Gecko Joint & Spine
2033 Wood Street #210
Sarasota, FL 34237
Voice 941.330.8553 FAX 941.330.9853
Welcome To Sarasota Florida!
Thank you for choosing Gecko Joint & Spine of Advanced Wellness for your healthcare needs. We want to insure that your visit to Sarasota is pleasant. Therefore, we have put together a list of accommodations, attractions, events, dining options, and things see when you are in Sarasota.
Nearby Hotels, Resorts, and Accommodations
Marriott Residence Inn Sarasota Bradenton
1040 University Parkway
Springhill Suites Sarasota Bradenton
1020 University Parkway
Courtyard Sarasota Bradenton
850 University Parkway
Hyatt Siesta Key Beach
915 Seaside Drive ,
Siesta Key, Florida, USA 34242
Lido Beach Resort
700 Ben Franklin Drive
Holiday Inn Lido Beach
233 Ben Franklin Drive
Hotel Indigo Sarasota
1223 Blvd of the Arts
Sarasota FL 34236
950 University Parkway
Relaxation or adventure, it’s your call…..
For many people, planning a Sarasota vacation is as simple as getting away from it all, amidst the splendor of sun, sand and beautiful weather that are the Gulf Coast’s greatest natural resources. For them, doing nothing is the whole point.
But mere relaxation is not enough for everyone. Thankfully, Sarasota has action-packed activities, attractions and sightseeing that can fill the vacation calendar of even the most devoted traveler.
Start with the area’s vibrant arts scene, anchored by the world-famous collection of paintings at the Ringling Museum of Art. After viewing the museum’s large array of Rubens canvasses, you can stroll across the museum grounds to John Ringling’s Ca D’Zan Mansion — a masterpiece of Venetian Gothic architecture — or gaze at the memorabilia housed in the Ringling Circus Museum. And with a nationally recognized opera house, ballet company, symphony orchestra and multiple theaters located just a mile down the road, Ringling is merely the start of a Sarasota arts adventure.
You’ll want to devote a day (and probably a few nights) to exploring downtown Sarasota’s historic neighborhoods, including the quaint Towles Court art district, which is densely packed with brightly painted wooden homes filled with galleries, shops and restaurants. Main Street is a destination for locals or visitors seeking some of the best cuisine and shopping in Sarasota, along with live music and chic bars, all arranged into an area that begs to be strolled.
Head deeper into Sarasota and you’ll find some of the best preserved natural lands in Florida, especially the gigantic Myakka River State Park, which offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, cabin rentals, and airboat tours. Casual visitors can climb a wooden tower that extends above the tree canopy to see red-tailed hawks circling for prey, otters and foxes scurrying along wooded trails, or alligators sunning on the shore of Myakka River (from a safe distance, of course).
Of course, if you want to guarantee an encounter with tropical wildlife, you can head to Sarasota Jungle Gardens. The animal park will put you face-to-face with some of the amazing birds, reptiles and mammals that call Sarasota home. Sarasota’s mild climate has also made it into an international golf destination, with dozens of courses in the area designed by some of the biggest names in the sport. If you’d rather be a spectator than a participant, head to Ed Smith Stadium, the spring training headquarters of the Baltimore Orioles and home to a minor league franchise.Things to do don’t stop at the Sarasota city limits. Within a short drive are the scattered towns that make up the greater Sarasota area, each with its own character and style. Venice is the biggest little town in the area, with all the amenities and attractions of downtown Sarasota presented in a quieter setting. Osprey and Nokomis have a slow and sleepy vibe, while a short drive east to Myakka City will introduce you to the rural heritage that made Sarasota what it is today.
So sure, sit on the beach as much as you’d like. We understand. But if you want to pack a little more into your vacation, Sarasota and Her Islands will easily oblige.
Restaurants, Dining and Nightlife
Enjoy more Zagat-rated restaurants than you can shake a fork at plus tastes from all over the world. Plan your Sarasota culinary adventure now.
The Gulf Coast’s natural beauty and active arts scene could easily overshadow Sarasota’s culinary wonders, unless you are a foodie that is. A foodie could easily justify a culinary vacation with all the food and wine events here. To name a few, there’s the Stone Crab, Seafood & Wine Festival and Taste of Sarasota in November, Forks and Corks Wine and Food Festival in January, the Taste of the Suncoast in March, the Florida Winefest & Auction in April, and Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week in June. Sarasota also has a thriving dining scene year-round that belies it’s size, ranging from dockside fish shacks to award-winning fine dining, from exacting French cuisine to vibrant Peruvian fare, from soup to, well, nuts.
