Today’s Hidden Gems travel guide to Sarasota, Fla. comes from Jenna of A Savory Feast!
I’ve been living in or near Sarasota, Florida my entire life. I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over Florida, and Sarasota is still one of my favorite places in the state! It’s a gorgeous city with a great mix of everything Florida — the beach, the city and the country.
Trying new restaurants, seeing the sights and going on adventures is what I love to do, and Sarasota has been a great place to do this. Even though I’ve lived here so long, I’m always finding something new.
The city has been growing a lot lately, and it’s an exciting place to be! The Mall at University Town Center just opened here, and it sparked a lot of growth in the area.
Click through to see Jenna’s Sarasota Travel Guide!
EAT + DRINK
- Station 400 — This cafe is located in an old train depot. Everything they serve is amazing! I can’t decide whether I like their breakfast options better or their lunch options.
- Perq — Relax after a day of shopping or visiting the beach with a cup of coffee. This is (in my humble opinion) the BEST local coffee in Sarasota.
- Kazu’s 2.0 — If you are looking for a great place for a late night drink and snack, this is it. After 10 p.m., they have “happy hour” with $4 and $5 sushi rolls and deals on drinks. They have a huge menu of craft beers on tap and by the bottle, along with a variety of sake.
- Crab & Fin — Wanting to splurge a little? This is the place to go! Located on beautiful St. Armands Circle (learn more under SHOP below). Their pasta dishes are so worth the carbs.
- Thai Wasabi — Sushi is my favorite type of food, and this is still my favorite place to get it in Sarasota. You have to try the U-LaLa. It will change your life!
- Sweetberries Eatery & Frozen Custard — This is my family’s favorite meetup location! Their food is incredible, and their frozen custard is even better. You have to at least stop by for some custard while you are in town. You won’t regret it!
- The Breakfast House — Get a homestyle breakfast on your way to the beach. If it’s nice out, ask to sit outside. They have an adorable garden seating area.
- Daiquiri Deck — This is my favorite place to stop for a ice-cold drink and a salty snack after a day at the beach. Plus they are open late, and always have a lot of fun events going on at night.
- Siesta Key Beach — Known for it’s perfectly white sand, Siesta is my favorite beach to visit in Sarasota. (Yes, we have more than one!)
- Ringling Museum and Gardens — There is so much to do here! Visit the museum, explore the historical mansion or tour the grounds and gardens. You can walk around the grounds for free, which is usually what I do.
- Mote Aquarium — Lots of fun for kids and adults alike! I have so many memories of going with my cousins as kids, and Andrew and I had so much fun going here on a date, too.
- Sarasota Jungle Gardens — This is another place kids will love, but is also fun for adults to explore. See alligators and giant tortoises, hold birds on your arm, visit the reptile house and take a walk around the gorgeous gardens.
- Van Wezel — Sarasota’s performing arts center is a great place to see concerts, musicals and other fun events. Visit their website to see what is going on during your stay.
- Selby Gardens — These gardens are a beautiful place to spend the afternoon. In addition to all the plants and flowers, it’s also the home of the Historical Selby House.
- Sarasota Classic Car Museum — If you are traveling with someone who loves cars, they will go crazy for all these classic cars. My brothers always loved visiting the museum, and it was fun for me, too!
- Myakka River State Park — If you want to see an alligator in the wild while you are in Florida, this is the place to go! There is also a canopy path to explore.
- The Mall at University Town Center — I mentioned this one earlier, and it’s currently one of my favorite places to shop in the area. After you explore the mall, check out all the other great shopping within walking distance.
- St. Armands Circle — This is one of my favorite areas to visit for date night! There are lots of cute local shops and fine dining options. It’s also a short walk to Lido Beach.
- Siesta Key Village — Get your beach souvenirs here. There are lots of cute little shops to visit, as well as tropical restaurants and much more.
- Sarasota Farmer’s Market — Spending a Saturday morning at the farmer’s market is so much fun! Even if you don’t need vegetables, there are lots of local vendors selling handmade candles, soaps, artwork and much more.
- Lakewood Ranch Main Street — I love visiting the shops and restaurants on Lakewood Ranch Main Street. Once you are done shopping, you can see a movie at the theater or get some dessert or coffee.
- Crowders Gifts & Gadgets — You can find souvenirs, funny gifts, Vera Bradley and Brighton products, and even fudge here! The store is a lot of fun to explore.
- Detweiler’s Farm Market — This Amish market is a great place to buy fruits and veggies, but it’s also filled with homemade baked goods, snacks, and more. You can even get an ice cream cone to enjoy while you shop.
- 1 hour: Tampa, Fla. — Just an hour away, you could drive to Tampa for the day or the evening. Visit Busch Gardens, go shopping, tour downtown or try some local restaurants.
- 2 hours: Orlando, Fla. — One of the best things about living in Sarasota is that we are less than 2 hours from Disney! You can take a day trip there without having to pay for another hotel. In addition to the parks, you can also visit Downtown Disney or shop at the Mall at Millenia.
- 3 hours: West Palm Beach, Fla. — Sarasota is on the west coast of Florida, but if you have time be sure to visit the west coast! One of my favorite towns to explore is West Palm Beach. It’s about 3 hours away, but perfect for a quick day trip.
Jenna is a food blogger at A Savory Feast. She loves to share her recipe creations, ranging from over-the-top desserts to simple and healthy dinner ideas. She is a Sarasota, Florida local who loves to visit the beach, drink coffee and spend time with friends and family.