Sarasota is a city with approximately 52,000 residents, located on the west coast of Florida in Sarasota County. Sarasota offers much in the way of culture, including the top-notch Asolo Repertory Theater and a resident opera company. But plenty of residents think the city?s greatest assets are its location on beautiful Sarasota Bay and its proximity to gorgeous beaches. Its beach on Siesta Key was named the best beach in America in 2011 by ?Dr. Beach,? Dr. Stephen Leatherman, Director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University.
Sarasota owes some of its cultural heritage to the influence of the Ringling family and its circus, which made Sarasota its winter headquarters in the early 20thCentury. It?s because of John Ringling that Sarasota has a world-class art museum and a circus history museum, which visitors can tour.
Sarasota's most popular neighborhoods surround its burgeoning downtown, which boasts new shops, restaurants and an art scene. Gillespie Park and Paver/Ringling Park are two hot neighborhoods nearby. But one of the most sought-after areas is the barrier island of Lido Key, which offers beautiful beaches.
Apartments for rent in Sarasota are, overall, more affordable than in Florida?s major metro areas.
Mote Marine Laboratory ? A non-profit founded more than 50 years ago to study sharks, this lab now also conducts research on man?s impact on Florida?s marine environment. Visitors can see sharks, manatees, sea turtles and other creatures.New College of Florida ? Located on Sarasota Bay, adjacent to the Ringling Museum, New College is the smallest school in Florida?s university system, with about 900 students.Ringling College of Art and Design ? This private school of 1,300 students is a leader in teaching the use of technology in the arts.Marie Selby Botanical Gardens ? A 13-acre bayfront garden devoted to orchids and tropical plants.
The former home of circus owner and art collector John Ringling is now a popular attraction on Sarasota Bay. (Photo courtesy of Hans Olav Lien.)
Sunset on Siesta Beach. (Photo courtesy of Jsarasota.)