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Sarasota - Bradenton - Venice area Manatee and Sarasota Counties
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Old 02-27-2021, 03:59 PM
355 posts, read 836,617 times
Reputation: 324


Other side of the state resident considering move to the area.

What are the main differences between these locales?

Some things I'm wondering about--restaurants, traffic, median age, political leanings, better quality of life?

Stereotypes welcome, general or specific impressions, please.
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Old 03-01-2021, 12:48 PM
Location: Bradenton/Sarasota FL
604 posts, read 445,257 times
Reputation: 385
I would imagine you will get some very in depth responses but Ill try to keep it simple:
Bradenton-middle class, mostly blue color, a few less than desirable parts of town. Some good restaurants but they are spread all around town, not in a "main street" type of area. There is a main street downtown with some fun spots but its def a younger crowd, compared to LWR and SRQ.

Sarasota-upper class, good mix of white collar and blue. Def old money area. Main Street SRQ is a great spot for fine dining along with St Armands Circle. Much more touristy than Bradenton. Much older demographic than the

Lakewood Ranch-upper class, mostly white collar IMO and retired golfers. Small little main street area with some good restaurants. They are currently building Waterside which is going to be a man made waterfront retail area. This is THE hot spot and really the only spot where building is going on. Bradenton and Sarasota are essentially out of vacant land so Lakewood Ranch is the spot where new houses are going up.
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Old 03-01-2021, 03:11 PM
19 posts, read 8,743 times
Reputation: 31
Venice has 3 distinct areas: the island- wealthier area, older population, upscale restaurants. South Venice-older cheaper homes. Eastern Venice: newer communities, mix of old and younger folks, lots of new home construction going on in Wellen park area, which borders Northport.
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Old 03-01-2021, 10:01 PM
16 posts, read 3,155 times
Reputation: 23
First, I'm a native and a long time resident. Most of the people who might respond here are transplants who know enough to be half-smart and get you in trouble with inaccuracies of sort.

First, do your homework, and consult/buy a MAP.

There's the tiny City of Sarasota, then there is Sarasota County that happens to go by the same name, i.e. Sarasota. The largest city in Sarasota County is Northport, not the City of Sarasota. Then there are cities like Venice within SRQ COUNTY.

The City of Sarasota is tiny, but the County seat of "Sarasota County".

The City of Bradenton is also tiny, i.e 15 square miles much like The City of Sarasota. Bradenton is the county seat of much much larger Manatee County, but it's NOT the only city in Manatee County (see The Town of Longboat Key, Bradenton Beach, Palmetto, Holmes Beach and the City of Anna Maria, and of course the town of Cortez).

Unincorporated Manatee County is wrongly called "Bradenton"....don't confuse mailing addresses with geopolitical boundaries as others here have tried to explain to fairly ignorant newcomers and even current residents.

Lakewood Ranch is not a town or a city...period. It's mostly in Manatee County but expanding into Sarasota COUNTY ( NOT the "city" of Sarasota!!).

The City of Sarasota has Naples "envy". It has very expensive areas and lower class/economic areas....but no one wants to tell you that. It's a snooty wannabe Naples...I'm talking about the CITY of SARASOTA.

Real people can be found all over Manatee County...even downtown Bradenton....the City. Again the city itself is SMALL, but the incorporated area is HUGE.

Sarasota County was cut out of Manatee County - there was no such place as "Sarasota" historically, but the snooty folks don't even know their history, and newcomers are even worse!

You can look up political leanings for yourself.

Main Street Sarasota, the city, thinks it's Brickell or Worth...it's no such animal....most people in the region don't bother with DT City of Sarasota .....ex-urban developments abound.

The City of Sarasota is trying its best to promote high density living and artsy BS "walkability"...people in Bradenton and in Manatee Coutny ex-urban don't give a crap about that, they want more SPACE and quiet, but access to the amenities.....beach? not really, they may visit once a week or once a MONTH.

I would not call all of LWR upper class at all....upper middle? yes, are there millionaires there, well yes, but there are people with more disposable income and access to capital living in Manatee County and Bradenton who live in 275k houses....believe me, I know.
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Old 03-02-2021, 06:07 AM
Location: Venice, FL
11,806 posts, read 3,565,068 times
Reputation: 7534
^^^ nice post by castelazo, chock full of facts. I was not born here, but I've spent most of my life in Florida. My time in SW Florida goes back 25 years. I've been through the home buying and renting process 3 times in this forum area alone, and 2 more times in the Tampa Bay area.

