5 Reasons Why Sarasota is SOOOO Special

You know what I love?  Sarasota.  I had lived in Michigan my entire life and when my family slowly made a mass exodus to Sarasota, I sat up there in the snow swearing I would never give up leafy autumns, white Christmases, and whatever else I was so attached to.  What I found after 5 years of living here is that for me, there is no better place.  So let’s talk about what makes Sarasota so special!

Community – There are a million ways to get involved in the community of Sarasota.  Whether you are a cyclist, runner, or bridge player…whether you are looking to get involved in local politics, volunteering, or community development…there are simply too many successful and thriving groups and clubs in Sarasota to begin to count them all.  (I wrote a blog about clubs a while back.  Check that out HERE.)  Not to mention the small, tight-knit community of year-round people.  We all say the same thing: “Big city amenities with a small town feel.”  As a young working professional, I have been able to get involved with several groups: the real estate community, my neighborhood board in south Sarasota, the Young Professionals Group, and the Manasota Track Club just to name a few.  Seeing as so many people are so active in the community, a person who lives and works in Sarasota quickly finds that they know almost everyone.  It’s a good feeling.

Weather - It's why we all moved here, let's be honest.  The average year-round temperature of 72 degrees has many advantages.  But Sarasota is only one of many places with that year-round average, so why would one choose here?  Maybe it’s because of our 251 sunny days per year, well above the national average of 201.  Need I mention our 0” snowfall average?  ;) We are well below the 25” national average there.  (25”!! Can you imagine?!  Blah!)  My favorite weather-related statistic though: the average LOW in January is over 50 degrees.  With winters as lovely as you can imagine, and summers hot as a sauna but with sparkling coastal waters to cool yourself in, the weather here is a huge perk.

Culture – I’ve written about The Cultural Coast before, but we simply cannot talk about how fabulous Sarasota is without including our insane access to cultural activities.  We have so many theaters, playhouses, operas, and symphonies for the size of the city.  We get large-scale productions like Les Miserables and Jersey Boys without having to drive all the way to a larger city to see them.  Per capita, we have more access to culture than our same-size counterparts, and if youspread the radius to include Tampa and St. Petersburg, we Sarasotans find that we don’t miss many amazing things because they don’t come close enough to home.  So take some time this year to check out what’s going on at The Asolo or the Van Wezel, in addition to the many other, smaller venues our town offers.

Lifestyle – One of my favorite things about living here is the healthy lifestyle that comes along with being a Sarasotan.  Here, we have easy access to great outdoor activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding, clubs and teams for all sorts of sports, and the weather allows us to do all these things year-round.  Eating local is also a widespread Sarasota trend that I value and adore.  There are farms sprinkled all over the outskirts of Sarasota and in Manatee County as well.  The Saturday Downtown Farmer’s Market epitomizes the love for local, healthy, farm-fresh foods and local vending.  And the cherry on top of our healthy-lifestyle sundae?  The wonderful  healthcare facilities that are located in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, and Bradenton.  Sarasota Memorial Hospital is the only hospital in southwest Florida that ranks on HeathGrade’s “America’s 50 Best Hospitals,” Lakewood Ranch Medical Center received an award as the top hospital for patient satisfaction, and Doctors Hospital has gold-star rankings in stroke care and heart failure.  So here’s our health round-up: you can be healthy, get healthy, and healthy in Sarasota.

Beaches – For many people, this would be higher on the list than last, but to be honest, I would love this community even without the miles and miles of white sand surrounding it.  The beaches are just one more reason to love an already vibrant and wonderful place.  Gorgeous Siesta Key has been named on too many lists to share them all, notably being named America’s Best Beach in 2011.  Siesta isn’t all we have to offer though, with gorgeous, sparkling beaches that won’t disappoint you from Venice Beach all the way up to Anna Maria Island.  Get in your car, head west, and you’ll land somewhere on the water that is fabulous.  How many cities can say that?

Molly Russo, Sarasota Lifestyle Guru

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