living in sarasota

Sarasota Area Information

Area Information

Sarasota Arts and Culture

The quality of professional theater, symphonies, ballet, opera and art galleries, surpass that of other counties five or six times the size of Sarasota.
Yes it is a community of small towns, but due to it’s strong economy and tourist base, the Arts here are a primary part of the culture

A message from the Sarasota Arts Council:
Sarasota County is called Florida’s "Cultural Coast" for good reason. Cultural offerings include an opera company, two symphonies, a ballet, a performing arts hall to rival Broadway, professional theaters for every taste, and innovative architecture, and architectural seminars and programs. Visual arts lovers can roam through our sophisticated galleries, antique shops, artists’ studios and fine crafts boutiques. Our acclaimed natural wonders include award-winning botanical gardens, natural parks and a world-class marine biology research center. And don’t worry that this all disappears in the summer. Our cultural arts season is 365 days long, filled with festivals, performance events, and visual art exhibitions.

To seacrch out all facilities by kind go to

Museums and Culture

Museum of Asian Art
640 S Washington Blvd, Sarasota, FL 941-954-7117

Selby Botanical Gardens
811 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 941-366-5731

Museum of Asian Art Admin
1299 S Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 941-952-0666

Gulf Wonder & Inagnation Zone
1001 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota, FL 941-906-1851

1001 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota, FL 941-906-1851

Florida Gulfcoast Railroad
Sarasota, FL 941-365-5738

Ringling School-Art & Design
2700 N Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 941-351-5100

Selby Gallery
2700 N Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 941-359-7563

Ringling School of Art & Design
2700 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 941-351-5100

Alyn Museum of Entomology
3621 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 941-355-8475

Holocaust Education Ctr
578 Mcintosh Rd, Sarasota, FL 941-378-8837

Sarasota Manatee Arch Family
578 Mcintosh Rd, Sarasota, FL 941-378-8837

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 941-359-5700

Historic Spanish Point
337 N Tamiami Trl, Osprey, FL 941-966-5214

Manatee Village Historical Prk
604 15th St E, Bradenton, FL 941-741-4075

Parker Manatee Aquarium
201 W. 10th St., PO Box 9265, Bradenton, FL 941-746-4131

South Florida Museum
201 10th St W, PO Box 9265, Bradenton, FL 941-746-4131

Palmetto Historical Commission
515 10th Ave W, PO Box 1192, Palmetto, FL 941-723-4991

Players School-Performing Arts
1460 Main St, Sarasota, FL 941-954-6565

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 800-826-9303

390 S. Nokomis Ave.
Venice, FL 485-7136
Music and Theatre

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
John and Mable Ringling Museum
The Players Theatre
Asolo Theatre
Florida West Coast Symphony
Sarasota Ballet
Sarasota Film Society
Sarasota Opera House
Sarasota Concert Band
Florida Studio Theatre
Art Galleries/ Visual Arts

