We all know what a downer it can be when torrential rain wrecks your beach plans for the weekend! Although you may have missed the chance to bust out your best swimsuit, keep your spirits high as Florida’s city of Sarasota is rife with an abundance of things to do even when the weather is being a wet blanket.
Explore Sarasota with 15 of these wallet-friendly activities come rain or shine:
1. Let go of your worries at Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy
Drop your worries at the door the moment you step into this pastel paradise! Founded by Marietta Lee, the altruistic avid art collector seeks to bring people closer to works of fine art by making them free and easy to access. Not only does the increased exposure allow the artists to get the recognition they deserve, but her ultimate goal is to smooth out that frown stitching your brows together and stick a smile on your face.
Catch a glimpse of the beauty that surrounds the museum in the video above. Immerse in the magic that the twinkly dancing trio of Michael Gard’s “Flying Dancers” has for you, or step out to the gardens when the rain has slowed down into a drizzle; the cheery flamingos staring curiously back at you is bound to tickle you pink!
Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy
Address: 2121 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234
Price: Free, a suggested donation of 5 USD per visit is reccommended but not a must
Opening Hours: Open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, 1 pm - 4 pm
Website: Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy
2. Catch a whiff of fresh air at the Sarasota Farmers Market
Keep a spring in your step as you pass by rows of color-fun fruits, aromatic herbs, and healthy vegetables. At the Central Sarasota Farmers Market, only the freshest produce is sold. All the vendors who open a stall here are farmers who grow their own products, so you can be assured of the quality.
No matter rain or shine, the market still opens right on time every Saturday morning at 8 am; as the saying goes, the early bird gets all the worms! Jam out to your favorite hits with the live music playing in the background and indulge in friendly chatter with the jovial locals here. Your biggest takeaway may not be your groceries for the day, but a new friend made.
Central Sarasota Farmers Market
Address: 4454 Beneva Rd Sarasota, Florida 34233
Opening Hours: 8 am - 1 pm every Saturday
Website: Central Sarasota Farmers Market
3. Have an escape-room adventure at Escape Room Sarasota
Imagine this: you and your group of friends are out on a tour in the famous Amazon rainforest. The misty morning sky casts a shadowy glow on the bony silhouette of the canopy around you. Suddenly, a torrential downpour rains down on your whole group, and the ground below you becomes a muddy field of mess.
The tour guide ushers you into a wooden cabin and tells you guys to wait the rain out. Just as the last person of your group steps in, the door is slammed shut and you realize that you are trapped in the midst of a kidnapping. Fighting against the time limit, you have to pit your teamwork to the test, and ensure everyone gets out safely.
With 2 differently themed rooms, take your pick from the difficulty levels and style of the puzzles.
Escape Room Sarasota
Address: 6526 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34231
Price: from 22 USD
Opening Hours: 11 am - 8 pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays, 12 noon - 6 pm on Sundays. Closed on Mondays
Website: Escape Room Sarasota
4. Have a giggle at McCurdy's Comedy Theatre and Humor Institute
Fancy a good belly laugh? Visit McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre and Humor Institute, where comedians of all genres gather to give you a whopping good time. New acts are introduced every week, featuring emerging comedians often featured on The Tonight Show.
Order some light snacks to go with the entertainment. With a decent menu with a variety of pizzas, cocktails, beers, and wines, you can be thoroughly satisfied while spending a good time unwinding here.
McCurdy's Comedy Theatre and Humor Institute
Address: 1923 Ringling Blvd Sarasota, Florida 34236 941-925-FUNY (3869)
Price: from 15 USD
Opening Hours: Tuesday 11 am - 3 pm, Wed - Fri 11 am - 3 pm & re-opens at 6 pm for show, Sat 1 pm - 3 pm & re-opens at 6 pm for show, Sun 6 pm (for show), closed on Mondays
Contact: 941-925-FUNY (3869)
5. Explore the Ringling Museum
You may feel as though you’ve taken a step back to the Renaissance era as you walk into the courtyards of the Ringling Museum. Embodying the aesthetic look of the 15th-century art style, the towering statues of elegant Baroque sculptures welcome you into the museum. The famous David by Michelangelo from Palazzo Vecchio stands tall, keeping his strong gaze fixed yonder.
