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11 Things to Know About Living in Sarasota

Have you ever dreamed of living in a city where white sand beaches are right outside your front door? Then Sarasota might be your new place to call home! This Florida city isn’t just famous for breathtaking ocean views. It also has affordable housing, a vibrant art scene, delectable local cuisine, and much more. Here are 11 things you should know about living in Sarasota!

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 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 4.8% unemployment rate and is home to several major employers and corporations, such as JCI Jones Chemicals, United Natural Foods, Inc., CAE Healthcare, and many more!

Neighborhoods for Every Lifestyle

Closeup of front door on single-family home with flowered tree branches in front Photo by Instagram user @caseypins

Photo via @caseypins

Whether you’re relocating to Sarasota for a new job or searching for the best place to settle down within the city, there are plenty of neighborhoods that fit any lifestyle, including family-friendly areas and safe, affordable neighborhoods! Laurel Park is popular with singles and young professionals for its prime location near Sarasota nightlife and restaurants. If you’re looking for the best Sarasota neighborhoods for retirees, 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!

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Home to Top-Notch Schools

Rear view of bull mascot looks at campus building Photo by Instagram user @usfsm

Photo via @usfsm

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 scoresPine 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-ManateeRingling College of Arts & Design, and New College of Florida.

Popular Spot for the Amish Community

Sign Outside of Yoder's Restaurant in the Amish Village in Sarasota, FL. Photo by Instagram user @funkyruby

Photo via @funkyruby

The Sarasota area captivates people from all over the world with its warm weather, ocean breezes, and fantastic restaurants. 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. In 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 or from Yoder’s Produce Market. There are also a handful of Amish restaurants in the neighborhood, including the popular Yoder’s Amish Village!

Fun Sarasota Activities Everyone Will Love

Closeup of young otter in the water Photo by Instagram user @motemarinelab

Photo via @motemarinelab

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, where kids can meet adorable baby primates and a majestic Liger. Savor the adventure at Myakka River State Park with outdoor activities like boating, fishing, and kayaking. Check out Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, where you can observe manatees or watch the Sarasota Ski-A-Rees put on a grand water ski performance. And, of course, there’s truly no place like the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy, which brings whimsical art to life and is one of the top things to do in Sarasota with kids of any age!

Visit the Great Ringling Estate

Did you know Sarasota is known as “Circus City”? 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 and 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

Grab some rays at one of the many Sarasota 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. Check out Florida’s flora and fauna at one of Manasota Key‘s four beaches: Manasota, Blind Pass, Englewood, and Stump Pass. Head over to Lido Key to spend time dolphin watching, sailing, or deep sea fishing at Lido Beach. Explore one of the best beaches in America at Siesta Key and check out the Sip-N-Cycle Cruise or 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 restaurants 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 the freshest Soft Shell Crab BLT and Bourbon Pecan Pie with a side of Southern hospitality! Head over to the Screaming Goat Taquiera to chow down on some homemade Latin street food like short rib tacos. Indulge in comfort-food classics like cheesy tots and pot roast while also supporting local farmers, growers, and ranchers at Made Restaurant. Or settle in for brunch favorites like Huevos Gringos, Truffle Eggs Benedict, and Banana and Brown Sugar Pancakes at Station 400!

A Bustling Nightlife & Bar Scene

Closeup of blue and green rum drink with Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar building in background Photo by Instagram user @daiquierideck

Photo via @daiquierideck

Put on your dancing shoes and gather your friends—the streets come alive with Sarasota nightlife! Oasis, Sarasota’s premier LGBTQ+ bar and entertainment venue, 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. Visit The Beach Club, which has everything from themed events to delicious drink specials! Sneak into Downtown Sarasota speakeasy Pangea Alchemy Lab, where you can try unique libations like Rose All Day and their famous Blue Mule. Whether you’re in need of a relaxed night out with the girls or are 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 BalletSarasota 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 located only one hour north and is 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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11 Things to Know About Living in Sarsota