That post should be required reading for potential newcommers, so they can understand the geography, and terminology of this area. Buying an old-fashioned paper maps of Manatee, and Sarasota, County's should be 1st on the list of newcommers. Your computer screen is too small, and you cant write on it.

On those maps, draw the legal boundary's of the master planned communities of; Lakewood Ranch, Palmer Ranch, and Wellen Park (formerly West Villages). People need to know if they are buying within these boundaries, or not, and what the remifications are.

I've been explaining the difference between the city of Venice, and he mailing address of Venice for 3 years now. The City is tiny compared to the Venice mailing address. The City's residents are very old, & most housing is circa 1950's, but the mailing address of Venice has multiple pockets of kids (near the schools) & new home communities.

Geography is job #1 for newcommers. Buy maps, and multiple colored highlighters to mark important boundaries & places. I marked off wastewater treatment plants, dumps, areas w/in 1 mile of I-75, pockets of high crime, bad school cluser boundaries, major shopping malls to avoid the surrounding traffic, airports to avoid noise, bad flood zones, commerial zones, ect..

By the time I was done, I had my "go" and "no go" areas clearly delineated on my maps.
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Old 03-02-2021, 06:35 AM
12 posts, read 7,377 times
Reputation: 52
We have been here a couple years now. Sarasota city addresses are expanding
into Manatee county. LWR is technically in Bradenton but it is starting to move
South past University which is the county line into Sarasota county.

Sarasota is going through a mini boom right now. It might actually be starting
to slow down but its been going on for several years. You will run into a lot
of Midwesterners here along with North eastern states. I would say overall the
county of Sarasota is very Republican. The Sarasota city is more diverse and has
more flare to it. Downtown is trendy but not on the scale of St Pete or Tampa.
Lakewood Ranch is like any other master planned community. You have a good
mix of ethnicity's and political leanings. LR is a great place but for most it was
probably their 2nd choice when they find their just isnt any options closer to
the gulf.

Venice is even more laid back than Sarasota. Its really not a hot spot for young
and growing families. But it does have a nice main street with close proximity
to the beaches.

Sarasota is pretty much built out. Home values are soaring and you will soon find
places like Osprey , Laurel and Nokomis being built out to replicate what Sarasota
is doing.
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Old 03-02-2021, 09:26 AM
16 posts, read 3,155 times
Reputation: 23
Good God! posters such as stvig1 are part of the problem coming here - been here for a very short time and become half-smart and doing a disservice to people who want accurate, factual information.

Again, everybody has the opportunity to provide "opinions", but perpetuating lies and misconceptions does irreparable harm.

Lakewood Ranch is NOT in, or even close to Bradenton.
WATERSIDE is not in or close to Bradenton
WATERSIDE is not or close to The City of Sarasota
Longboat Key is in Manatee County (and SRQ, but none in the City of Sarasota)

ANNA MARIA is in Manatee County
Parrish is not in Bradenton
Palmetto is not in Bradenton
Ellenton is not in Bradenton
The Town of Cortez is not in Bradenton
There is no such town as West Bradenton
Most of "west Bradenton" is not in The City of Bradenton
Bradenton Beach is NOT in The City of Bradenton
Holmes Beach is NOT in the City of Bradenton
PALMA SOLA is not in the City of Bradenton
Bayshore Gardens is not a town and is NOT in the City of Bradenton

The Sarasota-Bradenton Int'l AIRPORT is nowhere near the City of Bradenton
Most of the Airport is NOT in The City of Sarasota

All of areas around Clark RD are NOT in The City of Sarasota LOL (Gulf Gate, The Landings etc)...not even close to the City of Sarasota
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Old Yesterday, 08:33 AM
84 posts, read 28,305 times
Reputation: 123
#1 - For anyone who it is not blatantly apparent to, WW Whetstone is castelazos or whatever it was/Sheckie/AttyShekelman and any of the hundred others of usernames he's used over the years on this forum. You are a troll by the very definition of it, even going so far as to use your different usernames to try and stand up for your own posts under different names! I don't know what's gone wrong in your life to lead you to this, but maybe get out there in the world a little more.

