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Venice's Top 10 List of Things to Do

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If you only have a weekend to visit Venice, here's a short list of the Must Do's to get the most out of your time in our area!

Experience the charm and splendor of Venice that has enchanted visitors for over a hundred years. Just a short drive away from Florida’s themed attractions and cultural hot spots, Venice showcases the small town ambiance of Old Florida where shop owners know you by name and Friday nights mean hometown football games.

Venice has many facets, with a rich history that spans from homesteaders, locomotive engineers and a military presence, to the real estate boom of the 20’s, and later serving as the winter quarters for Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, the town has plenty of stories to tell. Venice is also unique in that it features not only the beauty of the gulf beaches, but also has a fresh water river full of wildlife and adventure within its boundaries.

Come explore Venice! Shop, dine, fish, golf! You can do it all in our beautiful town!

Top Ten Things to Do in the Venice Area

  1. Shopping and Dining Downtown

  2. The Venetian Waterway Trail and The Legacy Trail

  3. Historical Walking Tour of Venezia

  4. Explore Our Beaches - Each beach has distinct features and amenities

  5. Go Fishing! Freshwater & Saltwater Habitats at the ends of just one road!

  6. Learn about our birds and wildlife at the Rookery and with local Audubon

  7. See our Cultural and Performing Arts

  8. Relax at Our Gazebo or Enjoy Our Children's Fountain

  9. See Venice's Murals

  10. Explore Our History Along the Linear Park

Shopping and Dining Downtown

Independent and unique, Venice's specialty boutiques, antique shoppes, and restaurants are what set us apart from other cities and towns across the nation. Our vibrant downtown area, as well as service area, encompass many varieties of stores and dining establishments. 

You can dine around the world while just staying in our little town! Japanese, Thai, Polish, English, Italian and good ol' American barbeque are represented by our local restaurants!

From designer clothing and accessories to specialty stores featuring funky, retro items, Venice Avenue has it all! Nearby Miami Avenue is chock full of antique stores that will keep you occupied for hours! And don't forget to visit the historic KMI building on Tampa Ave. that now serves as an indoor mall with clothing shoppes, an art gallery, and a French restaurant!

 


The Venetian Waterway Trail and The Legacy Trail

Venice is fortunate in that we have TWO incredible paved walkways for walkers, bicyclists, rollerbladers, and all other outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy! The Venetian Waterway Trail runs along both sides of the Intracoastal Waterway providing a calming view of boats and dolphins making their way through the channel.
Please visit http://www.vabi.org/vabipage.htm for more details

The Legacy Trail, just opened this year, is a rails-to-trails project that links Venice directly to Sarasota via a paved lane through several different ecological habitats. Please visit http://www.co.sarasota.fl.us/LegacyTrail/default.asp for more details


Historical Walking Tour of Venezia

Venezia Park is one of the residential subdivisions developed by the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) according to the John Nolen Plan for the City of Venice. The houses were constructed during the 1926-1927 development period in the Mediterranean Revival style.

This neighborhood was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. While in that area, don't miss the Historic Triangle Inn where the Venice Archives & Area Historical Collection are located. Walking Tour maps are available at the MainStreet office as well as the Chamber of Commerce.


Explore Our Beaches - Each beach has distinct features and amenties

You've seen one beach, you've seen them all? Oh no, not here in Venice! Each of our public beaches features its own distinct personality! Check out Casperson Beach at the far end of Harbor Drive for excellent sharkstooth hunting and enjoy the pavilions and playground that are located on the edge of Red Lake. Brohard Beach is our local Paw Park where you can bring your four-legged friends for a romp in the surf! Venice Beach is located directly at the end of Venice Ave. W. Don't miss trying a locally famous "Jetty Dog" at Venice's South Jetty while watching the surfers (if the waves are good). North Jetty Park also has a walkable jetty suitable for fishing or just watching a sunset. The newly renovated pavilion at Nokomis Beach, along with its access to the Intracoastal is also a favorite of locals! 

Pick up a map at the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce to find your way around our beautiful shoreline!


Go Fishing! Freshwater & Saltwater Habitats at the ends of just one road!

