Putting a Spotlight on the Limelight District

This budding sector near downtown Sarasota, Florida is becoming the perfect spot to catch a ball game, have a drink, learn an instrument and experience some of the most unique one-stop shopping you will ever find

Just a short ride Northeast from Main Street in downtown Sarasota, Fla. is an area where new venues, shops and restaurants are mixing with existing attractions to form a unique local experience. Park your car and meet local artists, athletes and entrepreneurs as you plan a day wandering the bourgeoning Limelight District.

The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime

Imagine a four-way crash between a barista, musician, small business owner and pop-up art show. Now, you might be close to picturing the aptly named Bazaar on Apricot & Lime. This indoor Indie Market is the hub of the district, designed to be a place where vendors could showcase talents, wares and provide a fun experience for shopper who might enjoy learning something too. Filled with over 25 local vendors, this place sells everything from original art, collectibles, gifts, clothing, jewelry, honey, plants, and so much more. Th Bazaar is open every Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (you can catch live music in the last three hours). Pop up classes are also available in acrylic pour, chalk painting, and weaving for only $30. You’ll find music lessons nearby too…

Music Compound

Occupying a permanent wing of The Bazaar’s property is a second location of Music Compound, a local company teaching music lessons to students ages 5 to 85. Rockstars are groomed daily in an environment MC describes as a “holistic approach to music education. Private, group and adult classes are all on the menu along with a wide-ranging list of instruments. Signing up for classes also unlocks access to regularly scheduled “jam sessions” and “music lounges” to show off what’s you’ve been learning with their certified instructors. MC is also always hosting different events around town and in The Bazaar’s courtyard if you’d like to see former students before buying in, or sip a cold one while listening to local tunes.

JDub’s Brewing Co.

Just a few steps North of The Bazaar is JDub’s Brewing Company is the unconventional ‘beats to the sound of his own drum’ brother of the Sarasota Gulf Toast family. JDub’s fits right into the Limelight mold as it embodies all things funky, artsy, and creative, from its graffiti’d walls to its vats featuring larger than life images of Samuel L Jackson and Mad Max. The craft beers continue this lighthearted trend, all cleverly named and spanning from the expected crowd-pleasers to unique selections such as Passion Fruit Weisse, which was amazingly refreshing while sipped inside their tap room or outside in their biergarten. In this outdoor area, one can play Frisbee golf, corn hole, Jenga, or let their dogs run happily as music plays overhead. JDub’s also boasts food trucks outside its door on most days of the week, so you never need to leave this haven of “quality, innovation, and culture.”

Brant’s Books

This old Sarasota institution has been serving booklovers since 1956. Brant’s Books has amassed over 150,000 volumes on the road to becoming one of Florida’s oldest and largest all used bookstores. Everything from eclectic, out-of-print, hard-to-find and everyday bestsellers are available among the stacks. Pop in to browse the shelves, read some of their collectables, pet the bookstore dog Max, or pick up something you’ve spotted on their eBay listings.

Ed Smith Stadium

The Baltimore Orioles fly to “Birdland South” each February and stay only a little longer than a month for Spring Training. February through March is an awesome time to visit Ed Smith Stadium on the edges of the Limelight District as fans, vendors and pro baseball hopefuls mingle with big leaguers for 16-17 home games per season. This major league facility features an 8,000-seat stadium, four additional onsite training fields with one practice half-field, five offsite training fields, a clubhouse and covered batting cages and pitching mounds. When the O’s fly back north, the stadium is hardly quiet, hosting concerts, amateur sporting events, races and more throughout the “offseason.”

So next time you’re planning a visit to Sarasota County, take a peek at the Limelight District to see how it’s evolving near the heart of downtown.