Downtown Sarasota is rich with fun neighborhoods to explore.  Just  a street in from the bay is Palm Avenue.   At the west end of Palm  you'll find the Florida Studio Theatre, one of Sarasota's oldest buildings.  Between Main and Ringling is the  William Hartman Gallery brimming with photographs of Sarasota and original art by some of Sarasota's most notable artists - many who taught over the years at the Ringling School. And next door to Hartman Gallery is the working studio of artist d.a.gordon dart.  At one time The 1920's Mira Mar Hotel stood on the north side of Palm Avenue behind the 2-story med-rev apartments and shops that line the street today.   Have lunch or dinner on the patio at Caragiulos and finish off with a delicious gelato from Jolly in Cafe Epicure at the corner of Palm and Main Street.

Two wonderful downtown accommodations to investigate are The Cypress B&B on Palm Avenue and the Ranola Hotel on Ringling Blvd.

If you want to see one of the most sought after places to live downtown it would be the Laurel Park Historic District, a National Register of Historic Places District. It is right downtown. It's a mix of multi-family, quaint apartment buildings, bungalows and cottages over 9 city blocks built from the 1920's through the 50's.  The streetscaps are charming. 

 Spanish Oaks

The district has some businesses and surrounding it are great restaurants - Owens Fish Camp, Word of Mouth and Nancy's Bar-B-Q (www.NancysBarBQ.com). You can make an afternoon of it and shop the boutiques in Burns Court, another National Register district adjacent to Laurel Park.  Or if you get caught with a little rain coming down - head for the Burns Court Theatre and catch an independent film!