There are many wonderful reasons to move to Sarasota, Florida. It’s a diverse, eclectic city with some of the most stunning beaches and museums in America. Since it is located along the Gulf of Mexico, its scenic ocean views and vibrant downtown lifestyle never disappoint. Sarasota has also won some coveted titles for being among the best places to live in the Sunshine State — and for good reason.
Here’s what you need to know about moving to Sarasota, Florida.
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The People of Sarasota
If you’re interested in a diverse and exciting place, moving to Sarasota might be the perfect fit for you. The following are some quick facts about the demographics there:
- Population: Sarasota, Florida, is bustling with just under 60,000 people that reside across about 24 square miles of Florida’s lush west coast.
- Age: As one of the most sought-after retirement destinations in the states, about 28% of the people in Sarasota are 65 years old and above.
- Ethnicities: Sarasota’s population breakdown is largely white, with about 15% black or African American individuals and about 15% people of Latino or Hispanic descent.
Zip codes throughout Sarasota County include:
Living Expenses in Sarasota
If you are looking to pack your bags and head to Sarasota, you are likely curious about living costs there. The city has a moderate cost of living. Despite its beauty and Gulf access, Sarasota is just 6% higher than the national average for living expenses.
When it comes to housing expenses, however, Sarasota can be relatively pricey. Housing expenses in this stunning place are about 22% higher than the average across America. Groceries and gas prices also tend to be a bit more expensive than the national average here. Utilities, on the other hand, are 1% lower than the average across the U.S.
If you are interested in buying a home, you can expect average costs to be around $550,000, though prices tend to rise along the shore and on Siesta Key, Bird Key and Lido Key. The average rent in the area is about $1,700 a month.
Climate and Weather Conditions
Is Sarasota a good place to live? Many people would tell you to look at its weather forecast to answer that question. The weather is spectacular, especially during the wintertime, when highs run in the low 70s and lows get down to about 50 degrees.
Summertime highs can reach about 90 degrees with lows around the mid-70s, and the humidity tends to skyrocket during these months, thanks to the subtropical climate. Luckily, the ocean is next door, so cooling off is no problem. The sun also shines throughout the majority of the year — just another perk of living in the Sunshine State.
We should note that hurricane season in Florida begins at the start of June and typically lasts throughout November, so severe storm preparation is a must in this region.
Top Communities in Sarasota
Sarasota boasts an interesting mixture of urban and suburban communities that feature charming historic architecture as well as captivating modern homes. Explore some of the coolest neighborhoods in the Sarasota area.
Downtown Sarasota is chock-full of entertainment and dining opportunities. It features gorgeous water views and stunning urban architecture.
The walkability and convenient location make Downtown living a treat. Whether you want to take a walk along the water at sunset or go on a shopping excursion, you can get everything you want in Downtown Sarasota.
Just south of Downtown is Arlington Park, a central neighborhood in Sarasota that is great for families thanks to its lower home prices and quality schools. It features a massive 36-acre public park with a swimming pool, tennis courts and picnic pavilions. You can get to Lido Beach or Downtown in just minutes, making it a convenient and fun place to live.
Foodies will love Southside Village in Sarasota. There are many dining options to choose from, and the mixture of historic and modern buildings gives it a unique feel. It is family-friendly, and you can find a diverse selection of homes to suit your style and budget.
Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores
Located along a stretch of the Sarasota Bay, Indian Beach/Sapphire Shores is a lush neighborhood with some of the most beautiful houses in the entire county. You can find everything from massive waterfront estates to cozy bungalows in this neighborhood.
Laurel Park is a quiet community south of Downtown Sarasota. Its location makes it very convenient, and you’re still within walking distance of tons of entertainment and dining establishments. It is a historic neighborhood that features mostly cottages and bungalows with a few mansions sprinkled throughout.
As one of the first planned communities in Sarasota, Palmer Ranch is a stunning neighborhood located south of Downtown. It’s a top place to live and features gorgeous homes in a wide range of price points. It has some of the best schools in the area and an amazing network of biking and walking trails.
Schools and Education
Sarasota has some of the best schools in the Florida school system. You can find high-performing public, private and charter options available for kindergarten through high school students.
Some of the top schools in Sarasota for academic performance and college readiness include:
- Southside Elementary School: This highly-rated public elementary school is part of the Sarasota County School District and is located in a historic building on Webber Street.
