Thinking about living in Sarasota? Circus City is one of the best cities for year-round weather and a great place to raise kids, thanks to its affordable housing, family-friendly activities, and access to the Gulf Coast. If you’re looking to settle down with your family, here are five Sarasota neighborhoods to consider!
- Alta Vista
- Arlington Park
- Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores
- Laurel Park
- South Sarasota
- Home Price: $121,500 median purchase price; $1,095 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 69% of Florida cities
Whether you’re looking for 1920s bungalows, coastal ranches, or modern townhomes, Alta Vista has everything you’re searching for in a Sarasota neighborhood! Located about ten minutes away from the shores of Sarasota Bay, Alta Vista is an affordable area for families with close proximity to the water. Residents can send their children to highly-rated schools like Alta Vista Elementary School and Sarasota High School. Plus, with Downtown Sarasota just blocks away, you don’t have to go far to find shopping, parks, and family fun!
Things to Do in Alta Vista
See contemporary art pieces and check out popular photography exhibitions like The Worker Project and Carl Abbott’s “Architecture for Nature” series at the Sarasota Art Museum. Tap into the city’s circus roots by enrolling your kids in a flying trapeze class or a circus summer camp at The Circus Arts Conservatory. Play a game of tennis, go skating at the skatepark, or let the kids play on the circus-inspired playground at Payne Park. Take a scuba class at Scuba Quest, where you can also get all of your essential scuba gear when you’re ready to start scuba diving. Dig into Chinese-American favorites like Sweet & Sour Chicken, Beef Chow Mein, or Egg Drop Soup at China Garden. Sample Mediterranean favorites like a Gyro Platter, Falafel Wrap, or Kafta Wrap at Sahara Cafe & Mediterranean Foods. Or satisfy your sweet tooth with a Funfetti Cupcake or Best of the Best Chocolate Chip Cookie at Simply Sweets Srq.
- Home Price: $159,100 median purchase price; $1,153 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 67% of Florida cities
If you’re looking for a great family-friendly neighborhood in Sarasota, check out Arlington Park! Located just south of Downtown Sarasota, this residential area has many affordable housing options, including charming bungalows, Mid-Century Modern homes, and contemporary new construction. Arlington Park offers good schools like Suncoast School for Innovative Studies and Southside Elementary School, and it provides convenient access to Bird Key, Lido Key, and Bay Island, all of which are within a 15-minute drive!
Things to Do in Arlington Park
Take the kids to Arlington Park, where you can go swimming at the pool or play basketball or tennis on the courts. Check out the collection of books and unique gifts at Elysian Fields. Spend an afternoon playing golf on the 18-hole course at The Palms Golf Club at Forest Lakes. Get traditional seafood meals like Garlic Crusted Sea Bass, Steamed King Crab, or Gulf Grouper at Chef Rolf’s. Order hearty dishes like Mediterranean Seafood Paella, Chianti-Braised Short Rib, or Michael’s Famous Bowtie Pasta at Michael’s On East. Visit Origin Craft Beer & Pizza Cafe for pizzas like South of the Wall Taco Pizza, 1837 Chicken Pizza, or Mediterranean Pizza with a Peanut Butter Pie for dessert. Or get a babysitter for the kids and split Ry’s Fries with a bottle of wine or a couple of cold pints at Knick’s Tavern & Grill.
Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores
- Home Price: $274,850 median purchase price; $1,384 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 12% of Florida cities
Families moving to Sarasota should check out Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores, an upscale neighborhood on the shores of the Sarasota Bay with good walkability, local restaurants, and convenient access to beautiful Indian Beach! Residents of Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores can find top-rated schools like Bay Haven School of Basics Plus and opportunities for higher education at New College of Florida and Ringling College of Art & Design. Plus, this Sarasota neighborhood has plenty of housing options ranging from charming ranches to modern single-family homes that are ideal for families!
