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Sarasota named best date-night city in the US

When it comes to a night on the town, Sarasota tops 160 cities across the country.

The gleaming towers of downtown Sarasota as viewed from the Ringling Bridge provide a backdrop for a variety of date-night options.
The gleaming towers of downtown Sarasota as viewed from the Ringling Bridge provide a backdrop for a variety of date-night options.
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It’s no secret that in recent years Sarasota has ranked at or near the top of many “best cities” lists — best beaches, best places to retire, etc. — but perhaps the most surprising is a new ranking that declares it the best date-night city in the country.

Among 160 cities studied.

And it isn’t even close.

Sarasota is far and away the nation’s best date-night city, scoring a total of 87.7 on a scale of 100 over 10 categories, far outpacing No. 2 Atlantic City, New Jersey, at 79.5, according to, a performance marketing business focused on the online gambling industry in North America. 

Sarasota came out on top of date-night hot spots, such as fellow top 10 cities Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Orlando and Burlington, Vermont.

“Living downtown, you can make any night an unexpected fun date night,” said Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce President Heather Kasten of the ranking. “Just strolling down the streets of downtown Sarasota with our twinkly lights, warm evenings, passing by fountains that are glowing and hearing every kind of music genre to the quaint sidewalk tables, there is something so remarkably charming about our storybook downtown. 

"Throw in all of the options to see a movie, an opera, a comedy show, a play or so many forms of music and you could go a month with a different date night each time.”

The rankings were largely based on the number of date-friendly amenities in each city per 10,000 people, as well as the value of date-night activities with categories ranging from average meal price for two to the number of romantic hotels per 10,000 people. 

Reports BonusFinder: “Nestled along the picturesque Gulf Coast, Sarasota sets the stage for a captivating romantic retreat with its coastal beauty and charming cultural attractions. Whether strolling through the magical Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, embarking on a scenic cruise along Sarasota Bay to admire marine life or simply enjoying the beautiful sunsets, Sarasota offers couples a blend of outdoor adventures and cultural indulgences, making it a delightful destination for a sun-soaked, romantic getaway.”

Sarasota was the only city in the top 10 to have a perfect score in four of the categories with perfect 10s in: number of romantic restaurants; number of cafes, bakeries and dessert shops; number of couples friendly attractions; and number of spas — all per 10,000 people. The city also ranked in the top 10 in seven categories.

With a year-round population of nearly 60,000, the city certainly benefits from the tens of thousands of seasonal residents who bring significant retirement spending here, providing a vast array of upscale dining and entertainment options not typically afforded of cities the size of Sarasota.

“For a city of our size, we have an amazing number of great restaurants that provide the perfect romantic atmosphere for date night,” said Sarasota Mayor Liz Alpert. “Couples can choose from a variety of cuisines, including vegan. Then after, there are many choices for dancing, theater, opera, or just strolling through our downtown or St. Armands.”

A Sarasota date night may include a visit to The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
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More than a retirement destination, the greater Sarasota area now attracts young professionals and families, and the variety of date-night options is expanding with the demographic shift. 

Shana Tibi, a concierge matchmaker and owner of Curated Connections, is at ground zero of the Sarasota dating environment. With a clientele ranging in age from 30s to 70s, she said the city offers something for all demographics.

“Sarasota is particularly good for the 55-and-up crowd because it’s a snowbird destination and there are plenty of newcomers,” Tibi said. “Sarasota, due to the nice weather, has plenty of casual and upscale date options. Couples can grab a bite or a drink and then walk around St. Armands or Siesta Village. It’s always fun to go downtown and grab a table for two outside as you dine and get to know each other, and by the second or third date you can up the activity level to comedy clubs, live music shows, water sports, circus attractions, installations at Selby Gardens and more.”



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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