There are over 150 galleries in Sarasota county
Antique stores

There are over 131 Antique stores in Sarasota County.
Add the stunning Ringling Estate to your travel plans. This treat for the senses includes the winter residence of John and Mable Ringling called Cà d'Zan, two Circus Museums including the Tibbals Learning Center, a Museum of Art featuring European, American and Non-western works with an impressive array of Old Masters paintings, the Historic Asolo Theater with performances daily and 66 acres of historic grounds and gardens all on beautiful Sarasota Bay.
This year, see the Museum like never before since the completion of the most extraordinary transformations of any museum in North America. The Museum has expanded with four new buildings including a Visitors Pavilion, the Tibbals Learning Center, the Education/Conservation Building and the Ulla R. and Arthur F. Searing Wing, which recently opened in February 2007. Within a mere six years, the new partnership between the local community and Florida State University at once restored the original Ringling Estate and expanded it to provide first-rate facilities
The Ca d'Zan Mansion
for a 21st century museum.
Today, visitors can stroll the magnificently restored rooms of Cà d'Zan, the palatial home of a Circus King. The dream home has a renewed spirit reflecting the Roaring Twenties and Mable Ringling herself.
Circus enthusiasts and children of all ages will rejoice in the new Tibbals Learning Center. The whimsical building doubles the size of the Museum's exhibition. of circus wonder with videos, interactive displays and the Howard Brothers Circus Model . The model, built by one man over 50 years, will blow you away! While a miniature by definition, it is gigantic in proportion at 3,800 square feet. In exact detail it features eight tents including the menagerie and Big Top, 152 wagons, 1,300 circus performers and workers, more than 800 animals and a 59-car train. You'll learn how the circus found its footing in America through a comprehensive exhibit of the history from the Greeks and Romans all the way through today with Cirque Du Soleil and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Once you've enjoyed the miniature, you will want to rush to see the originals at the Circus Museum next door. There you will find restored wagons, sparkling costumes and a human canon all documenting the history of the Circus and its impact on our culture.
The Historic Asolo Theater offers a diverse roster of performances and programs by such organizations as Artist Series of Sarasota, Theater for Young Audiences from the FSU School of Theater, Sarasota POPs, The Westcoast Black Theater Troupe, The Sarasota Film Festival and The Florida State University/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. The beauty and intimacy of the theater is said to be worth the price of a ticket simply to be seated.
The 21-gallery Museum of Art displays the Museum's permanent collection of works. Its collection was primarily amassed by John Ringling and reflects his deep passion for Baroque art. You'll awe at the stunning beauty of works by artists such as Rubens, van Dyck, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Velázquez, El Greco, Tiepolo, Gainsborough and Reynolds. In February 2007, the 20,000-square-foot Searing Wing displays traveling exhibitions. The Wing opened with two exquisite exhibitions: Encouraging American Genius: Master Paintings From The Corcoran Gallery Of Art and Bedazzled: 5,000 Years Of Jewelry From The Walters Art Museum. In Fall 2007 Cuban culture comes to Sarasota with Cuba Avant-Garde: Contemporary Cuban Art from the Farber Collection and in the winter the Ringling Museum will feature various pieces by artist Jacob Lawrence.
Every third Thursday of the month, you can also discover musical pleasures at The Ringling Museum. Live entertainment by local bands serves as a backdrop to Cocktails at the Cà d'Zan, the museum's monthly party at the historic mansion. You can boogie by the Bay with the locals for a $5 admission charge not included with museum entrance fees.
Admission to the Ringling Museum of Art is $19 for adults, $16 for seniors, $6 for children ages 6-17, members of the military and Florida teachers with valid identification. Admission is free for children younger than 6. Call 941-359-5700 or visit for more information.
In conclusion, the arts community in Sarasota County is strong and will even grow stronger. So if you like the arts and/or areaan artist, actor, musician, painter or writer and like a small community with lots of outdoor opportunities, Sarasota County could be the perfect place.


Cost of Living

The cost of living index is based on the composite price of groceries, housing, utilities, transportation, health care, clothing and entertainment.

Cost of living indexes will generally be higher in areas that offer access to beaches, culture, arts and recreation. In addition areas, that offer a wider variety of services such as health and education will run higher due to higher wages, and increased quality of living.

Cost of living indexing explanation
A figure of 100 points is used as an average both for the USA and Florida. For example:
Boise Idaho is ranked at a 99
Boston Mass is rated at 240
San Francisco at 217
Statewide, Florida cities come in from a low of 90 and up.
One way to compare Florida areas to salary requirements

For example-If you were relocating from Portland Oregon (whose rate 1s 94.0) to Orlando, and you currently make $50,000 per year, the formula is as follows
Take the destination index, in this case Orlando-94.0 and divide by Portland’s index-120, then multiply by a salary of $50,000. This will give you a figure of $39,166 which would be required to make in Orlando to have the same quality of life.
See comparable Florida statewide
* Re cost of living--in some areas Real Estate has went up dramatically however costs that factor in such as food, transportation, rents etc have not increased at the same rate-so in some areas, even though housing is expensive, the overall rating may still be low
2007 stats per Sperlings best Places

Boca Raton-154.74
Cape Coral-Ft Myers-108.0
Ft Lauderdale-132.0
Fort Walton-Destin-120
Jacksonville metro-94.0
Big Pine Key fl-132.46
Key Largo-146.0
Key West-168.0
Marathon fl-162.06
Miami metro-138.0
Naples Fl-250.59
Orlando metro-94.0
Palm Bay-84.56
Palm Coast-Flagler-125.01
Panama City-86.35
Pensacola metro-82.0
Tampa 94.60
St Pete-Clearwater-91.58
Vero-Beach Indian River-122.87
West Palm Beach metro-112.05
(Population Weighted-State Average=100
See national comparisons
Cost of living (100 = nationwide average)

