Fun things to do in Sarasota

  • ca d'zan
    ca d'zan
    by doug48
  • mable ringling rose garden
    mable ringling rose garden
    by doug48
  • Exterior of Ca' D'Zan
    Exterior of Ca' D'Zan
    by 807Wheaton

Most Viewed Things to Do in Sarasota

  • charlenemixa's Profile Photo

    Tee it up at University Park

    by charlenemixa Written Jun 6, 2014

    University Park Country Club located on the northern border of Sarasota. The Pro Shop has an excellent selection of clothing so we do some shopping before heading out for golf. With 27 holes, University Park has plenty of golf for its residents and visitors. Designed by world-renowned golf course architect, Ron Garl, the course maximizes and enhances the land’s natural characteristics. Playing as a twosome, we are off onto holes 10 -18 and 19-27. The course is in excellent shape and we have a terrific day of golf. Lot’s of challenges! Water comes into play on some holes and bunkers are ready to snatch errant shots. I especially love it! Playing from the back ladies tees of this championship course, I shoot my best round ever! An 83!

    Tip: This is an excellent course to play while in Sarasota. They also have a restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious lunch after or before golf.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining
    • Golf

    Was this review helpful?

  • charlenemixa's Profile Photo

    LeBarge Tropical Cruises -Funky Sightseeing!

    by charlenemixa Written Jun 6, 2014

    A two-hour LeBarge sightseeing tour is next on the schedule. Funky mermaids, live palm trees and a tiki bar create a fun atmosphere on the upper deck. As we board, everyone quickly moves to the canopied section of the upper deck for this scenic tour in Sarasota Bay. Funny stories, fascinating history and charming folklore are shared by our narrator giving excellent information and insight into Sarasota. Panoramic views of the city and islands from the bay are magnificent! Oo’s and ahs are frequent as we pass spectacular multi-million dollar, waterfront homes. Wildlife of numerous birds is abundant in the rookeries and mangroves along Lido Key and Siesta Key. Thrills erupt with everyone rushing to the port side, as bottlenose dolphins and a manatee are spotted. Relaxing, refreshing, and informative with terrific views, we leave with an even greater appreciation of this stunning city.

    TIP: This is a fun way to learn about Sarasota, see the mansions, the islands, dolphin, and more.
    Wear comfy clothing as it can get warm. Be sure to also bring sunglasses, a hat and sunscreen.

    A funky cruise! Great views of Sarasota!
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Cruise

    Was this review helpful?

  • charlenemixa's Profile Photo

    Ca d'Zan Mansion -Step into the Golden Era

    by charlenemixa Written Jun 6, 2014

    The Ca d'Zan Mansion is a fantastic tour. Learn all about the infamous couple, John and Mable Ringling. Our tour included the private rooms section and was excellent. A beautiful Mansion, with a wonderful history and well preserved. The views of Sarasota Bay are awesome. We highly recommend a tour of the Mansion as we learned so much about the couple, the home, its furnishings and more. We felt so connected with them and all they did for Sarasota. Amazing the man who was a huge success in the Circus Business was also a major factor in the Arts.
    Check out to see if the Mansion is having afternoon drinks on the expansive patio. This would be a great finish to a day of touring.

    Tip: Allow a full day for the Ringling Museums and Mansions. We ran out of time.

    Mabel's Rose Garden View Sarasota Bay from the top of the Mansion Intricate details in the architecture
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • TheTravelSlut's Profile Photo

    Chalk Festival brings street art to 3D life

    by TheTravelSlut Written Feb 28, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I attended my 1st Sarasota Chalk Festival in November 2012 and it was a 10 day event featuring the art form known as street painting where pavement is the canvas and simple, colored chalk as the medium.

    You might have seen some of the artistic pieces on TV or seen the photos in reading materials but you really don't and can't appreciate the beauty and amazing images until you see them in person.

    It is like a outdoor museum where you can interact with the artists who create original works of art and 3-dimensional images, along with re-creating old master paintings....and all while on their hands and knees in the middle of the street.

    The Festival theme in 2012 was "Circus City, USA" which relates to the city of Sarasota's being the winter homes of circuses for nearly 100 years.

    In addition to the street art, the Festival features two music stages, a performance stage with drama, dance, acrobatic and aerial performances by the world famous Wallenda family.

    The 2011 Chalk Festival drew 200,000 visitors and had over 500 International artists and became known as the premier and most important street painting venue in the world!

    This year, the painting also went vertical onto some art was everywhere. And there were street areas blocked off for art students and children to draw to their hearts content.

    Sarasota, Florida Chalk Street Art Festival Sarasota, Florida Chalk Street Art Festival Sarasota, Florida Chalk Street Art Festival Sarasota, Florida Chalk Street Art Festival Sarasota, Florida Chalk Street Art Festival
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Festivals
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • TheTravelSlut's Profile Photo

    Special events extraordinaire @ Chill Lounge

    by TheTravelSlut Updated Feb 28, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    ChillLounge is a event held in Sarasota on a regular basis and usually at unique venues and only for adults 21 and over.