Having excellent saltwater fishing is an wonderful asset for any City to have. But to have both saltwater AND freshwater... well that's just incredible! On either end of Venice Avenue you have the opportunity to try your luck at fishing! On the west end, Venice Ave runs directly into the Gulf of Mexico. At the opposite end, East Venice Avenue touches the freshwater of the Myakka River.

Check out the Venice Fishing Pier located on Harbor Drive. Pole rentals and bait sales are available directly on the pier for your fishing adventures!

The Snook Haven County Park at the end of the dirt road that begins as Venice Ave. E. ends and crosses River Road, has boat, canoe, and kayak rentals available. 

Venice also has boat and jet ski rentals - please see our Chamber directory for a listing of businesses.

 


Learn about our birds and wildlife at the Rookery and with local Audubon

Founded in 1965, the Venice Area Audubon Society serves the area including Venice, Nokomis, Osprey, North Port and Englewood Florida. Their mission is to promote interest in wildlife and foster the cause of conservation with an emphasis on birds and their habitat. Some of the activities that they offer include: Field Trips, Birding Walks, Bird Identification Classes & Field Instruction, Bird Censuses, Christmas Bird Counts, Colony Watch, Eagle Watch, Bird Classes and Field Trips for school children in South Sarasota County public schools, "Audubon Adventures" learning materials for area schools, Wildlife Rehabilitation, Environmental Advocacy, Environmental Support Funds, Community Speakers, the Wings & Things newsletter, Free Evening Programs featuring prominent birders, nature photographers and environmental activists, and our VAAS Audubon Welcome Center with educational displays and a general store offering VAAS merchandise. We also have a Bird Sanctuary/Rookery located near the Welcome Center. Visit http://www.veniceaudubon.org for more information.


The VAAS Rookery is one of Venice, Florida’s best kept secrets. Those who discover this treasure understand the reason why. Photographers and birders from near and far come to the rookery to enjoy and photograph nesting birds during January, February and March. Although these months are the busiest time of the year, the rookery has visitors all year around. The rookery is on a small island in a very small lake. Even at that, during nesting time it is quite crowded with Great Blue Heron and Great Egrets and some Anhingas and Night Heron. The best time to photograph is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The best vantage point late in the afternoon is the path to the left of the pavilion.

Directions to the VAAS Rookery From the North, take US 41 (Tamiami Trail) south 1/2 mile past Rt. 776. Turn right onto Annex Road at the Anderson Sarasota County Administration/Court House building. Follow Annex Road to rookery on right. 

For more information see http://www.veniceaudubon.org/rookery.html


See our Cultural and Performing Arts

Venice is fortunate to have a wide assortment of artists and performers living in our area. Evidenced by a symphony, art center, community theatre, and numerous other art organizations, it's clear that Venice is a very talented City! During your stay, check Venice MainStreet's calendar of events for scheduled free art shows and concerts. Also, be sure to see the current exhibit at the Venice Art Center, or see what's playing at the Venice Theatre!

 

 


Relax at Our Gazebo or Enjoy Our Children's Fountain

If you're just looking to pass a few hours relaxing under the sweet scent of swaying orchid trees and watching children play, Centennial Park is the place for you! Right in the center of our downtown area, Centennial Park features a gazebo perfect for outdoor jazz concerts, a field of manicured grass for picnics and four-man football games, and a Children's Fountain of programmable water jets to entertain kids of all ages. 


See Venice's Murals

A relatively new phenomenon popping up in Venice are the new murals going up around town! Commissioned local artisans have been hard at work decorating our community with historical murals that tell the story of our town!

  • Circus mural on S. Tamiami Trail on the island (across from GoldRush BBQ)

  • Fun and decorative mural at Barclay Pharmacy 

  • Historic mural on back side of Venice Gondolier's print shop along the Waterway Trail

  • Wildlife mural at Michael Biel Park located near Venice Theatre

  • Sealife mural/mosaic at the Children's Fountain at Centennial Park


  Explore Our History Along the Linear Park

Banyan trees cover the walkway at Venice's Linear Park. In the center of Venice Ave. W, the linear park begins at Nassau St. and ends at the Gulf of Mexico. Plaques and benches dot the trail and discuss the interesting facets of Venice's history.