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St. Armands Circle
A Shopping Shangri-L a
A true visionary, John Ringling, fell in love with the area well before the Roaring Twenties. So much so that he purchased St. Armands Key in 1917. Today, Ringling’s hopes for St. Armands Key as the jewel of Sarasota have finally been realized. The circus tycoon pictured a welcoming ring of residential and shopping units that would take the form of a circle. He toiled to bring his vision to light in the 1920s but the stock market crash of 1929 temporarily put it on hold.
Sadly, St. Armands Circle sat dormant until the
Thoughtful reminders of Ringling are dotted throughout the Circle. His historic statue, along with more recent additions, which include the “Seven Virtues of Sarasota,” are on view around the Circle and throughout St. Armands Key. Visit the Circus
1940s and 1950s, when businesses began to flock to the shopping district. Today, it’s the gem Ringling once imagined, and draws shoppers and diners from around the world.
St. Armands Circle has more than 130 thriving businesses, from boutiques to gift shops, restau- rants, galleries and salons.The shopping possibil- ities include high-end men’s and women’s fashion and accessories, one-of-a-kind jewelry, original art, décor and gifts, antiques and specialty items.
Ring of Fame in St. Armands Circle Park, which honors Sarasota’s hearty circus tradition. (Picture the Hollywood Walk of Fame but for circus folk.) Each year, the Circus Ring of Fame Foundation inducts new members.
Most of the Circle shops open by 10am, Mon- day through Saturday, and all stores open by noon Sundays. Breakfast eateries open by 7am, 7 days a week, and other restaurants welcome customers between 11am to 11pm, 7 days a week. d
Whether you’re seeking that perfect keepsake as a memento of your vacation or are on a quest for unique stores or general services, Longboat Key has it all.
Shoppes of Bay Isles
2600 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive
A one-stop shopping haven with a me- ga-grocery store, pharmacy, beauty salon, dry cleaners, women’s clothing store, etc. Opened in 2012, Publix is a true showpiece, one of just three nationwide built as a similar prototype. At almost 50,000 square feet, it features a hot/cold food bar, Pacific wok station plus a wine-chilling facility to keep your vino at the ideal tempera- ture while you peruse the aisles.
More Area
Shopping
The Centre Shops
5300 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive
Located mid-island are a collection of special- ty boutiques, galleries and an array of tempting restaurants. The Longboat Key Education Cen- ter and the Longboat Key Chamber of Com- merce are found here as well.
Whitney Beach Plaza
6800 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive
Situated at the north end of Longboat Key, this shopping plaza houses a liquor store, restaurant, salon, kayak and paddleboard rentals and sales, attorney and more. Its recent renovation is attracting exciting new tenants.
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