What to do in Sarasota when it’s Cold? - 12 Awesome Ideas

October 11th 2023
Tripshock News
What to do in Sarasota when it’s Cold? - 12 Awesome Ideas

Sarasota, Florida, is standardly associated with fun in the sun and warm-weather adventures, which leaves many wondering what there is to do in Sarasota when it’s cold. This Southwest Florida city, however, is actually buzzing with activity all year long. This means that no matter if you’re headed to Sarasota during summer break, or for a winter retreat, you’re in for a vacation that’s sure to be one for the books!

With that being said, when it comes to searching for what to do in Sarasota when it’s cold, the options are practically endless. From visiting one of the many museums and galleries the area has to offer, to exploring the city by trolley on a city sightseeing tour, there’s something for all ages and interests in Sarasota, no matter the weather! Keep reading and discover 12 awesome ideas for having a blast in Sarasota, FL, when it’s cold.

Table of Contents

  • City Tours
  • Farmers Markets
  • Searching for Shells and Shark Teeth
  • Museums
  • Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
  • Enjoy the Arts
  • Dining
  • Breweries and Pub Crawls
  • Skating
  • Shopping
  • Ghost Tours
  • Escape Rooms



City Tours


Couple enjoys a city tour in Sarasota, FL
Couple enjoys a city sightseeing trolley tour with Discover Sarasota Tours


City sightseeing tours are an incredible way to explore Sarasota when it’s cold, as they allow you to get out and see the sights, while staying comfortable in a climate-controlled trolley. Not only that, cruising through Sarasota by trolley is a great way to see the best of what the city has to offer, while riding in both comfort, and style! Below are just a few of the many landmarks you may encounter aboard a Sarasota city sightseeing tour, depending on your selection:

  • Gillespie Park
  • Burns Court
  • St. Armands Circle
  • Lido Key
  • Crocker Memorial Church
  • Amish and Mennonite communities
  • And MORE!

{Read Reviews & Book Sarasota City Tours Online}


Farmers Markets


farmers market in sarasota, florida
Fresh fruits and vegetables at a Farmers Market in Sarasota, FL


Winter weather is typically inclement for growing fruits and vegetables, and for farmers markets across the country. Winter means something different in this South Florida city, however, as the average temperature during the winter months is in the mid-50’s, and rarely ever reaches below 40 degrees. In fact, wintertime in Florida means citrus season, and is also a great time to seek out fresh avocados, bell peppers, kale, mushrooms, and more! Check out these amazing farmers markets next time you’re searching for what to do in Sarasota when it’s cold:

  • Sarasota Farmers Market
  • Central Sarasota Farmers Market
  • Siesta Key Farmers Market
  • Phillippi Farmhouse Market
  • Venice Farmers Market
  • And MORE!


Searching for Shells and Shark Teeth


Shark teeth found shelling near Sarasota, FL
Shark teeth found when searching for shells near Sarasota


Venice, FL, is just minutes away from Sarasota, and boasts 14 miles of beautiful beaches with white sand, emerald waters, and stunning scenic views as far as the eye can see. While it may be too cold to dive in and make a splash, it’s not too cold to search for shells, and shark teeth!

This glorious slice of paradise along the Gulf of Mexico is nicknamed the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” and is known for the abundance of fossilized shark teeth that can be found along the shore. One of the top things to do in Sarasota when it’s cold, searching for shark teeth is a fun and unique way to take a bite out of winter!




John's mansion at The Ringling in Sarasota
Pictured above is the “House of John” at The Ringling museum in Sarasota. Image from Wikimedia


Visiting a museum is one of the top things to do in Sarasota when it’s cold, and when it’s warm! With museums focusing on everything from classic cars, to the circus, all types of travelers are sure to find something that peaks their interest. Combine both education, and fun, and check out one of these magnificent museums when in Sarasota:

  • The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art: This is one of the most popular attractions in Sarasota, as this 66-acre museum complex features the State Art Museum of Florida, Circus Museum, Bayfront Gardens, Ca’ d’Zan mansion, and more! Visitors are blown away by its massive collection of art and history, awe-inspiring architecture, scenic views of Sarasota Bay, and all that this fantastic facility has to offer.
  • Sarasota Classic Car Museum: Automobile aficionados and history buffs will especially love the Sarasota Classic Car Museum! It is the second oldest continuously operating antique car museum in the country, and showcases exotic, foreign, and classic cars.
  • Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy: One of the best things to do in Sarasota when it’s cold, the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy is open from November through May, and houses magnificent works of art made mostly by women. With spectacular sculptures, an outdoor garden with giant pink flamingos, and a stainless steel rocket ship, this is the perfect place to let your imagination and creativity run wild!


Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium


Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium in Sarasota
Feel as if you’re in an underwater wonderland at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium


Visiting the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is one of the best things to do in Sarasota when it’s cold, as this indoor facility feels like an underwater wonderland, housing over 100 marine species! This amazing aquarium features a massive 135,000-gallon shark habitat, viewable working labs, interactive exhibits, touch pools, and more.

General admission not only allows access to Mote Aquarium, but also to the Ann and Alfred Goldstein Marine Mammal Research and Rehabilitation Center, that takes in sick and injured turtles and other marine life. Their conservation efforts and scientific research is world-renowned, and so are the family-friendly memories that are made in this fantastic facility.


