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Old 02-26-2013, 12:53 PM
 
22 posts, read 69,875 times
Reputation: 12

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Hello City-Data posters!

We moved from the LA area last August to Palm Beach Gardens with our 4 year old. City-Data was an excellent resource, so I thought I'd dive back in and check out the other side of the state.

As beautiful as it is here...safe, great schools, etc... we are missing the eclectic/cultural city vibe that a more urban area can offer. I have been researching the best of both worlds and think that either the St. Petersburg or Sarasota may have what we are looking for...? Artsy, slightly bohemian, beachy, educated folks looking to raise their kids in a thriving cultural area that also offers nature as a back yard. I would also like to move to a safe area where the kids play with the neighbors and the adults all get along... utopia? Does this place exist? Considering how friendly everyone is down here, I believe we can find what we're looking for with a little help

We are more liberal in our views and looking for a like-minded community. Would love to be able to walk to a restaurant or eclectic shops. Anything with a bike or walking path. We love art and music festivals ~ anything creative and outdoors. If it's family oriented...we'll be there

We are planning to check out the area in a few weeks and wanted to target some specific locales...

So far, I've heard schools are great in Seminole/Pinellas County, but that crime up there around St. Pete is worse than Sarasota...thoughts?

I've also read about the Pine View school in Sarasota ~ sounds great!

And finally, if we can't settle on a neighborhood that has only the best rated public school ~ we'll consider private...any thoughts on the best private schools there?

Oh, and I've run across Fishhawk ranch, but our fear is that we'd get too comfy there and not want to drive to the beach...how long does it take to get to a beach from there? Might be too isolating for our tastes.

We will rent at first until we are ready to settle on a specific neighborhood. Looking for a 4 or 5 bedroom with a private yard, relatively close to the beach but not so close that hurricanes will cause a problem. (I'm from the midwest...still trying to get used to switching out earthquakes for hurricanes )

We work from home so commuting is not an issue for us. But would like to be within an hours drive of a large airport (prefer international).

I'm not sure how this will work, but I guess I'll try posting this on the St Pete forum as well.

Thanks in advance for all your advice!

[loving this Florida winter! but a little wary of the summer...I've been tracking the weather and it looks like St Pete has the coolest temps over the past few weeks...must get the nicest breezes?)
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:41 PM
 
16,755 posts, read 36,284,129 times
Reputation: 22195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabbydog View Post
Hello City-Data posters!

We moved from the LA area last August to Palm Beach Gardens with our 4 year old. City-Data was an excellent resource, so I thought I'd dive back in and check out the other side of the state.

As beautiful as it is here...safe, great schools, etc... we are missing the eclectic/cultural city vibe that a more urban area can offer. I have been researching the best of both worlds and think that either the St. Petersburg or Sarasota may have what we are looking for...? Artsy, slightly bohemian, beachy, educated folks looking to raise their kids in a thriving cultural area that also offers nature as a back yard. I would also like to move to a safe area where the kids play with the neighbors and the adults all get along... utopia? Does this place exist? Considering how friendly everyone is down here, I believe we can find what we're looking for with a little help

We are more liberal in our views and looking for a like-minded community. Would love to be able to walk to a restaurant or eclectic shops. Anything with a bike or walking path. We love art and music festivals ~ anything creative and outdoors. If it's family oriented...we'll be there

We are planning to check out the area in a few weeks and wanted to target some specific locales...

So far, I've heard schools are great in Seminole/Pinellas County, but that crime up there around St. Pete is worse than Sarasota...thoughts?

I've also read about the Pine View school in Sarasota ~ sounds great!

And finally, if we can't settle on a neighborhood that has only the best rated public school ~ we'll consider private...any thoughts on the best private schools there?

Oh, and I've run across Fishhawk ranch, but our fear is that we'd get too comfy there and not want to drive to the beach...how long does it take to get to a beach from there? Might be too isolating for our tastes.

