Sarasota has a rare combination of small town charm and big city sophistication. Boutiques with distinctive styles, art galleries and sidewalk eateries can be found along Main Street and Palm Avenue while St Armand’s Circle has over 100 distinctive shops, boutiques, galleries and sidewalk cafes.

On Saturday mornings the farmer’s market on Main and Lemon is a community gathering place for a fresh cup of coffee and a gooey pastry. Stroll the market place and stuff a few bags with fresh fruits, veggies, pastas, breads and seafood. Homemade jams, pottery, jewelry and painted artistry are on display as well as handmade toys and candied apples. Even water bowls are strategically placed for any four legged friend to enjoy.

Sarasota also has three area malls:

Westfield Siesta Key Mall                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The Mall @ University Town Center                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Sarasota Square Mall  

Venice is only a short drive south on US 41. Small shops and boutiques grace the sidewalks of Venice Avenue featuring classic island wear, jewelry and collectibles. Knickknack shops are also on hand with shells, shark’s teeth and beach stuff.

Bargain hunters can head to Bradenton’s Red Barn Flea Market and Ellenton’s Outlet Mall for some of the best deals around.