Sarasota is growing rapidly. Once a small town full of tourists and retirees, it’s now one of the top moving destinations in the country. The weather is a big draw, of course. It’s seventy-five and sunny most of the year. Temperatures rarely dip below sixty or soar over ninety.
But Americans aren’t only moving south on account of the weather. Sarasota is a town designed to foster happiness, health, and community. Its neighborhoods are designed for citizens rather than cars. With shops, restaurants, and entertainment an easy walk from their front door, residents spend more time out having fun than nearly anywhere else in the country.
It used to be Sarasota was someplace you went to retire. Now it’s a place you go to live. Young families, senior citizens ‒ everyone’s eager to come to spend time here.
You can’t discuss Sarasota without talking about its beaches: thirty-five miles of gleaming white, quartz-crystal sand stretching along the Gulf Coast. Relaxing, rejuvenating, fun, and exciting ‒ they’re not just the best beaches in Florida. They’re some of the best in the world.
All day long you’ll find people playing in the surf, exploring the tidal pools, zipping around on jet skis, or snorkeling through the coral reefs. After they’re done playing in the water, they go picnicking on the shoreline, play tennis at the public courts, or hike through the dunes. Most of them ride the free trolley to get around.
Whether because of tourists who don’t know their way around or seniors who prefer not to drive, Sarasota’s made pedestrians a priority. Unlike other American cities, roads here are designed to encourage foot traffic. Emphasizing the safety, comfort, and convenience of pedestrians has not only made these communities more active, they’re also:
- Healthier. Walking is great exercise. As a result, people who live in walkable communities tend to have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease.
- Happier. Exercise has huge benefits for mental as well as physical health. The regular release of endorphins improves your mood, reduces stress, and helps you sleep better at night.
- Safer. The more people there are on the streets, the fewer opportunities there are to commit crimes. Walkable neighborhoods also tend to be well-lit, which deters criminals even further.
- More Connected. Being out on the street gives people more chances to interact and form relationships. It fosters tolerance, openness, and a sense of community you don’t experience in cities built around cars.
Low Housing Costs
Housing isn’t cheap in Sarasota, but it’s not expensive either. The average home sells for around $333,000, a bit more than the national average, and certainly a lot more affordable than most major cities. In New York City for instance, the average home costs well over $600,000. In Seattle, it costs over $850,000. And in Los Angeles, it’s $880,000.
Rents are cheaper in Sarasota as well. A 900-square-foot apartment here rents for $2,100. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, a 790-square-foot apartment rents for $2,600, while in New York City, 700-square-foot apartments rent for $4,200 for an even smaller apartment: 700 square feet if you’re lucky.
Florida has no state income tax, which means, living in Sarasota, you bring home more money each week than you would almost anywhere else in America. That’s more money for groceries, gas, and rent, not to mention fun trips to the beach.
Sarasota ranks second in Florida for quality healthcare. Its hospitals, clinics, specialists, therapists, and rehabilitation facilities provide comprehensive, evidence-based care for serious diseases at every stage of treatment.
And it’s not just direct treatment that’s improved over the years. Preventive care has improved as well. Before the pandemic, Sarasota had some of the lowest morbidity in the state. Residents had fewer health problems and unhealthy habits (e.g. smoking) than the rest of Florida.
Families concerned about their children’s future love the Sarasota School District, the second highest rated in the state. Its students score high in reading and math and have access to college prep programs. Teacher ratios are low as well, ensuring each student gets plenty of one-on-one instruction and almost all go on to graduate.
For a relatively small town, Sarasota has a surprisingly diverse economy. Tourism is its biggest money maker, but its manufacturing, healthcare, and construction sectors are thriving as well. The city is a leading producer of hydraulic valves, custom doors, magnetic sensors, machine parts, and aircraft components. Tropicana has been one of the city’s biggest employers since the 1940s.
Because of the region’s unique climate, Sarasota has an unusually high demand for zoologists and wildlife biologists. It also offers more career opportunities for nuclear medicine technicians, skin care specialists, lab technicians, tile setters, carpenters, and craftsmen.
