What is the best thing to bring home from Sarasota?

Answers from Our Experts (1)

Jessi Smith

You won’t need to scour the airport gift shop to find souvenirs. There are plenty of authentic, locally made pieces of Sarasota you can bring home, instead — and those make for the best treasures.

Sarasota’s well-earned reputation as the small art capital of the United States is reflected in the collection of thriving local galleries and boutiques. Check out madeby gallery in the artsy Rosemary District, which solely sells items created by students and alumni from Sarasota’s prestigious Ringling College of Art + Design. The eclectic gallery carries paintings, sculptures, jewelry, handbags and clothing that represent the diverse style of dozens of current students and several decades of RCAD alumni who currently live and work locally, or who were inspired by the time they spent living in Sarasota as students. Each item is one-of-a-kind — and thus, uniquely yours.

The Clothesline Gallery and Boutique in the Burns Court neighborhood is also a local original. Clothesline was founded in 2008 as an on-location screen-printing shop that made limited editions of locally designed T-shirts. Today the shop has expanded into an art gallery known for its edgy contemporary exhibitions, with its own exclusive clothing brand that continues to produce high quality, screen-printed limited editions by the area’s most up-and-coming local artists. Don’t be surprised if you see work by the artist whose name is on the tag of that “Clothesline Sarasota” T-shirt you purchased on your vacation in a hip gallery someday.

If art and T-shirts don’t suit your fancy, perhaps local honey and tea — or something else from Sarasota’s popular farmers market — will. Every Saturday, vendors from Sarasota and surrounding areas descend on the farmers market downtown by the dozens. Along with typical, perishable farmers market fare like produce, several vendors peddle delicious local teas and coffees, honey, organic beauty products, candles and more. For the vendors who attend the farmers market every weekend, Saturdays are as much a social occasion as they are a workday. Whether you’re purchasing items or simply browsing, you’ll likely make a new friend — but go ahead and try a free sample of that Sarasota orange blossom honey, too. We bet you’ll be hooked.

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