Day 1 – The Village of the Arts

The first stop on your artistic Bradenton Area getaway is at the Village of the Arts. Located in downtown Bradenton, the Village of the Arts is the largest live-work art community in Florida. Locals open the doors to their own homes so you can see and buy their handcrafted paintings, sculptures and pottery work. You are guaranteed to find a one-of-a-kind piece! When you’re done checking out the eclectic art scene of Village of the Arts, make your way to one of the restaurants in the community. The creative culture seeps into the eateries like Retrobaked, Ortygia Restaurant and Arts & Eats. You’ll find food that ranges from homemade cupcakes to hybrid Sicilian- cuisine. It all tastes great and the menus are as creative as it gets, with your chefs acting as the master artists.

Catch the sunset at the end of the day from the comforts of the beach. Many locals claim that Bean Point is the best place to savor the sunset, but wherever you are on Anna Maria Island, you’re sure to get a picturesque view.

Day 2 – The Art of Anna Maria Island

Spend your next day appreciating the sights and sounds of Anna Maria Island. Start outside, enjoying white-sand beaches and calm, clear waters that you won’t find in any museum. If you can’t decide which beach to go to, take the Beach Finder Quiz. Or just go to Whitney Beach on Longboat Key, where downed trees line the shore, making it one of the most picturesque spots in the area.

Keep the outdoor appreciation going by getting lunch at one of the oceanfront restaurants on Anna Maria Island. Get a grouper sandwich while enjoying the views from the restaurant on the pier. Or stay on the beach and savor oysters with your feet in the sand at the BeachHouse Restaurant. Then, it’s off to see the art of Anna Maria Island that goes beyond the beaches. Check out the variety of local art galleries found throughout the island. The Artists Guild, Artspace Anna Maria and the Anna Maria Island Art League all have unique galleries on display year-round. And if you’re feeling creative, they offer art classes in painting, pottery and more!

Day 3 – Manatees and the Manatee Players

Start your final day in the Bradenton Area’s natural and cultural history museum: The South Florida Museum. You won’t see many paintings or sculptures, but you’ll find exhibits that showcase the history of the area and the local wildlife. Interactive displays help you get a better appreciation of how Anna Maria Island and the rest of the Bradenton Area came to be. Then head over to Fav’s Italian restaurant and then top it off with some ice cream at Corwins!

After exploring the museum and grabbing some pizza, experience an art of a different kind at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. The local theater group known as the Manatee Players puts on entertaining shows throughout the year. Whether it’s a thoughtful drama or a sidesplitting comedy, they’ll add some color to your beach getaway.

Feeling inspired? Get more inspiration about the art and culture of the Bradenton Area before your vacation.