* New York, NY -164.50
* Long Beach, CA -135.71
* Palo Alto, CA -234.42
* Boston, MA -127.60
* Malibu, CA -492.80
* San Francisco, -187.23
* Greenwich, CT 215
* Chicago, IL -126.45
* Dallas Tx -92,94
* Atlanta Ga -112.21
For more information about cost of living go to either
Sperlings best Places
or Accra's site at

Sarasota as of the 4th quarter 2006, comes in at 108.75
A lower cost of living means you keep more of what you make. That mixed in with a great quality of life makes the coastal communities of Sarasota County very appealing.

There is one thing you need to be aware of and that is the housing market is going through the roof. Prices have gone up 30 to 40 percent in just the last year—there is some sign that things are slowing down but in comparison to other parts of the country (see below) and given the lifestyle here, is why the areas real Estate market is hot


Minimum two bedroom single family homes in Sarasota
As of August 2005, the median sold price is $347,400.
New homes start at 270,000
Condo median price is $282,000

Water and sewer go to
Sarasota County 1750 12th Street
Sarasota, Fl 34230
Phone 941 955-2325 fax 941 365-4840
Florida Power & Light Company 941 917-0708
Peace River Electric Co-op, Inc.
Natural Gas Companies:
Teco People's Gas Systems, 8261 Vico Court
Sarasota, Florida 34240
1-877-832-6747(Toll Free)
Telephone Companies:
KMC Telecom
In conclusion, given Florida’s climate and Job opportunities and the outdoor recreation prospects, The Tampa Bay area can really make sense.
Why not live in a vacation spot?


A pollution free environment, great weather and outdoor recreational opportunities, plus the areas natural beauty, help you stay healthy.

Sunshine makes people feel healthier and improves your outlook on everything. After living in Florida for 10 years, I can tell you that it’s great to wake up to a warm climate and sunshine almost year round. It makes for a positive outlook on life. What’s your mood when it’s cold, drizzling and cloudy out?
Statistics for Sarasota County. As of 2004, there are:

64 assisted living facilities
69 major hospitals in the region (includes nearby tampa)
6 major hospitals in Sarasota County
3 adult day care centers
18 health care clinics
26 skilled nursing facilities
In all, there are 768 health facilities in Sarasota County.
Four Facilities really stand out

Bon Secour’s Venice Hospital
Doctors Hospital of Sarasota/Columbia HCA
Englewood Community Hospital
Sarasota Memorial Hospital
For specific information and address/phone number of health facilities, please go to

Sarasota County Health Department Post Office Box 2658 (34230-2658) 2200 Ringling Boulevard
Sarasota, FL 34237
941 861-2900
For major hospitals names and locations, go to

In addition you have all the facilities at the nearby Tampa area as well as FT Myers. For more specific go to those areas and see the health link.


Sarasota County has one of the best school systems in Florida. Educational opportunity abounds here, including some of the nation's most unique and effective public and private school programs.

The county's 33 public schools include 22 elementary schools, six middle schools, four high schools, as well as other mixed-grade facilities and various adult and exceptional programs.
The school district placed among Florida's top five on every section of the state's comprehensive assessment test. County high school students have scored consistently higher than the national average on the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test)

The county is a pioneer in incorporating leading-edge technology and distance learning into the classroom. All schools have Internet access and closed circuit TV through the County's Instructional Television System. There are over 10,000 instructional computers with an average ratio of 3 students per workstation. A full range of exceptional education programs is offered for both handicapped and gifted students.

For information on enrollment and immunization requirements, contact the Sarasota County School Board at 1960 Landings Blvd., 941 927-8811 and the Sarasota County Health Department at 2200 Ringling Blvd., 941 954-2900.

For a comparison of schools and school districts on a variety of criteria, view Florida School Indicators Reports at the Florida Department of Education's Web site.

