Things to Do in Downtown Sarasota and Longboat Key

During your next Sarasota vacation, the only tough question you should ask yourself is, “What activity should I tackle first?” With many coveted shopping spots, eateries, art galleries, and even rooftop bars with skyline views, the opportunities for fun in Sarasota are seemingly endless! If you’re traveling with children, there are even ample family-friendly things to do in Sarasota.

Below, you’ll find some of the top activities that should be on your itinerary during your Sarasota stay.


Downtown Sarasota:

Downtown Sarasota is one of the best places in Florida to experience local foods, incredible cocktails, and unbeatable live music. Since there’s always something going on Downtown, we recommend securing reservations ahead of time to reduce potential wait times.


Located on 239 South Links Avenue, Indigenous is an absolute “must-see” during your upcoming Sarasota getaway. With some of the most mouth-watering chorizo potato hash you’ll ever try, it’s no wonder hundreds of people stop by Indigenous each day. Pair the chorizo hash with the quality-prepped croquette and summer squash for an unbeatable meal. Visit Indigenous Tuesdays – Saturdays from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Keep in mind that you must make a reservation in advance.


If you enjoy grilled foods, Selva is the restaurant for you! Conveniently boasting two Sarasota locations, this incredible eatery offers some of the best Latin cuisines in the area. Come enjoy crispy lobster tostadas, or try something adventurous like the Wahoo Ceviche. Once called “the best food in Sarasota” by The New York Times, you’re sure to enjoy whatever you decide to order.

Visit Selva at 1345 Main St. or on 67 N. Cattlemen Rd.

Longboat Key:

Hungry while visiting Longboat Key? Have no worry! There are endless eateries to enjoy. While in the area, feel free to eat, shop, and repeat without rushing. You have all day to enjoy the beautiful area!


If you like a good brunch, a solid lunch, and a full-course dinner, then Whitney’s might be the place for you. Stop in from Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. to get refueled with a delicious meal, no matter the time of day.

Whitney’s has live music lineups weekly and serves you walk-in style (no reservations accepted). So, pop in anytime and know you’ll get top-notch service and tasty charred oysters. Those who enjoy crab cakes with lump crab, piquillo pepper remoulade, and chili relish will not go wrong trying theirs.

Euphemia Haye

When you’re ready to venture out of your luxurious Sarasota vacation rental and try the area’s best sashimi plate, you must visit Euphemia Haye. Once called “the area’s most extraordinary restaurant,” Euphemia Haye offers several dishes like zucchini fettuccini, roasted duckling, and calves sweetbreads grenobloise. No matter what type of food you enjoy, Euphemia Haye has a dish for you.

Come in from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. On Friday and Saturday, their hours are 5 pm – 9:30 pm.

St. Armands:

St. Armands is best known for its shopping, but there are some great dining options too! We’ve got one, in particular, to recommend: Columbia Restaurant. 

Columbia Restaurant

This is by far one of the top restaurants around Sarasota. It’s been around since 1905, and many call it a “hidden gem of Spanish restaurants.” Indeed, over five generations of families have owned and operated it, and when you step in, you get to feel that rich sense of historical culture like never before.

Their bronze and cement artwork alone, seen the moment you walk in, speaks happiness and elegance to your soul. The vibe is relaxed, and the Gazpacho Andalucia and Cuban Black Bean Soup are to die for. Come in Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.


St. Armand’s Circle 

St. Armands Circle is one of the best places to buy your jewelry or apparel while vacationing in the Sarasota area — whether vintage or brand-new pieces — and you can always get a deal. Alexander Fine Jewelers is one of the top places for this. You can get some of the best offers on gemstones, rubies, diamonds, onyx stone rings, and silver watches for both men and women. Get a new outfit at Beach House Sarasota or Apricot Lane Boutique, and pamper yourself at Les Ciseaux Hair Salon or Aquasandz Nail Salon.  

Mote Marine Lab & Aquarium

The highly popular Mote Marine Aquarium and Lab opens from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, giving you plenty of chances to come by. You’ll find them at 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway.

Mote Marine offers an ongoing coral restoration workshop that is terrific for anyone interested in the environment and ecosystems. Some of their work has been featured on TV broadcasting programs like PBS, especially all they’ve done surrounding multifold efforts to protect Florida’s wild manatees. See marine animals in rehabilitation and learn more about how we can protect them and their habitats at the Mote Marine Lab!

Plan Your Anna Maria Island Vacation!

If you’re looking for a vacation packed with delicious restaurants, incredible shopping, and numerous opportunities for fun, Sarasota is the destination for you! View our vacation rentals, reserve your favorite, and prepare for the trip of a lifetime!

Our Sarasota Vacation Rentals

After checking out the latest Longboat Key restaurants and other area attractions, nothing can feel better than coming home to a nice home and watching some evening TV in your private Sarasota vacation rental.

Our Sarasota rentals include Wi-Fi, Smart flat-screen TVs, master bedrooms with spacious setups, full bathrooms, kitchens of pure elegance, and so much more. If you want to stay for a weeklong Sarasota Vacation, get in touch today, and we’ll find your perfect Sarasota vacation rental. If you’d like to stay for a month or longer, let us know in advance, and we will be happy to work with you.

Mainsail Vacation Rentals is here to ensure you have nothing to worry about while on your Sarasota or Anna Maria Island vacation. That’s why we keep our properties pristinely clean and ready for your arrival. You’ll be close to the best things to do in town and will have plenty of amenities to enjoy in the mornings and evenings. You won’t find another vacation rental company that’s more passionate or dedicated than Mainsail.

See our Sarasota vacation rentals online today. Book a spot. Stay in comfort!