Pokemon Go fever: Where to Catch 'Em All in Sarasota County

Pokemon Go is a augmented reality game where players can catch pokemon as they travel around in the real world. Here are five hot spots in Sarasota.

Sarasota County is a perfect place to explore with Pokemon Go. Discover wild and rare creatures in neighborhoods, county and state parks, on bayfronts and beaches, or in shopping districts. Many of these locations also have several pokestops, gyms and other players scanning the scene for the next Pokemon to pop up. Whether this game brings nostalgia of your childhood, or is utilized for a fun family activity, Sarasota is a great place to play.

Here are some of the best locations to play in the area:

Virginia Haley, CDME

St. Armands Circle 

St. Armands is one of the most popular shopping districts, boasting high-end retail, boutique shops and al fresco dining along a gorgeous pathway of palm trees and statues. It also happens to be a great location to search for Pokemon!

Home to a gym, Pokestops and several creatures skittering around within the digital grass in the mobile game, one could lap around the circle for hours collecting all sorts of in-game goodies. We found Magnemite, Meowth and Voltorb hanging out around the front doors of stores and eateries. 

Other places to check out nearby include Ken Thompson Parkway and Lido Beach.

Siesta Beach

Even Pokemon enjoy America’s sterling, internationally recognized Gulf Coast beach. This location is an excellent place for families to play with kids, as you can take a break from the game and play on the Siesta Beach playground or take a dip in the azure blue waters. Grab a bite to eat at the Siesta Beach’s pavilion concessions and relax on the white sand shores of the beach after a thorough search for water-type Pokemon nearby.

While this location doesn’t have many Pokestops, it does have one gym, and a lot of creatures crawling around the beach. We found a Rattata, Pidgey, Caterpie and Poliwag soaking in some sunny rays in this location.

Siesta Village

Not too far from Siesta Beach (about three-quarters of a mile) is Siesta Village. This colorful village of bungalows, beach shops and relaxed dining is a thriving hub of Pokemon and Pokemon trainers. While it was active when we visited during the day, we can’t wait to come back at night to see what night-animal Pokemon are prowling around the clubs, bars and restaurants in the village! We captured even more Rattatas, Magnemites, as well as a Bulbasaur, and spotted a friendly Pikachu that did not want to be confined to a Pokeball.

Payne Park

Payne Park, nearby downtown Sarasota, is a large city park with a café, a skate park, a circus-themed playground, and a half-mile trail encircling a Frisbee disc-golf course. Another great family-friendly Pokemon hunting ground, this location has all sort of critters to be discovered throughout the day. One fun thing about the Pokestops is that each one offers a little information about the real-life landmark. For instance, the “Circus Park” stop informs visitors that the City of Sarasota’s public works department built this park. While exploring this area we found Zubats, a Pidgeoto, and a Pinsir.

Downtown Sarasota

The city of Sarasota, in the northern part of Sarasota County, is a scene of eateries, theaters, shopping boutiques and artist enclaves. Running through the heart of downtown is Main Street, and branching off this main drag is colorfully named streets such as Pineapple, Orange, Lemon and Palm.

This hub of the city of Sarasota is a thriving Pokemon Go hotspot. You’ll find several hotspots, some of which have been “allured” by other players, causing many Pokemon to appear around Five Points Park and nearby shops and restaurants. This is a very active location with sidewalk and street traffic, so be careful playing and mindful of your surroundings. We found several Weedles, Caterpies, Dodous and other pokemon checking out the downtown vibe.

Ready to go out and search for Pokemon? Check out these tips before you get started exploring:

Sarasota County Pokemon Go player tips:
• Don’t play while driving! Police urge players not to operate the app while driving. Not only is it not safe, but the program will also burn through your battery and your data plan. Stop first and then catch them!
• Be vigilant on foot. Especially in playing with your little ones, please use caution and look around. You might run into something and you never know what’s around you!
• Search in public locations. Parks and similar places are the perfect place to play the game!
• Bring water and sunscreen. Especially in the summer, players will find themselves walking long distances in the sun for the reward of catching Pokemon. Be sure to stay hydrated and protected from the sun!

Have you found other locations in Sarasota County that are Pokemon hotspots? Let us know and we will include them on this list message us on Facebook, instagram or twitter and use the hashtag #SarasotaPokemon.