Neighborhood Guide: St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, Florida

St. Armands Circle was built as an upscale residential and shopping district. The aim was to provide the residents with a peaceful neighborhood, ample shopping and recreational opportunities. I must say the St. Armands Circle neighborhood has embodied that vision pretty well. That’s the reason behind the high real estate demand on this barrier island.  Currently, the island features over 130 stores, restaurants, boutiques, and a local population of over 12,000 people.

St. Armands Circle Neighborhood Overview

How about a neighborhood where everything is within walking distance?

Yes, that’s St. Armands Circle Neighborhood for you. Whether you want to visit a friend on the island, shop, or head to Lido Key Beach, everything is within walking distance. Add to that the elegant landscaping of the Circle, large courtyards around it, and the cool breeze coming from the Gulf Of Mexico, and you have a place that can capture the imagination of anyone.

That’s why condominiums, beachfront cottages, estate homes, and other property types are in great demand in St. Armands Circle. In fact, St. Armands Circle is one of the most sought-after real estate destinations in Sarasota County, Florida. As a Longboat key realtor and a St. Armands Circle realtor, I can tell you that St. Armands Circle is a coveted destination. This is also evident from the fact that St. Armands Circle properties usually sell faster than Longboat Key, Sarasota, Fl Homes for Sale & Real Estate.

St. Armands Circle, FL Neighborhood Guide by Bruce Myer Group
St. Armands Circle History in Sarasota FL, Neighborhood Guide Presented by Bruce Myer Realtor

History of the St. Armands Circle Neighborhood

Even though St. Armands Circle Neighborhood is a coveted destination in its present form, it all started with a dream. John and Mable Ringling were the ones who envisioned turning this small island into a luxurious and peaceful oasis.

At the start of the 20th century, these circus magnates wanted to turn this island into a residential and commercial hub for affluent citizens. Such was their passion that they transported all the construction materials in a boat before the Ringling Bridge was built. John Ringling wanted to build a destination that provided patronage to artists, shopping, dining, and recreational establishments. With 130 stores now within walking distance of one another, I can surely say the Circle at St. Armands has brought their vision to life.

In 2008, the locals decided to restore the statues of the Ringlings and pay them a tribute. Today, you will not only find these statues in the Circle but also tidbits describing the captivating history of St. Armands Circle. Apart from that many places on the island are named after them like John Ringling Blvd.

I can say St. Armands Circle is a true example of how a vision can be brought to life.

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Neighborhood Map: St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, FL

St. Armands Circle Amenities | The Island offers everything you need & more!

Even though St. Armands Circle is just off the main land of Sarasota City, most residents don’t have to travel that far to enjoy the necessary amenities. The island hosts various festivals and events and is home to numerous restaurants. Besides, it has a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood, so getting around is easy.

St. Armands Circle Neighborhood Events | Socialize & have fun!

What if you could get every amenity in a small tropical paradise? Wouldn’t it be great? St. Armands Circle offers something similar. Whether you’re searching for opportunities to socialize with other locals, enjoy the Gulf Of Mexico coastline, want to have some ice cream, or want essential amenities nearby, St. Armands Circle offers almost everything without traveling to Longboat Key or Siesta Key.

St. Armands Fine Art Festival

Where else do you get a chance to witness the creations of 200 artists? During the St. Armands Circle Art Festival, artists from the country and abroad descend here to showcase their creations. You’ll find everything at this art festival, from hand-crafted decor to fine arts to sculptures. With the event lasting 2 days, pets allowed, and free entry, there is no reason why you shouldn’t attend it. Since it’s a festival that attracts the biggest names in the contemporary art space, it is ranked as one of the best art festivals in the USA. Add to that the backdrop of Sarasota Bay, and it becomes even more appealing.

Sarasota Seafood and Music Festival

Don’t mind heading over to Downtown Sarasota? If yes, the Seafood and Music Festival is a must-attend. True to its name, it features numerous vendors who sell delicacies made from fresh and local ingredients. Along with delicious food, you get to enjoy mesmerizing drinks and music across genres like Rock, Jazz, Blues, and more. There is no entry fee, but VIP tents are available if you would like to reserve one.

Taste of St. Armands

Like the first option on this list, this event is also held in the St. Armands Circle Neighborhood. Locals and tourists both throng the place to sample some local cuisine. At the event, you’ll find award-winning local restaurants offering their delicacies. 

Cuisines can vary from Cuban to Spanish to Italian and more. There are over 15 restaurants, providing plenty of options. Usually, the cost of the tickets is around $80. However, it’s a must-visit event to taste the best food and socialize over drinks. I personally never miss this event.

