Sarasota: The Cultural Capital of Florida

Sarasota, Florida is home to so many different facets and districts for every type of person. Find gorgeous beaches, handmade art, and live music around every corner! While this city is rich in experiences, it’s even richer in the culture of our home state of Florida. 

Early History

Sarasota's story is as diverse and colorful as its sunsets. What started off as a small fishing village has become a cultural hub of the West Coast. The city has bloomed into one of the most visited cities in Florida, which is such a remarkable transformation! 

Before being settled by Europeans, Sarasota was home to two indigenous tribes: the Calusa and Tocobaga tribes. These tribes thrived on the city’s natural beauty, and their legacy can still be seen and felt in the shell mounds and other historical markings found all over the area. Both tribes had a profound connection with the land, and it’s part of what makes Sarasota’s history so rich. 

The Arrival of John Ringling

Sarasota’s artistic turning point came in the early 20th century with the arrival of circus leader John Ringling. Drawn by the city's natural beauty and potential for growth, Ringling made Sarasota his winter home and invested heavily in its development. Within 2-years, Ringling had built the Ca’ d’Zan, a 36,000 square foot mansion that has 41 rooms and 15 bathrooms. Over the years, Ringling collected a significant gallery of art, and eventually opened a 21-gallery museum to house his collection. 

Today the Ca’ d’Zan and the Ringling Museum of Art are both open to the public and a must-see on your Sarasota tour. Check out the Ringling’s website here for more information on these locations.

Sarasota’s Art Scene Today

Throughout the 20th century, Sarasota continued to evolve into an artsy district that drew in artists of all types to the area. Musicians, painters, and writers from all over made their way to Sarasota to invest in their creative lifestyles. Today, the city has a thriving arts scene, with lots of galleries and theaters showcasing the talent of artists from all over the globe. Check out galleries to visit here on Visit Sarasota. 

What truly sets Sarasota apart is the perfect blend of rich history and natural beauty for visitors to enjoy. Here you’ll find some of the finest beaches on the Coast, along with state parks and plenty of opportunities to find yourself outdoors. Whether you’d rather stay on land and walk a trail or kayak through the mangrove tunnels, there’s truly something for everyone to enjoy. 

Sarasota is just a short drive away from Tropical Beach and Siesta Key and is a great day trip for visitors to take. Soak in the history of the state of Florida while enjoying the big art scene found in the area. There you’ll also find dozens of restaurants and shops for you and your family to enjoy. As always, be sure to check the Tropical Beach website for daily deals and specials before booking, and follow us on social media to stay updated on everything happening at Tropical Beach!