Sarasota County school specifics:

22 Elementary Schools
7 Middle Schools
5 High Schools
5 College-Universities
1 Community colleges
1 Vocational-technical schools
8 special schools
58 private schools (95 including Bradenton area)
8 Charter schools
33 Child care and pre school centers
For a complete listing of Schools by Region and addresses go to:


Argosy University/Sarasota
Eckerd College
FSU Film School
Goshen College
Keiser College
New College of Florida
Ringling School Of Art And Design
Sarasota County Technical Institute
University of South Florida at Sarasota-Manatee
Junior/Community Colleges:

Manatee Community College
Vocational/Technical Schools:

Sarasota County Technical Institute
Other Schools:

Goshen College
Nova Southeastern Univ. - Graduate School
Webster University
For specific locations and more information-check with either the school district or your REALTOR.


Sarasota’s sub-tropical climate and mild Golf breezes, lets you enjoy makes outdoor recreational opportunities year round. Winter, spring and fall are filled with lots of sunshine.

The hottest month is August, with an average high of 91° F and an average low of 72° F. In January the average high temperature is 73° F and the average low is 51° F.

Normal annual precipitation is 51.76 inches, with the largest monthly totals accumulating from July through September.
Water temperatures range from 62 in January to 86 in the summer.

Sarasota Temperature Annual high average

Month Air
January 73.4
February 74.2
March 7 7.7
April 82.3
May 86.6
June 89.5
July 90.7
August 91.2
September 90.2
October 85.5
November 79.2
December 74.7
*To compare Sarasota weather with other major USA cities go here

Water temperatures go from 66 in January to 87 in July and August.

Other Weather Indicators Annual

Average Wind Speed 8.3
Clear Days 101
Partly Cloudy Days 143
Cloudy Days 121
Avg. Relative Humidity 74.0. To see stats by the month, go to
For hurricane information go to:

*Although it looks like we have lots of cloudy days, the sun is out almost year round and the clouds are partial-not like in the Northwest (where I’m from) and it will stay overcast and dark for weeks on end.

*Although we do get rain here-it is a tropical rain and comes and goes quickly and acts as a refresher to the hot days.

To see average January temperatures across the United States go to
Compare where you live or want to live in Florida. For more specific info, look at the area you are interested in and go to the weather page.

So what about Hurricanes, the rainy season and humidity?
We are a tropical climate, so our rainy season comes in the summer. Generally it will rain hard for a half hour then subside. It does get humid then. Although not as bad as you’d think. Our water breezes really help cool us off.
Despite four devastating hurricanes in 2004, the number of Florida visitors rose 7% to an all-time high of 79.8 million last year and is on target to hit 80 million this year.
To think on:
If you live on the coast you stand the greatest chance of having one affect you. Some areas of Florida have gone fifty years plus without one but you never know.
As a resident having lived in the Keys and now in central Florida I’ve been through them.

In my opinion, the best thing you can do is buy a home that was built after Andrew-August 92 that was built to stricter building codes. Have window protection and a backup generator and make sure your insurance is up to date. If they ask you to leave, do it!

Realize-If you live in an older home that was not built up to the stricter building codes (After Hurricane Andrew-August 1992) or you live in a mobile home you stand the best chance of having major structural damage.

Living on the beach in a mobile home is asking for it. Although, you may never have a problem, you’re still definitely taking your chances. Barrier islands and open-water Ocean or Gulf front are the most prone to damage.
Having lived in California, I prefer the threat of a hurricane however as opposed to an earthquake. At least you have a warning.

For current information about hurricanes go to
For 2005 climate info by areas go to
For current weather forecasts by cities go to
*Living in a waterfront home typically means that you will pay a higher Insurance premium. The insurance is higher due to flood and wind concerns.
Part of this is also because the pricing on these homes is higher so there is more value to insure against.

Having said all this, I can’t imagine living elsewhere. It is really great to wake up and it’s sunny out.
We spend over half our lives indoors…so when you do go outside, wouldn’t it be nice if it was warm and sunny?

What if you went on vacation and never went back? Sound crazy?

We spend half our lives indoors—why not spend the rest of the time in the sun? You can live in Paradise



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About the areas
The site has the state divided up into 19 major areas and 80 plus sub-areas. We chose these areas as they are the ones most referred to in guides about Florida and also because most people are familiar with them as the names evoke something. Additionally on each area dropdown there is information relevant to florida real estate and relocating to florida. We have provided lists of Florida Real Estate agents-Mortgage brokers and more.