St. Armands Circle, FL, Amenities and Neighborhood Events -Sea Food Festival
Local Health Care Near St. Armands Circle - Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Local Health Care Near St. Armands Circle

Essential amenities for health care are equally important when evaluating a neighborhood. St. Armands Circle scores high in this regard as well. Should the need arise, you have the following medical facilities at your service:

SMH Urgent Care Center at St. Armands

You’ll find SMH Urgent Care Center on the island. The center can provide swift treatment for non-life-threatening injuries and diseases for anyone above 3 months of age. You can get round-the-clock assistance since physicians are available 24/7 at this center. It’s a reliable healthcare option with fast treatment for urgent problems. It serves not only St. Armands Circle but various surrounding areas like Bird Key, Lido Beach, Downtown Sarasota, Longboat Key, and more.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

Another reliable healthcare center nearby is the Sarasota Memorial Hospital. With its 830+ beds and departments like cardiac services, critical care, diabetics, trauma care, and urology services, it can cater to most ailments. The hospital has been around since 1925. It has also been featured among the nation’s best hospitals time and again. Since it has earned straight A’s for patient safety time and again, you can rely on them. With 10,000 staff employed, it’s arguably the largest hospital in the vicinity and can handle emergencies.

Hca Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital

Hca Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital is a community hospital, meaning you’ll likely get more personalized healthcare services. Departments here include cardiology, emergency care, orthopedic care, women’s care, etc. With specialists across all these departments, getting quality healthcare is easy. It’s easy to reach since it’s just 10 mi from the island. With 155 private rooms, private treatment is assured. Since 1967, the hospital has served citizens in Sarasota and Manatee County.

St. Armands Circle Neighborhood Restaurants | Try the Best Delicacies

The island has numerous fine-dine and award-winning restaurants thanks to the affluent population. Whether you want to try European, Italian, Spanish, or any other popular cuisine, you have multiple dining destinations for each cuisine. While shortlisting restaurants for this section, I found it difficult to shortlist the best 3 since many more deserve the top spots. However, the list below is curated based on my personal experience.

Columbia Restaurant

4.4 Stars

Spanish restaurant: $$

Columbia restaurant not only wins the prize for best Spanish cuisine in the St. Armands Circle Neighborhood but also for one of the most conveniently located restaurants on the island. That’s because it’s almost equidistant from Lido Beach, Downtown Sarasota, and Longboat Key. The restaurant is divided into different dining rooms, all featuring Mediterranean decor. With 13 different dining rooms, there is plenty of space. The divided dining space ensures you have a more intimate dining experience. Prefer dining outdoors? Try the outdoor tables located on the patio.

The knowledgeable servers ensure that you can taste the best delicacies even if you aren’t familiar with Spanish or Cuban cuisine. I can go on and on about things you should try here, but the best ones include a Cuban sandwich, Sangria Tinto, Crab Cakes, 1905 Salad, and Paella a La Valenciana. Another reason to visit the restaurant is that it’s Florida‘s Oldest restaurant, operating since 1905.

Cha Cha Coconuts

4.4 Stars

American Restaurant: $

You can’t go wrong with good old American cuisine, and that’s what Cha Cha Coconuts is famous for. Walk into the restaurant, and you’ll be surprised by the vibrant, tropical decor. The casual dining ambiance is perfect for those who want to have a comfortable time while enjoying some delicacies. Live music further adds to the ambiance. The restaurant also offers an outdoor open space that helps you enjoy delicious food with the cool Gulf Of Mexico breeze. It’s right next to the Columbia restaurant I covered above and, therefore, is conveniently located.

This place thrives on fast service, fresh food, and tasty food. Wondering what to eat here? My recommendations are Soca Coconut Shrimp, Brazilian Citrus Chicken, and Fish Tacos. Nearby, you’ll also find a parking lot that’s free for the first two hours.

Crab & Fin Restaurant

4.4 Stars

Seafood Restaurant: $$$

Most seafood restaurants will tell you that they serve fresh food. However, Crab & Fin Restaurant goes a step further and cooks the seafood which arrives that very day by air. Another reason I prefer seafood here is because they have a Daily Market Catch Card feature along with the regular menu. This card offers you unique seafood they managed to procure that very day.

The friendly vibe, along with a relaxed dining atmosphere, means you can enjoy your meal at ease. With outdoor, indoor, and even first-floor seating available, there are plenty of options. Even the indoor dining space is divided into four different rooms. Personally, I would recommend Caribbean Yellowfin Tuna Tataki, Portuguese Grilled Octopus, Grand Oyster Tasting, and Chocolate Pineapple.

