Don’t let rain get you down during your visit to Sarasota, Florida. There’s still plenty to do in and around the city. Just choose any of these eight destinations for a unique or fun experience.
Visit the Ringling Museum of Art
This property was once home to circus founder John Ringling and his wife Mable. You can make a full day of your visit to the Ringling Museum, with its art gallery (rivaling that you’d find in a bigger city), circus museum, the 56-room residence Ca’d’Zan, and other highlights. Even its rose garden can be beautiful in the rain; you’ll spot lots of social media-worthy shots as you make your way around the property.
See a Movie at CinéBistro Southgate
Enjoy a meal and a movie at the new CinéBistro Southgate, located in the Southgate Mall. The movie experience features leather recliners, a bar and lounge, and a full menu, along with cocktail and wine selections. We’ve got nothing against popcorn—our longtime movie snack favorite—but the food and drink offerings here definitely kick your moviegoing experience up a notch.
Mote Marine Aquarium and Laboratory
Marine life is a big part of the heritage and industry of Sarasota—glimpse it up close at Mote Marine Aquarium and Laboratory, featuring touch pools, working labs, and interactive exhibits. Sharks, manatees, and sea turtles are just a sampling of the 100 species of marine life you’ll find. In fact, sharks are such a big part of Mote, there’s an area called Shark Zone, with narrated sessions in the 135,000-gallon Shark Habitat. You’ll get a better understanding of how Mote keeps its sharks healthy.
South Florida Museum
Gain a better understanding of early mammal and archaeological life in Florida at Bradenton’s South Florida Museum. Meet Snooty, the 65-year-old manatee (the longest living manatee in captivity); watch out-of-this-world movies and programming at Bishop Planetarium; and discover more about Florida’s environmental heritage. The museum regularly hosts special exhibits and programs.
Strike! Get your bowling shoes on and gear up for some friendly competition at Sarasota area bowling alleys. At AMF Gulf Gate Lanes and Sarasota Lanes you can bowl, grab a hot dog, or take part in special events like Cosmic Bowling.
Sarasota residents like eating—a lot. The city has a reputation for fine dining, and local residents support and celebrate area farms and food purveyors. So, use a rainy day to try one of the many famous dining options around town. A few ideas: In downtown Sarasota, the vegetable-focused restaurant Lila gets visitors buzzing; Sharky’s Pier in Venice has a great view (even in the rain) and seafood; Indigenous focuses on unique dishes that often use locally-grown items; and customers at Toasted Mango Café serve up rave reviews for the restaurant’s breakfast options. See more great dining options here.
Sarasota Classic Car Museum
Got four wheels on your mind? Then zoom off to the Sarasota Classic Car Museum. It’s the second oldest continuously operated antique car museum in the nation, and it displays 75 automobiles. Some highlights include John Lennon’s 1965 Mercedes Benz, Paul McCartney’s Mini Cooper, and John and Mable Ringling’s Rolls Royce collection. From classic to muscle cars to one-of-a-kind autos, there’s a little something for everyone here. The gift shop also has plenty of automobile books and miniature collectibles.
Check out Some Local Breweries
Florida has experienced a major upswing in the craft brewery business, and the Sarasota area has been part of the tasty trend. Take a rainy day to try a few different brews and vote on your favorite. Check out Big Top, JDub’s, Calusa, Motorworks, Darwin, or Sarasota Brewing Co.