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There’s more out east than I-75 and cattle ranches. Lakewood Ranch, a 17,500-acre master-planned community, surrounded by wetland preserves, has a friendly, small-town feel but big-league attractions. From an acclaimed polo club and championship golf course to four-star dining, a cinema, a big new mall, creative boutiques and miles of walking and biking trails, you’ll find a world of diversions.

Eat

Polo Grill and Bar serves American cuisine with a global soul and a tempting assortment of small plates designed for sharing. The roomy lounge is always jumping, with a lively happy hour and frequent entertainment. 10670 Boardwalk Loop, (941) 782-0899; pologrillandbar.com

‘Cue lovers are rejoicing that downtown’s Nancy’s Bar-B-Q now has a home at the ranch. Along with exceptional barbecued meats and chicken, try the house-made sides, like the legendary sesame crunch slaw. 8141 Lakewood Main St., (941) 362-2833, nancysbarbq.com

Cleveland Kitchen, which opened last spring, offers iconic northeast Ohio specialties, like city chicken (ground pork that's breaded, stuck on a stick and deep fried. 2539 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., facebook.com/clevelandkitchen 

Pull into Station 400 Main Street for a fresh take on breakfast and lunch. Breakfast standouts include the smoked salmon scramble on toast and the lemon curd with blackberries, and the apple-cheddar grilled cheese sandwich may be the best grilled-cheese in town. 8215 Lakewood Main St., (941) 907-0648, station400.com

Craft Growlers To Go & Tasting Room is Nirvana for beer lovers. We’re talking 45 rotating taps—Belgian-style ales to ciders, wheat beer and IPAs. 8141 Lakewood Main St., Suite N103, (941) 822-8131, craftgrowlerstogo.com 

Shop

Village Bikes is the place to go for high-performance road bikes, helmets and gear. They help select the right bike for everyone from youngsters to world-class athletes. 8111 Lakewood Main St., (941) 388-0550, villagebikes.com

Wish on Main has bling galore, from Alex and Ani bracelets to Coeur de Lion jewelry, along with wearable wonders and enough cool shoes to fill an entire closet. 8111 Lakewood Main St., (941) 907-9125, wishonmainstreet.com

Living well includes eating well. That’s the creed at Healthy Living Organic & Natural Market. You’ll find a wide range of organic and local foods, vitamins and supplements and a juice bar. 10671 Boardwalk Loop, (941) 907-6865, hlomarket.com

Just off I-75, the Mall at University Town Center has an Apple Store, leading national chains, a Saks Fifth Avenue and other department stores, and a lot of excellent restaurants. 140 University Town Center Drive, (941) 552-7000, mallatutc.com

Do

Arts A Blaze Studio Pottery Painting offers pottery and glass painting, glass fusing, canvas painting and more. A painterly memento of your child’s handprint becomes an instant keepsake. 8111 Lakewood Main Street, Unit 107, (941) 306-5840, artsablazestudio.com

Let's Create Art is open seven days a week for all kinds of art classes; open studios, too. 8111 Lakewood Main Street, Unit 102, (941) 361-1491, letscreateart.com 

The Fish Hole boasts a stunning, 18-hole miniature golf course. What more could you want? Why, fish, of course—namely a 3,000-gallon koi pond. 8111 Lakewood Main Street; (941) 306-5891, thefishhole.com

At Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, six screens offer a mix of Hollywood hits and edgy indie and art films. 10715 Rodeo Drive, (941) 955-3456, filmsociety.org

 

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