St. Armands Circle Neighborhood Restaurants and Dining - Columbia Restaurant
St. Armands Circle Shopping Destinations - The Spice Tea Exchange of Sarasota

St. Armands Circle Shopping Destinations | Shop Till You Drop!

St. Armands Circle barrier island was designed to have a shopping district at the very center. The result is an upscale shopping district with restaurants, shops, boutiques, and more within walking distance. My personal favorite stores are highlighted below.

St. Armands Circle

Head to the center of the barrier island and you reach the Circle. The Circle consists of sidewalk cafes, stores, restaurants, and more. In total, 130 stores here sell everything from trinkets to clothes to snacks. To top it all, at the center is a park which allows you to just relax and enjoy the views. I can personally tell you that before sunset, it’s a great place to shop, and after sunset, you can enjoy the nightlife, so stick around for the entire day. With parking meters available on the street, parking isn’t a problem either.

The Spice & Tea Exchange of Sarasota

A select few stores in the Circle are unique and popular among locals. The Spice & Tea Exchange of Sarasota is one such store. Wondering why? It sells some of the best spices and loose tea, which are tough to find anywhere else. The store also offers gifts and other souvenirs.

With over 85 spices and seasoning mixes available, you’re sure to find something you like. The store owners don’t shy away from offering samples or helping you choose the best spices. Such is the store’s reputation that many chefs in and around St Armands Circle visit it to spice up their delicacies.

The Met Fashion House Day Spa & Salon

You might be thinking, what’s a spa doing on this list? Well, only the locals like myself can tell you that The Met Fashion House Day Spa & Salon is much more than a spa. It is a fashion house in itself. The store is known for innovative designs in men’s and women’s fashion. Since you can also buy accessories, jewelry pieces, and footwear, it can help you rejuvenate your wardrobe.

Anyone who has just moved here and wants to try the local fashion must head to this store. For those of you wondering, yes, it has a relaxing spa and salon. Let’s just say a single trip to this store can help you uplift your entire personality.

Fun Things to Do and Properties for Sale in the St. Armands Circle Neighborhood by Bruce Myer Group

Fun Things to Do in the St. Armands Circle Neighborhood

Don’t think of St. Armands Circle  Neighborhood as just a barrier island. In and around this small island, you’ll find numerous recreational and fun spots that keep the locals happy and entertained. Below are my personal favorites.

Explore the Beach

No point in being so close to the coastline and not enjoying the beaches. Lido Key Beach is a mere 0.8 mi from the Circle. The Lido Key Beach offers crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico and 3000 ft of white sand. On the beach, you’ll find an overwhelming number of locals because most tourists head over to the Siesta Beach. You can enjoy the shorebirds and marine life besides clear water. Another plus point of Lido Key Beach is that you can simply walk back to the restaurants at the Circle when hungry.

Save Our Seabirds

Save Our Seabirds is much more than an Avian rescue center. It’s pretty popular among the resident families because it offers a wild bird learning center. The center features in TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame as well. The center conducts a bird-walk along its premises which helps you know more about the various bird species and how they have evolved.

In addition, they have a clinic to rescue and rehabilitate birds found in the region. They attend over 5,000 calls annually, which speaks volumes about their dedication.

Want to make the experience even more special for your family? If so, contact them, and they can organize a field trip for large groups.

I recommend visiting them to learn more about the local birds and spend time with your family.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

The area around St. Armands Circle is the best place to explore marine life. However, there is no need to go underwater for that. Head to Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium to check out sharks, sea turtles, manatees, otters, and many more marine animals. Rather than just observing the aquatic life, you can use the touch pools and exhibits to experience them.

With numerous events organized by this nonprofit organization, this place always surprises you with something unique. I love the kayaking tours and Mote boat eco tours they organize. Before heading to this marine center, check the event calendar on their website to learn more about the upcoming events.

Ken Thompson Park

While St. Armands Circle Neighborhood has a park right at the center, locals frequent Ken Thompson Park in Sarasota, and for a good reason. The primary reason is the location beside the water, which makes it perfect for launching kayaks. Other amenities include picnic tables, a playground, clean restrooms, walking paths, and even space for a barbecue. Want to try something different? Try the Mangrove Boardwalk within the park. It will help you observe the sensitive and crucial mangrove cover up close and personal.

Weather & Climate in St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, FL

St. Armands Circle, Sarasota Real Estate & Homes for Sale

Weather & Climate in St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, Fl

One of the main reasons why I like the St. Armands Circle Neighborhood so much is its weather. With pleasant weather all year around, spending time outdoors is fun. In fact, this is one of many reasons real estate in St. Armands Circle is in such high demand.