With the sparkling blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico right at hand, seafood is a focus for many Sarasota restaurants. Some take advantage of the setting by building restaurants over the water on docks and jetties, which makes it easy to unload the freshest seafood from day boat fishermen directly into the kitchen. That means that Gulf grouper or snapper can go from deep water to your waiting plate in hours, almost faster than if you caught it yourself. From October to May is Florida’s stone crab season, a uniquely sustainable seafood harvest that takes only a single claw from each crab before setting it free to grow another claw for the next year. Smash the tough shell, dip in mustard sauce and enjoy before the season ends.
Head inland and you’ll find that Sarasota also has a large Amish and Mennonite community, with many restaurants that cater to their hearty fare. These spots serve classic American comfort food like crisp fried chicken and gravy or fresh smoked ham with scalloped potatoes, but the biggest draw is the pie. Yoder’s — a 35-year old Sarasota Amish restaurant icon — sells over 4,000 of their award-winning pies the day before Thanksgiving every year.
But man cannot live on pie alone. Those looking for something a little more elegant will find that Sarasota’s fine dining scene is one of the best in Florida. Along with one of the highest concentrations of Zagat-rated restaurants in Florida, two local chefs — Derek Barnes of Derek’s Culinary Casual and Jose Martinez of Masion Blanche — have been nominated for prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards in recent years. Sarasota is also home to two AAA Four-Diamond Awarded restaurants: Michael’s On East and Vernona at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.
Beyond the awards, you’ll find Sarasota’s dining districts provide satisfy a wide variety of tastes. Downtown Sarasota restaurants are a melting pot of the world’s cuisines, from Vietnamese pho to Moroccan tagine. Relaxed Gulf Gate is a breeding ground for independent restaurants, including incredible sushi and inexpensive late-night munchies. Out on the islands, you can cool down with an ice cream cone in Venice’s historic downtown, nosh on barbecue while listening to Jimmy Buffet on Siesta Key Beach, eat classic French cuisine while people-watching on St. Armands Circle, and sample Asian-Jewish fusion on Longboat Key while enjoying a breathtaking view of the lights of downtown across Sarasota Bay.
20 Things to Do in Sarasota For $5 Or Less
Let’s count the ways to have fun for free or nearly free despite the recession. Here are 20 things you can do with $5 or less.
1. Spend the day at the beach. Sarasota is home to Siesta Beach, the No. 1 beach in the country, according to Dr. Beach’s 2011 list. Lido, Longboat, Nokomis and Manasota beaches all have beautiful scenery and public access and the beaches of Venice are known for their sharks’ teeth – included free of charge.
2. Drum, dance or get a live show. Live music performances are free every Sunday night on Siesta Beach…and you can even join in. Bring a drum or just yourself and play or dance the night away or pull up a beach chair or towel and get a front row experience. Read more about the drum circle.
3. Be artsy. Come on a weekend to enjoy free art and live music at the first Friday Palm Avenue Art Walks or the third Friday Towles Court Art Walks. Palm Avenue is lined with galleries and Towles Court, an artists’ colony, opens its galleries and studios to the public. www.palmavenue.org and www.towlescourt.com
4. Grill out. Have a BBQ, picnic or combination of the two at Siesta Beach or Lido Beach. Both have grills and picnic areas with tables and pavilions, so bring your own food and have a scenic, waterfront lunch or dinner on a budget.
5. Go camping. Get in touch with nature on a primitive campsite at Myakka State Park. The cost is just $5 per person. While the primitive campsites are several miles away from the trailhead, that’s just an excuse to go hiking or biking before setting up camp. Don’t forget to bring supplies to make s’mores! www.myakkariver.org
6. Go to the movies with just a couple bucks. Sarasota’s Parkway 8 Cinema makes it possible for you and the whole family to enjoy go to the movies for less than the price of one adult ticket at the average movie theatre. Matinees tickets are $1.50 and evening showings are just $2. http://www.omcinemas.com
7. Take a dip. The Lido Pool is a hidden gem of a public pool right on Lido Beach. Open seasonally (Tuesday-Friday 10:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m.; weekends noon-4:45 p.m.), the pool charges just $2 for children under 11 and seniors and just $4 for adults.
8. Go to Happy Hour. Happy Hour often means cheaper food and drinks, but rarely this cheap and this gourmet. Upscale Asian restaurant Pacific Rim has happy hour from 4:30-6 p.m. on weekdays and offers up its delectable cocktails and small plates for a mere $4 and sushi for just $3. http://www.pacificrimsarasota.com
9. Read a book. Or go online, roam around, check out the architecture outside and more at Selby Library. Its prime downtown location makes it a fun (and free) stop before or after swinging by the marina at Island Park (also free). http://suncat.co.sarasota.fl.us
10. Relax in Island Park. Located at 1 Marina Plaza, Island Park is home to lots of great, free things–a sprawling lawn, beautiful blue water, a fountain for children, sun, shade, massive and inventive sculptures, big boats and docks to roam on.
