Finding an Apartment for Rent in Sarasota, FL
Because there are so many college students and seasonal residents in Sarasota, rental opportunities are always abundant here. Best of all, you don't have to spring for a beachfront price tag in order to enjoy a beach town lifestyle; even if you live in a landlocked apartment complex near the airport, you'll be a pleasant fifteen-minute drive from Siesta Key's world-famous white powder beaches.
There's a big disparity between the million-dollar beach homes that line the coast and the rental units that surround Sarasota's three main colleges; however, these areas are often right next door to each other, so it's important to check local crime rates for yourself, visit at night, and knock on doors to see how residents like living there. If you do your homework, you'll be able to land an affordable Sarasota apartment in any part of town.
Top Neighborhoods in Sarasota, FL
If you want to live on the water but can't afford a luxury condo on the beach or downtown, head north to the New College area. It's very easy to find an affordable house to rent so close to Bradenton, especially in the sleepy beach neighborhoods along Bayshore Boulevard. For the cheapest rent prices in Sarasota, you can pick an apartment along Tamiami Trail and still be just a few minutes away from the water; historic Newtown also has low rent prices, but the downside is high crime rates.
Closer to the Interstate and Lakewood Ranch, families can pick from a variety of upscale apartment homes with all the usual modern amenities: pools, health clubs, and even exclusive boutiques and eateries. Lido Key, Siesta Key, and Longboat Key have the highest rent prices for condos and apartments, but you can still find small, affordable beach houses for rent in the neighborhoods closest to these islands.
Cultural Attractions in Sarasota, FL
The Ringling family helped turn Sarasota into the vacation destination it is today, but their enthusiasm for art and architecture also made it a great place to live if you like art and culture. A century after they hosted lavish parties on the Bay, the circus family's imprint is still everywhere. You can tour their former mansion, the Ca'd'Zan, where dozens of rooms are preserved in all their 1920's splendor. Next door is the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, where 31 different galleries surround a Renaissance-style courtyard that's almost as beautiful as the masterpieces inside. Within walking distance is the New College of Florida campus and the Asolo Rep Theatre, a professional Equity theater that hosts musicals, ballets, operas, plays, and other world-class performances.
Thanks in part to the Ringling School of Art & Design, Sarasota's historic downtown district is another hotspot for art enthusiasts. Galleries line Main Street, giant sculptures are staggered along Island Park, and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens offers otherworldly views of the sunset over Sarasota Bay.
Shopping in Sarasota, FL
It's hard to distract anyone from Sarasota's white sand beaches, so when tourists choose shopping over beach-combing, you know there's a reason. As you drive through St. Armand's Circle on your way to Lido Key, you'll wind past dozens of packed art galleries, gift shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafe, all of which offer a unique and distinctly Floridian shopping experience for visitors and locals alike. Glass-blown stingrays, one-of-a-kind jewelry, locally made wine, and designer shoes are among the sophisticated purchases you can make here. Siesta Key might have Lido's beaches beat, but its gift shop souvenirs aren't nearly as original or high-quality, and they don't have much to offer for locals.
For everyday shopping needs, head east on University Parkway and stop just before I-75. Miles away from the coast, the University Town Center is a one-stop spot for anything you could possibly need. Super Target, Total Wine, and Fresh Market are surrounded by dozens of other shops and stores, in a cluster of upscale plazas that maximize convenience. Meanwhile, the brand new Mall at University Town Center brings anchor stores Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, and Dillard's to the area.
Nightlife in Sarasota, FL
Forget all the sleepy stereotypes you've heard about Florida beach town demographics. Sarasota has several top-ranked universities and a thriving population of young artists and professionals, so there are plenty of beach clubs, dive bars, and pubs throughout its neighborhoods and beaches. Siesta Key Village lights up every single night, as beach-combers switch to bar-hopping along Ocean Boulevard. Indoor/outdoor bars that have earned landmark status for locals include the Siesta Key Oyster Bar(SKOB), Daiquiri Deck, Gilligan's Island Bar, and The Beach Club.
Near the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport on Tamiami Trail, more longtime local establishments fill up on weeknights and weekends alike. The Tropical Bahi Hut is tucked into a motel along the Trail, which might be a good thing for guests who order just one of their famous -- and famously strong -- Mai Tais. Growler's Pub is just down the street, offering billiards tables and dozens of draft beers, and Memories Lounge across the street is another longtime Sarasota institution, thanks to friendly and generous bartenders, traditions like free popcorn, and pool tables in back.
If you live downtown, you can walk to one of several Main Street spots to make new friends. Smokin' Joes Pub has your draft beer needs covered, while Pangea Lounge is a more upscale cocktail spot and The Gator Club is your best bet if you want to dance the night away.View Apartments in Sarasota, Florida
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