Bradenton offers big-city amenities without big-city stress.
I’ve driven through Bradenton many times on my way to Anna Maria Island without stopping. And I always think, I’m going to plan a day to explore Bradenton, too. So finally I did. And I was blown away with the amount of things to do there for a city of its size.
For a bit of perspective, the city of Orlando (where I live) has an approximate population of 255,000 and covers 110 square miles; the city of Tampa is home to 353,000 people and is 170 square miles; and Bradenton has a population of 52,000 and is 14 square miles.
No stress, just fun.
Thinking back on my visit, what I like about Bradenton’s vibe overall is the easy access to big-city amenities like artisan food, free green spaces and cultural activities, but without the big-city stress of trying to do those things (parking headaches, overwhelming crowds, extra costs, sold-out stuff, long lines — you know, big-city STRESS).
My impression while exploring the city was that the parking was easy and things were reasonably affordable. Also, there is a nice mix of outdoor and in-the-city fun. And it didn’t hurt that they have a fantastic view of the Manatee River and that many of their buildings and streets are reminiscent of Old-Florida. And, of course, The City of Bradenton is also the neighbor of several of Florida’s best Gulf Beaches.
It’s a great city to spend your time in. And I imagine it’s a fantastic place to call home.
Fun in the Friendly City!
Listed here are some of the popular things to do in Bradenton – I’m sure there are more. If you know Bradenton well, please share your insights in the comments with us.
- Robinson Nature Preserve
- Palma Sola Botanical Gardens
- Bradenton Riverwalk
- LECOM Park (formerly McKechnie Field Ballpark)
Beat the heat
- South Florida Museum (Sadly, beloved Snooty died in 2017, but their are other manatee ambassadors at the museum carrying on his legacy. Stay longer for an evening show at the planetarium.)
- Red Barn Flea Market
Arts & Culture
- Cortez Fishing Village
- De Soto National Memorial
- Manatee Village Historical Park (historic buildings, storytelling sessions, classes and more)
Beaches and Charters
- Trip Advisor® offers a handy list of charter & tour options to get you on the water >> click here.
- Check out this fun Beach Finder Quiz for Bradenton-area beaches >> find your beach!
According to my quiz results I would like Greer Island Beach, Bean Point and Anna Maria Beach. That’s pretty accurate because Bean Point and Anna Maria Beach are two of my favorites. I’ll have to explore Greer Island Beach.
Helpful resources for trip planning
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