11. Spend Monday at the museum. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art opens its doors free of charge every Monday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. www.ringling.org
12. Grab some fresh produce. Find fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, crafts and more at the downtown Farmers Market every Saturday morning or the Siesta Key Farmers Market on Sunday mornings. www.downtownsarasotafarmersmarket.com www.siestafarmersmarket.com
13. Enjoy music on the bay. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall holds Friday Fest one Friday a month. Check out the live music on the waterfront from 5-9 p.m. http://www.vanwezel.org
14. Play sports. It’s free to play tennis or volleyball at Siesta Beach. Bring a friend or the family or join in on a game with Sarasota’s friendly residents.
15. Go window shopping. Even in a downtrodden economy, it doesn’t hurt to look. Take a peek in the boutiques of downtown Sarasota and St. Armands Circle. After all, it’s free! You may even find a great deal.
16. Go for a walk, drive or bike ride. No matter what mode of transportation you prefer, there are many ways to see Sarasota. Drive through beautiful Casey Key and marvel at the homes, take a long walk on the beach or along Ringling Bridge or bike on the Legacy Trail.
17. Get a cupcake. Cupcakes are in right now and you can get a delectable one for just a few bucks at Heavenly Cupcakes in Gulf Gate or on Siesta Key or at Whiteberry on Main Street. www.myheavenlycupcakes.com and http://www.whiteberryusa.com
18. Watch the sunset. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s possible to experience something so beautiful without spending a dime. Taking in a sunset is free and simple and you can do it from almost anywhere in Sarasota. The beaches, the marina and Ringling Bridge are favorite spots among locals.
19. Split a drink with friends. All you’ll need is a few bucks and a few straws when going in on the “Village Idiot” with a group of friends. The massive, fruity alcoholic beverage is served in a beach pail and can be found at Siesta Key Oyster Bar in Siesta Village. It’s the perfect afternoon refresher or nightcap after a long day on the beach and when you split the tab, you’re no idiot.
20. Get festive. Sarasota has a packed festival schedule year-round and all of the festivities are free and open to the public. Arts, crafts, food and music abound, from the Venice Sharks Tooth Festival to the Siesta Fiesta to the St. Armands Craft Festival. For dates and details, visit www.sarasotafl.org
Sun, Sand, and Water on Florida’s Gulf Coast
Sun, sand and water are three things Sarasota has an abundance of, but not all Sarasota beaches are the same. Six islands line Sarasota’s extensive coastline, each revealing its own personality, recreational options and natural beauty. Don’t worry, you don’t have to choose just one.
Named number one in the world in 2011 by Dr. Beach, Siesta Key’s beaches are the beach benchmark for which all other beaches are judged. Miles of fine white sand stretch along the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico on Siesta’s western shore, perfect for blemish-free sandcastles, long walks, or a soft place to soak up the sun. For something different, try the more laid-back atmosphere at Crescent Beach in the middle of Siesta Key, or find fertile ground for shell collecting in the coarser sand at Turtle Beach on Siesta’s southern end.
Although smaller than Siesta, Lido Key’s beaches pack a surprising variety into a compact area. Lido’s north end features unspoiled beach backed by a public park, with nature trails from the water to the tranquil Florida pine forest. Head south and you’ll find a popular public beach that’s similar to Siesta, with white sands and many recreational amenities. On the island’s southern tip is South Lido Park, bordered by Sarasota Bay on the east, Big Pass to the south, and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. There, boaters drop anchor in the calm waters of the pass to come ashore and picnic in the park or enjoy the waves crashing on south Lido’s Gulf side beaches.
Longboat Key is a more private beachfront community than many areas of Sarasota, geared more to people staying at the island’s fabulous resorts than to casual visitors. Still, Longboat’s world-class dining scene draws people from all over.
Venice Beach is one of the best places in the world to find shark’s teeth, easily sifted from the sand and shells by people of all ages. (Don’t worry; these pointy, triangular fossils — naturally shed by sharks over their lifetime — are due to a quirk of ocean currents, not sharks off the coast.) There’s also a massive fishing pier that extends into the Gulf, as well as dining options overlooking the beach.
Casey Key is regarded as a private refuge studded with multi-million dollar homes, including one belonging to famed author Stephen King. That privacy has its advantages for visitors, as well. Casey Key’s public beaches — including North Jetty Park and Nokomis Beach — feel like a burst of old Florida. Each Casey Key beach is a cozy nook packed with amenities without the hassle of crowds or development.
No matter where you’re staying, or what your particular beach personality is, Sarasota’s sandy shores offer enough option