Sarasota likes to call itself the cultural capital of Florida. The rest of the state might not agree, but nonetheless, there’s no denying that Sarasota has more than its share of art and theater.
It’s no coincidence that the Ringling Brothers Museum is the city’s most famous historic landmark. The Ringling Brothers Circus operated out of Sarasota for decades. You won’t find a better collection of costumes and memorabilia anywhere in the country. But that’s not all. The museum also holds the Ringling Brothers’ personal collection of art, sculpture, and illuminated manuscripts ‒ all housed in their one-of-a-kind, pink-painted mansion.
And if the Ringlings aren’t enough, Sarasota’s has several other top-rated venues, such as:
- Sarasota Opera House. Watch dramatic stagings of modern and classic works such as Madame Butterfly, Don Giovani, and House of Og, as well as unforgettable performances by the Sarasota Ballet.
- Asolo Repertory Theater. One of Florida’s premier professional theaters, here you can see performances of Shakespeare, as well as imaginative retellings of famous literature and challenging works by emerging playwrights.
- Sarasota Cuban Ballet School. Organized regular performances throughout the year, showcasing the skill of its dancers who have been trained in the Cuban method of dance, which emphasizes strength, passion, and grace.
- Circus Arts Conservatory. Featuring some of the finest circus performers in the world, the Conservatory’s most famous show is its Summer Circus Spectacular, featuring acrobats, jugglers, clowns, and thrills for all ages.
There’s no such thing as a quiet weekend in Sarasota. Thanks to the abundance of fine weather, there are festivals and events year-round. You can participate in scavenger hunts, cabaret, stargazing, beach runs, sand sculpting, chili cook-offs, and a few genuine hootenannies. But to really experience the best Sarasota has to offer, be sure to check out:
- Downtown Festival of the Arts. Five city blocks are full of local and regional artists. Visitors can marvel at life-size sculptures, virtuoso paintings, stellar photography, and hand-crafted ceramics.
- Sarasota Music Festival. A three-week celebration of classical chamber music by world-class musicians, as well as emerging artists from across the country, representing America’s best orchestras and conservatories.
- Offshore Grand Prix. Powerboats and jet skis compete in an exciting roar of power and noise. Residents and tourists crowd the beaches to experience the action and cheer on their favorite sportsmen as they race through the water.
- 4th of July. Firework shows erupt all along the beaches. For two days (July 3-4), the night sky becomes a riot of color. Before the shows, relax and enjoy live music, baseball games, boating, and barbeque pavilions all around the city.
- Halloween. Ghost tours, pumpkin patches, and haunted houses take over the city. Explore the city’s cemeteries, take part in the annual masquerade ball, and go trick-or-treating with your children along Sarasota’s candy trail.
- Celebrate Christmas. Sarasota commemorates the holidays in style, with streets full of carolers, toy drives, and light displays. There’s also a full holiday village. Enjoy games, circus thrills, and pictures with Santa Claus himself.
Don’t think moving to a small town means giving up your favorite food. Sarasota offers a rich and diverse variety of restaurants and cafes. Choose from upscale Italian, scintillating Columbian, finely-crafted Cuban, as well as some good, old-fashioned American barbeque. And that’s just for starters.
For brunch, you can chow down on the luscious bread pudding at the Sun Garden Cafe. Or grab a frozen cocktail at the Daiquiri Deck Raw Bar. Grab a burger at the famous New Pass Grill and Bait Shop. Feast on grilled crab at Owen’s Fish Camp. Then swing by SunniBunni if you’re in the mood for ice cream. There’s something here for everyone, even a restaurant that serves Amish home cooking!
ABOUT HAZELWOOD ALLIED
Established in Santa Barbara in 1918, Hazelwood Allied is a full service relocation company providing national relocation and international moves for residential and commercial clients. Known as “The Careful Movers,” Hazelwood Allied is a Santa Barbara moving company with a strong track record for thorough and careful approaches to residential moves and commercial moves. Follow the Facebook page for exclusive offers and moving tips. Call 800-541-5958 for a free moving estimate.