Best of Sarasota 2016: Arts and Entertainment

The best new things to see and do.

By Sarasota Magazine Staff April 29, 2016

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Best New Arts Experience: Center for Asian Art

With the Center for Asian Art in the Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt Gallery of Asian Art, The Ringling has a permanent home for its Asian art (prints, porcelain, Buddhas, jewelry and more). And the building itself, designed by architectural firm Machado Silvetti, is beautiful to behold, with all those jade-green terra cotta tiles on its exterior romantically referencing the East. 5401 Bay Shore Road,  Sarasota, (941) 359-5700, ringling.org

Best New Nature Attraction: Sarasota Audubon Nature Center

The 2,600-square-foot Sarasota Audubon Nature Center at the Celery Fields is a great spot for bird watchers to get their first taste of the 300-acre-plus site while enjoying the aid of Audubon volunteers. Even better: The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the building its LEED Gold category rating. 6893 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota, (941) 861-5000, scgov.net/parks

Best New Museum Exhibit: The Walker Guest House

Kudos to the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, which brought a replica of architect Paul Rudolph’s Walker Guest House to the grounds of The Ringling. The 1952 landmark of the Sarasota School of Architecture was created using Rudolph’s original drawings; it’s open free to visitors through Nov. 6 before traveling to other museums as a mobile educational studio. 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, (941) 359-5700, ringling.org or sarasotaarchitecturalfoundation.org

Best New Hotel: Aloft Hotel

Downtown Sarasota got a whole lot cooler with the opening of the Aloft Hotel. Guest rooms are small and sleek, and guests can mingle with locals in the big, buzzy lobby filled with bright, tropical furnishings, a sizzling orange pool table and a bustling bar, all set to a driving musical beat. Sweet dreams indeed. 1401 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, (941) 870-0900. aloftsarasota.com 

Best New Date Night: CinéBistro

Forget dinner and a movie. How about dinner at the movies? CinéBistro is a first-run movie theater with full food and drink service right at your seat. Once you’re done with dinner, lean back in your ultra-comfy leather chair and enjoy the show. Barflies might not make it past the cool bar in the lobby. 3501 S. Tamiami Trail, Suite 1100, Sarasota, (941) 361-2456. cinebistro.com/sarasota

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