In downtown Bradenton, the Riverwalk stretches along the Manatee River, providing a focal point for vibrant community activity, recreation and culture. The linear park includes outdoor public art, an amphitheater for free concerts, a farmers’ market, free films and the Manatee Performing Arts Center, home to the Manatee Players national award-winning theatrical group.
Also along Riverwalk is the South Florida Museum, which includes the largest natural and cultural history museum on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Bishop Planetarium and the Parker Manatee Aquarium. Nearby Village of the Arts is Florida’s largest community of artists living and working together; with more than 30 galleries, studios, cafes and businesses that can be found in this charming area of restored 1920s’ and ’30s’ cottages.
Not far from the Village of the Arts is LECOM Park, home to Pittsburgh Pirates’ spring training and the minor league Bradenton Marauders. LECOM Park was originally built in 1923, but has been renovated several times over the years, including major upgrades in 2013, to become one of baseball’s finest facilities.
Barrier islands Anna Maria and Longboat Key offer art galleries, the Anna Maria Island Players theater group, the Artists’ Guild of Anna Maria Island, the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra and the Longboat Key Center for the Arts, which holds classes, events and concerts.
To the east, the master-planned community of Lakewood Ranch holds regular arts festivals and street fairs such as Music on Main.