    Some of the venues are indoors and some outdoors. If outdoors, blankets & chairs are permitted
    but coolers & picnic baskets are not.

    You can expect high quality food, beer, wine and liquor to be available for purchase and an ambiance that typifies a "Chill-axin" attitude with music, lounge chairs and couches, vendors and give-aways (freebies) and a more intimate and relaxing atmosphere.

    I have been to several Chill Lounge events, both indoors and outdoors, and the most recent being the Valentines Day concert and 'Return to Romance" with Triple Grammy Winner Jon Secada.
    Here is a short YouTube clip that is an overview of that event and is typical of most Chill Lounges.

    ChillLounge for Jon Secada Valentines Day concert ChillLounge for Jon Secada Valentines Day concert ChillLounge for Jon Secada Valentines Day concert ChillLounge for Jon Secada Valentines Day concert ChillLounge for Jon Secada Valentines Day concert
    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Food and Dining
    • Luxury Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Catch an Orioles game at Ed Smith Stadium

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Apr 5, 2012

    Ed Smith Stadium, not far from downtown Sarasota, is a great place to see a ball game. The stadium was recently remodeled, and it has all the features of a small modern park.

    Originally constructed in 1989, the stadium has been the Spring Training home of the White Sox (1989–1997), the Baltimore Orioles (1991), and the Cincinnati Reds (1998-2008). The stadium was vacant in 2009, but the city drew the Orioles when they agreed to a $31.2 million renovation of the stadium at the taxpayers' expense.

    The seats in Ed Smith Stadium, are said to be seats that were removed from Camden Yards during its last major renovation. The stadium can seat 7,428 spectators, without room for about 1,000 standing room patrons.

    We saw the Pittsburgh Pirates play the Orioles here during Spring Training 2012. Somehow we lucked into first row seats right next to the Pirates dugout, so we really enjoyed watching our Buccos beat up the Orioles. The final score on March 14, 2012 was 11-5 for the Bucs, with Alex Presley, Garrett Jones, Josh Harrison and Neil Walker each picking up two hits. The Pirates starter, James MacDonald struggled a bit, giving up 5 runs in 3 innings, the relievers were nearly flawless giving up only one hit over the remaining 6 innings. Besides MacDonald, we saw 2012 big leaguers Joel Hanranhan, Jason Grilli, and Evan Meek pitch.

    We parked just a block from the stadium for about $10 a car.

    Was this review helpful?

  • milan2003's Profile Photo

    Historic Spanish Point - quite a surprise!

    by milan2003 Written Feb 18, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I found this place to be quite a little gem. Again, as anything sarasota-focused, it's accessible for all ages and abilities. This is not a hike nor a jungle adventure. It *is* however a really lovely stroll in beautiful gardens...past various structures, and with a genuine slice of history....

    From people living there over 4000 years ago (and escavations done, finds also kept in the Smithsonian, burial grounds) to US settlers (The Webbs) at the turn of the century (building their home, boats, planting orchards, a long family history) to the home being purchased and developed as a winter home by the Palmer's with gorgeous gardens and an eye for conservation (at one point this family owned 1/4 of Sarasota) - this is a great side trip.

    It's easy to find, about 15 minutes drive from Siesta Keys...and accessible for all. Call in advance if you want a tour with a volunteer - they give a few each day (my guide was over 70 years old and was a font of information of the history of this property and of Florida).

    The whole area is about a mile walk....but it actually *can* take you around 1.5-2 hours...taking your time...listening to the history...seeing the different parts. The views are outstanding and I'm in love with Mangroves. My new passion!

    There's no food on site, but you can get a water or soda in the main house - when you drive in. They have a nice map on their site.

    From their site: "Historic Spanish Point encompasses 30-acres of shoreline on Little Sarasota Bay. The nature trails have benches and shade and are either paved or garden shell. Approximate total of all paths is 1.3 miles.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Sarasota Courthouse

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jul 28, 2011

    Sarasota County was established in 1921 when Manatee County was split. The courthouse was designed by architect Dwight James Baum in a style described as "a synthesis of Spanish Colonial Revival and Spanish Renaissance with Baroque and Rococo elements." The historic courthouse was built in 1926-1927 by Stevenson and Cameron, Inc. In1984, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

    A plaque at the site reads:


    After the formation of Sarasota County in 1921, a permanent seat of government was needed. This site, once an Indian village, was donated by Charles and Edith Ringling to be used for a courthouse "forever." A bond issue was authorized and Dwight James Baum was commissioned to design this Mediterranean style structure. To symbolize the balance of power there are two wings, one for administration, the other for judicial purposes. A tower and reflection pool connected them. Construction began in 1926 and was completed in 1927. Additions to the original building have kept that Mediterranean theme.

    Sarasota County Historical Commission 1982.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Central Cocoanut Historic District

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jul 26, 2011

    The Central-Cocoanut Historic District was designated is a U.S. historic district on June 17, 2005. It is located in Sarasota, along Cocoanut Avenue, between 11th & 22nd Streets to the south and north, and Tamiami Trail & a set of railroad tracks to the west and east.

