Top 5 Things to Do in Sarasota | Sarasota Photographer

As a Sarasota Photographer, we appreciate Sarasota as the cultural capital of Florida. Sarasota is home to the Ringling College of Art and Design and in many ways, its development can be attributed to John Ringling and his business partner, Owen Burns. The history of Sarasota is rich with romance and dedicated visionaries. Also home to the world’s best beach, Siesta Key. It’s azure waters lure in visitors all year long and it’s beauty romanticizes most who stumble into Sarasota looking for a tropical oasis. 

If you are planning a trip to Sarasota’s White sand shores, then you’ve probably already heard about it’s splendor. As Photographers in Florida, Sarasota has a special place in our hearts, as an artist’s paradise. There is so much to do and see in Sarasota and surrounding areas, so we have narrowed it down to our 5 favorites. 

1.) Ringling Museum of Art and Design

Whether you are a connoisseur of fine art or just appreciate its beauty – this museum has something for everyone. It’s a magnificent museum that beholds some of Florida’s finest works of art. John Ringling, you may have heard of him (a Ringling brother, of Ringling brother’s circus) was an avid art collector. His art collection is grand and extensive. You will love wandering the museum and looking at all of the history and artwork that gathers here. The Museum also pays homage to Sarasota’s rich architectural history. You will enjoy a circus museum that is unique and fun for kiddos of all ages, even adult kiddos! One of my favorite aspects of this museum is that you can also tour John Ringling’s  winter home, C’ d’Zan, and learn all about how he influenced Sarasota’s evolvement from a tiny fishing village to the cultural capital of Florida. This is a must-see! 

2.) Siesta Key 

If you are looking to relax on a cool white sand beach (who isn’t) then do not overlook Siesta Key. It’s cerulean waters and fine quartz sand make it a tropical oasis that has been voted the best in the world. The same beaches that inspired Sarasota’s visionaries will inspire you to kick off your shoes and never want to leave! Don’t head downtown before you soak in a classic gulf coast sunset. 

3.) Dwight James Baum’s Architectural Treasures

As I mentioned before, Sarasota is the cultural capital of Florida and its architectural charm aligns perfectly with that title. Whether you appreciate historic homes, like C’ d’Zan or just like to be surrounded by beauty, James Baum’s designs are astounding. I believe they are essential to experiencing Sarasota’s tasteful atmosphere. The courthouse, which has been fully restored, is a splendid example of Sarasota’s cultural opulence. Herald Square in downtown Sarasota was also designed by Baum and is equally charming. Unfortunately, the El Verona Hotel, late named John Ringling Towers, was demolished in the 90’s.

4.) Downtown Shopping and St. Armand’s Circle

St. Armand’s circle is a shopping district with an island atmosphere. With high end boutiques, galleries and some of the best restaurants in Sarasota – St. Armand’s Circle is a must-see during your trip! Enjoy strolling around the pedestrian friendly circle with the calming aroma of Lido Key in the distance. Window shop and enjoy the view of statues and lush greenery. End your evening with a delicious meal at Sarasota’s iconic Café L’Europe and a painterly sunset on Lido Key. 

5.) Marie Shelby Botanical Garden

Among one of Sarasota’s many attractive qualities, is the lush landscape of tropical plants and palm trees. Escape to Marie Shelby’ Botanical gardens to enjoy spectacular water views amongst a garden of orchids. 

We hope you fall in love with Sarasota too and enjoy this gulf coast gem. While escaping to the west coast of Florida, also consider Little Gasparilla Island!