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Old 11-25-2011, 07:10 PM
 
44 posts, read 97,687 times
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Hello everyone,

I am near the end of graduate school and have a possible job opportunity in Sarasota. I pretty much grew up in the Tampa Bay area and for me, the stereotype of Sarasota is that it is a retirement community. That is a real turn off for my wife and I as we are 30 with a 3 year old. So let me ask current residents, former residents and perhaps visitors what your opinion is on the matter.

Essentially, we we would consider fun is a nice downtown where we can get a small home or apartment and walk to shops, restaurants, or other fun things around. We like culture, so art/science museums would be a plus. Are there other young professionals around or will we be the youngest by 25 years?

Also, I know it's sort of a beach town and I was wondering is it a seasonal town? Will the restaurants/shops close when the snow birds leave?

How is the driving down there? I can honestly say that after 10 or so years of driving the disaster that is 275 I am ready to walk, bike, bus or anything else that would get me from A to B without using my car.

Thank you very much, and hopefully I didn't offend anyone with the "retirement place" questions. I am merely trying to make sure we are a good fit as to not bother anyone or be bored ourselves.
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 21,525,034 times
Reputation: 2853
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeychemist View Post
Hello everyone,

I am near the end of graduate school and have a possible job opportunity in Sarasota. I pretty much grew up in the Tampa Bay area and for me, the stereotype of Sarasota is that it is a retirement community. That is a real turn off for my wife and I as we are 30 with a 3 year old. So let me ask current residents, former residents and perhaps visitors what your opinion is on the matter.

Essentially, we we would consider fun is a nice downtown where we can get a small home or apartment and walk to shops, restaurants, or other fun things around. We like culture, so art/science museums would be a plus. Are there other young professionals around or will we be the youngest by 25 years?

Also, I know it's sort of a beach town and I was wondering is it a seasonal town? Will the restaurants/shops close when the snow birds leave?

How is the driving down there? I can honestly say that after 10 or so years of driving the disaster that is 275 I am ready to walk, bike, bus or anything else that would get me from A to B without using my car.

Thank you very much, and hopefully I didn't offend anyone with the "retirement place" questions. I am merely trying to make sure we are a good fit as to not bother anyone or be bored ourselves.
Really all of Florida is considered a "retirement destination". I lived in the downtown area when I was in my late teens and early 20's and I loved it.

Last I knew the Sarasota Young Professionals Group was pretty active in the community: Sarasota Young Professionals Group :: Sarasota YPG – Sarasota Young Professionals Group :: Sarasota YPG That might be a good starting place for you.

Try looking just south of Main St, west of Tamiami Tr/US 41 and north of say-Hyde Park. You could go down even farther to like Siesta Dr or so but then you're getting farther from the walkable downtown area. The Burns Court area and Laurel Park area might be good places to start. Most of the downtown condos would be fine.

Since you said you have a little one you're probably concerned about schools. Most of the downtown area goes to Southside Elementary. It's the number one rated elementary school and all my friends who have kids who attend Southside love it.

Now on to things that might interest you-The Children's Garden in downtown Sarasota is a must do for anyone with small children.

GWIZ is the local kids science museum in the area. If I'm being honest with you, my kids aren't that fond of it. Well, at least my older kids. My little one is still OK with it. So, I would say from about 5-10 it's fine for. Once they get around 12 I'm told it becomes "lame".

Then you have Mote Marine, which is marine science.

Van Wezel has some awesome stuff going on, especially for the kids. I bring my kids to their schooltime performances. This year we've seen Knuffle Bunny, Seussical, ImaginOcean, Let's Go Science Show, next week is Magic School Bus and in the next few months is Step Afrika, Alvin Alley American Dance Theater and Clifford. Again, my middle schooler thinks they're pretty lame but my 7 year old loves them. I'm starting to think it might just be a trend for my middle schooler.

Jungle Gardens is always a fun place to spend the day. They have some interesting shows-the bird show, reptile show, critters show, etc. The grounds are beautiful with trails that wind through the local fauna. You can even feed the flamingos, which is always a big hit with the little ones.

If you wanted to travel to Tampa you could check out The Glazer Children's Museum. I haven't been there yet but I hear it's pretty cool.

Then, of course, you have MOSI, which is a nice museum to spend time at.

I think you'll be fine in Sarasota. You might want to consider renting first to make sure it's a good fit.
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Old 11-26-2011, 03:51 AM
 
Location: Port Charlotte, FL
3,979 posts, read 9,677,888 times
Reputation: 1914
I will try to answer some of your questions.

The median age in Sarasota is 44.20. Click the image below to see the 2010 Population by age for Sarasota vs Florida vs the U.S.

Sarasota fun for a young professional?-sarasota-2010-ages.jpg

Traffic in Sarasota – I would say that the traffic is pretty heavy in Sarasota compared to where I live in Charlotte County. I-75 moves along pretty good but if there is an accident, you will be waiting. It takes much longer to get anywhere on the main roads and you sometimes have to wait for more than one traffic light. There aren’t many places where you can walk or ride your bike around town without being in traffic. You can walk and ride your bike in many of the deed restricted neighborhoods though. Here is the link to the Sarasota Traffic Report - http://autos.aol.com/SARASOTA-FL-traffic/.

Sarasota does have bus transportation through SCAT – Sarasota County Area Transit. For schedules, fees and route maps go to their web site at: http://www.scgov.net/SCAT/

Restaurants and Stores – Most of Sarasota is pretty active throughout the year regardless of snowbird season.

