Sarasota is a city in Sarasota County on the southwestern coast of the U.S. state of Florida. The area is renowned for its cultural and environmental amenities, beaches, resorts, and the Sarasota School of Architecture. The city is at the southern end of the Tampa Bay Area, north of Fort Myers and Punta Gorda. Its official limits include Sarasota Bay and several barrier islands between the bay and the Gulf of Mexico. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2018 Sarasota had a population of 57,738. In 1986 it became designated as a certified local government. Sarasota is a principal city of the Sarasota metropolitan area, and is the seat of Sarasota County. The islands separating Sarasota Bay from the gulf near the city, known as keys, include Lido Key and Siesta Key, which are famous worldwide for the quality of their sandy beaches. The keys that are included in the boundary of Sarasota are Lido Key, St. Armands Key, Otter Key, Casey Key, Coon Key, Bird Key, and portions of Siesta Key. Previously, Siesta Key was named Sarasota Key. At one time, it and all of Longboat Key were considered part of Sarasota and confusing contemporaneous references may be found discussing them. Sarasota, one of Florida’s primary Gulf Coast cities, offers visitors an eclectic blend of culture and fine dining, circus thrills and pristine beaches, and a wide array of shopping opportunities. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota pays homage to the Ringlings, the family behind America’s most famous circus. Art lovers can appreciate the largest collections of Rubens canvasses in the world right in Sarasota, plus works by Old Masters. There is a thriving theater scene, with multiple options ranging from Broadway musicals, to cutting edge black box theaters, to live music of all kinds, to live comedy. But of course, the real draw is our access to the most beautiful beaches in the world, the most popular of which is Siesta Key Beach, only minutes away.