Stroll along the waterfront downtown, take up canoeing, fish for grouper and mahi mahi, play golf or just relax and watch the sun dip into the sea.
Citrus County is one of the best areas to live in all of Florida. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other cities and towns up and down the Gulf Coast that are also fantastic places to visit.
One of the great things about living in the Villages of Citrus Hills is that you are centrally located within a short drive of just about any other location along the Gulf Coast. One of those places that make for an excellent day trip is the city of Bradenton.
Located approximately two hours south of the Villages of Citrus Hills along the Manatee River, Bradenton is known for its rich history, its thriving artist community, and for being the winter home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the summer home of the Bradenton Marauders.
In addition to having the great beaches, that you will find all along the Gulf Coast, Bradenton also offers some unique attractions that you won’t find in any other old Florida town.
Village of the Arts
Tucked away in the southern part of downtown Bradenton is the Village of the Arts. This is a 42-acre community designed to provide local artists with an inspirational place to live and work.
The Village of the Arts contains about 30 different artist galleries and studios. There is also an independent bookstore, a yoga studio, and a few cafes and restaurants.
This might be one of the most focused communities for creative-minded people anywhere in Florida. If you are interested in any type of art, you will want to take a stroll through the Village of the Arts.
Another popular location in Bradenton is The Riverwalk located at the northern part of town along the Manatee River. This public space is used as a gathering place for community events, concerts, festivals, and art displays.
Even if you aren’t in town for one of the events, there is still a lot to see and do along The Riverwalk. There is a fishing pier, a kayak launch, beach volleyball and a skateboard park.
If you are looking for somewhere to relax, the outdoor living rooms along The Riverwalk are the place to be. It can also be very entertaining to watch the kids play in the Family Fun Zone.
If you are a history buff, you will absolutely want to check out the Manatee Village Historical Park. This is a fantastic collection of restored buildings. The old steam engine alone is worth the trip!
There is an outstanding farmers’ market held right in the heart of downtown Bradenton every Saturday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. In addition to other farmers’ market items, there is a “Chef at the Market” booth that features a different local chef preparing a signature dish each week.
Baseball is also big in Bradenton, as it is the winter home of the Pittsburgh Pirates. You will enjoy Pirate City when they come for spring training. And when the big league club heads north for the summer you can watch the minor league affiliate, The Bradenton Marauders, all summer long.
One of the most popular restaurants in Bradenton is Jose’s Real Cuban Food, which you might have seen on the popular show Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. This is THE place to get an authentic Cuban sandwich, but you should also try their Cuban pork and chicken entrees.
Another popular place to grab a bite in Bradenton is Full Belly Stuffed Burgers. Their claim is that they make the world’s best burgers, and they might not be exaggerating. Their Matty Matt burger, which comes with maple bacon and peanut butter, gets rave reviews.
With everything from a local art community to gourmet stuffed burgers, Bradenton is the type of place that can keep all of your senses occupied for as long as you choose to stay. That is exactly why it is such a popular day trip destination for residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills.