Have you ever dreamed of living in a city where white, sandy beaches are right outside your front door? Then Sarasota might be your new place to call home! This southwestern city isn’t just famous for breathtaking ocean views. It also has affordable housing, a vibrant art scene, delectable local cuisine, and much more. So if you’re thinking about moving to Sarasota, here are 11 things you should know before you relocate!
Affordable Living in Sarasota
One of the reasons why people find living in Sarasota, FL to be so amazing is its affordability. Compared to major cities like Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York, the cost of living in Sarasota is incredibly low, especially since there’s no state income tax in Florida! Homes in this area have a median home price of $190,500 and median rent of $951, which makes living here perfect no matter your stage in life! Sarasota also has a 3.7% unemployment rate and is home to several major employers and corporations, such as Tervis, Jones Chemicals, United Natural Foods, CAE Healthcare, and many more!
Neighborhoods for Every Lifestyle
Whether you’re relocating to Sarasota for a new job or searching for the best place to settle down within the city, there are tons neighborhoods throughout the area that fit any lifestyle! Laurel Park is popular with singles and young professionals for its prime location near Sarasota nightlife and restaurants. If you’re looking for some of the best Sarasota neighborhoods for retirement, relax in Harbor Acres, where you’ll find beautiful ocean views, eccentric boutiques, and delicious eateries. There’s also Glen Oaks, a quiet community with lots of walking trails and the beautiful Bobby Jones Golf Club. Want to raise kids in a good neighborhood? Alta Vista is safer than 79% of cities in Florida, making it ideal for families!
Home to Top-Notch Schools
There are a combined 86 public and private schools in Sarasota with many ranking in the top 20 for both Florida and the entire U.S.! If you’re seeking private schools for your kids, The Out-of-Door Academy and Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School both have students with high average ACT and SAT scores. Pine View School is ranked as the best public elementary school in America and takes pride in all of their students achievements. There’s also Riverview High School, an outstanding institution that values diversity, academics, and athletics. For those thinking about furthering their education, the Sarasota area also has many colleges to choose from, including University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Ringling College of Arts & Design, and New College of Florida.
Popular Spot for the Amish Community
The Sarasota area captivates people from all over the world who come to enjoy warm weather, the ocean breeze, and fantastic restaurants. And since the 1920s, Pinecraft has become a popular haven for members of the Amish and Mennonite communities who want to get away from the harsh northern winters. During the warm months, you’ll notice Pinecraft Park is buzzing with people fishing, exploring the hiking trails, or playing a game of shuffleboard. Every weekend, the streets of this Sarasota neighborhood are filled with people purchasing fresh produce and goods at the Pinecraft Farmers Market. There are also a handful of Amish restaurants in the neighborhood, Yoder’s Amish Village being one of the more famous places to eat in Sarasota.
Fun Things to Do that Everyone Will Love
You’ll never get bored with all of the fun and exciting things to do in Sarasota! Take a walk on the wild side and see some of nature’s most gorgeous creatures at Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary. Not only will kids be able meet adorable baby primates, but they will also get to see a majestic Liger. The adventurer in your family will love the Myakka River State Park for its ample opportunities for boating, fishing, kayaking, and tons of other outdoor activities. Check out the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium to observe manatees, or watch the Sarasota Ski-A-Rees put on a grand water ski performance. There’s truly no place like the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy! This extraordinary museum brings whimsical art to life and is one of the top things to do in Sarasota for kids of any age!
Visit the Great Ringling Estate
In 1911, John Ringling (one of the original owners of the “The Greatest Show on Earth”) and his wife Mable purchased land in the Sarasota area to call home during the winter months. Today, the Ringling Estate is home to some of the most spectacular and well-known Sarasota attractions. The Museum of Art holds an extraordinary collection of sculptures and paintings acquired by John Ringling himself, as well as rotating contemporary exhibits from all over the world. Locals and visitors of all ages flock to the Circus Museum to admire all of the beautiful costumes, performance props, hand-carved parade wagons, and other memorabilia from Ringling Bros circus shows over the past century. Located toward the back of the property, The Ringlings’ 56-room mansion (also known as Ca’ d’Zan) overlooks the Sarasota Bay. Take a peek inside to see how one of the richest couples in America lived!
Enjoy White Sand Beaches
Soak up the sun at one of the many Sarasota, Florida beaches! This city is home to shores with the finest white-quartz sand and some of the clearest waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Not to mention, any activity you can think of from scuba diving to hiking! Boasting 12 miles of shoreline, Longboat Key beckons visitors and locals to the dazzling waters of Whitney Beach and Beer Can Beach. Manasota Key has four beaches— Manasota, Blind Pass, Englewood, and Stump Pass—that are perfect for checking out all of Florida’s flora and fauna. If you’re looking for relaxation and rejuvenation, head over to Lido Key to spend time dolphin watching, sailing, or deep sea fishing at Lido Beach. Located in Siesta Key, Siesta Beach has earned the reputation of one of the best beaches in America, as well as one of the best places to go in Sarasota. Grab a few friends for a Sip-N-Cycle Cruise, or see artists put their skills to the test at the International Sand Sculpting Festival.
Get to Know Sarasota’s Incredible Food
People come for the beaches, but they stay for all of the amazing places to eat in Sarasota! You’ll find everything you could want and more in this foodie haven from delicious catches of the day to desserts that will melt in your mouth. Considered one of the best restaurants in Sarasota, Owen’s Fish Camp serves up only the freshest Soft Shell Crab BLT and Bourbon Pecan Pie with a side Southern hospitality! Head over to the Screaming Goat Taquiera for top-notch short rib tacos, or indulge in some comfort food classics like cheesy tots and pot roast at Made Restaurant. Looking for one of the best Downtown Sarasota restaurants for brunch? Station 400 is an absolute must! Try the Huevos Gringos, Truffle Eggs Benedict, or the Banana and Brown Sugar Pancakes, which are all favorites of locals and visitors alike.
A Bustling Nightlife & Bar Scene
Put on your dancing shoes and gather your friends—the streets come alive with all sorts of things to do in Sarasota at night! Known as Sarasota’s premier LBGTQ bar and entertainment venue, Oasis will have you moving your feet to live DJs until the sun comes up. Take in beautiful ocean views while trying over two dozen frozen daiquiri flavors at Daiquiri Deck. The Beach Club has everything from themed events to delicious drink specials—not to mention, it’s one of the most fun places in Sarasota to go any night of the week! Located in Downtown Sarasota, Pangea Alchemy Lab isn’t your typical bar or cocktail lounge. This speakeasy tucked inside a sandwich shop is pouring unique libations like boozy cereal and their famous Blue Mule. Whether you’re in need of a relaxed night with the girls or looking to get your dance on, you’ll be sure to find some fun in Sarasota!
Experience Florida’s Cultural Coast
Art connoisseurs of every kind will discover that the art scene in Sarasota is just as vibrant as it is diverse! Experience world-class opera performances at the Sarasota Opera House, or watch the dancers of the Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Cuban Ballet School, and Sarasota Contemporary Dance glide gracefully across the stage. The Asolo Repertory Theatre is Florida’s premier professional theatre and hosts up to 15 different productions each year, such as The Music Man, The Crucible, and locally-written plays. Searching for fun things to do in Sarasota with your friends or kids? The Circus Arts Conservatory offers a variety of sensational circus performances that are designed to make the audience feel as though they’re a part of the show! There are also eight different art exhibits to explore in the city, ranging from architecture galleries to galleries focused on contemporary and visual arts.
Perfect Location in the Florida Area
The great thing about living in Sarasota is that nearby Florida cities are a breeze to travel to when you’re in need of a weekend getaway! If you’re looking for a fun-filled, action-packed weekend, Tampa is only 60 miles north and home to attractions like Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Adventure Island. Known for its bustling nightlife, the Miami Dolphins, and Cuban-inspired cuisine, Miami is about four hours southeast of Sarasota, and it’s an excellent place to retreat for spring break. Orlando is less than three hours away from the Sarasota area and offers the ultimate mini vacation spot! Explore the Valley of Mo’ara at Disney World, wind through the streets of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort, or go on a space expedition at the Kennedy Space Center. No matter where you travel to, it’s just a quick drive back home to Sarasota!
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