We will rent at first until we are ready to settle on a specific neighborhood. Looking for a 4 or 5 bedroom with a private yard, relatively close to the beach but not so close that hurricanes will cause a problem. (I'm from the midwest...still trying to get used to switching out earthquakes for hurricanes )

We work from home so commuting is not an issue for us. But would like to be within an hours drive of a large airport (prefer international).

I'm not sure how this will work, but I guess I'll try posting this on the St Pete forum as well.

Thanks in advance for all your advice!

[loving this Florida winter! but a little wary of the summer...I've been tracking the weather and it looks like St Pete has the coolest temps over the past few weeks...must get the nicest breezes?)
Either city could possibly suit your needs. Both are "liberal" enough to suit you I think, both are artsy and Bohemian. Sarasota is a lot smaller than St. Pete but has a LOT of cultural amenities. Sarasota has a more "upscale" feel overall, downtown St. Pete is really beautiful and has a lot going on. Sarasota has better education. Weather is basically the same, St. Pete is not cooler. Sarasota gets very nice breezes. Both cities have great beaches, I think the ones in Sarasota/Bradenton are nicer.

Sarasota has a nice airport and it is easy to get to. You will travel farther to get to TIA from St. Pete, but it's not that far.

I think overall you need to visit both cities. St. Pete is a larger city that lives like a small town, while Sarasota is a small city that lives larger. I mean this a compliment to both places.

Have fun exploring!
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Old 02-26-2013, 02:55 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
11,937 posts, read 11,790,870 times
Reputation: 27021
For Sarasota, I would look at renting downtown, Laurel Park in particular, Southside Village, and Lido Key around St. Armands.

Sarasota can be really spendy rent wise. I'd budget pretty high for those neighborhoods. $3000+ and up for those neighborhoods.

St. Pete is less expensive but amenity wise and culturally, you'll have a hard time beating Sarasota.

As far as politics go, Florida was split pretty evenly and you'll find that here.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL
8 posts, read 13,586 times
Reputation: 19
Gabbydog:

First and foremost, welcome! I returned to Sarasota after college and law school. I remember leaving for college thinking I would not come back, but boy was I wrong. Nothing like a few years of maturing to get you to see things clearly! I love living here and agree with what other posters have said thus far. I have inlaws in the Seminole/Pinellas area and both my wife and I agree that Sarasota takes the cake. As far as schools are concerned, I graduated from Pine View and can attest that it is a great school (attended 3rd through 12th). I hope that when my children reach that age, they too will be able to go there. However, other schools in our area are great too. If you want an artsy vibe, there are some cool neighborhoods downtown or "west of trail" that provide what you are looking for. However, you will pay a premium.

Good luck!
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:27 PM
 
Location: sarasota
1,089 posts, read 1,565,319 times
Reputation: 1174
you don't mention the most important thing: what price range are you looking for. there is such a huge range of prices here, the amenities will vary accordingly.
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Old 02-27-2013, 07:14 PM
 
16,377 posts, read 21,218,430 times
Reputation: 14364
St Pete is pretty big. Plus there are many neat areas in Tampa and also other towns that are near St Pete. The entire Tampa/St Pete area is much more urban than Sarasota. By Urban, I mean there are many more restaurants and stores. Also many more people. And more traffic. And more jobs. Its just a much bigger metro area. But there are lots of cool places there that match what you are looking for.

Sarasota has some of the restaurants, shops, bohemiam like culture, but in very small patches compared to the St Pete/Pinellas/Tampa.

St Pete is not only downtown. There are many cool areas there. It's huge.

There is a younger vibe in most of St Pete compared to Sarasota in general. This is because some areas of Sarasota are driven more toward retirees. Also St Pete/Pinellas has lots of large employers in the area, and is a larger metro area. So you get younger folks living there so they can be close to work.

