Bradenton at a Glance
There’s plenty to do in Bradenton, making it a great spot to take a break from the beach. Visitors will find a vibrant downtown with restaurants, galleries and boutiques along with the South Florida Museum (home to Snooty, quite possibly the world’s most famous manatee) as well as a planetarium, science and natural history exhibits. Visitors can shop and explore Village of the Arts, a working artists’ community or check out Emerson Point Preserve archaeological site and Gamble Plantation (once a working antebellum sugar plantation), and the historic fishing village of Cortez. Just off of I-75, Ellenton Premium Outlets – with scores of stores including Saks OFF 5th, COACH Factory, and more – is a must-do for shoppers. The Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex, near the outlet mall, offers a fun way to get out of the sun.
Bradenton is a mainland city bordered on the north by the scenic Manatee River and on the west by Palma Sola Bay and expansive Tampa Bay. Appearance-wise, it’s true Florida suburbia: The land is level and green, dotted with freshwater lakes, and decorated with towering palms and cultivated tropical blooms.
Bradenton accommodations include a variety of options to suit families on a budget or those who desire the comfort of familiar hotel brands. A range of national brands are found in this mainland city. Vacation rentals and a few charming B&Bs are also excellent options.
Bradenton’s population is roughly 50,000, making it the largest city in the area and the county seat. You’ll find it’s a mix of natives who are fiercely proud of their Florida roots and people who have moved here from all over to live in the sunshine. The high percentage of transplants means that folks are friendly and open to sharing their local knowledge with visitors. Several major companies are located in Bradenton, including Tropicana, Champs Sports and Bealls department stores, providing residents with employment opportunities.
The Dress Code
When packing your suitcase, think Floridian: That means lightweight, light-colored, cotton and cool. The entire area is very casual, so you won’t need anything dressy unless sprucing up is fun for you. Pack shorts, short-sleeved shirts and sundresses for both day and night.
They don’t call this the Sunshine State for nothing. Our beautiful weather is a major draw to the Bradenton area. Plan appropriately in winter by packing a light sweatshirt or jacket. Otherwise, lightweight clothing is the ticket. Average highs and lows by season: Spring (82°F/60°F), Summer (90°F/71°F), Fall (84°F/64°F), Winter (73°F/51°F).