What Sarasota lacks in nightlife, it makes up for in dining. What else would one expect from a wealthy, socially conservative retirement town? While the pricing isn’t always student-friendly, the quality of the restaurants is admirable. It is possible for a student to go to a different stellar restaurant every weekend during the semester. This makes for some terrific dining options when a student's family rolls into town with their fat wallets and will to nourish.
Sarasota has quite a few student hangouts and cafés. The 24-hour Starbucks is nearby and is a huge draw for final paper composing and exam studying. Big E's is a cheap and plentiful café easily within biking distance from campus. Downtown, many students frequent Whole Foods and the local bakery Pastry Art. The Saturday morning farmers' market downtown usually draws in at least a handful of students, as well. The food options in Sarasota truly run the gamut of cheap fast food to gourmet dining. You have to do a bit of exploring to find budget-friendly/high-quality ethnic eateries, but finding them is a worthy venture that will lead you away from the stuffiness of much of the area's traditional American fare. Downtown Sarasota has some of the more posh restaurants, while Bradenton is more informal. Tamiami Trail provides a slew of choices, and there are some fantastic food trucks scattered about town.