What’s New in 2020 in Sarasota County, Florida

Beyond Sarasota County’s 35 miles of coastline lies a hub of arts and culture, eclectic events and exquisite dining

The various cities along Florida’s Gulf Coast® are completely unique; start your journey with the county’s staples – downtown Sarasota, Siesta Key Beach, and the City of Venice. Then, explore the new developments, such as the Rosemary District and the Atlanta Braves CoolToday Park Spring Training facility in North Port. You’ll quickly discover there’s a variety of new ways to experience Sarasota County.

Rest Easy
Sarasota prides itself in offering stunning accommodation with views of the beaches that speak for themselves. The latest hotels gaining traction in the county include:

  • Art Ovation Hotel, Autograph Collection – located in the heart of downtown Sarasota, this art-centric hotel features artists weekly and has a popular rooftop pool and bar.
  • The Carlisle Inn and Conference Center – located in the Pinecraft community, this hotel is a nod to simpler times and features a renowned Amish kitchen cooking restaurant.
  • Embassy Suites by Hilton – located in downtown Sarasota, this all-suite hotel boasts an 8th floor full restaurant and bar with waterfront views. Complimentary happy hour daily. Opened in 2019.
  • The Westin Sarasota – located in downtown Sarasota, this hotel has a 19th floor rooftop pool and bar with panoramic city and bay views along with the top Westin spa in the U.S.
  • The Sarasota Modern – located in the up and coming Rosemary District, this luxury boutique property features minimalist design, artistic flair and three pools. Opened in 2019.
  • Renovations will soon be complete at The Resort at Longboat Key Club and Lido Beach Resort. Both well-known and popular accommodations located on the beautiful coast of Sarasota County.

Experience the Brand-New Sarasota Art Museum
The Ringling College of Art + Design has opened the region’s first museum dedicated to contemporary art. This 1920s gothic-style high school has been transformed into a state-of-the-art visual arts destination – The Sarasota Art Museum. The venue will feature no permanent collection, ensuring that the experience for guests will continue to evolve and will remain engaging for both visitors and the local community. Sarasota’s first contemporary art museum boasts 15,000 square-foot of dedicated illustration and performance spaces which will place host to video, sculpture, performance and much more besides.

Culture Abound
Known as Florida’s Cultural Coast®, Sarasota has the only professional ballet, opera and orchestra on Florida’s west coast, alongside more than ten theatres, 13 stages and the State’s Art Museum, The Ringling. In 2020, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will continue to integrate the arts throughout the grounds and gardens with the Salvador DalÍ: Gardens of the Mind exhibit. And, the transformation of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s Theatre Center is near completion!

Discover Natural Sarasota County
Hike, paddle, bike, fish or sit back in a natural paradise. The new tour company Myakka Outdoors provides access to the wetlands, lakes, and river in Myakka River State Park, one of the state’s oldest and largest parks. Oscar Scherer State Park offers concierge camping packages and access to the Legacy Trail which will soon be extended 7.5 miles. On the west coast, there’s Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, including mangrove tunnels and our world-renowned soft, white sand, as well as a new project in the works – The Bay Sarasota – which will transform this area in years to come.

The Circus Came to Town
Famously renowned as the historical winter home for the Ringling Bros. Circus, visitors can check out The Ringling Circus Museum, and for live circus entertainment they can head to The Circus Arts Conservatory (CAC), which recently completed a multi-million-dollar renovation. CAC combines professional circus performances, youth training and community outreach, and offers public classes in flying trapeze, aerial silks and other teambuilding activities. CAC is also home to the Circus Sarasota and Sailor Circus performances at select times throughout the year.

Wine, Dine and Make it an Experience
Home to award-winning restaurants, Sarasota County is a culinary center within the Sunshine State. From outdoor dining, fresh, local seafood and new restaurants popping up monthly, Sarasota has one of the largest groups of independent restaurants and hosts the most restaurants per capita for small cities. Dine in style and dine local in Sarasota.

New Local Restaurants

  • 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop
  • Daily Bird
  • Lemon Tree Kitchen
  • Libby’s Neighborhood Brasserie (recently renovated)
  • Sage SRQ
  • Speaks Clam Bar
  • Spearfish Grille
  • Summer House Steak & Seafood
  • The Overton
  • Umbrellas 1296

Civil Rights and Sports
Sarasota is proud to have joined the U.S. Civil Rights Trail in 2019 as the southernmost destination. The Newtown African American Heritage Trail now recognizes the beach wade ins of the 1950’s which led to the desegregation of Florida’s beaches. Take a trolley tour with Newtown Alive and learn about the area’s black history. In the arena of sports, Sarasota recently welcomed the Sarasota Metropolis FC – Sarasota’s Professional Soccer Club, and will host the 2020 USRowing Olympic Trials in April.

Animal Encounters
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, home to more than 100 marine species, features touch pools, working labs, and interactive exhibits, and has a capital campaign to build a new aquarium. Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary has new programming aimed to “ease” the crowd, Yoga with Tigers. There’s also Sarasota Sea Lion Preserve, which is now open to the public, and for those looking to rent stalls, ride or play polo, Epic Equine Experiences now offers everything equine.

About Sarasota County

Visit Sarasota County leads and supports the tourism industry in Sarasota County by providing the highest quality, and most innovative, marketing programs and promotions to ensure the continued growth of tourism and travel from visitors around the world. It is the mission of VSC is to make Sarasota County the must experience destination on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

To learn more, visit www.visitsarasota.com