Sarasota : Florida


What It Is Like to Retire in Sarasota

Sarasota, Florida is a town of 52,000 (the Metro is much bigger) on Florida's Central West coast abutted by the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. Development began in the 1920 and a result the town has dozens of historically significant buildings and institutions. This popular retirement community is considered by many to be, after Miami, the cultural capital of Florida. It has one of Florida's most interesting and compact downtowns with many great neighborhoods. An impressive array of cultural facilities are gathered there, along with high-rise, luxury hotels.

The Ringling Brothers located the winter quarters of their circus here. Their philanthropic legacy has made Sarasota a cultural powerhouse. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, one of those institutions, is one of the most impressive museums in Florida. One of Sarasota's top attractions comes at the end of a bridge from the downtown harbor - St. Armand's Circle. This delightful circle is surrounded by elegant dining, shopping, and luxury housing.

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Where to Retire in Sarasota and Home Prices

Some residents live in apartments right downtown, while others choose from a delightful array of housing options in various neighborhoods in town. Homes on exclusive barrier islands like Longboat Key and Siesta Key are in towering apartment houses or huge mansions overlooking the gulf. An enormous array of gated golf and active adult communities tend to be nearer the Interstate (see link to Sarasota Active Communities at top of page).
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median sales price of a home in the Sarasota/Bradenton/North Port area was $480,000 in Q1of 2022, a 28% increase from a year earlier.


What Is Special about Sarasota

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; charming ambience with historical background to the 1920; the Cincinnati Reds has spring training here; Bobby Jones laid out the city golf course; many buildings on the National Register of Historic Places; something for every active adult 55+.


What Is Not Special about Sarasota

There are a lot of tourists and traffic in winter, and hot, humid temperatures in the summer.


Who Will Like Retirement in Sarasota

Sarasota is a growing, vital community with all types of people living there. It is an extremely popular retirement location because of its warm weather and access to the gulf. For more information about how to retire in Florida and top communities like Naples.

Local Economy Is Driven by

Tourism, finance, hospitality, health care, education.


Climate and Physical Environment

Sarasota is on the coastal plain abutting the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. It is a tropical, flat environment with warm winters and hot, rainy summers. Islands called keys radiate away from the city and out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Sarasota, one of the top cultural centers in Florida, is the home of Florida West Coast Symphony and its famous Sarasota Music Festival. It also hosts the Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, The Players, and numerous other musical, dance, artistic, and theatrical venues. John Ringling purchased an entire historic Italian theater, the Asolo;which he had broken down and shipped here. Later, Stuart Barger designed and oversaw the construction of another Asolo - a multi-theater complex. The new complex provides several other venues for students of Florida State University's theatre arts and film program. The beautiful Selby Library downtown (pictured at left) is built to mimic a circus tent and has great resources and programs.



The crime rate in Sarasota is about double the national average. However, that does not report the entire picture, since there are big differences between the unincorporated and the incorporated areas of the city.  It is much lower in the unincorporated areas, and that is where most retirees would choose to live.


Medical Facilities

• Doctors Hospital Of Sarasota • Healthsouth Rehab Hospital Of Sarasota • Sarasota Memorial Hospital •  Sarasota has an enviable supply of doctors and medical resources.



Sarasota-Bradenton Airport (SRQ. Amtrak offers a bus service in Sarasota that takes you to the train station in Orlando. There is local bus service. Sarasota is about average in walkability when compared to other communities.


Valuable Links

Sarasota Visitors and Convention Bureau


What people are saying about Sarasota

Judy added this comment about the crime in Sarasota
\"You should include the unincorporated area of Sarasota as it would present a truer picture. Most of us who have a Sarasota address live in the unincorporated area. The crime rate in 2012 per 100,000 residents in the unincorporated area was 2893, while for the city of Sarasota is was 6326. (Figures available at At least 65- 70% of residents with a Sarasota address live in the unincorporated area as opposed to the much smaller \"City\". The larger malls and many parks are in the unincorporated area. Most of Siesta Key lies in the unincorporated area, Most new home development is in the unincorporated area. I really think you need to include the statistics for this area in order to provide anaccurate picture for your readers.
Posted by admin on February 09, 2015
Crime in Sarasota??
Please help if you know anything about the crime in Sarasota! My husband and I are down here looking for a place to retire and love everything we've seen here in Sarasota. However, we are concerned about the high crime rate here. Has anyone had a problem? Do you know if these statistics are for the entire metro, certain neighborhoods, etc.? It seems to be such a terrific place to be: climate, friendly people, the beach, great restaurants, cultural activities, etc. The crime problem bothers me, however. Am I being too paranoid, or is it something that those of you who live here are bothered by also? Thanks for any insights you can give.
Posted by Kimbee Jeanq on April 22, 2012
A Great time just outside of Sarasota
I'm a recent retiree,and moved to Sarasota. The theatre is wonderful. I was looking to find something fun to do,and maybe get a new hobby. I was invited to a concert at Fletcher Music Center in Osprey,my wife and I went,and had a great time. I'm now a member of there club,and am Learning to play music...and its easy. I would definitely recommend Sarasota,and Osprey as a Great place to live!!! There's alot of fun out there!!!
Posted by HowardMeyers on February 10, 2012
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