Even when it turns chilly outside, there's fun to be had in Sarasota County.
It doesn't get cold very often in sunny Sarasota, but when temperatures do occasionally drop to what we Sarasotans consider frigid, there are plenty of fun indoor activities to keep you entertained. When it's too chilly for the beach, get cozy at intimate taverns and live jazz performances, do some good old-fashioned shopping or pick up some goodies for a relaxing and warm night in.
All That Jazz
The Jazz Club of Sarasota presents its annual Jazz Festival in the winter or early spring. The next festival will be Feb. 23-March 1.
For more details, visit www.jazzclubsarasota.com.
Skip the winter coats and put that Christmas money to better use by picking up some light sweaters or other new duds appropriate for the Sarasota weather at one of our many shopping destinations.
Venture to Downtown Sarasota to peruse the little boutiques along Main Street, Pineapple Avenue and more. For your holiday shopping, check out Juno and Jove (100 Central Ave., Sarasota), a quaint spot downtown featuring both men's and women's fashion, as well as home decor, that is both luxurious and progressive--the store offers natural fabrics, fair trade products and items that support vegan and environmentally friendly lifestyles. Their grooming supplies and accessories make the perfect holiday gifts. You can even pick up a present for the pup--pet gifts are, as their site puts it, cute and classy--certainly not the typical pet toys! Visit www.junoandjove.com for more information.
If you're spoiled by Sarasota's usually year-round warm temperatures and prefer to stay inside for extended periods of time, you can find everything you fancy under one roof in Sarasota's shopping malls. Make a day of it at Westfield Southgate (3501 S. Tamiami Trl., Sarasota) or Westfield Sarasota (8201 S. Tamiami Trl., Sarasota). Both have the essentials--department stores like Macy's and Dillard's, as well as a variety of retail destinations for the whole family. Both malls have restaurants and Westfield Sarasota also houses an extensive food court and movie theater. For store listings, visit www.westfield.com.
Cooler weather is as good of a time as any to eat--and what better excuse to stay inside and grab a corner table at a place like MacAllisters Grill & Tavern (8110 Lakewood Main St., Bradenton)? The restaurant, which offers a rarely found Scottish golf theme, was voted one of the top three best local restaurants. Feast on some hearty winter grub like burgers and steaks. Go to www.macallisters.com for more information.
Have a nightcap at Haye Loft, the definition of "cozy" at Longboat Key's Euphemia Haye (5440 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key). Even though it's just a hop, skip and jump away from beautiful Longboat Beach, the Haye Loft offers up a warm hideaway with all of the comforts of home. Sip on some hot coffee and get some dessert while live musicians set the mood. Visit www.euphemiahaye.com. Fleming's (2001 Siesta Dr., Sarasota) is another cozy spot ideal for winter. Enjoy a nice steak and a glass of wine at the bar and watch the game.
While on the topic of restaurants and sports, now may be a good time to start scoping out your Super Bowl spot. Grab the friends and family and watch some football at Buffalo Wild Wings (4067 Clark Rd., Sarasota). With trivia games and all the mouthwatering menu options to make you feel like you're at your very own Super Bowl party, you can't beat this classic wing stop (www.buffalowildwings.com).
The list of great restaurants in Sarasota goes on and on. Whether you're looking for fine dining, casual fare or something with an ethnic flair, it's all here. Visit www.visitsarasota.org and click on "Dining" to peruse restaurants by location and food genre.
Sometimes on a cold winter night, there's nothing you'd rather do than stay inside the heated comfort of your own home or hotel room. If you're going to stay in, you might as well be entertained. Warm up with a bottle of red wine or some scotch and cigars from BK Wine & Spirits (1319 Main St., Sarasota). The spot also has free wine tastings on Fridays from 5-7 p.m.
If you simply can't stay inside, you don't have to venture far--and you can still keep warm. Stay at the Lido Beach Resort (700 Ben Franklin Dr., Sarasota) and take your pick from three poolside jacuzzis.