re in the city of Sarasota, a short bike or trolley ride can take you to where the city meets the fine white sand and blue-green waves. If you have a “Florida Staycation” in mind, Siesta Key Beach is the first place you’d find that offers a variety of restaurants, shopping, water sports and sights to see right in your backyard.
2. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota is a bayfront oasis, known worldwide for its study and conservation of plants. From rainforest displays to tropical conservatories, The Gardens prides itself on its ability to both wow and educate guests during visits. It has seen tremendous growth, all puns intended, to its range of exhibits, acreage and buildings, all encouraging guests to explore, learn and relax under leafy canopies. With over 130,000 visitors annually, The Gardens is a must-see, ever-changing Sarasota destination.
3. The Ringling

If you couldn’t tell by the name, yes The Ringling DOES have something to do with The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. John Ringling, one of the five Ringling Brothers, was a part of the circus operations, but purchased estate in the Sarasota area during the Roaring Twenties, which would later house The Ringling, The State Art Museum of Florida. Built in the Venetian Gothic style, The Ringling offers a range of art, family programs and yes, circus exhibits and activities. The Ringling has a great balance of fun and elegant art exhibits that make it a must-see location.
4. Marina Jack

Marina Jack isn’t just a location for boat owners to dock, it’s also full of bay-front activities from events to farmers markets. If you’re looking to take a tour by water you can book a reservation for waterfront dining which boasts a fine menu for both lunch and dinner. Spend the rest of your evening strolling through any of the Marina’s things-to-do including listening to music from a live band or performer, taking a sightseeing cruise, or water and fishing excursions. The Marina even offers the opportunity to stay in the Sarasota Bay Mooring Field, a suite of mooring dinghies that boasts a “host of great amenities” including a full-time friendly staff.
5. Historic Downtown Venice

Historic Downtown Venice, rich in history, is a fantastic place to take a day trip for those visiting or living in Sarasota. Designed by John Nolen in 1926, Historic Downtown Venice holds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and includes places like The Venice Theatre, one of the nation’s largest theatres, and the Venice Area Historical Society. More modern things to do and amenities including dining and shopping at over 100 unique shops and restaurants lining avenues shaded by oak and palm trees. Live concerts, the Venice Art Center, and being home to one of few dog beaches in Florida, make this little corner of history a great place to visit.
6. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

The Mote is an independent marine research institution dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans. Not only does The Mote focus on marine research, they also have an aquarium to help visitors immerse themselves in the research and discovery of marine life too! With a 135,000 gallon shark habitat, manatees, and more than 100 species of marine life, The Mote offers a range of aquatic experiences.
7. St. Armands Circle

St. Armands Circle is another project founded by the previously mentioned John Ringling and is a lovely cove of history and lush courtyards. The Circle houses a variety of stores for shopping and prides itself on being a place where visitors can truly relax against the backdrop of its contemporary architectural design. The Circle also hosts a range of festivals, car shows, and a stroll around the “Circus Ring of Fame.” With year-round holiday events and historic charm, St. Armands Circle is another must see gem of Sarasota.
Sarasota invites everyone to come discover why its beaches are always ranked highest across the nation, and with arts, food and shopping heavily decorating the city, it is quickly becoming a destination location. Sarasota was also ranked as a top location for those looking to retire, and the best place to go in Florida if you’re looking to relax. We’d recommend fine-tuning your restaurant visit plans before your next Sarasota excursion.