#2 - I don't work in real estate. I'm trying to be helpful and answer questions people pose when I can. People come to this forum for help and to get questions answered, not get geography lessons by way of an attack.

#3 - Most people in FL right now were not born here. Most new "native Floridians" will be of the 1st generation variety.

#4 - I'm not from the east coast but find it funny that I was once referred to as a "Yankee" by some guy who it was later determined to be from New Jersey pretending to be from the south and proudly flies his rebel flag.

#5 - Offensive and arrogant? How about eyes wide open for people coming here from elsewhere? They can come down, take a drive around Bradenton proper, then head over to east of 75 and look at the area you so clearly point out is not true Bradenton (I agree, it's better), and let them come back and tell us their perception. Just like parts of Chicago where I would lock my doors while driving at night, I'd lock my doors in broad daylight in parts of Bradenton. The panhandlers and crazy homeless(?) guy along Manatee Ave that would yell at passing cars were things I didn't see east of 75 or driving along LWR Blvd. And a look at any crime map will prove my point about what goes on in Bradenton city limits. Again, people should check things out for themselves and not believe everything they read on here.

As for you, I'm done. Just going to ignore you like everyone else and hope that newcomers can figure it out on their own.
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Old Yesterday, 09:15 PM
3,591 posts, read 8,485,053 times
Reputation: 3622
I found this post very interesting - I am fairly new here - 10 years - just a little to ad - Venice so called "island" has a cute little downtown and absolutely beautiful old Florida homes that are well kept and very valuable because they are right on the Gulf - I love an area called Golden Beach that I wish I could afford - tiny little 50s houses that cost around 600k - LOL - the only problem with Venice is that you could be right next to the airport. Very old, very conservative.

Lakewood Rand to me is in Bradenton - it has Bradenton schools which are known to be not as good as Sarasota Schools but I am not sure that is really true. Lakewood Ranch is very plasticy and boring and tons of traffic - it is upscale but in a fake way. Kinda like "new money"

The really swanky areas are Casey Key, Siesta Key, Lido, and Sarasota condos on the harbor but there is also a large homeless population wandering around - mostly kept in certain areas.

In between there are some great "old Florida" neighborhoods where the homes have been kept up and are not in HOAs - and also many new communities which are gated and the homes are small, ugly, and packed in like rats.

Englewood is also a cute little town - and South Venice is cheaper with some run down houses but areas of it are very nice and low key - one area has their own private beach

Many areas of North Port are now calling themselves Venice but are no where near Venice. North Port is looked down upon by snootier Venice but is really kinda rural and beautiful - where you can get a newer home for a good price.

And Nokomis which is considered unincorporated Sarasota County is the red-headed stepchild - million dollar homes and also old shacks - lower taxes!

Sarasota County is very large with many different areas

Last edited by Nancy in Nokomis; Yesterday at 09:25 PM..
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Old Yesterday, 09:24 PM
12 posts, read 7,377 times
Reputation: 52
wow. ok Back to the discussion. To the OP. Imo Quality of life increases as you drive south from St Pete.
Less traffic and quicker access to the beaches. The sweet spot is probably somewhere between Sarasota and
Fort Myers. I was one that wanted to live in south Sarasota but found the homes in 300K range that looked like
rentals. Some of the very few available were not homesteaded. With inventory being at historic lows, you are
probably better off looking south of Sarasota in the Osprey, Laurel, North Venice area. Osprey has a very small
town vibe but it just a stones throw to Siesta Key and South Sarasota which makes it a great location. This area
might be slightly less old than Sarasota Proper and more red leaning. Not 100 on that though just my observation
from driving through and spending time there. There is a good mix of medium to $$$$ restaurants. I would not
even consider it as that important. It will take you years and a lot of money to make your rounds to all of them.
Craft scene is decent here as well. Bradenton, Tampa, St Pete, Ft Myers, Sarasota all have very reputable
craft breweries.

You mention quality of life. I put that very high on my list as well. Its really amazing what you define as must have when spending the kind of money you will need to spend down here. Quality of life, Traffic and Safety become just a little more important at this price point. Just my 2 cents. Good luck

Last edited by stvlg1; Yesterday at 09:38 PM..
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