Lido Beach and St Armand's Circle

Lido Key  was opened to automobile traffic in 1926, Lido Beach has been a popular spot for bathers. In August of that year, John Ringling, Samuel Gumpertz, and Owen Burns built a $30,000 pavilion, dock and bathhouses south of the present park. In May of 1940, the Lido Beach Casino opened on a 1300 foot section of Lido Beach which the city of Sarasota had purchased from the John Ringling Estate.  Designed by Ralph Twitchell and funded partially by federal WPA money, the $250,000 Casino combined Art Deco, Modern and Frank Lloyd Wright features to create a sparkling modern structure which became a magnet for residents and visitors. By the end of the 1950’s poor management had resulted in a deteriorated building and an operational debt. A bond issue to remodel and modernize the Casino passed in 1964, but the building was demolished in 1969 before any work was done. The remodeling and modernizing took the form of a new building which was designed by Edward J. “Tim” Seibert and opened in 1970. This site became the responsibility of Sarasota County to operate and maintain as the result of the consolidation of the city of Sarasota and county Parks and Recreation on April 1, 1990

The white sandy beaches with sparking aqua blue gulf waters on Lido is just so inviting.  There is more than enough  beach access parking with restrooms and outdoor Olympic size swimming pool.   The park at the end of this key looks out over Big Pass towards Siesta Key. Here you can find picnic tables and Barbeques.  Kayak tours go from here daily.

The vibrancy of St Armand’s with a variety of upscale shopping and an array of great dining is so cosmopolitan.  A trip here is always a memorable one whether it’s your first time or 100th time! The Circle is an ideal place for a day trip no matter where you are staying!  Set on a lush tropical island setting only steps from the Gulf of Mexico and Lido.  You are sure to relax and unwind and let your cares fade away. The majority of stores are open by 10 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and all stores are open by noon Sundays. Most stores stay open until 8 or 9 p.m. Breakfast restaurants are open by 7 a.m. seven days a week, and other restaurants are open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. The Circle is also home to many can’t-miss events, such as Mardi Gras, Halloween “Fright Night on St. Armands” and Holiday Night on St. Armand’s.

John Ringling imagined St. Armand’s Key as the jewel of Sarasota when he purchased it in 1917. The circus tycoon envisioned residential and shopping units that would take the form of a circle. He worked to bring the vision to fruition in the 1920s, but the stock market crash of 1929 temporarily halted Ringling’s dream.  St. Armand’s Circle sat empty until the 1940s and 1950s, when businesses began to fill up the shopping district   to become the jewel that Ringling once imagined.   You will still find reminders of Ringling throughout the Circle. Ringling’s historic statues, along with newer statues that include the “Seven Virtues of Sarasota” are located throughout the Circle and St. Armbands Key. The Circus Ring of Fame in St. Armand’s Circle Park honors Sarasota’s circus tradition. It is like the Hollywood Walk of Fame for circus performers and contributors; each year the Circus Ring of Fame Foundation inducts new members.

Fast Fact The Columbia Restaurant, which opened in 1959, is the oldest business on the Circle.

There are single family homes and condominiums here both on and off water. Take a look at some of the listings.  You are also close to downtown Sarasota with its varied culture including numerous theatres, the film festival every April , Art and craft festivals and so much more. If you have not considered this area you really should.