sarasota modern rosemary

A Day in Sarasota’s Burgeoning Rosemary District

Here’s how to spend an entire day – morning ‘til night – in the growing neighborhood just north of Fruitville Road on the fringes of downtown Sarasota.

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 of new businesses, new public art, new parks, and infrastructural updates over the past 10 years—bringing in a vibrant food and art scene with plenty of selections for everyone’s preferences.

Need a place to stay? Wake up bright and early and take in the downtown views from your beautiful bed or balcony (some replete with vintage clawfoot tubs!) in Sarasota’s mid-century modern chic hotel, The Sarasota Modern. Located in the middle of the Rosemary District at the beautified corner of Boulevard of the Arts and Cocoanut Avenue, The Sarasota Modern is all about traveling in style and soaking up the Florida sun by its luxurious pool and poolside bar. Just inside, find a bite or beverage at its trendy restaurant and lounge, Wink Wink Food and Drink.

sarasota modern

Morning

Once you’ve brushed your teeth and tamed your hairdo, it's time to greet the day with stretches and sun salutations at The Yoga Shack. Offering a daily schedule of classes including Sweat, Sculpt, Restore, Sweel+Chill, and more; starting your day at The Yoga Shack is a great way to get geared up for a day full of fun, food and shopping. If yoga's not your thing, consider a hearty breakfast at a restored depot dating back to 1854. Station 400 remains a local favorite and a longtime staple for a traditional American morning meal.

yoga shack

Instead of a museum, visit one of the area's salvage stores Sarasota 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.

Noon

Take in all of the energy of the Rosemary District with a sidewalk snack or lunch at one of the many cafes and restaurants in the heart of the neighborhood. From sake and sushi rolls at Spice Station to freshly blended acai bowls at SaraFresh Juice to high-end deli sandwiches at The Original Wolfie's Delicatessen to lattes and vegan pastries at Project Coffee and tapas and wine at Vino Bistro, there is no shortage of dining options here—all within the same central block. 

vino bistro sarasota

Just across the way on Boulevard of the Arts, check out the brand-new restaurant, Arts & Central, and its modern Contempoary American food and cocktail menu. The gorgeous brick building is a sight to see, while the large front outdoor patio allows for people watching and a nice shaded breeze. More new eateries on the same block and opening soon in the Rosemary District are Origin Craft Beer & Pizza, Mango Bistro, and Great Heights Creamery.

rosemary sarasota mural

After lunch, take a moment to wander the neighborhood, popping in local shops and taking in the many large-scale colorful murals and rich history of this beautiful part of town. As happy hour approaches, consider a mini pub crawl to try out some local craft beers. Pop over to Lemon Avenue to find Mandeville Beer Garden and enjoy a pint or flight of their several beers on tap and a game of cornhole. Then head next door to FOOD+BEER to explore its beer menu and lively bar scene. 


Enjoy craft brews from local stops like JDub's Brewing Company at Mandeville Beer Garden [Photo: Lauren Jackson]

Night

For dinner in a different part of the district, head to Orange Avenue to find 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. Just next door, saunter over to 481 Gourmet for some after-dinner drinks by the fireplace and a "sweet ending" from its delicious dessert menu.

After dinner head out and enjoy a show. The downtown corridor is in walking distance and there's 13 stages within a mile. Or, check out 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 this historic venue's calendar.