Things to do and consume around Sarasota and Bradenton
June 27, 2008 2:41 PM   Subscribe

I'll be in the Sarasota/Bradenton, FL area this weekend for 3-4 days and was looking for suggestions on things to do. I was last there about 5 or 6 years ago so I've hit some of the highlights already (Ringling Museum, the Dali Museum and Busch Gardens). Any other suggestions would be great.

Looking through some old AskMefi questions I've seen that Red Mesa in St. Pete was recommended as a good restaurant and I might stop there for lunch on the way from the airport. Likewise any opinions on a nice place for dinner in Bradenton or Sarasota would be nice (I've been given recos for The Waterfront, Beach Bistro and the Sign of the Mermaid). And opinion on these or others would be greatly appreciated.
posted by mmascolino to Travel & Transportation around Sarasota, FL (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Go to the beach! At least, when I lived there, they had the absolute best beaches in the world.

Selby Botanical Gardens are nice as well.
posted by konolia at 3:01 PM on June 27, 2008

I spent several years in Sarasota as a student of New College, but we left in '99 so some of this information may be out of date.

El Greco is an astoundingly good Greek restaurant a few blocks away from the water on Main Street. Avgolemono to die for.

The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is literally across the road from the Ringling, but you may have already seen it. If not, it's a worthwhile diversion.

On preview, seconding konolia's recommendation of the beaches. Siesta/Longboat Keys are gorgeous but crowded. If you have the time, make the drive out to Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island. It's a little farther out than the Keys, but to me it's always felt much more like an island/beach community, and there are dozens of little restaurants and whatnot tucked away.

I know this is vague, but I hope it helps. If nothing else, hit the beach (any of them); you won't be disappointed.
posted by Shecky at 3:06 PM on June 27, 2008

I have family in Sarasota, so I've been there a few times on summer vacations. They own a comedy club in town, usually has pretty good acts come through if you enjoy that sort of thing.

Jungle Gardens is a great old school zoo/amusement park in Sarasota. Last time I was there they had flocks of flamingos just wandering around the grounds. I've been to El Greco and if you like Greek food it is pretty good, plus they bring flaming cheese to your table!
posted by Palmcorder Yajna at 3:25 PM on June 27, 2008

If you're thinking beaches, the one at Ft. de Soto park was named the best beach in the US.
posted by nulledge at 3:40 PM on June 27, 2008

Anna Maria Island
posted by 6:1 at 3:44 PM on June 27, 2008

See if you can get someone to take you out to Egmont Key -- very cool place with some abandoned forts to explore. There's also Fort Desoto, between south St. Pete and St. Pete Beach. I went to school at Eckerd College, which is right near there. Lots of neat little islands to explore.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 4:05 PM on June 27, 2008

If by nice meal, you mean "one of the best meals you will ever have IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE" then go to Euphemia Haye on Longboat Key. Rather expensive ($20-$50 per entree). If you don't want to splurge, they have a dessert loft. Check out their Prix Fixe deal at $35. Two specialialities are the Roasted Duck and the Peppered Steak.
posted by MCTDavid at 8:20 PM on June 27, 2008

Fort Desoto beach. Always voted one of the top beaches in the WORLD, and very much worth the drive and the toll.

Oh, and if you're a carnivore, I have heard that Berns Steak House is brilliant. If you really want to be decadent without meat, their Dessert Room is just that, and even more.

Welcome to my neck of the world!
posted by willmize at 9:54 AM on June 28, 2008

If you didn't take the tour last time you were at the Ringling museum, check out the Ca da Zan.
posted by thewrongparty at 8:53 PM on June 28, 2008

If you have time, I suggest Myakka River State Park. It's beautiful, if a bit buggy this time of year.

When I lived there, there was also a place to ride horses called Wishful Thinkin' Farms, about an hour from Sarasota. They do one hour guided trail rides and take riders of all levels.
posted by bilabial at 12:10 AM on June 29, 2008

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