However, there are a few months you need to be extra careful about. August is when summer is at its peak, and the temperature can go above 90. Therefore, keep a watch on local weather predictions before heading out.

If you’re wondering about the coldest month, January is when the temperature can dip to 50F. Since the temperature varies between these two extremes for the rest of the year, you can spend time outdoors whenever you want. That’s why most residents here always take up a water sport or an outdoor activity.

With 50-60 inches of rain every year, St. Armands Circle is not the driest place in Sarasota County, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Just be on the lookout for occasional rain between June and September.

In the summer months, the temperature might seem high, but since a cool Gulf Of Mexico breeze blows all year around, the climate is much more pleasant than the temperature suggests.

In my interactions with clients who have moved to St. Armands Circle, I find that weather is the primary reason for their move to this beautiful barrier island.

5 Reasons to Move to the St. Armands Circle Neighborhood

After helping numerous clients buy real estate in St. Armands Circle neighborhood and visiting the places myself, I can tell you why it stands out.

1. Ease of navigation

Lido Key Beach, parks, 130+ stores consisting of restaurants, boutiques, and ice cream parlors, all within walking distance. It means anyone residing in St. Armands Circle can reach any place on foot. There is also the Bay Runner Troller, which connects downtown Sarasota, the Circle, and Lido Key. The service is functional seven days a week from morning till midnight. This means that even if you don’t prefer walking, you can use the free transportation to reach any place nearby. The service is free for residents and tourists alike. Where else will you find such a place? 

2. Plenty of things to do

Anyone staying in St. Armands Circle has every type of store within walking distance. In a single day, island residents can enjoy the beach, have food at world-class restaurants, explore Downtown Sarasota, and be home by evening. Not to speak of the various events and festivals organized on the island. Let’s just say the residents here will never be short of things to do.

3. Inspired by European architecture

As I highlighted above, John Marbling envisioned the entire island. The construction is inspired by European open-air architecture, which is why the island has plenty of greenery and cool breeze. Due to such open-air architecture, it’s known as the jewel of Sarasota. This unique aspect of the island is what drives many people to move here.

4. Friendly vibe

St. Armands Circle was built to be a place where you could have great food, party, and socialize. Since I have been to St. Armands countless times, I can tell you that the residents are some of the most friendly people in Florida. Also, most of the island is filled with family-friendly establishments. Additionally, most places are also pet-friendly. Due to numerous festivals and events organized here, it has become an attractive destination to call home. That’s another reason St. Armands Circle real estate is in high demand.

5. Private Island type experience

Sure enough, St. Armands Circle is small, but that works to its advantage. Not only does that limit the population, but it also ensures you have a private island-type experience due to the limited number of people. On the flip side, you have everything you can ask for when it comes to amenities and things to do. 

Not only that, but the island offers all property types, from small rentals to properties with a luxury presence. That means it’s the best of both worlds. It provides the experience of living on a private island with amenities akin to a large city in Florida, making it an attractive destination to move to.

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Quick Facts

County: ManateeSarasota

Population (2015 est.): 7,326

Population Growth Since 2010: +6.4%

Median Home Value: $631,400

Shopping & Dining: Local Chamber of Commerce

Recreation: Joan M. Durante Park, Cannon’s Marina, Islandside Golf Club

Highlights: ST. ARMANDS CIRCLE NEIGHBORHOOD

THE ATMOSPHERE

Living in this small island community is like spending every day in oceanfront paradise.

THE CULTURE

The Saint Armands Circle is the go-to place for luxurious shopping and designer brands.

THE BEACH

Enjoy near-unlimited access to amazing aquatic recreation and oceanfront fun!

Frequently Asked Questions

ST. ARMANDS CIRCLE KEY REAL ESTATE RESOURCES

Have you been searching for the perfect oceanfront home in Sarasota or Manatee County? If so, we should chat. I have home-buying resources and local community information to assist you in finding the perfect beach home in St Armands. If you ever have any questions about real estate here, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Talk to Bruce:
St. Armands Circle Neighborhood Expert

Want to move to this tropical paradise? If so, I, Bruce Myer, can help you find the best properties to move to. Not only in the St. Armands Circle Neighborhood, but I can also help you find great properties in surrounding areas like Bradenton, St. Armands Key, Longboat Key, and so on. Get in touch with me, Bruce Myer realtor, today, and I can help you explore some of the best properties on the island. Contact Bruce Myer, your professional and reliable St. Armands Circle Realtor today!