What's New in Sarasota County, Florida 2018
Beyond miles of sugar-white sand beaches, lies a haven of arts and culture, eclectic festivals and exquisite dining in Sarasota County. New hotels and festivals welcome visitors in 2018. A glimpse into Sarasota County's heritage finds rich roots in the circus and a tidy Amish culture, while leisure and competitive sports are served alongside birding and nature for visitors looking for action.
New Hotels & Air Service
Westin opened a 255-room, full-service hotel overlooking Sarasota Bay in July 2017. Embassy Suites is slated to have 180 rooms and 18 stories in the heart of downtown and opening in 2018. Art Ovation, Autograph Collection by Marriott, also in downtown Sarasota, is a boutique hotel slated to open in early 2018. The Carlisle Inn of Sarasota will open the first-ever hotel in Sarasota's Pinecraft Amish community in late 2017/early 2018. It will offer 100 rooms. The Sarasota Modern, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel located in the Rosemary District of Sarasota will be a boutique hotel designed to honor Sarasota's mid-century modern architectural heritage. The hotel is expected to open in 2018. Elite Airways offers year-round non-stop service on Thursdays and Sundays to and from Portland, Maine (PWM) and Nova Scotia, Canada. Allegiant Air will offer year-round, non-stop service to and from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) and Cincinnati, Ohio; Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and Indianapolis, Indiana beginning in April.
Known as Florida's Cultural Coast®, Sarasota has Florida West Coast's only professional ballet, an opera and an orchestra alongside more than ten theatres and the State's Art Museum, The Ringling will open the Kotler and Coville Glass Collection at The Ringling and the Basche Glass Collection at Ringling College Art + Design. In February, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will continue integrating the arts in February 2018 with the “Warhol: Flowers in the Factory” exhibit, exploring Andy Warhol's conservationist leanings. The Sarasota Ballet will return to New York City to be a part of the Guggenheims's “Works & Process” series, along with Marcelo Gomes from the American Ballet Theatre in November and the Sarasota Ballet will produce the Circus Nutcracker, December 15-16, 2017. Mote Aquarium and Laboratory will host the “Sea Debris: Awareness through Art,” featuring “Washed Ashore.” Dec. 9 through June 2018. It features larger-than-life, marine-inspired sculptures made entirely of plastic and other debris gathered from the Oregon coastline. More than seven of these realistic but whimsical sculptures at Mote will fascinate and educate children, the young at heart and all those who seek creative solutions to environmental challenges.
International Sports Competitions
Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota County, the only International Rowing Federation-approved course in North America, will host the Masters World Rowing Regatta in 2018. Sarasota County is quickly gaining a reputation for hosting international competitions.
Dr. Beach names Siesta #1 Beach in US for 2017
Discover Natural Sarasota County
Hike, paddle, bike, fish or sit back in Sarasota's natural paradise. Wetlands, lakes and a river interconnect throughout Myakka River State Park, one of the state's oldest and largest parks and Oscar Scherer State Park offers concierge camping packages. The Celery Fields, opened its first welcome center, and offer exceptional opportunities to observe more than 300 species of birds nesting and foraging in their natural habitat. Sarasota County has a hand-held guide to help adventurers navigate their way through the natural landscape.
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 Sarasota and Sailor Circus performances at select times throughout the year. The Circus Arts Conservatory now offers weekly adult and youth classes where visitors can try circus arts themselves.
A tidy Amish and Mennonite community inside the town limits welcomes its fair share of snowbirds from sister communities in the north. Most locals know the neighborhood for its home-cooking and fresh produce stands. Legendary for its pies, Yoder's Restaurant, is a family-owned gathering spot for locals and visitors seeking comfort food and nearby Der Dutchman has a full-menu and buffet and a shopping boutique upstairs from the restaurant.
Brimming with outdoor dining and fresh local seafood, Sarasota has one of the largest groups of independent restaurants. The annual Forks & Corks Wine Festival in January and the Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week brings the masses out for more than 60 restaurants offering special prix-fixe menus in June.
Shopping and Strolling
Enjoy a walk around St. Armands Circle and delight in more than 100 shops and restaurants set just steps from the sandy white shores of Lido Beach or stroll Dearborn Street in Englewood or Venice Main Street in Venice. The Mall at University Town Center opened just steps from Nathan Benderson Park with Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's and Dillards as anchor stores. The mall joins Westfield Southgate Mall, Westfield Sarasota Square and Ellenton Prime Outlets to offer numerous choices for shoppers.
For more information, visit VisitSarasota.com.
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