Things to Do in Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores
Check out The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, where you can explore exhibits like Kabuki Modern, take a tour of the Bayfront Gardens, or visit the Circus Museum. Just across Bay Shore Rd, you can see theatrical performances like Camelot or Julius Caesar at Asolo Repertory Theatre. Watch the sunset, go fishing, or canoe with the kids at Sapphire Shores Park. Fill up on delicious seafood dishes like Seared Scallops, Lido Beach Lobster Roll, or Grilled Octopus at Sunnyside Cafe. Dine on Japanese cuisine like Hibachi Chicken or a Salmon Tempura Roll at Kasa Sushi. Grab a seat at Leaf & Lentil and enjoy vegan dishes like a Black Bean Burger, Patty Melt, or a Quesadilla from the ever-changing menu of daily specials. Or sit out on the patio and chow down on Shrimp Tacos, Steak Fajitas, or Pork Enchiladas at Wicked Cantina.
- Home Price: $404,250 median purchase price; $1,116 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 61% of Florida cities
A few blocks from the shores of Sarasota Bay is Laurel Park, one of the city’s best neighborhoods for families! Laurel Park is located in a National Historic District and provides residents with good walkability to nearby restaurants, shops, parks, and entertainment. Families can enjoy the neighborhood’s namesake park, as well as waterfront activities at nearby Lido Key, which is just 11 minutes away. The neighborhood is also home to top-rated schools like Discover Days Preschool and Westcoast School and offers a wide range of housing options from Mediterranean-style bungalows and Colonial Revival homes to spacious apartments.
Things to Do in Laurel Park
Make the public art-filled Luke Wood Park North your new regular jogging or dog walking destination. Explore popular natural exhibitions like The Orchid Show at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens on the shores of Sarasota Bay. Begin your morning with Cinnamon Raisin French Toast, a Breakfast Burrito, or Poached Eggs at Fresh Start Cafe. Stop by Indigenous for hearty meals like Seafood Chowder, Thai Green Curry Fish Dip, or Crispy Pork. Head over to Waffle Stop and try a Mushroom Swiss Burger, Tuna Melt, or Monty Cristo. Feast on seafood dishes like Broiled Maine Lobster, Pecan Crusted Trout, or a Shrimp & Oyster Po’Boy at Owen’s Fish Camp. Or enjoy date night with a comedy show or drag queen bingo at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre.
- Home Price: $293,500 median purchase price; $961 median monthly rent
- Crime Rate: Safer than 87% of Florida cities
With waterfront views and Siesta Key close by, South Sarasota is a great place to raise a family! Families can find top schools like Phillippi Shores Elementary and Riverview High School, and there are tons of things to do among the area’s beaches, local restaurants, and kid-friendly outdoor recreation spots. This Sarasota suburb also offers budget-friendly houses ranging from charming bungalows to high-rise waterfront condos and townhomes. With miles of coastline along the Roberts Bay and Bay Island to the west, you’ll never be far from the water in this Sarasota suburb. Plus, it’s only a 15-minute drive to get to the city center!
Things to Do in South Sarasota
Take the family to Siesta Key Beach—named one of the top beaches in America—to play sand volleyball, go snorkeling, or relax in the sand. Spend a fun day on the water by booking a Banana Boat Ride, Sunset Evening Cruise, or Karaoke Party Cruise with Siesta Key Aqua Adventures. Enjoy the views of Sarasota Bay while spending an afternoon fishing or kayaking at North Bridge Outlook Park. Make your way to Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant & Tiki Bar for some of the best seafood in Sarasota like Stuffed Sea Bass, Crab Cakes, or Coconut Shrimp. Dig into a Philly Steak & Cheese Wrap or Hot Roast Beef Sandwich for lunch at Tasty Home Cookin’. Order delicious Asian cuisine like Pad Thai, Green Curry, or Vegan Larb Tofu at Taste of Asia. Or snag a Combination Pizza, Baked Spaghetti, or Meatball Parmigiana at Demetrio’s Pizzeria.
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Neighborhood and suburb statistics from AreaVibes