Miami has long held the reins on all things young and hip in Florida. But there’s something special percolating along the once sleepy Gulf Coast these days. Celebrating its centennial this year, Sarasota is proving itself a vital cultural capital with the new Sarasota Art Museum of Ringling College, housed in the former Sarasota High School building, with exhibitions featuring the work of artists such as Robert Colescott, Charles McGill and Samo Davis. Phase 1 of The Bay, a project that will redevelop 53 acres of city land into a bayfront public park, is set to debut this year, including the meandering Mangrove Bayou Walkway, which opened in April, and the Sunset Boardwalk. And across the John Ringling Causeway, two upscale beachfront properties recently unveiled major renovations: the Lido Beach Pavilion and the Resort at Longboat Key Club, both superior spots to watch the sun set over the shimmering Gulf waters. —Brad Japhe

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