Enjoy the Arts


Art Gallery in Sarasota, Florida
Visiting a local gallery is a great way to enjoy the arts, and is a popular thing to do in Sarasota when it’s cold


Known as Florida’s Cultural Coast, it probably comes as no surprise that appreciating the arts is one of the top things to do in Sarasota, Florida. With so many cultural attractions, from enjoying live entertainment at a performing arts venue, to feeling inspired at a local gallery, it’s hard not to feel inspired in this coastal city, even when it’s cold out! And speaking of galleries, there are tons of art galleries in Sarasota to experience, including the following:

  • Dabbert Gallery
  • Art Center Sarasota
  • Sarasota Art Museum
  • AlexArt International Art Gallery
  • Venice Art Center
  • Art Uptown Gallery
  • And MORE!

The performing arts are another popular artistic medium in Sarasota, with plenty of spellbinding spectacles sure to excite and entertain the masses. From the Circus Arts Conservatory showcasing astounding acrobatics, to Broadway musicals and ballet at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, there’s something for everyone in show-stopping Sarasota!




dining in downtown Sarasota, FL
From casual brunch spots, to savory seafood in a fine dining setting, you’re sure to find your fill in Sarasota


Sarasota is a foodie’s paradise, in fact, it was even named one of the “Best Food Cities in the U.S.” by Conde Nast Traveler. With so many award-winning restaurants, offering everything from seafood with a scenic view, to homemade Amish pies made from scratch, sorting through the massive amount of options can be overwhelming. If the search for savory sustenance has proved to be futile, consider dining at one of these iconic Sarasota eateries:

  • Yoder’s Restaurant
  • The Bijou Cafe
  • Columbia Restaurant
  • Michael’s on East
  • Ophelia’s on the Bay
  • Walt’s Fish Market Restaurant
  • Phillippi Creek Village Oyster Bar
  • Duval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood


Breweries and Pub Crawls


Craft Beer Brewery in Sarasota, FL
The craft beer scene in Sarasota is incredible, and something to truly be hoppy about


Experience craft beer bliss, and take in the unparalleled craft beer scene in Sarasota, FL. Visiting local breweries is one of the best things to do in Sarasota when it’s cold, as their flavorful brews are sure to warm you right up! Taste the South Florida flavor, and check out one, or all, of these delicious Sarasota breweries:


Best Breweries in Sarasota


If one brewery just isn’t enough, consider joining in on an unforgettable Sarasota pub crawl! Pub crawls are a great way to sample Sarasota’s signature drinks, while also learning the history of the area from a local and knowledgeable guide. Most pub crawls provide transportation via climate-controlled trolleys, as well, making them one of the most delicious things to do in Sarasota when it’s cold!

{Read Reviews & Book Sarasota Pub Crawls Online}




Roller skating when it's cold in Sarasota, FL
If you’re wondering what to do in Sarasota when it’s cold, skating is always a great option


Skating is another activity to consider when searching for things to do in Sarasota when it’s cold. Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex is about 15 miles away from Sarasota, and offers a winter wonderland experience in The Sunshine State! This 115,000-square-foot facility features two NHL-size ice rinks, and is a great place to go ice skating, play hockey, take lessons, and more.

The Astro Skate Family Fun Center in neighboring Bradenton is another great option for skaters who prefer roller blading, speed skating, and inline skating. For those wanting to skate in the great outdoors and explore scenic Sarasota, here are some spectacular skating spots:

  • Venetian Waterway Trail
  • Bayfront Park
  • Ringling Bridge
  • Legacy Trail




Boutique shopping in Sarasota, FL
Spectacular boutique shopping in downtown Sarasota


Sarasota is the place to be for those in search of a little retail therapy! From souvenir shirts and swimwear, to luxury shopping for designer brands, Sarasota has it all, and is a sensational city for shopping enthusiasts. Below are a few of the top shopping destinations in Sarasota:

  • St. Armands Circle
  • Crossings at Siesta Key
  • Five Points
  • The Mall at University Town Center
  • Ellenton Premium Outlets
  • Historic Downtown Venice

And that’s just to name a few! With so many places to shop till you drop in scenic Sarasota, FL, you’re sure to find the perfect treasure or trinket along the way. Be sure to make some room in your luggage, as shopping is one of the top things to do in Sarasota when it’s cold!


Ghost Tours


Walking ghost tour in Sarasota, FL
Spooky walking ghost tour in Sarasota, FL


If you’re wondering what to do in Sarasota when it’s cold, why not consider booking a bone-chilling ghost tour! Sarasota is a city with a rich history, and like most cities with an extensive past, there is a paranormal component, as well.

Ghost tours are a great way to learn about Sarasota’s haunted history, while discovering local landmarks teeming with spirits, hearing stories about famous murders, and having a supernaturally splendid time! Not only that, with climate-controlled trolleys as the mode of transportation, ghost tours are a frighteningly fun way to escape the cold weather.

{Read Reviews & Book Sarasota Ghost Tours Online}


Escape Rooms


Family solving a Sarasota escape room
Family working together to solve clues at an escape room in Sarasota, FL


Still wondering what to do in Sarasota when it’s cold? Escape! An escape room is essentially a game where your group will work together and solve clues in order to “escape” and accomplish tasks and goals. Escape rooms utilize teamwork, cooperative, time management, and problem solving skills, and are an exciting and unique way to escape cool weather in Sarasota, FL!



There are so many wonderful things to do in Sarasota when it’s cold, you’re sure to have a blast no matter when you decide to visit! From foraging through a Farmers Market for fresh citrus fruit, to searching for shells on one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, there’s something for everyone in this fantastic year-round vacation destination. However you decide to spend your time in stunning Sarasota, Florida, you’re sure to bring home a mountain of marvelous memories that will last a lifetime!



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