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Tag: Historic

Visit Bradenton’s Village of the Arts

Whether you’re nursing a sunburn inside, want to avoid some beach traffic, or just want to experience a different part of the Anna Maria Island area— there’s always something to do on the Gulf Coast. Just a few miles inland from AMI is the city of Bradenton that has so much to offer. One of our personal favorite spots? The Village of the Arts, a colorful, fun, and eclectic neighborhood not far from Downtown Bradenton and Lecom Park.

Village of the Arts

This historic neighborhood is where artists and creatives alike come together to make our city a bit brighter and celebrate all of the beauty its residents have to offer. These colorful streets include over 275 individual properties and stretch from 9th Avenue West to 17th Avenue West between 9th Street West and 14th Street West. 

The unique cottages and bungalows themselves are cute enough to make a drive to see but the offerings inside many of them are just as exciting. In the Village of the Arts (VOTA) you can find everything from award-winning restaurants to specialty shops, studios, healing arts, bakeries and some of Bradenton’s best art galleries.

Village of the Arts

The Artists Guild of Manatee was formed in 1999 as a non-profit with a mission to build a community where artists live and work while enhancing quality of life and creating a harmonious environment. It really is something special, especially on their renowned “artwalk” days. You can join the VOTA community during their artwalks the first Friday night and Saturday afternoon of every month, where you’ll be greeted with live music, incredible food and unique indie art spanning every genre. At a VOTA artwalk you can get an excellent overview of the merchants in the area.

If you want to scope out your gameplan beforehand or can’t make an artwalk day, no worries! They have handy maps online you can check out here or just go on a leisure stroll and see for yourself. Even if you don’t have a particular destination in mind, we guarantee you’ll discover some surprisingly delightful art and incredibly friendly people. In the Village, there is beauty everywhere you look!

As always, you can chat with our experienced team of locals for their favorites at Village of the Arts! You really can’t go wrong with supporting our local eateries, artists, and creatives in the Bradenton area.

Photos courtesy of Village of the Arts

Did you know that Florida’s oldest surf shop is right here on Anna Maria Island?

Yes, right here on AMI in 1964 – the Brady family opened West Coast Surf Shop, one of Florida’s first ever surf shops. Since then, it’s become not only a piece of history that has produced surfing legends and clothed and supplied most of the island active but a beloved family business. Now, it remains a legendary institution of AMI culture.

surf shop

While Anna Maria’s Gulf Coast isn’t known for its ideal big waves for surfing, the WCSS has made sure that islanders still get to have their fun on the water. They have a history of hosting fun Surf Camps for local kids, educate visitors on the many other water sports like paddleboarding and skim boarding, and advocate for marine life conservation.

West Coast Surf Shop has everything for your adventuring and water sport desires. Of course, it’s always stocked with a great selection surfboards, skimboards, skateboards, paddleboards, and even boogie boards and snorkeling gear.

surf shop

Even if you’re not looking to shred the gnar, dive in, or become the next WCSS water sport legend, there’s still plenty for everyone! They have an incredible selection of stylish gear, quality swim suits, and all types of accessories. From shoes and hats to t-shirts and sundresses to sunglasses and sunscreen – stop in WCSS and we know you’ll be impressed with their eclectic and vibrant selection. They have all of the latest from the popular brands like Roxy, Costa, O’Neill, and BillaBong, as well as many other smaller local brands! There really is something for everyone – surfer or shoebie.

The Brady Family remains a staple on our island, and their involvement and encouragement of our local community has been irreplaceable. Since 1964, our island has been made better because of West Coast Surf Shop. We love shopping at WCSS and hope you will make it a part of your next trip!

Shop local and surf’s up.

3902 Gulf Dr.
Holmes Beach, Florida

Photos from West Coast Surf Shop on Facebook.