While you might be thinking about checking out one of the many amazing beaches, like Bean Point Beach, there are plenty of other attractions in this downtown Gulf Coast paradise.
Take a look at some of the top activities to do in the downtown area, and get ready to take advantage of everything this beautiful place has to offer during your visit to the greater Sarasota area.
1. Visit the Bridge Street Bazaar If you are in the mood to do some shopping, you will definitely want to check out the Bridge Street Bazaar, which you can find close to the sandy beaches of Bradenton Beach.
There is always something interesting to buy, and this is a great place to find a souvenir for a family member or friend. Furthermore, if you forgot something, you can probably find it here. The selection rotates from time to time, so don't hesitate to come back to see if they have anything new in stock. They might just have exactly what you are looking for!
2. Get a Bite To Eat at the Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe If you find yourself hanging out along the popular Manatee Public Beach, this is one of the top cafes you need to try. It is popular for breakfast and lunch, and you can order your food from a small window along the beach. One of the most popular menu items for breakfast is the all-you-can-eat pancakes. You can choose from multiple styles, and you will certainly feel full once you are done.
For lunch, you may want to try some of the fresh seafood. You will certainly not be disappointed. Don't worry, there are plenty of great restaurants on Anna Maria Island, so after you try this one, there'll be plenty left to enjoy!
3. Take a Stroll Down Main Street When you are tired of all the salt and sand from Coquina Beach during your getaway, consider taking a stroll down Main Street during your visit to Anna Maria Island.
There is usually a lot of live music that takes place during the summer, so this is an awesome way to catch some free entertainment as you take a look at a few of the eateries in the local area. You can do some sightseeing, wash off the white sand, and even go for a ride on the island trolley. Consider visiting the old Florida area as well. Swing by the local historical society to see if they have any exhibits on display.
4. Enjoy a Fresh Donut If you need something you can grab and go, you might want to check out The Donut Experiment on Pine Ave. Since this is a great place to grab a bite to eat, you should expect to see a long line out the door on the weekends.
There are plenty of adventurous donuts you can try, ranging from chocolate icing to crushed candy bars, maple, bacon, and even Sriracha. If you are ready to branch out, this is definitely the place to go.
5. Take In the Sights from Anna Maria City Pier Just outside of downtown, you may want to take a stroll down the official pier of the city of Anna Maria. This will give you some of the best views of the amazing ocean, and you can also take a look at a few of the stands that people set up.
When you want the best views of the beach from AMI, visiting one of the many piers on the island is definitely where you want to go. You can even watch a few people try and catch fish from this location. Some of the delicious seafood might even end up on your plate at dinner!
6. Check Out the Clothing Selection at Pink and Navy Do you want to look stylish as you walk down the street? If so, this is the place to go. This is one of the most popular boutique shops in the local area, and they are known for their exceptional deals and white selection.
No matter what your style is, there's a good chance you can find it here. You might even have the perfect outfit to pull together your summer look! If you need suggestions, the staff will always let you know what they think would look best.
Shopping on AMI is the best way to spend a rainy day or one where you need a break from the sun and sand.
7. Have a Meal at the Beach Bistro If you are traveling with your significant other, you might be looking for a romantic night out. This is definitely the place to go. You might want to go with the full rack of lamb, or you may be more interested in the seared foie gras. Do not forget to pair your delicious meal with one of the wines recommended by the restaurant. You can enjoy your meal as you take a look at the beautiful sights along the gulf coast.
8. Buy a Souvenir from Green Turtle and Shell Gift Shop Are you looking for the perfect souvenir for your trip? If so, you will want to swing by this gift shop. It is located on Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach, and it is the best place to find the perfect trinkets.
Regardless of whether you were looking for a paperweight, a crystal, a snow globe, or some other small item to commemorate your trip, there's a good chance you can find it here. Of course, they have plenty of other items as well, so it is always worth a swing by and take a look at what they have in stock. You might find the perfect item to commemorate a fun vacation.
9. Visit One of the Art Galleries Just because you are at the beach doesn't mean you can't get a bit of culture as well. There are plenty of art galleries in the downtown area, particularly in the historic Bridge Street area.
For example, you might want to take a look at some of the items on display at the Artists Guild Gallery. This is an art gallery that has a lot of items on display by local artists. The exhibits also rotate from time to time, so don't hesitate to come back to see if they have anything new on display.
Other art galleries you may want to visit include the Studio at Gulf and Pine as well as the Island West Gallery.
10. Grab a Drink at the Doctor's Office No, this does not mean you are getting ready to go and get a few shots as well, depending on what kind of shots you're thinking of. This is actually the name of a bar that you can find on Holmes Blvd.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most popular places to go. There are plenty of stiff cocktails, and you can even enjoy some absinthe if you are up for an adventure. When you are ready to get something to eat, you don't have to go far. This restaurant is known for its delicious tacos, so don't hesitate to try one.
11. Check Out Bean Point You should venture to the north end of the island as well. This is where the Gulf of Mexico joins Tampa Bay, and you have an opportunity to gaze at the amazing blue water of the Gulf of Mexico.
You may even see a few dolphins swimming in the water. You can also see a lot of people fishing in the area between Passage Key and Bean Point. If you decide to go for a dip in this area, make sure you use extreme caution. The rip current can get strong, and the water can get deep very quickly.
12. Grab a Few Tacos Another fun restaurant you may want to check out is called Poppo Taqueria. This has some of the best Mexican food in the city, and they have amazing tacos. All of the meat is juicy, and they have tons of amazing vegetarian options as well.If you are in the mood for some fresh guacamole, you can certainly find it here. All of the food is made to order, so you know it is about as fresh as it can possibly be. Swing by if you are in the mood for a few fresh tacos.
Where To Stay on Anna Maria Island If you are looking for the best vacation rentals on Anna Maria Island, there are plenty of options from which to choose.
For example, if you are looking for a place that can comfortably sleep the whole family, you might want to check out Cottage Haven. This is located in Bradenton Beach, and it can sleep five people comfortably. Furthermore, you can enjoy your walk to the beach in less than a minute, and you have a private yard where you can relax outside.
If you are looking for a place that is meant for two people, then you should check out the 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom AMI Lighthouse Cottage. This is also only a minute from the beach, and you have access to all the beautiful white sand you could ever want. You are also only a short distance from downtown.