Downtown Bradenton offers all sorts of indoor and outdoor fun, including a history museum, aquarium and planetarium; a performing arts center; an enchanting park that rambles alongside Manatee River; a bustling marina; a major league baseball stadium; and the galleries, boutiques and restaurants of Village of the Arts. Historic Main Street is home to a bevy of bars and restaurants, outdoor festivals and live music happenings.
Overlooking the Manatee River on historic Memorial Pier, Pier 22 offers indoor and outdoor dining on the riverside terrace. Choose from the small plates, sushi and pizza menus, or order elegant signature dishes. 1200 First Ave. W., (941) 748-8087, pier22-dining.com
At the Lost Kangaroo Pub, a diverse crowd gathers to sip an array of beer and cocktails, socialize and watch sports on the big-screen TV. (Dogs gather, too, during “yappy hour.”) 406 12th St. W., (941) 747-8114, lostkangaroopub.com
At Arts & Eats, in a colorful 1925 bungalow in Village of the Arts, the world-fusion menu boasts dishes like seafood tangine and Indian curry crepe with pineapple chutney. Occasional live music. 1114 12th St. W., (941) 201-6647, artsandeatsfl.com
Cozy Ortygia Restaurant prepares a creative mix of Sicilian and French and Mediterranean fusion-style dishes (a rustic, ricotta-filled tart, sirloin stuffed with prosciutto, Italian sweet sausage, hard-cooked eggs, asparagus and pancetta). Stellar wine list. 1418 13th St. W., (941) 741-8646, ortygiarestaurant.com
O’Bricks Pub and Martini Bar is equal parts Irish pub, cosmopolitan martini bar and chef-driven restaurant. 427 12th St. W., (941) 896-8860, obricks.com
The Downtown Bradenton Farmers’ Market offers fresh produce, local art, music, chef demonstrations and free family activities. Every Saturday on the tree-lined streets of Old Main Street. 1005 First Ave. W., (941) 932-9440, realizebradenton.com/farmersmarket
For unique, handcrafted creations of local artists, you can’t beat Art Center Manatee. You’ll find bountiful baskets, beautiful batiks, stunning works in glass, wood and ceramic, fiber art and more. 209 Ninth St. W., (941) 746-2862, artcentermanatee.org
Retro Rosie is a blast from the funky past, with clothing, jewelry and home accessories from the dawn of the 20th century through the 1970s, with a rich selection from the 1950s and ’60s. 817 Manatee Ave. E., (941) 708-0913, retrorosie.com
The young owner at Braden River Antiques has a great eye for art, antiques, midcentury designs and fun collectibles. Friendly prices, too. 426 Ninth Ave., (941) 750-0707, bradenriverantiques.com
Jean G. Farmer’s gallery, Fun Girl Art, is a colorful realm of exuberant paintings, fiber art and metal sculpture, all celebrating the joy and living and the power of women. 1001 12th Ave. W., (941) 448-7485, fungirlart.com
South Florida Museum is Gulf Coast Florida’s largest natural and cultural history museum. With a state-of-the-art planetarium, an aquarium home to famous Snooty the manatee, and historic exhibits, you could spend a day—and night—here. 201 10th St. W., (941) 746-4131, southfloridamuseum.org
Riverwalk on the Manatee River has a splash fountain and playgrounds, public artwork, a fishing pier, a botanical walk, a skate park and 400-seat amphitheater. The Tidal Discovery Zone offers close encounters with shoreside ecosystems. realizebradenton.com/riverwalk
The live-work community of Village of the Arts has an eclectic mix of galleries, studios, restaurants, bakeries, specialty shops and more housed in colorfully restored 1920s and 1930s cottages. 1113 12th St. W., (941) 747-8056, villageof-thearts.com
Along with a brewery and taproom, Motorworks Brewery features Florida’s largest beer garden—a massive deck wrapped around a 150-year-old oak tree, with a putting green, bocce courts and a music stage. Darwin Brewing Company has a new production facility, tasting room and beer garden, and great pub grub. 1014 Ninth St. W., Bradenton, (941) 567-6218, motorworksbrewing.com; 803 17th Ave. W., Bradenton, (941) 747-1970, darwinbrewingco.com
Take yourself out to the ballgame at McKechnie Field, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and recently named Florida’s best spring training park. This cozy, classic stadium seats 6,500 people and is known for its hometown ambiance. 1611 Ninth St., (941) 748-4610.