St. Armands Circle is a main attraction in Sarasota, Florida. Centrally located on the island of Lido Key, St. Armands Circle is lined with sidewalk cafes and fine dining, shopping, and a hint of the nearby sea in the air. St. Armands provides an unforgettable experiences for visitors from all over the world with over 130 exclusive shops, galleries, exotic boutiques, sophisticated restaurants and nightlife.
St. Armands Circle was originally designed by circus magnate John Ringling and today features a tribute to honor those from the Greatest Show on Earth. While you’re there, don’t miss The Circus Ring of Fame, a “sidewalk of circus stars.” From the Circus Ring of Fame, palm trees stretch down to Lido Beach and then to South Lido Park, a fun spot to explore nature trails, canoe, kayak, and enjoy a relaxing picnic with great views of the water.
For those who are history buffs, in the early 1900’s St. Armands Cirlce was nothing more than a mangrove island that was located too far from the local fishing village in Sarasota to attract much attention. Charles St. Amand became the first resident of the 132 acre key by purchasing it, and later in 1917 Circus magnate John Ringling purchased the key with a vision of a circle lined with shops and a residential area. After much construction at St. Armands Circle, a wooden bridge connecting it to Sarasota was built in 1925. After some initial interest in St. Armands Circle, the great depression hit Florida hard and Ringling was unable to maintain the property so he gave it to Sarasota as a gift. For more than twenty years the property was neglected; wood rotted and vegetation grew to cover the streets and sidewalks. In the 1950’s, the circle slowly came alive and today the shopping circle looks very much as John Ringling envisioned it, with palm-lined streets, tropical plants, couryards and patios, and the residential areas surrounding St. Armands Circle.