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20 Things to Do in Your First Week in Downtown Sarasota

Judy Limekiller  |  May 21, 2023

20 Things to Do in Your First Week in Downtown Sarasota

Residents of Sarasota enjoy a lavish coastal lifestyle with no shortage of options for adventure. Whether it's raining, hot, or just right outside, there are plenty of things to do in downtown Sarasota to keep you busy and happy. If you are moving to downtown Sarasota and planning your first week, you’ve come to the right place! From the beach to the brewing companies, read on to learn more.

Fun for all ages

1. Head to the Sarasota Farmers’ Market

Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Visit the Sarasota Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings, where you can find more than an array of homegrown fruits and vegetables. There are also baked goods, arts and crafts, handmade soaps, and even gourmet dinner items!

2. Explore the Sarasota Classic Car Museum

The Sarasota Classic Car Museum showcases impressive vehicles from the 1930s to the 1990s, with vintage wheels in every shape and style, from Ferraris and Cadillacs to Lincoln sedans and Lamborghini sports cars.

3. Take a trolley tour

The friendly and helpful drivers of Sarasota Trolley Tours love showing people around their beautiful city. Enjoy a guided downtown tour of St. Armands Circle, Siesta Key, and more from a classic Sarasota trolley!

4. Check out the Crowley Museum & Nature Center

Discover what life was like in Florida from 500 BC to 1650 AD, and spearfish in the museum's fabricated shoreline! Explore the sawgrass marsh and nature trail as you stroll along swamps and expansive oak trees.

5. Watch a polo match

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Head to the Sarasota Polo Club from January to April to watch a polo match on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. When the gates open, you'll have a few hours to eat, drink, play lawn games, and have fun; the whole thing feels more like a big tailgate party!

6. Catch a thrill at TreeUmph Adventure Course

If you’re a thrill seeker, don’t miss TreeUmph Adventure Course, where you’ll find a laser show and an aerial ropes course to test your skills. You can zipline through the treetops for spectacular views and savor a scrumptious meal in their restaurant.

7. Head to the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy

This museum is full of art, artifacts, displays, and "find-it" games that take you on a trip around the world. Enjoy immersive experiences like "The Salon," where you can wear clothes from fairy tales, and logic puzzles in "Revenge of the Mummy," where you'll use pen and paper to solve math problems or decode hieroglyphs.

Fun for the kids

8. Learn at the Circus Arts Conservatory

One of the best parts of being a kid is trying new things and discovering new places. Kids ages 5 to 12 can take classes to learn fun skills like juggling, tight-wire walking, unicycle riding, and more from experienced, encouraging, and patient teachers. The conservatory also hosts incredible shows, like the Jazz Club of Sarasota and the Summer Circus Spectacular.

9. Explore the Sarasota Children's Garden

The Sarasota Children's Garden is an excellent place for the whole family. You can walk along their winding paths or join one of their educational programs, such as gardening, cooking classes, art workshops, and more. Explore the many gardens, learn to make sushi at the ginger garden, or head to the prairie to see all kinds of native grasses and wildflowers.

10. Feed the cows at Dakin Dairy Farms

Head to Dakin Dairy Farms in Myakka City to enjoy wagon rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, and tasty homemade ice cream as you tour the farm and discover how it's made!

11. Party at Jumpin Fun Inflata Park

With inflatable bounce houses, an Airrider zip coaster, glow-in-the-dark parties, dodgeball pits, slides, and more, there is no shortage of fun here!

Beaches and parks

12. Enjoy the Sarasota beaches

The Sarasota area is replete with gorgeous sandy shores not far from downtown. Siesta Key and Lido Key are two of the most popular spots, with shimmering white sands — the perfect place for a picnic by the water. You can even rent stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and other water sports equipment from local outfitters.
If you don't mind driving a bit further, head to Longboat Key or Bradenton Beach. You can also visit Nokomis Beach and several beautiful beaches near Venice if you drive south.

13. Greet the dolphins in Sarasota Bay

Sarasota Bay is full of marine life, such as dolphins, manatees, and more. Many tour companies offer boat trips so you can see these amazing animals in their natural environment. You can also catch a sailing charter to get you out on the open water for an exciting day of exploring the Sarasota area.

14. Explore Myakka River State Park

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Myakka River State Park, about 30 minutes southeast of Sarasota, has a lot to offer, from trails and horse rentals to kayak tours. You can also fish from the pier and camp in a tent or an RV!

15. Find beauty at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

With serenity all around, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the perfect place to explore the wonders of nature. Learn about native plants, flowers, and trees during a self-guided tour, or follow one of the many tour guides. There are also special events where children can make crafts and watch butterflies come out of their cocoons.

16. Bike the Legacy Trail

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The Legacy Trail is a new path for walking, jogging, and biking that extends more than 10 miles all the way to downtown Sarasota. This is the perfect chance to enjoy the sunshine and get some exercise. There's even an outdoor gym!

Where the adults can play

17. Feel inspired at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is a beautiful mansion built in 1927. It has 60 rooms you can explore while touring the many exhibits throughout the house. You can also view pieces by Van Gogh, Matisse, and other well-known artists.

18. Take a tour of the Siesta Key Rum Distillery

If you want to see how rum is made in a working distillery, Siesta Key Rum Distillery is an excellent destination. They offer daily tours so that you can watch the process up close and personal, from mashing and fermenting to distilling.

19. Head to Big Top Brewing Company

Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Head to Big Top Brewing Company for several beers on tap. You can sit outside on their patio and enjoy the weather or stop by between 3 and 7 PM Monday through Saturday for their daily tours.

20. Enjoy the theaters and live shows

If you want to catch an astounding performance, the Sarasota area is full of options. The Sarasota Opera House, Florida Studio Theatre, and The Players Centre for Performing Arts put on a number of entertaining live performances, including operas, ballets, musicals, dramas, comedies, and live music. Additionally, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is another great place to see live performances and hear all kinds of music, from pop to classical and more. Musicians like Diana Ross, the Beach Boys, and Sting have played there in the past.

Ready to get started?

If you’re intrigued by all that the Sarasota area has to offer, you might be interested in learning about downtown Sarasota real estate. Get in touch with trusted real estate agent Judy Limekiller for top-notch service and insight into the community.

*Header photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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