    The architecture here Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals, Late 19th And Early 20th Century American Movements

    This is the largest historic district in Sarasota county.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    Lido Key & St. Armand's Key

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jul 26, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Lido Key is a barrier island just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Sarasota, Florida. Lido Key features sandy beaches, numerous resorts, and a nice area of restaurants and bars that is actually located on adjacent St. Armand's Key. South Lido Park is at the which has a beach and a woodland trail. Lido Key is connected to downtown Sarasota by the John Ringling Causeway.

    Harding Circle is the commercial heart of St. Armand's Key, and really Sarasota as well. The small neighborhood features distinctive architecture, exclusive shops, galleries, exotic boutiques, and a variety of restaurants including a location of Tampa's famous Columbia restaurant. The circle was named after President Warren G. Harding who held office when the roads were laid out by John Ringling in the early 1920s.

    Bridge between Sarasota and Lido Key

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    City of Sarasota Island Park

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jul 1, 2011

    Island Park is actually a peninsula off downtown Sarasota that is very popular due to its location and activities available. Located right along the water, it has a children's playground, a lawn area for pets, well-maintained walking paths along the water, and even a few restaurants.

    mature shady trees
    downtown skyline

    Marina Jack's waterfront restaurant, arrive by car, foot, or boat.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Touring Laurel Park Historic District

    by AnnFlorida Written Jun 22, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I live in Sarasota but until very recently had not spent much time wandering and discovering the downtown. It's very walkable, friendly and diverse. I've found a few wonderful historic neighborhoods right in the heart of Sarasota. Laurel Park is my favorite and one of the oldest and most interesting. It received designation as a National Register of Historic Places District recently.
    There is a website for it - and I was able to download a tour map from the site and also grab oodles of information about the district and learn about links to plenty of resources. The tour map was handy to have and worked well as a guide.
    The district is full of cottages, bungalows, and a few stately Spanish / Med-Rev residences. I understand it is one of the most sought after neighborhoods to live in in the downtown core.

    If you go tour the district it is next to Burns Court so there are restaurants, small boutiques and resale shops that are wonderful. Towles court, an artist colony is adjacent to it also . It's to the north of the district.

    Rawls Avenue Osprey and Oak Columbia Court
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo

    "Unconditional Surrender" Kiss Statue

    by Ewingjr98 Updated May 30, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My favorite landmark in the city is the "Unconditional Surrender" Kiss Statue. This piece of public art is designed after a famous photograph of an anonymous sailor kissing a stranger in Times Square the day the Japanese surrendered to end WWII.

    The actual kiss took place in Times Square on V-J Day in 1945, between an unknown sailor and a nurse named Edith Shain. The kiss was photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt and published in Time Magazine. The artist who created the 26-foot tall statue is J. Seward Johnson.

    The city agreed to display the statue for at least a decade after a local military veteran donated $500,000 in 2010. This was not without controversy, as many local argued this is not art, but a tacky piece of

    Was this review helpful?

  • tampa_shawn's Profile Photo

    Sarastoa Sight Seeing Tour

    by tampa_shawn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Orange Line Tour of Sarasota.

    "Relax in the comfort of our air-conditioned bus and learn how Sarasota became the town it is today. See it's 1st brothel, discover the history of the Ringling Bros. Circus. Get inspired by the funky, eclectic galleries and homes of the Towles Ct artist colony, plus much more!" (from their ad)

    Call to ensure they are running - depending on the season may be running outlying tours too

    Tours are approximately 2:15min.

    $35pp Senior and group rates available.

    * 1st tour: 9:30 a.m.
    * 2nd tour: 1:45p.m.

    Was this review helpful?

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo


    by LoriPori Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    One of our first stops was at the SARASOTA VISITOR INFORMATION CENTER. We needed some maps of the area and brochures on what to see and do in the area. Well, got lots of info as this was one huge information center. The ladies there were so helpful. I even bought some post cards there as they were 4 / $1.00

    Sarasota Information Center
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Sarasota Hotels

See all 71 Hotels in Sarasota

Latest Sarasota Hotel Reviews

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Sarasota
44 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 25, 2014
Suntide Island Beach Club
53 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 3, 2014
Comfort Inn - North Tamiami Trail
68 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 26, 2014
Hibiscus Suites Inn
167 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 8, 2014
Tropical Shores Beach Resort
803 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 9, 2014
Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel
690 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 11, 2014
The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota
905 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 11, 2014
Siesta Sands Beach Resort
60 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 11, 2014
Timberwoods Vacation Villas
23 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 19, 2014
Beach Palms Of Siesta Key Village
54 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 23, 2014
Turtle Beach Resort
237 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 9, 2014
Holiday Inn Sarasota-Lido Beach
525 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 8, 2014
Siesta Beach Resorts And Suit
263 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 30, 2014
Golden Host Resort
81 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 8, 2014
Quayside Inn
1 Review & Opinion
Latest: Sep 25, 2004

Instant Answers: Sarasota

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

86 travelers online now


Sarasota Things to Do

Travel tips and advice posted by real travelers and Sarasota locals.
Map of Sarasota