St Pete-Clearwater Airport has flights but Tampa Intl airport has many more. Both are a good short drive from St Pete. the Sarasota airport doesnt have as much going on. Prices can be high and not a lot of choices. Lots of Sarasota folks drive to Tampa Airport and sometime St Pete Clearwater airport.
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Old 02-28-2013, 01:55 PM
 
22 posts, read 69,875 times
Reputation: 12
Thanks so much everyone ~ I'm even more excited now to check out these areas! Sorry I was MIA - I've been battling a nasty flu bug. Sounds like both St. Pete & Sarasota would be good for us ~ we'll just have to figure out what we want more.

gypsychic ~ your comment, "St. Pete is a larger city that lives like a small town, while Sarasota is a small city that lives larger" - makes me want to see both. I love the small town feel, with big city amenities and vibe.

Rugs As Art ~ I did look up "west of trail" - thanks for mentioning that! And is Pine View as hard to get in to as some people think?

photoman_6 ~ I think $2500-$3000 (ish) for rent and $500k for buying after we settle in and decide. A year from now, that will be higher.

sware2cod ~ I'm glad you mentioned the airport situation. Ideally we'd be able to fly to Ohio on non-stop flights relatively inexpensively several times a year, and to Eastern Europe at least once a year. I checked it out and I think even if we choose Sarasota, we'd have to travel to Tampa for flights.

blueherons ~ I like that you mention Florida is split evenly politically... I'm more about "Can't we all just get along" than drawing harsh political lines.

Does anyone have any experience with Fishhawk Ranch?
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
11,937 posts, read 11,790,870 times
Reputation: 27021
Gabby, you'll have a much easier finding four or five bedrooms in your budget in Sarasota in the summer months. Unfortunately you'll have to cross Laurel Park, downtown, and Lido off your list. I highly suggest you check those areas out anyway.

I've found the best rentals from driving around the areas.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:41 AM
 
22 posts, read 69,875 times
Reputation: 12
Blueherons ~ I assume that Laurel Park, downtown and Lido out of my price range? I don't think we would want to be on Lido Key anyway - I'm too concerned about hurricane and flood damage to want to live that close to the beach. I've noticed here that we can live a little ways in and feel safer and still get to the beach in under 15 minutes - with easy FREE parking! Not like LA where it cost $$ to park, traffic was horrible, so it took forever to get to the beach unless you lived within walking distance (which we used to....sigh).

the West of Trail neighborhood sounds great - and I'm very interested in the Pine View school. I guess we just have to wait and see if our child is "gifted" once we get there...anyone know how difficult it is to get in? And is this a tuition-free public school?
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:11 AM
 
16,755 posts, read 36,284,129 times
Reputation: 22195
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabbydog View Post
Blueherons ~ I assume that Laurel Park, downtown and Lido out of my price range? I don't think we would want to be on Lido Key anyway - I'm too concerned about hurricane and flood damage to want to live that close to the beach. I've noticed here that we can live a little ways in and feel safer and still get to the beach in under 15 minutes - with easy FREE parking! Not like LA where it cost $$ to park, traffic was horrible, so it took forever to get to the beach unless you lived within walking distance (which we used to....sigh).

the West of Trail neighborhood sounds great - and I'm very interested in the Pine View school. I guess we just have to wait and see if our child is "gifted" once we get there...anyone know how difficult it is to get in? And is this a tuition-free public school?
You can DM SoFLGal on this forum, she has a daughter in PineView and can tell you all about it. It is an exceptional school. Overall I really do think you will prefer Sarasota over St. Pete. Schools in St. Pete are not that great.

Definitely check "West of Trail" neighborhoods. Homes are pricier, but with your budget you may be able to find something that suits you. Summer is definitely a better time to be looking. I will say that the real estate market here has REALLY heated up in the last couple years and inventory has shrunk dramatically which has driven some prices up. It's totally worth it though.

Yup, all our beautiful beaches are totally free, you don't even have to feed a meter. Parking downtown is again also free (the removed some short-lived meters here) St. Pete has metered parking downtown and on the beaches.
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