The natural world in and around Sarasota opens up during these summer months in a way most people don’t get to see. From a surreal and beautiful display of Salvador Dalí-inspired artwork to fresh fruit and game fish, the world of Sarasota becomes a play land of natural beauty, which is mirrored in the city’s summertime dedication to the arts.
Activities & Attractions
See Dalí in Sarasota
The Dalí Museum may be located in the other Opal destination of St. Petersburg, Florida. But, now through the end of June, the world-renown museum touches down in Sarasota during the Salvador Dalí: Gardens of the Mind exhibition, hosted by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, a 15-acre botanical garden located on the shores of Sarasota Bay. This surreal and beautiful display features Dalí’s use of botanical imagery throughout a tropical plant display in the Tropical Conservatory that is inspired by his work.
Catch some Prime Fishing
One of Sarasota’s most popular fishing stops is the New Pass Bascule Bridge that connects Longboat Key to Lido Beach. While anglers converge on the bridge all year long to try to hook snook, blue fish, and flounder, the months of May and June are tarpon season – Florida’s favorite game fish – on the Gulf, with several fishermen making record catches around it. Stop by New Pass Grill & Bait Shop to stock up on equipment and bait and to pack the cooler with sandwiches and beer. Or, for an even better chance of catching, charter a boat like Wrightstuff Charters to go offshore and see for yourself why these aerial fighters are considered some of the toughest to catch.
Take in a Show
Sarasota is home to a host of theaters, from big art halls like the Van Wezel and Asolo Repertory to small black-box venues, like the Urbanite Theatre. Starting in May until the end of summer, nine of them come together to create the Sarasota Summer Stage, a citywide deal on tickets. For comedy, check out McCurdy’s with free shows on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. If you’re looking for something more serious, The Players Center offers 10 perfect off on their off-Broadway productions.
Find the Freshest Fruits
The Sarasota Farmers Market has grown to be one of the largest in the state, with over 80 vendors lining Lemon Avenue in downtown Sarasota. During these peak summer months, the best time to hit the market is between 7 a.m. (when it opens) and 10 a.m. Coming in early allows you to beat both the heat and the crowds and the vendors will still be in full supply. Not to mention, May and June are the peak season for cantaloupes, watermelons, and fava beans, though you can also find home made jams, fresh honey, and baked goods among the downtown stalls.
Festivals & Events
Sarasota Craft Fair, 5/16 & 5/17
Sarasota is known for its tightly woven arts and crafts scene, which hosts four major events a year including this special weekend in May. More than 100 crafters from across the country converge in downtown, and sell everything from jewelry and pottery to photography and paintings to clothing and handmade soap. There’s also a “green market,” where local growers offer up Florida-grown orchids, sunflowers, and birds of paradise.
Outdoor Pops Field of Dreams, 5/7–5/9
For two nights, the Sarasota Symphony Orchestra takes over Ed Smith Stadium for the Outdoor Pops. Guests munch on popcorn and ball park franks while the orchestra plays classics like James Taylor’s Fire and Rain, Fleetwood Mac’s Landslide, and Carole King’s You’ve Got a Friend. At the end of each night, the stadium lets off fireworks that rival any Fourth of July display.
St. Armands Seafood and Music Festival, 5/22–24
Each year, Sarasota’s top seafood restaurants come together at St Armands Circle to celebrate two days of culinary creativity. Tickets include samples of food made on-site and live music provided by local bands. For $130 a ticket, the VIP tent includes an unobstructed view of the performances as well as a raw bar, full bar, and table service in the shade.
36th Annual Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix, 6/26–28
This annual celebration of speed has more to offer than just powerboats, but a list of events that includes a bay-front fireworks display, car and motorcycle show, and golf classic.
Sarasota Music Festival, 5/30–6/20
During this three-week event, Sarasota invites students of classical music to learn under some of the most highly respected and sought-after musicians from around the world. Each Friday, when classes are over, the student and teachers collaborate to put on small chamber shows in the evenings that are followed up by major symphonies each Saturday.