Fun Things to Do, Splurges

Sarasota - A Cultural Eutopia

Cultural Events
Published on December 10, 2015


If you've recently entered retirement, you may find that you have a lot of free time on your hands. This can be a tough adjustment for retirees. To avoid boredom, many people choose to live in master-planned communities, where they enjoy parks, lakes, golf-courses, clubhouses, and beautiful natural surroundings. In one of the best places to live in the south, Sarasota has so many great places for Florida retirement living, and a wonderful wealth of venues featuring culture and entertainment.

In fact, Sarasota has become a destination for the performing arts. Each year, local theaters host a number of world-class performances. These include opera, ballet, musical theatre, and famous dramatic plays, as well as festive events for every holiday and season. With so much to offer, Sarasota is a great place for Florida retirement living.

And now that the winter season has arrived, Sarasota venues are alive with new performances. With its tropical winter weather, this is the best time of year to visit Florida. If you are planning a winter trip to one of the best places to live in the south, here are seven of the best things to do this coming season. 


The Asolo Repertory Theatre in Sarasota actually consists of 3 separate performance theatres at one grand venue. The primary and most elegant of them is the 500-seat Mertz Theatre, originally built in 1903 as an opera house in Scotland. While most performances take place in the Mertz Theatre, the Cook Theatre and Asolo Theatre also host annual performances. Upcoming 2016 performances for January and February include:

  • The Liar (A French comedy by David Ives)
  • Living On Love (A romantic and musical comedy by Joe Dipietro)
  • All The Way (2014 Tony Award winner for Best Play)
  • Ah Wilderness (a comedy by Eugene O'Neill)
  • Shakespeare's Macbeth

The Asolo Repertory Theatre is located at 5555 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida 34243. For the box office, call 941.351.8000 / 800.361.8388.


Set in the heart of downtown Sarasota, the Florida Studio Theatre is actually a campus of theatres, cabarets, and excellent dining venues all in one location. Each theatre is small and comfortable, giving performances a personal and intimate appeal. With an annual budget of more than $6 million, and over 200,000 attendees per year, the Florida Studio Theatre has grown to become the 3rd largest subscription theatre in the United States. Upcoming 2016 performances for January and February include:

  • Soul Mates (a concert of classic rhythm and blues) 
  • Butler (a civil-war drama)
  • One Man, Two Guvnors (an English gangster-comedy)
  • Yesterday (a journey through the music of The Beatles)
  • Outside Mullingar (a comedy of two neighbors in rural Ireland)
  • Laughing Matters (Sarasota's own musical/political  Saturday Night Live)

The Florida Studio Theatre is located at 1241 North Palm Avenue Sarasota, FL 34236. For the box office, call 941.366.9000.


Founded in December 1999, The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is the only professional black theatre company on Florida's west coast. With the troupe's popularity in Sarasota, shows here have an average attendance rate of 94%. Needless to say, you should book your tickets early if you want to get good seats. The troupe produces musicals and thought-provoking dramas that include:

  • A Mowtown Christmas (December 2 - December 31, 2015)
  • Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (January 13 - February 20, 2016)
  • The Sam Cooke Story (March 2 - April 9, 2016)
  • Driving Miss Daisy (April 20 -  May 28, 2016)

The Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is located at 1646 10th Way (Off Orange, N of 10th St) Sarasota, FL 34236. For the box office, call 941.366.1505.


Established by John and Mable Ringling in 1924, the Ringling Museum of art is home to fabulous collections of art and antiquities from all over the world. John Ringing, one of 5 brothers who founded the Ringling Brother's Circus, chose Sarasota as a home for his most prized and valuable possessions. Here you can view Asian arts, European arts, contemporary collections, as well as vast collections on the history of the circus. The estate itself is a great show of architecture and gardens, and visitors can dine at two separate cafes.

The Ringling Museum of Art is located at 5401 Bay Shore Road Sarasota, FL 34243. For information, call 941.359.5700.


If your in the mood for music, you can hear a classic symphony at The Sarasota Orchestra. Every year, this 80 member orchestra performs more than 100 classical, pop and family concerts, including masterworks by Mozart, and Broadway music showcases with songs from Cats, Carousel, Phantom of The Opera, and other favorite plays.

The Sarasota Orchestra is located at 709 North Tamiami Trail Sarasota, FL 34236. For the box office, call 941.953.3434.


In 2008, the Sarasota Opera House completed a $20 million renovation, restoring historic details of the A.B. Edwards Theatre (built in 1926). Today, this spectacular venue hosts shows featuring musical works by Mozart, Beethoven, Giuseppe Verdi and more. The opera also maintains Apprentice Artist and Studio Artist programs, as well as their very own Sarasota Opera Orchestra. If you are a fan of opera, this is certainly one of the best venues on Florida's west coast.

The Sarasota Opera is located at 61 N. Pineapple Avenue Sarasota, FL 34236. For the box office, call 941.366.8450.


The Sarasota Ballet was founded in 1987, and in 1990 became a full resident ballet company. Since then, the company has become a first-class organization. With ties to some of the dance world's great professionals, The Sarasota Ballet has achieved international recognition. Performances at the ballet include Balanchine, de Valois & Graziano, Smiun Ballet, and the John Ringling's Circus Nutcracker. 

The Sarasota Ballet is located at 5555 North Tamiami Trail  Sarasota , FL 34243. For the box office, cal 941.359.0099.

With so much to do, Sarasota is certainly one of the best places to live in the south. In fact, it is one of America's best cities for Florida retirement living. Residents enjoy the beaches, golf-courses, parks and nature trails, as well as all the great theatres for the performing arts. And with its gulf-coast scenery, warm weather, and active outdoor lifestyle, newcomers are finding Sarasota a great place to retire.

If you're exploring Sarasota for retirement, ask for our free Sarasota relocation information to help you learn more about the area.