St. Armands Circle in Sarasota is unlike any other place in Florida, much less the world. Everyone who comes to Sarasota makes a trip through more than a hundred boutiques, galleries, shops, and restaurants dotting the sidewalks of St. Armand’s. Find out why people love St. Armand’s and what to expect on a visit.
History of St Armands Circle
Even though St. Armands Circle is renowned for shops and entertainment, it has a rich cultural history. In the early 1900s, the key it sits on was just a mangrove island that didn’t attract much attention. In 1893, Charles St. Amand, a resident Frenchman on the island, purchased three tracts of land. Fishing in the Gulf and Bay, raising produce, and working the land, he unintentionally had his name misspelled on land deeds as “St. Armand” and the name is history. Circus magnate John Ringling purchased the St. Armands Key property in 1917 for development. The John Ringling Causeway and Estates development were opened to the public after he hired crews to dredge canals, build seawalls, and install sidewalks and streets. The City of Sarasota accepted the causeway as a gift following the nationwide depression and eventually it was developed into what it is today.
Visitors to St. Armands Circle comes to the epicenter of life by the beach. Shopping, dining, rest, and relaxation are all available here. There is a pocket park on the Boulevard of the Presidents between The Met and Le Colonne with artificial turf, rocking chairs, and a giant chess set.
Shops and Stops of St Armands Circle
Some of the best spas and restaurants, shops, and eclectic boutiques make up St. Armands Circle. Stop by the Met Fashion House Day Spa & Salon with an elaborate staircase with luxury clothing and a salon to pamper those tired feet and legs. Island resort wear is sold in many stores in St. Armand’s Circle-like Island Pursuit. To pick and choose a spot to wine and dine is to figure out which day of the week each one fits into because there are so many choices. All within walking distance of a tropical paradise, mind you, and with beautiful weather and company to boot. Dine al fresco, grab fresh fish at several restaurants from fine dining to pub-style, and dance the night away at some of the clubs and bars for a taste of the nightlife.
Parking at St Armands Circle
To park around St. Armands Circle, look for street parking meters in service from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Rates are $1.50 per hour. Park Mobile App or a pay station are the best ways to pay for parking. A parking lot and garage are accessible from Adams Drive. The first two hours are free with the third hour being $3 and each additional hour $1. Public restrooms are available also.