This stylish Gulf Coast city has a circus-centric history.
Just south of Tampa on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Sarasota became famous for its incredible beaches that lured the Ringling Brothers Circus to set up shop there during the winter. Those dramatic roots have held strong, as the city is still a hot spot for art, music and shows, with sites like the Ringling Museum of Art and Art Center Sarasota. Beyond the culture, Circus City is known for its miles of nearby beaches like Lido Key and Siesta Key, with soft sand and shallow waters that stay warm all year round.
- Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores
- Siesta Key
- Downtown Sarasota
Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores
Sarasota is known as “Circus City,” and you’ll learn why in Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores. The area is home to the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which showcases a collection of modern and ancient art alongside incredible circus memorabilia. There's also the family's 1920s Venetian-style estate, dubbed Ca' d'Zan, and Sarasota Jungle Gardens, which has flamingos and alligators.
Museums, Views, Culture
Siesta Key is an excellent spot for enjoying the best of what the Gulf Coast has to offer. White-sand beaches, voted some of the best in the world by TripAdvisor users, stretch along the coast — ideal for a day of lounging. Siesta Key Village is also a prime destination for shopping and dining, and you can check out tidal pools and coral reefs at Point of Rocks.
There's no shortage of things to do in downtown Sarasota. The neighborhood features many art galleries and theaters that host plays, cabarets and stand-up comedy. The energy-filled district has plenty of high-end restaurants, cocktail bars and parks — not to mention endless views of glimmering Sarasota Bay.
Stay in The Center of it All
Immerse yourself in your destination at these centrally located hotels.
Discover the Magic of Sarasota, Florida
Visit Botanical Gardens and Boutiques
Kick off the trip with a visit to downtown Sarasota, where you'll enjoy top-notch dining, botanical gardens and first-class entertainment. Between the main attractions, you can pop into one of the many galleries that fill this arts-centered area.
Learn How the Ringling Brothers Made Their Mark
Find out why Sarasota got the nickname “Circus City” by heading to the Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores neighborhood. You'll tour the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Venetian-style estate of Ca' d'Zan before venturing to the Sarasota Jungle Gardens to see pink flamingos.
Enjoy Some Time by the Sea
After two action-packed days, leisurely beach time is well deserved. That's why the trip ends with a visit to Siesta Key, where you can relax with your toes in the sand, take a dip in the shallow waters and toast to an excellent trip with a famous daiquiri.
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