- Ashton Elementary School: Another Sarasota school known for its academic excellence is Ashton Elementary on Ashton Road.
- Sarasota Middle School: Also located on Ashton Road, this middle school is known for its impressive academics and excellent teaching staff.
- Sarasota Suncoast Academy: Located on Hawkins Road, Sarasota Suncoast Academy is a renowned charter school for kindergarten through eighth grade.
- Suncoast Polytechnical High School: As a leading technology magnet school, Suncoast Polytechnical offers a rigorous curriculum and special learning opportunities on South Beneva Road.
- Riverview High School: Located on Ram Way, Riverview High School is a high-performing public school with above-average test scores and strong academics.
Higher Education Institutions in Sarasota
You can also find various high-quality colleges, universities and technical schools in the Sarasota area, including the following:
- The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus: Located on North Tamiami Trail, this beautiful public school offers undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral degrees.
- New College of Florida: This public liberal arts college is located on Bay Shore Road and has a massive 110-acre campus.
- Ringling College of Art and Design: Also on North Tamiami Trail, this private art and design school offers a range of creative disciplines, from game art to virtual reality development.
Sarasota, Florida, has a wide range of interesting employment opportunities. The top professional industries in this region as of 2020 include:
- Health care and social assistance
- Accommodations and food service
- Sales and retail trade
- Educational services
Sarasota has a relatively low unemployment rate compared to the national average in April 2023, which boasts well for the local economy and job seekers. Workers in this area also tend to have a slightly shorter commute to their jobs than the national average, and most people opt to drive solo to their place of employment.
The area’s median household income is about $70,000, and less than a tenth of people are living in poverty across the city limits.
Crime and Safety Information
As of 2020, the violent and property crime rates in Sarasota, Florida, were below the national average, making it a relatively safe and pleasant place to live. Some of the northern neighborhoods of Sarasota tend to have slightly higher crime rates than the rest of the area. The most dangerous neighborhoods include:
- Briarwood/Country Palms
- Bayou Oaks
- Central Cocoanut
- Amaryllis Park
- Lorraine Park
- Southern View
Some of the safest communities in Sarasota County are:
- Siesta Key
- Lido Shores
- Gulf Gate East
- Desoto Lakes
- Fairway Oaks
In general, the eastern portions of Sarasota County tend to be the safest regions to explore and reside in.
Things to Do in Sarasota
Sarasota is full of things to do on any given day throughout the year. Explore some of the most fun and exciting activities to do while living in Sarasota, FL.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is a sprawling 66-acre complex showcasing impressive art collections and exhibitions. Its amazing pink, renaissance-inspired architecture is a piece of art itself.
You can also explore other Ringling attractions in the Sarasota area, such as:
- Circus Museum
- Ca’ d’Zan
- Historic Asolo Theater
- Bayfront Gardens
St. Armands Circle and Lido Key Beach
St. Armands Circle is a stunning continental marketplace just four miles from Downtown Sarasota with a variety of:
- Salons and spas
- Retail stores
- Specialty gifts
- Professional services
And just beyond St. Armands Circle is Lido Key Beach, a beautiful public beach overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
Sarasota Jungle Gardens
The Sarasota Jungle Gardens is a great family-friendly attraction that features various wildlife exhibits, including:
- Giant tortoises
Kids can enjoy the petting zoo where they get to interact with the animals face-to-face. It is an awesome destination for birthday parties and private animal experiences the whole family will enjoy.
Sarasota Farmers Market
The Sarasota Farmers Market is beloved by locals and visitors alike. It’s open every Saturday throughout the year and features a whopping 72 vendors. They have food stands, coffee, fresh produce, handmade goods and many other unique items. The market is located on North Lemon Avenue in Downtown Sarasota.
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, located on North Tamiami Trail, is a Sarasota staple. The massive purple building situated right on the Gulf is a sight to see in and of itself. Whether you want to see a comedy show, a musical or a concert, this is your go-to venue.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
The Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is on a mission to learn more about ocean life and share that education with its visitors. You can explore the aquarium or attend a live event to see manatees, otters, sharks and other marine animals up close and personal. Their research aims to protect our planet’s coral reefs and help the ocean heal with life-improving science.
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