Discover Historic Downtown Venice

If you tire of Florida’s endless shopping plazas and anonymous shopping malls, Downtown Venice will comes as a refreshing surprise. This historic district is a place of interesting boutiques and individual businesses for browsing in a relaxing atmosphere of times gone by.

History of Downtown Venice

Downtown Venice was laid out with careful thought and planning in the 1920s. It was given a Mediterranean theme which permeated throughout the architecture, pastel color palette and tree-lined avenues to create a Main Street ambience and social hub for the city. This forethought has certainly paid dividends as it marks Venice out as a delightful place to visit, stay or live with its historic designation.

The Triangle Inn, a former boarding house, is now a fascinating local museum on S. Nokomis Avenue. It has been moved from its original position on Nassau Street where it featured a round staircase and Italian-style green tile roof. The rooms are full of photographs of old Venice along with archives and changing displays of local exhibits.

Independent Shops, Galleries and Restaurants in Venice

There are several shady tree-lined streets in the few blocks that make up the Venice Downtown Historic District. Park your car and enjoy strolling up and down. It’s the best way to appreciate the delightful low-rise architecture that was purposely modeled on towns in Northern Italy. The Old Florida atmosphere is enhanced by antique-style store fronts and handwritten signs, making this area unique and pleasing.

MustDo.com | Historic Downtown Venice shopping, restaurants and more

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

The three main streets include Miami Ave, with its independently owned antique stores, boutiques and high-end consignment shops. It is complemented by local shops and restaurants on Main Street (W. Venice Ave) and Tampa Ave, which border Centennial Park.

MustDo.com | Antique shops, galleries and boutiques Venice, Florida

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Altogether the area has over 130 shops, boutiques and art galleries, including the Venice Art Center which you will find on Nokomis Avenue South. When you want to rest your feet and enjoy some cool refreshments or a tasty lunch, the area has plenty of highly regarded restaurants and cafés to choose from. Take a seat beneath a shady awning or galleried walkway and dine al fresco, watching the world go by.

Entertainment and Things to Do in Downtown Venice

Centennial Park offers a peaceful green space in Downtown Venice. The Gazebo is frequently the hub for free musical entertainment each Friday night, featuring a range of jazz, country, blue grass and modern music from live bands. Bring a chair or cushion and settle down in the warm Florida evening air for a relaxed social evening.

MustDo.com | Centennial Park Gazebo downtown Venice, Florida

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Keep your eyes open for information about the annual events hosted in this historic district, or checkout forthcoming events using the MustDo Smart Phone App. Classic Car Shows mean the streets are lined with restored vintage vehicles which prompt nostalgic memories for most people. The Saturday Farmers’ Market, Art and Crafts Festivals, parades and holiday celebrations can all be enjoyed in and around this delightful area.

MustDo.com | Kids splash fountain Centennial Park Venice, Florida

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

If you are visiting Downtown Venice with youngsters, there’s a fun water park for them to splash and cool off in the jets. Bring a picnic and enjoy a full day at this relaxed park venue. Alternatively, book tickets for one of the excellent performances at the Venice Little Theater which is on the corner of Bus. 41 and Tampa Avenue. Packed with attractions, it’s easy to see why this Historic Downtown area of Venice continues to thrive.

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Nita Ettinger is the co-publisher for Siesta Publications and the Editor in Chief for Must Do Visitor Guides. Must Do Visitor Guides provides Southwest Florida visitor information through printed publications and the website MustDo.com. Must Do Visitor Guides are published bi-annually and are available at no cost in Sarasota, Lee, and Collier County chambers of commerce, visitor information centers, select Southwest Florida hotels, and wherever free publications are found.

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