Lakewood Ranch (LWR) is a planned community between Bradenton and Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast. However, there is more to Lakewood Ranch than just houses and golf courses. There are many things to do, see, and eat as you’ll see in the following list of 20 Things to Do in Lakewood Ranch, Florida.
Lake View from behind Fishhole Miniature Gold in LWR.
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Share an Ice Cream with Your Pup
In Main Street Lakewood Ranch, near Starbucks Coffe, you will find Big Olaf Creamery. This ice cream shop has premium homemade ice cream, and even a selection of dog-friendly frozen yogurt. Not only is the ice cream good, but the place also has a friendly atmosphere I always enjoy. It is the perfect stop after a stroll through Main Street.
Play a Round (or Two) of Miniature Golf
The Fishhole Miniature Golf in Lakewood Ranch will keep everyone in the family entertained. It has a pond with koi fish that’ll grab you and your kids attention, misters through the 18 hole course to keep you fresh on Florida’s hot weather, and a location that’ll make it easy to grab a bite after finishing playing.
Get your Hands Dirty with BBQ Sauce
There are only a few things better in life than sweet, spicy, and savory BBQ. Nancy’s Bar-B-Q’s Lil-Nancy pulled pork in Main Street LWR is precisely that, and worth a try. Other offerings include chicken, salmon, and beef. They even hand trim the beef brisket to extra lean for a small additional fee if you were already discarding this option because of health or diet concerns.
Feel like you’re in Scotland
MacAllisters Grill & Tavern is a Scottish Golf themed restaurant with a varied offering of food and drinks. You can choose to eat inside the ‘castle’ or on the patio. The place is perfect not only for dinner but also for lunch. If I could only order an appetizer and an entree during my visits, it would be the Poutine and the French Dip. Nonetheless, one of the most popular items on the menu is the Shepherd’s Pie.
My favorite place to have brunch in Lakewood Ranch is Station 400. The Bacon & Salted Caramel Pancakes with Orange Butter and Vanilla Bean Maple Syrup are a delight to the palate. If you’re more into savory food, the Fried Green Tomato BLT is also delicious.
Drinking a Hefeweizen at Naughty Monk Brewery.
Go Beer and Rum Tasting
The Tampa/St. Pete area is well known for its breweries, and Lakewood Ranch does not want to stay behind. Naughty Monk Brewery has a vast selection of craft beers (mainly Belgian-inspired), board games, and billiards, which makes it perfect for an outing with friends or with a partner.
There is also Craft Growlers To Go & Tasting Room where you can sample beer and cider. After deciding which one is your favorite fill a growler to enjoy later. You can bring your growler (get one here!) or purchase it at the store.
The latest addition to the neighborhood is Loaded Cannon Distillery where you can go for a tour, and taste a variety of spirits. From gin to rum, to vodka, to hopefully whiskey soon, there’s something for everyone. P.S. The toasted coconut rum is made with real coconut (not extract), and the flavor is unlike any other toasted coconut rum I have ever tried.
Appreciate and Create Art
J & J Gallery showcases collective art and gifts (including gorgeous jewelry!). The team of art curators, and of course the exhibited artists, have been doing a fantastic job during the past year. You will not only appreciate the displayed art, but you would probably want to take some home too.
If you want to be more hands-on, plan a visit to Let’s Create Art, also in Main Street LWR. Let’s Create Art offers an array of creative and specialty classes for kids and adults. They also offer open studio hours, space rental for activities, and the opportunity to order and pick up a paint kit to create art wherever you feel more creative.
Order a Cuban Sandwich
You don’t have to go to Ybor in Tampa, or to Little Havana in Miami to get your hands on a pretty decent Cuban sandwich if you’re around the Lakewood Ranch area. Mojos Real Cuban sandwiches, bowls, and desserts (*sigh* the flan) are the real thing.
See a Movie
If you’re looking for an IMAX Experience, Lakewood Ranch Cinemas is not for you. However, if you’re looking for a quiet cinema (for the most part) with reasonable prices, the Sarasota Film Society which is a non-profit member-supported organization is doing a great job with the previously mentioned movie theater.
Listen to Live Music
Music on Main happens the first Friday of every month in Main Street Lakewood Ranch when the street is transformed into a pedestrian-only zone. Aside from the live music, there are food vendors, and some of the restaurants on the street have dinner and drink specials.
Enjoying Port Wine at Fine Wine & Tastings on Main.
Drink Wine & Eat Cheese
We might not have too many wineries around, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy excellent wine. Fine Wine & Tastings on Main has a relaxed vibe, but with extremely knowledgeable staff, and more than 450 wines from around the world. Every month they choose 25 wines that you can enjoy by the glass on its own, or you can choose to accompany them with cheese and charcuterie.
Another place where you can go to get your wine fix is Cheers to Wine in San Marco Plaza. There are typically 20 wines for you to enjoy by the glass, or if you want a bit of everything, wine flights are for you. You can also find artisanal cheese, chocolate, and beer. What else do you need?
Pick and Eat Meat from a Crab
Pinchers in Lakewood Ranch is where you can sit down and feel like you are in an old seafood shack along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The Hot Crab & Cheese Dip is the favorite of many (and not without reason). But no one will judge if you order the pound of Alaskan Snow Crab or King Crab.
Visit LWR Farmer’s Market (The Market)
The Market at Lakewood Ranch is a community-supported agriculture project where you can find fresh produce, seafood, beef, poultry, cheese, and other goods. It runs from December to April, and at the time of publishing this list it happens each Wednesday from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
Adopt a Pet
This might be the most serious thing to do on this list, since its a longtime commitment. However, if you have made the decision of adding a new member to the family, consider adopting from The Humane Society at Lakewood Ranch. A no-kill, non-profit shelter with adoptable pets ready for a home.
In Lakewood Ranch, Christmas is taken seriously. From the house decorations to multiple activities on Main Street, you’ll find out ‘Christmasy’ things to see and do in LWR. Make a note to check out Christmas on Main.
Miles of trails and multiple amenities at the Bob Gardner Community Park.
Complete a 5K (or 10K, or Half-Marathon, it’s your choice)
If there is something that Lakewood Ranch doesn’t lack is running trails. Here you can find a map with some of the ‘official’ Lakewood Ranch trails, but you can plan a run or a walk anywhere there is a public sidewalk.
Play a Sport
In Lakewood Ranch, there is always a sport being played. From golf to soccer, to tennis, rugby, and polo. Some of the areas are only accessible for members of the different country clubs, including the Ritz Carlton Members Club. But, Lakewood Ranch also has many parks for residents and visitors alike. Click here to find them, and see which one is perfect for you!
Go Horseback Riding
Epic Equine Experiences provides adventurous trail experiences (with lunch or dinner) in the Manatee and Sarasota counties, including Lakewood Ranch. The riding season is from October to June, and reservations are required.
Buy New Clothes
Lakewood Ranch Wish on Main is a fashion and lifestyle boutique with attentive staff ready to help you upgrade your wardrobe. Here you’ll find unique pieces that you can accessorize with shoes, jewelry, and bags, also available in the store.
Hana Sushi Lounge is the perfect spot for sushi and cocktails. The sushi is fresh, cocktails are creative, and the service is excellent. They have many tasty sushi rolls, but my top three are the Tampa Roll, the Red Diamond Roll, and the Crunchy Munchy Roll.