Feast your eyes on some of the most classic artworks of the world. The European masterpieces are just the tip of the iceberg; explore the other 21 galleries for a closer look into the evolution of contemporary art in other regions, housing namely American, Cypriot, and Asian artworks.
The Ringling Museum of Art
Address: 5401 Bay Shore Road Sarasota, FL 34243
Price: Adult: 25 USD, college student with ID: 5 USD
Opening Hours: Open daily 10 am - 5 pm, Thursdays until 8 pm
Website: The Ringling Museum of Art
6. Test your skills at Ringling Circus Museum
Have you ever wanted to walk the tightrope, or learn how to tame a tiger? Here at the Ringling Circus Museum, you can live out your childhood dream of performing a circus act.
Take the center stage at the Tibbals Learning Center, where you can teeter on the tightrope or drive a tiny clown car. Examine the cannons that shoot real performers into the air, and see the shiny circus costumes that will leave you dazzled in awe. Observe the circus functioning at the Howard Bros. Circus Model, where the miniature circus model will show you the sights that you are familiar with and more.
The Ringling Circus Museum
Address: 5401 Bay Shore Road Sarasota, FL 34243
Price: Adult: 25 USD, college student with ID: 5 USD (If you have bought tickets to the main Ringling Museum, entry to the Circus Museum is included as well)
Opening Hours: Open daily 10 am - 5 pm, Thursdays until 8 pm
Website: The Ringling Circus Museum
7. Visit Sarasota Classic Car Museum
Whether you’re a car fanatic or just bored of the usual museums, the Sarasota Classic Car Museum is a must-see when in town.
Check out John and Mable Ringling’s collection of Rolls Royce models, together with John Lennon’s 1965 Mercedes-Benz and Paul McCartney’s Mini Cooper, all found in this exhibition that contains more than 75 antique car models.
Sarasota Classic Car Museum
Address: 5500 N. Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34243
Price: Adult 12.85 USD, Child (6 - 12 years) 7.25 USD
Opening Hours: 9 am until 6 pm, Monday through Sunday
Website: Sarasota Classic Car Museum
8. Say hi to Snooty the manatee!
Despite his unfriendly-sounding name, he isn’t at all actually snooty; the endearing mammal is adored by the public. Snooty is the oldest-known manatee at well over 68 years old, and he has celebrated several of his birthdays at the South Florida Museum.
Being the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the South Florida Museum also has on display fossilized samples of Florida’s prehistoric mammals as well as archaeological artifacts unearthed from the deep sea.
South Florida Museum
Address: 201 10th Street West Bradenton FL 34205
Price: Adults 19 USD
Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 am - 5 pm, Sundays 12 noon - 5 pm
Contact: +(941) 746-4131
Website: South Florida Museum
9. Have a salad at Columbia Restaurant
Starting with humble beginnings in Tampa’s historical Ybor city, the Spanish eatery grew from a small cafe known for its Cuban coffee to a full-scale restaurant with chain outlets in different areas.
Evolving over 5 generations over 110 years, their Cuban sandwiches still retain the same great flavor, and the Original 1905 Salad is prepared fresh upon ordering.
Columbia Restaurant, Sarasota
Address: 411 St. Armands Circle Sarasota, FL 34236
Opening Hours: Sunday - Thursday 11 am to 10 pm, Friday - Saturday 11 am to 11 pm
Contact: +941 388 3987
Website: Columbia Restaurant
10. Set off on a cruise on the Marina Jack II
Ship ahoy! Escape to the high seas by signing up for a cruise on the Marina Jack II.
