There's nothing we love more than getting the local scoop, so we asked Florida native Jenny Agress to arm us with some insider knowledge... 

 

As one of Florida’s most beautiful coastal cities, Sarasota is a dazzling oasis of glowing sunsets, tasty restaurants, whimsical storefronts, adorable walking streets strung with lights, art galleries, affluent locals, and of course, those outstanding Florida views. And if you only have a spare weekend to visit, follow our guide below to make sure you make the most of your time in paradise – trust us: every minute there is worth it.

 

Friday

(AKA Fri-Yay)

Daiquiri Deck St. Armands sarasotaPhotos courtesy of VisitSarasota.com

5 PM: Start your weekend with happy hour on St. Armands Circle.

When in Florida, start your weekend with a frozen daiquiri from Daiquiri Deck – it overlooks St. Armands Circle and has 2-for-1 daiquiris from 3 to 7 PM daily.

Mozaic RestaurantPhotos courtesy of VisitSarasota.com

7 PM: Have dinner at Mozaic Restaurant
          

Craving a culinary adventure? Look no further than Mozaic Restaurant. This elegant downtown Sarasota spot fuses Mediterranean ingredients with French cooking techniques and Moroccan flavours. Start with one of the locale’s famous salads, like the roasted baby carrot and avocado salad with goat cheese, grapefruit and coriander vinaigrette; and move on to entrées like raspberry duck breast with oven-roasted fingerling potatoes and green apple gastrique. Pair it all with a glass of wine from Mozaic’s extensive wine list, and it’s one tasty Friday, indeed.

Mattison’s City GrillPhotos courtesy of VisitSarasota.com

9 PM: Go bar hopping in Downtown Sarasota

Have a drink (or two) at some of Sarasota’s inviting local bars. Mattison’s City Grill, an award-winning al fresco restaurant, is know for its top-shelf martinis and Florida-chic vibes. Another classic is O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill, a beachfront watering hole with tasty drinks, good food and live music. It’s a popular spot for travellers, locals, and boaters; it’s not uncommon for locals to show up with their furry friends. 

 

Saturday

Did you know Sarasota is Florida's Cultural Coast®? With five professional theatre companies, two community theatres, the State Art Museum of Florida, Florida’s only professional ballet, and a professional opera, art-lovers could easily spend a week taking in the performing arts. But you only have a weekend. 

10 AM: Tour the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art 

John Ringling and his wife, Mable, might be most known for the Ringling Bros., but apparently they were also avid art collectors. Their 66-acre winter estate is named Cà d’Zan, and as Florida’s official state art museum, houses the Ringling’s personal collection of artworks. Catch a tour of Cà d'Zan and be sure to ogle at John Ringling's great room – it leads to a 40-by-40-foot chamber with chandeliers from the first Waldorf-Astoria hotel.

Tour the John & Mable Ringling Museum of ArtPhotos courtesy of VisitSarasota.com

 

12 PM: Eat lunch with a view at Shore Diner

Again, when in Florida, always stay near the water – this time, at Shore Diner. This stylish, open-air bistro resembles a mid-century Florida beach café, serves sea-to-table fare, and has an interesting menu of cocktails, fine wines and craft beers.

 

2 PM: Spend your afternoon walking around St. Armands Circle

St. Armands Circle is Sarasota’s most popular area. Wander down this enchanting walking area to find 100+ boutique shops, restaurants, bars, art galleries and more.

shopping sarasotaPhotos courtesy of VisitSarasota.com


7:30 PM: Head to Siesta Key for dinner at Ophelia’s

Sitting on the southern end of Siesta Key, Ophelia’s is an intimate, romantic restaurant known for its local, creative seafood. The floor-to-ceiling windows offer unbeatable water views, and the vibes are relaxed, elegant and very “Florida.”

 

9 PM: Stay on Siesta Key for some beach-bar-hopping

On weekend nights, this otherwise quiet beach area turns into a bustling social scene. Go to Siesta Key Oyster Bar for live bands late into the night, and move on to places like Gilligan's and The Hub for casual, beach bar vibes. For dancing, head to Beach Club – you can walk there from the other bars.

 

Sunday

8 AM: Grab award-winning crêpes and croissants at C’est La Vie.

Sitting right in the heart of downtown Sarasota, C’est La Vie is the closest you’ll get to "Ole Paree" on Florida’s West Coast.  First opened in 1997, this authentic French restaurant, bakery and café was one of the first restaurants in the area to offer outdoor seating – its owners, Christophe and Geraldine Coutelle, wanted this favoured spot to resemble the famed street-side bistros of Paris. Today, it is known for delicious crêpes and flaky French croissants. In fact, there are three croissants to choose from: almond, chocolate and apple. Try them all!

Siesta Key, Lido Key Beach and Longboat KeyPhotos courtesy of VisitSarasota.com

9 AM: Spend your last day at one of the Sarasota’s fabulous beaches

Today, take advantage of Florida’s best amenity: 35-miles of white sand beaches ! Six islands line the Sarasota coast, and every one just gets more and more beautiful. Of the six, Siesta Key, Lido Key Beach and Longboat Key are the most popular. Siesta Key has charming shops, colourful bungalows, shops and tasty restaurants that line the quartz-white Siesta Beach. Lido Beach, right near St. Armands Circle, is famous for its vibrant sunsets. Longboat Key is the most elegant of the bunch; it’s popular for its ritzy travelers, luxury hotels and breathtaking views.

 

Ready to plan your escape to sunny Sarasota?

Let Visit Sarasota lend a hand:
Things to Do | Places to Stay | Beaches 

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