Looking to give your credit card a workout? There are plenty of places in Sarasota County where you can browse and buy everything from high-end handbags to beachy souvenirs.
Burns Court is an enclave of historic, 1920s-era bungalows and an eclectic mix of shops offering art, antiques, home decor, and gift items. Sarasota Trading Co. features a veritable treasure trove of vintage goodies, think everything from Knoll and Herman Miller chairs to a life-sized Bengal tiger. Ally Cat stocks scarves, candles, and other merchandise perfect for gifting, while Treat offers cool clutches, sleek gold and silver jewelry, and other accessories. At the south end of the stretch, L. Boutique and L. Kids fill a tropical-hued building with stylish women’s and kids’ fashions; get a pedicure to go with your new outfit at the connected L. Spa.
From October through May, visit Burns Court near downtown Sarasota on the second Friday of the month for a neighborhood “Sip, Shop & Stroll” from 5 to 8 p.m. Or plan your shopping trip so that you can take in an indie film at Burns Court Cinemas when you’re finished.
To the north of downtown, the Rosemary District’s Central Avenue boasts a collection of retailers focused on the home. Check out contemporary furnishings at the Home Resource. Or search for cool finds at Sarasota Architectural Salvage.
St. Armands Circle
Sometimes called Sarasota’s Rodeo Drive, St. Armands Circle is home to high-end boutiques, national chain stores, art galleries, and jewelers. The walkable loop just over the Ringling Causeway from downtown attracts everyone from well-heeled condo dwellers to dressed-down day-trippers and hosts annual exotic car and art shows.
You may find yourself piling up the purchases, between the elegant apparel at The Met, punchy printed dresses at Lilly Pulitzer, and upscale beachwear at Shore. Or you can just grab an ice cream cone (there are several options along the circle) and window shop your way around. When you need a break, enjoy a drink or bite to eat at one of the circle’s many restaurants, most of which offer outdoor tables in the middle of or overlooking all the action.
Head south of downtown to Southside Village, a small enclave of shops and restaurants. A stroll there turns up cool cuffs and earrings at Silver Obsession, and wine, chocolates, and other foodie treats at Morton’s Gourmet Market.
Siesta Key Village
Not surprisingly, the shopping scene in Siesta Key Village exudes a decidedly by-the-seashore vibe. Strip centers (many done up in bright pink, turquoise, and lime green hues) house retailers trading in everything from T-shirts and beach towels to luxe swimwear and yoga gear. You can pick up a souvenir to commemorate your vacation at Gidget’s Coastal Provisions or a new pair of flip-flops at Beach Bazaar.
Venice Main Street
Farther south, Venice features several blocks of independent shops and boutiques in a downtown area rich on historic charm, known as the Venice Mainstreet. Browse the racks of colorful swimwear at SunBug, island-style men’s and women’s fashions at Captain’s Landing, and beachy home furnishings and decor at Seaside Chic. You can also snag cool jewelry and gifts at spots like Venice Stationers and Sirene Coastal Interiors.
The Venice Farmer’s Market takes place downtown every Saturday, and the gazebo in Centennial Park plays host to a variety of bands and musicians throughout the year that provide a pleasant shopping soundtrack. Art and craft festivals also set up downtown several times a year with everything from homespun pottery to large-scale nature photography for sale.
The Mall at University Town Center
If hitting the mall is more your style, head to the Mall at University Town Center. Opened in late 2014, this stylish new Sarasota shopping zone includes several stores making their first appearance in Sarasota County, including Apple and Crate & Barrel. The two-story space is filled with retailers ranging from high-end (Tesla Motors, Michael Kors) to kid- and budget-friendly (H&M, Gymboree). Check out the "Passport to Shopping" by the customer service desk, which is full of discounts and special offers!
Sarasota’s Westfield Southgate mall is home to popular retailers like Ann Taylor, Coach, and Talbots. A new Cobb CinéBistro location sits at one end of the site, offering a luxe movie-watching experience complete with gourmet eats. Plans are in the works to turn the mall into an outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment space.
Westfield Sarasota Square skews more teen- and kid-friendly, housing retailers like Hollister, Justice, and the Children’s Place. There’s a spacious food court, AMC movie theater, and kids’ play area. And if you just can’t shop anymore, take a spin on the mall’s carousel and give your legs and your wallet a break.
In downtown Sarasota, Main Street and its offshoots are home to both national retailers like Brooks Brothers and Eileen Fisher and local boutiques trading in everything from home furnishings to gourmet goodies. Check out the Toy Lab and Picobello for kids’ toys and clothing, Main Street Traders for colorful rugs and bedding, Black Bird for modern, clean-lined home goods and men’s fashions, and Lotus for of-the-moment women’s clothing.
Search the shelves at A. Parker’s Books, a more than 30-year veteran of downtown that specializes in antiquarian and rare books. The adjoining Book Bazaar carries all kinds of used and out-of-print titles. And when it’s time to refuel, dining options abound, ranging from French and Italian to Thai cuisine.
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