Sail towards the sunset on the magnificent ship that traverses across the Gulf of Mexico. Pair the amazing sights with an equally delicious meal; the daily catch guarantees you the freshest fish grilled a tender light brown, and the fragrance of the chicken marsala will have you coming back for more. Raise your glasses to the end of a beautiful day on the outside deck; maybe the rain wasn’t such a bad thing after all!
Cruise on the Marina Jack II
Address: 2 Marina Plaza Sarasota, FL 34236
Price: from 22 USD
Website: Marina Jack II
11. Glow up at Stardust Skates
Don’t be intimidated by the bright neon colors that assault your peripheral vision; the party hasn’t even started yet!
At Stardust Skate Center, you can enjoy an awesome time even indoors. With a live DJ playing in the background, people of all ages are invited to run wild in the galaxy-themed indoor rink!
Stardust Skate Center
Address: 2571 12th Street Sarasota, FL 34237
Price: from 8 USD
Opening Hours: Varied. Check website schedule for more details
Contact: (941) 365-6888
Website: Stardust Skate Center
12. Catch a film at the Sarasota Burns Court Cinema
If you’re looking for a place to hang that’s slightly different from what you’ve known so far, watch a movie at Burn’s Court.
Choose from some of the finest selections of films made by independent filmmakers. Carefully curated by the Sarasota Film Society, you can be assured of the quality that you will see on the big screens in front of you. Accompany your visual feast with good food, and there’s beer and wine available at the door.
Sarasota Burns Court Cinema
Address: 506 Burns Ln. Sarasota, FL 34236
Opening Hours: Varies, check website for your preferred screening time
Website: Sarasota Burns Court Cinema
13. You otter check this out!
Catch your favorite aquatic creatures at the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. To access, take Fruitville Road exit 210 off I-75 west to Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41), turn left. At Gulfstream Avenue turn right and proceed across the Ringling Causeway to St. Armands Circle. Exit the circle at North Boulevard of the Presidents. Proceed one mile (1.6 kilometers) to the traffic signal at Ken Thompson Parkway and turn right. Main free parking area for the aquarium is on the right.
Take on the role of a chef by signing up for the Shark Encounter experience. Prepare fresh food for the sharks and try your hand at feeding them together with the aquarium biologists. Don’t worry, their favorite food is fish! Alternatively, kayak down Sarasota Bay and see if you can spot the resident animals lurking around.
Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Address: 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway Sarasota, FL 34236
Price: from 14.75 USD
Contact: (941) 388-4441
Website: Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
14. Go bowling with the homies at Sarasota Lanes
Family-owned and operated, Sarasota Lanes understands the importance of good service for some quality time with your friends and family. With 36 quality lanes equipped with an automatic scoring system, perfect for large groups, you can have a ball even when it’s raining out!
Address: 2250 Fruitville Rd Sarasota, FL 34237
Price: from 5.25 USD
Opening Hours: Monday 1 pm - 10 pm, Tuesday10 am - 12 midnight, Wednesday & Thursday 5 pm - 10 pm, Friday & Saturday 1 pm - 12.30 am, Sunday 10 am - 5 pm
Contact: (941) 955-7629
Website: Sarasota Lanes
15. Shop till you drop at Sarasota Square
The best way to combat the rainy day blues is undoubtedly a shopping trip! Visit Westfield’s Sarasota Square for some good old retail therapy.
With brands such as Forever21 and American Eagle, snag that jacket that you’ve wanted for a long time. As the saying goes, “Buy it now and regret later!”
Westfield Sarasota Square
Address: 8201 S. Tamiami Trail Sarasota FL 34238
Opening Hours: Monday - Saturday 10 am - 9 pm , Sunday 12 noon - 6 pm
Contact: 941 922 9609
Website: Westfield Sarasota Square
Keep your spirits high
With a plethora of activities for you to do in Florida’s Sarasota, you’ll be sure to keep a spring in your step, even in your rain galoshes!
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