Located along the Gulf Coast just an hour south of Tampa and a little under two hours north of Fort Myers your will find the historic artist towns of Sarasota and Bradenton. Both of these communities combine the historic Old Florida feel with vibrant cultural districts to create one of the most perfect atmospheres anywhere.
While they are separate communities, both Sarasota and Bradenton feature rich historic roots, a great cultural community, and a wonderfully calm pace of life.
Rich Old Florida History
The village of Sarasota was originally formed in 1902, but really took off when Charles Ringling (yes, that Ringling) began investing in the area in the 1920s. Despite dying soon after finishing construction on his waterfront mansion, Ringling had a lasting impact on the area.
The key figure in the history of Bradenton was Dr. Joseph Braden, who’s house in the area was more like a fort that would protect local settlers from the Seminole Indians. There are multiple historic buildings still standing in Bradenton today that date back to the 1800s.
The 2010 census reported a population of 51,917 people in Sarasota and 49,546 people in Bradenton. Both communities contain just over 21,000 households with more than 43% of residents being over the age of 45.
The median household income in Sarasota is $49,030, and $34,902 in Bradenton.
For the most part though, these are two towns that are far from crowded and the cost of living in both is extremely reasonable.
With both of these towns located so close together, they have virtually identical climates. Like most of Florida, this area is known for being hot in the summer and warm in the winter.
The average high in January is just over 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average high in the summer months is just over 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Arts & Culture
Both Sarasota and Bradenton have thriving cultural communities, so things like art studios, theater performances, and boutique shopping are very popular here.
One of the biggest attractions in the Sarasota area is the Ringling Museum of Art.
Up in Bradenton, the cultural community is centered around the Village of the Arts, which contains about 30 different artist galleries and studios. There is also plenty of exciting entertainment happening regularly at The Riverwalk along the Manatee River.
As you might expect from any artist-focused community, both Sarasota and Bradenton have plenty to offer in terms of local resources. Here are some of the best ones we have found to help get you more acquainted with each community: