I find the need to create all of these posts about places that we visit but until now hadn’t thought to create a post about where we live, work and play all the time. Lots of people travel to Sarasota, Florida for vacation and are looking for good places to eat, things to do and places to stay.
I’ll be updating this guide as new things pop up. Let me know if you end up checking any of these places out and what you think of them!
Station 400: great breakfast option, one of our favorite acai bowls! Downtown and Lakewood Ranch locations. The downtown location is an old train station that was moved to Sarasota–very cool!
First Watch: I had no idea this was a national chain–it feels like a great little local cafe. I love the changing menus and the use of quality ingredients. Healthy options for all types of eaters.
Sun Garden Cafe: Siesta Key favorite! Great breakfast place especially if you can sit outside. Just a great atmosphere with great service. Aaron loves the Elvis Fried Chicken plate—pure junk food!
5-0 Donuts: Located downtown near the jail, they have their theme down perfectly. Crazy donuts everyday like boston creme, waffle donuts topped with everything, and so much more. Check their facebook page for a list of the donuts for the day. They are open from 7 am until they sell out, which somedays can be quite early.
Korean SSAM Bar: Korean food is kind of new to Sarasota and we are so happy it is here! We stumbled upon this little hole in the wall and love it so much. The whole place is run by a Korean family and they make sure you are well taken care of. So good! Try the kim chee pancakes.
Miss Saigon: There are other Vietnamese restaurants in Sarasota but we think this one is best. Great beef stew, great pho, and they are one of the only places to offer Vietnamese sandwiches. Prices are so reasonable and they are just so so nice.
Boca Kitchen Bar and Market: Farm to table concept, great cocktails and amazing atmosphere.
Lila’s: Vegan and non-vegan friendly, lots of interesting options, loved their chocolate tart!
Nancy’s BBQ: authentic BBQ, great outdoor seating, options for vegetarians and vegans but the smell of cooking meat might turn some off. I prefer the downtown location to the Lakewood Ranch location.
Owen’s Fish Camp: Old Florida style with new southern cooking. My favorite is the fried green tomato salad.
Mandeville Beer Garden: While not my favorite place for food, I love the atmosphere. Outside tables, ping pong and cornhole, lots of beer choices and totally family friendly.
Baker and Wife: I have only been here once and loved it! I just don’t think about it when we go out. Definately give it a try! Loved their brick oven pizzas!
Indigenous: date night restaurant, although my friend Mary regularly dines there with her kids in tow, great seasonal food, local, fresh seafood. So good!
- Siesta Key Beach: Just a beautiful place that you really should see. The sand is like no other. Pure white sand that doesn’t get hot to the touch. It is a magical place. Get there early to avoid the crazy parking scene or just bring patience and wait for a spot.
- Siesta Key Beach Drum Circle: Happening on Sunday evenings about an hour before sunset, this event seems to grow every weekend. Feel free to bring a drum and participate or just watch and feel the festivities. Such a beautiful end to a week.
- Lido Beach: This is our favorite beach because there is always parking and it is a lot easier to get to the water that at Siesta. Park at the pavilion and walk north towards the sandbar and nesting habitat for seabirds. Such a great place to be at sunset and it is super close to downtown and St Armand’s Circle for dinner or ice cream after.
- Paddleboard or Kayak the Lido Mangrove Tunnels: This is a pure highlight for any vacation! Either rent equipment or schedule a guided tour and paddle through amazing mangrove tunnels filled with beautiful exotic birds. You can almost always see manatees and dolphins while out on your paddle. Great way to get some exercise and a tan!
- Myakka River State Park: Although only about 20 minutes away from downtown Sarasota, this is it’s own world. Lots of giant alligators sun themselves while you can watch from a safe place above. A very cool and short canopy trail hike plus lots of longer hikes and bike ride options.
- Robinson Preserve: Although about 30 minutes from downtown, this is such a great place to go to ride bikes, walk, run or even paddle. There is a great boardwalk and an observation tower with amazing views of where Tampa Bay connects to the Gulf of Mexico.
WHERE TO STAY
I’ve got to do some research on this! Since we live here, I haven’t really checked out any of the hotels. I have only stayed at a hotel here once and it was the Ritz Carlton for my anniversary. Since then, there have been a few new hotels that have popped up–I’ll have to check them out. I will make it my own personal mission to do a stay-cation and report back. I love hotels so this won’t be a difficult task. As soon as I get some more information, I’ll update this. In the meantime, feel free to reach out via social media for advice.