Schools – Sarasota County Schools are an A rated school district. Sarasota County Schools link - http://www.sarasotacountyschools.net/.

Do your research for renting a home or apartment. Here are some rental sites for you to check out.

Rental Ads

Ebay Classifieds – http://www.ebayclassifieds.com/
Florida Rental Ads – http://www.floridarentalads.com/
Real Rentals – http://www.realrentals.com/
Rentals.com – www.rentals.com
Rent Range – www.rentrange.com
Sarasota Herald Tribune - http://www.heraldtribune.com/

Rental Agencies

Rent Me Florida
517 Paul Morris Dr.
Englewood, FL
www.rentmeflorida.com
Frank Barrow - 941.474.2882 ext. 228
Sarasota / Manatee Rental Specialist

Stringer Management
6524 Superior Ave
Sarasota, FL
941-922-4959
smirental@stringermanagement.com
http://www.stringermanagement.com/
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:23 AM
 
44 posts, read 97,687 times
Reputation: 45
Thank you very much for the information. Now I'm excited! Sounds like a great place to live with plenty to do for both ourselves and our little one. The job I am interviewing for is right downtown on Hyde Park street, so I think finding an apartment near there should be ideal for both the fun and walking rather than driving.

Thank you again for opening my eyes!
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:29 AM
 
16,389 posts, read 35,337,778 times
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Ah, I was hoping our great realtor posters would chime in first! This way I only have to type a little bit..

Anyway, Sarasota is really a great place to live. As a disclaimer, I am not a realtor, not an investor, don't work for the chamber of commerce. Just a happy Florida native who loves it here.

You would LOVE living in Sarasota's downtown. It is fairly small and compact, but it has everything you need for daily living, and is very vibrant. And to add to that, it is about a two-mile trip over the Ringling Bridge (with jogging and bike path) to St. Armand's Circle, another almost "downtown" area, and Lido Beach. Siesta Beach to the south has been named #1 beach in the country and there is a lot of activity in the "village" there where you will find plenty of people in your age group.

Sarasota is a very artsy town - it's nickname is the "culture coast." Plenty of artists, museums, art festivals, etc. In fact, the recent annual chalk festival had at least 200,000 visitors!

Honestly, I could write a book about why I love living in this area. The fact is, yes, you will see PLENTY of retirees here- As SoFLGal said, Florida always has been a retirement destination, so you are going to see a high percentage of seniors here. BUT - that doesn't mean that is all there is. Sarasota actually has a lot more younger people than it used to. And we do have three important and expanding colleges here.

As to seasonal, yes and no. We get a huge influx in season. But things do not close during the off-season. At most, some businesses (depending) might reduce their hours a bit. It's never dead.

So come take a look, especially around downtown, there is a whole lot to see and do and there is no way we can get it all into a couple posts!
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:38 AM
 
44 posts, read 97,687 times
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Oh, since you mention it, can you tell me what universities are in Sarasota? My wife would like to eventually go for a graduate degree and it would be interesting to look at degrees offered. A quick google search turned up USF Sarasota (with the degree she would be interested in) and New College (undergrad only). You mentioned 3 schools, what is the third?

Thanks again for the info!
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Old 11-27-2011, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 21,525,034 times
Reputation: 2853
Quote:
Originally Posted by monkeychemist View Post
Oh, since you mention it, can you tell me what universities are in Sarasota? My wife would like to eventually go for a graduate degree and it would be interesting to look at degrees offered. A quick google search turned up USF Sarasota (with the degree she would be interested in) and New College (undergrad only). You mentioned 3 schools, what is the third?

Thanks again for the info!
Keiser University, Ringling School of Art, East West College of Natural Medicine, Everglades University, Agrosy University, USF (Tampa), Florida Gulf Coast University (Ft Myers) and Eckerd College (in St Pete) are the only additional colleges I'm aware of in the immediate area.
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Old 11-27-2011, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Port Charlotte, FL
3,979 posts, read 9,677,888 times
Reputation: 1914
Here are some links to the colleges and universities in Sarasota, FL.

State of Florida web site that lists all colleges and universities: http://www.stateofflorida.com/Portal/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=68

Campus Explorer link that shows colleges in Sarasota: http://www.campusexplorer.com/colleges/in/Florida/3141D375/Sarasota/
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Old 11-27-2011, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Sarasota/ Bradenton - University Pkwy area
3,957 posts, read 6,029,814 times
Reputation: 4448
Since no one else has mentioned it, how about the State College of FL in Bradenton (aka Manatee Community College): State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota Home
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Old 11-28-2011, 01:33 AM
 
157 posts, read 362,085 times
Reputation: 75
I live in a great community in siesta key close to the village and a lot of my neighbours are in their 30's with small kids, i have a 2 year old and we recently moved here from spain as we thought it would be such a great place to bring up kids. lots of parks to hang out in and siesta park is great, just last week we got invited to join in with a birthday party, my little girl loved it, last night we had a santa parade and you should've seen the queue for santa, i reckon at least 200 kids maybe more. No you would not be alone in sarasota, some great schools, and great people. My advice would be to rent to see which areas you like. we also love downtown and they have a cool farmers market on a saturday and wholefoods which my little grl loves as they have mini carts so she pushes the shopping around. you will really enjoy sarasota. if you want you kids to go to southside try to live west of the trail, just a tip that nobody told me but i hear phillipi school is great as well.
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