Sign showing The Rosemary District in downtown Sarasota

A Day in Sarasota’s Burgeoning Rosemary District

Just north of downtown Sarasota is the booming Rosemary District, a blend of modern culture, food and activities you can schedule your whole day around.

Few neighborhoods in Sarasota have seen a rapid overhaul the likes of the Rosemary District. Once a small, quiet offshoot of downtown, the Rosemary District has seen huge growth over the past five years, bringing in a vibrant food and art scene with plenty of selections for everyone’s preferences.

Here’s how you can spend an entire day – morning ‘til night – in the neighborhood just north of Fruitville Road.

The Rosemary District in Sarasota
The Rosemary District can be found just north of Fruitville Road near downtown Sarasota

Need a place to stay? Wake up bright and early and take in the downtown views from your big beautiful bed in Sarasota’s newest chic hotel, Sarasota Modern. Located in the middle of the Rosemary District, Sarasota Modern is all about traveling in style.

Once you’ve brushed your teeth and tamed your hairdo its time to greet the day with stretches and sun salutations at The Yoga Shack. Offering a daily schedule of classes including heated, reduced heat and non-heated yoga; starting your day at The Yoga Shack is a great way to get geared up for a day full of fun, food and shopping.

Mural on The Yoga Shack in Sarasota
Mural at The Yoga Shack in Sarasota’s Rosemary District [Photo: Lauren Jackson]

After class, head around the corner for breakfast à la française at Lolita Tartine. Their menu is brimming with traditional French classics including chocolate croissants, crepes, and the most perfectly-portioned personal quiche in all of Sarasota. Sip your café au lait and bask in the sunshine at one of their outdoor tables.

Lolita Tartine restaurant in sarasota
Outdoor seating at Lolita Tartine 

Now, instead of a museum, visit one of the area's salvage stores Sarasota Architectural Salvage or Circus City Architectural Salvage. Even if you have no intention of lugging home a souvenir, it’s worth checking out these vintage emporiums chock full of refurbished furniture, nautical novelties and memorabilia from Sarasota’s historic circus past. Whether sifting through old photographs of anonymous families, or swinging on a wrought iron swing, something in their vast collections is sure to trigger your nostalgia and send you strolling down memory lane.

Circus City Architectural Salvage store in sarasota
Memorabilia inside Circus City Architectural Salvage [Photo: Lauren Jackson]

Take in all of the energy of the Rosemary District with a sidewalk lunch at The Overton. Sharing the name of Sarasota County’s first black community, The Overton is the beating heart and center of the district. The trendy menu offers an array of healthy - and not so healthy - options including a stellar toast section, an awesome burger, and daily specials that make it hard to choose.

Salmon toast plate at the Overton in Sarasota
Salmon toast at The Overton [Photo: Lauren Jackson]

After lunch, take a moment to wander the neighborhood, popping in local shops and taking in the colorful murals and rich history of this beautiful part of town.

mural in the rosemary district of sarasota
You're never too far from an interesting mural in The Rosemary District [Photo: Lauren Jackson]

As happy hour approaches, consider returning to Rudolph’s at the Sarasota Modern for the perfect craft cocktail by the pool, or head over to Mandeville Beer Garden to enjoy one of their several beers from local brewers like JDub’s Brewing.

glass of beer at mandeville beer garden in sarasota
Enjoy craft brews from local stops like JDub's Brewing Company at Mandeville Beer Garden [Photo: Lauren Jackson]

For dinner in a different part of the neighborhood, check out The Rosemary for continental classics like tuna tartare, duck a l’orange and an epic tomahawk pork chop. In keeping with the neighborhood vibe, The Rosemary offers plenty of outdoor seating so guests can enjoy the beautiful weather just as much as the perfectly prepared food.

The Rosemary restaurant in sarasota
The Rosemary is a delicious namesake for the district [Photo: Lauren Jackson]

After dinner head out and enjoy a show. Even in its quieter years, the Rosemary District has always been known for its spirited cultural scene. Visitors can enjoy a Broadway-style musical at The Players Centre for Performing Arts. Keep an eye on their wonderfully diverse theatre offerings throughout the year. Speaking of diverse, few venues offer a wider array of entertainment than the Fogartyville Community Media & Arts Center run by Sarasota's community radio station 96.5 WSLR. It's not uncommon to see bluegrass bands, film screenings and crafting workshops occupy the same week on the venue's calendar.

If theatre isn’t your thing, pop into The Blue Rooster for live entertainment offered nightly with a heavy focus on the blues. You’ll forget you’re in Southwest Florida and think you’ve transported to a bluesy bar in Memphis as you enjoy the sweet soulful sound of local and touring musicians alike.

As your evening draws to a close reflect on your lovely and relaxing day in Sarasota’s Rosemary District and start planning your next visit to one of Sarasota’s many historic neighborhoods.