Located between Sarasota and Tampa, Bradenton is the place to go for those who love history. Incorporated in 1903 and named for Dr. Joseph Braden whose fort-style home protected settlers from Seminole Indian attacks, the city officially was established in 1943. Old Main Street showcases 19th century buildings like the Iron Block Building (1896) and Manatee County Courthouse (1913), still popular today.
Visit the Braden Castle Park Historic District for a fruitful waterside walking tour where the Braden River empties into the Manatee River. For visiting families, a must-stop is the South Florida Museum and the famous Parker Manatee Aquarium.
Stay at one of the best hotels in Bradenton!
There are more than 20 hotels in Bradenton and the majority of them are among top hotel chains. You'll find most Bradenton hotels have great amenities including pools and complimentary Wi-Fi access.
Country Inn and Suites by Carlson
Families or sports team coming to Bradenton, the County Inn & Suites can cater to your group’s needs. This hotel is located less than 10 miles from Ellenton Ice & Sports Complex and Premier Sports Campus. After the games, enjoy the hotel’s outdoor pool or visit the beaches of Lido and Siesta Key.
Start the day with a hearty breakfast from County Inn & Suites, pump up at the hotel’s fitness center or keep up with business from the hotel’s business center. Its 79 smoke-free guestrooms are large with a microwave, fridge, coffee maker, and flat screen TV.
Hampton Inn & Suites Bradenton Downtown Historic District
For history buffs, staying at Hampton Inn & Suites with its prime location in the historic district and the hotel’s 1920s architectural design, is a must. The South Florida Museum is just a few steps away and the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is 8.6 miles away. Selected rooms and suites have views with custom-designed beds. The hotel's design-style may be 1920s, but facilities are modern like mini fridges, flat-screen TV, and wet bars.
Best Western Plus Bradenton Gateway Hotel
Stay in a hotel with modern facilities at the right price with Best Western Plus Bradenton Gateway Hotel. The property's fantastic city center location close to beaches, restaurants and the famous shopping area of DeSoto Square Mall, is just over a mile from the hotel. Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is only 7 miles away. The Best Western in Bradenton offers rooms and suites, all with modern in-room facilities including microwaves and flat-screen TVs. Those who book the suite rooms will enjoy whirlpool tubs. This hotel has an outdoor pool, restaurant, and gym.
America's Best Value Bradenton-Sarasota
Conveniently located at exit 220 just off Interstate 75, America's Best Value offers a comfortable stay just ten miles from the Prime Outlets in Ellenton.
As a guest, appreciate the daily free continental breakfasts, hot coffee in the lobby, guest laundry services, an outdoor pool, and free connections to wireless internet. If you are staying here and are hungry for a quick bite without having to drive, there are a host of chain restaurants within a short walk away. These include Starbucks, McDonalds, Waffle House, Cracker Barrel and Sonny's Real Pit BBQ — all less than two-tenths of a mile!
Dine at some of the best Bradenton restaurants!
The Sage Biscuit Cafe opens daily from 7 AM - 3PM to serve breakfast and lunch. Family-owned, this cafe serves gluten free, vegetarian-friendly and vegan dishes, in addition to a variety of scrumptious meals.
Some of their specialties include fresh biscuits and sausage gravy, shrimp and grits topped with cheddar cheese, scallions, chopped tomatoes, and sauteed in sugar-cured bacon. They also serve flavorful huevos rancheros in a cast iron skillet, offer other breakfast skillets, made-to-order omelets, Benedicts, french toast, and pancakes. Yum!
Or, if your taste buds are suggesting lunch, try the soup of the day, a burger, pot pie or for lighter fare, a salad. You might opt for Salmon and goat cheese, the avocado and lump crab, a turkey Cobb or perhaps a jalapeno-bacon wedge salad. Whatever you can do, make room for a homemade piece of pie or dessert. Will you choose coconut creme, peanut butter, or southern pecan pie, fresh baked muffins, or a flourless (and gluten free) cake?
O'Bricks Pub and Martini Bar is quite popular as well. Lunch and dinner are served dailt as well as brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 AM - 2 PM.
Housed in historic buildings — two of Bradenton's oldest, the banquet center, bar and grill are aesthetically pleasing and lend to a nice atmosphere. The wooden tables, doors, and accent pieces were all hand-carved in Costa Rica.
The menu items are quite inviting and include dishes like firecracker shrimp, fried green tomatoes, flavorful flatbreads, gazpacho, salads, sandwiches from the land or the deep (seafood). Similar items are on the dinner menu which has been enhanced with heartier entrees like pork porter house Marsala, chorizo shrimp, mahi mahi, or shrimp eldorado pasta. It's all great food!
Looking for additional fun things to do in Bradenton?
Darwin Brewing Company
Interested in a different spin on flavorful ales and lagers? Check out the Darwin Brewing Company for influences of flavors stemming from South America's Amazonian and Andean areas. and crafted in the Belgian and German styles. (Yes, in Florida!) Cuba-born Brewmaster Jorge Rosabal and his fellow brewers create new products weekly in their brewery. Visit the taproom, open Wednesday-Sunday and take home a souvenir from their merchandise shop.
DeSoto National Memorial Park
Run by the U.S. National Park Service, the DeSoto National Memorial Park is just five miles west of Bradenton. As a commemoration to Hernando de Soto and his European exploration team that landed in the area in 1539, the park showcases history of DeSoto's expedition.
Check out the free Visitor's Center to enjoy indoor exhibits showcasing weapons, armor, and period items and take time to enjoy rotating multi-media presentations in the theater. There is also a bookstore, clean restrooms, and a drinking fountain.
Outdoors, discover fun activities including a 1.5 kayaking tour with a Ranger (visit the website for hours May through October). Children over 50lbs are permitted with a parent or guardian. Or, opt for a 45-minute ranger guided tour winding through scenic mangroves and learn about DeSoto's expedition. Visit 'Camp Uzita' for re-enactments and craft demonstrations, have a picnic (no grills or alcohol onsite), or simply visit one of several beaches. Cove Beach on the south side of DeSoto Point is the most popular, given the calmness of the water. With a Florida fishing license, bring your rod and reel, or just find a nice place to relax, people-watch, and birdwatch. Your leashed dog may come along for the fun too!
Robinson Nature Preserve
Another great outdoor area to explore is the 600+ acre Robinson Nature Preserve. Heralded as a top attraction in Bradenton, this preserve located in the northwestern portion of the city, is home to manatees, dolphin and jumping mullets. Take a canoe or kayak through scenic waterways, hike along well-marked nature paths, view bridges, birds, enjoy a picnic, and relax in the splendor of Florida's sunshine. If you are up to a stairway climb, reach the top of a 53-foot viewing stand to gain a spectacular view of Tampa Bay.
Head out to the beautiful Riverwalk for some great people-watching and fun things to do in Bradenton. Here, you'll find a 1.5 mile ADA accessible park running parallel to the Manatee River and downtown.
Some of the features of the park include the 'Great Lawn', used for exercise classes, picnics, special exhibits, tossing a Frisbee, or just river gazing, There are beach volleyball courts and a 400-seat amphitheater for concerts, school performances, theater, and community programs. One of the coolest free skate parks can be found here as well.
Plus, there is a day dock for incoming visitors traveling by boat, a tidal discovery zone, playground and splash pad fountains, and plenty of shaded seating areas. If you are an angler or just want to try your hand at fishing, visit the pier and you might catch redfish, trout or snook. There are so many great activities to partake in along the Bradenton Riverwalk which also plays host to a Farmer's Market open Saturdays from 9 AM until 2 PM weekly October through May. There's also free parking on weekends, so go and have fun!