Shopping at the UTC Mall Near Anna Maria Island

Lazy days at the beach might be your first priority on a trip to Anna Maria Island, but there’s plenty more to see.

To escape the heat, consider exploring the many shopping centers in and around Anna Maria Island. 

sarasota skyline at sunset
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The Mall at University Town Center

The UTC Mall is just a few years old, having opened its doors for the first time on October 16, 2014. The building is new and attractive with a glass roof allowing the bright Florida sunshine to illuminate the mall. The multi-level, 888,000 square foot mall has drastically changed the way locals shop in Sarasota and across Southwest Florida. 

There are over 100 stores, meaning you can find almost anything here. Popular men’s, women’s, and children’s retail stores are around every corner. Visit Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, Forever 21, H&M, Robert Graham, among many more. Accessories and jewelry are available at stores like Kay Jewelers, Piercing Pagoda, and Swarovski. 

For health and beauty items, check out Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, Relax Spa, or Skin Laundry. In need of a new phone? Stop by the Apple store. How about watch repair? Fast-Fix Jewelry and Watch Repairs are available to help. Perhaps the kids left their favorite sports equipment back home and can’t bear to live without it during their vacation. There’s Champs Sports and Foot Locker to help.

Whatever you’re looking for, you’re almost guaranteed to find!

Keep your eyes open for upcoming events. Individual stores regularly advertise great deals and sometimes bring in special themed events or guests. At various times throughout the year, especially during the Christmas season, the mall features performers, food drive fundraisers, and more. 

Where to Eat

After losing yourself for a few hours to the thrill of shopping, you’re sure to build up an appetite. Of the UTC Mall’s 100 plus stores, there are 12 places to find food, including upscale diners, casual eateries, and food specialty shops. 

Go casual with Rise Pies Handcrafted Pizza or the Mandarin Express. Or if you’re prepared to splurge, try the luxurious Sophie’s and dine on the open terrace or in the private dining area. If you’re in the mood for seafood, pay a visit to Kona’s Grill, which is known for its award-winning sushi. To top your hearty meal off with a treat, stop by Gelato-Go, The Cheesecake Factory, or Cinnabon.

Things Nearby

Located just behind the mall is Circus Sarasota, so you’re in luck for some great entertainment! Purchase a ticket to see some acrobatic wonders, magic tricks and more. Approximately a mile from the mall is Nathan Benderson Park. After all the time spent shopping indoors, get outside, stretch your legs, and breathe in some fresh air. 

The UTC Mall is located at 140 University Town Center Drive, approximately 30-35 minutes from motels on Anna Maria Island. Opening hours are Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 9 am to 10 pm. 

Best Places to Shop in Downtown Sarasota

UTC Mall isn’t the only place to go shopping in Sarasota. Westfield Sarasota Square is a popular destination for the young and trendy with outlets like American Eagle, Macy’s, and Victoria’s Secret. It’s the perfect place to send your teens loose for a while. Afterward, you can all catch a flick together in the movie theatre. 

Take a stroll down Sarasota’s main streets, and you’ll find plenty of treasure troves waiting to be discovered. Sarasota’s Palm Avenue and Main Street offer numerous art galleries with everything from paintings to sculptures to jewelry available for purchase. The first Friday of every month is First Friday Artwalk when art galleries are open beyond their regular hours from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Nearby, Lemon Avenue provides the opportunity to purchase food, arts, and crafts. Every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market, which hosts more than 50 vendors selling baked goods, cheese, meats, fresh fruit, arts, crafts, plants, flowers, and more. It’s an event worth exploring!

For the treasure hunter, Jack Vinales Antiques in the Burns Square section of downtown is a portal back in time. The excitement of antique hunting is that you’ll never know what you’ll find. More intriguing shops include Malika’s Imports, Awesome Orchids, the Toy Lab, and Burns Court.  

The most popular destination for tourists is St. Armand’s Circle. Cross the scenic John Ringling Causeway and find yourself amidst local boutiques selling everything from high-end fashion to antiques and cheap souvenirs. For the finest merchandise, visit Foxy Lady, McCarver & Moser, INfluence. Unique and collectible items can be found at Dream Weaver & Planet for Dream Weaver. Just Because features unique and handcrafted home décor made by more than 70 artists. 

When you get hungry, there are many fine seafood and international restaurants. Recommended are Crab & Fin, Columbia, and Blu Kouzina. For a special treat, stop by Big Olafs and Kilwin’s for the best ice cream parlors around.

Where to Shop on Anna Maria Island

There are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore all across the island. Fortunately, the free island trolley provides regular transport from one end to the other. 

On the Northern end of the island, Pine Avenue is one of the most frequented areas on the island. It boasts an abundance of gift shops, boutiques, clothing stores, restaurants, dessert shops, and more. Beach Bums is recommended for renting beach gear, bicycles, kayaks, and even gulf carts. Anna Maria Rocks is a unique little shop containing all variety of rocks and fossils, which may be purchased as jewelry. Pink and Navy is a trendy little shop that carries supplies to meet all your beach needs. 

peir at dusk
Photo by Shutterstick

Check out the Historic City Pier and stay for dinner at the Rod and Reel Pier, one of the most iconic restaurants on the island. Other recommended restaurants include the Sandbar Restaurant, for toes-in-the-sand dining, Vinny & Cheryl’s Italian Kitchen, and Poppo’s Taqueria. 

Hometown Desserts is one of the best bakeries on the island, serving homemade delicacies such as cookies, cakes, brownies, and cake pops. The Donut Experiment is another stop you can’t miss. Choose customized toppings to create a truly mouth-watering donut.

Holmes Beach is located at the center of the island and has many more great shops to explore. Sand Dollar Gift Shop offers many local souvenirs; Island Gallery West showcases beautiful pieces by local artists; Loony Dunes is the best place around for wine sampling. 

Minnie’s Beach Café is highly recommended for a classic breakfast, and Island Coffee Haus is the best place for your morning dose of caffeine. Tortilla Bay and Vinnie’s Italian Kitchen are some of the best options for international cuisine.

The Southern end of the island is home to the historic Bridge Street. Many unique, artsy stores can be found here like the Lot, a gallery and shop that specializes in art, photography, and beachwear. Also, check out the Bridge Street Bazaar where you’ll find anything and everything related to the beach. Back Alley Treasures is a must-visit when souvenir hunting; it boasts some of the most unique souvenirs on the island. 

You can definitely a few days just shopping on Anna Maria Island. Trust us, you won’t get bored anytime soon!

Plan Your Visit

Anna Maria Island is an amazing vacation destination that has so many things to see and do with the whole family. Check out our Anna Maria Beach Resort rental homes and plan your trip now!

Staying at the Resort

Our Beach Resort is the newest Anna Maria hotel, having only opened its doors in 2019. The resort was completed renovated from the historic Blue Water Beach Club motel, and it offers upscale and luxurious accommodations to families, couples, and groups.

Choose from among 31 stylish resort rooms on the first or second floor. The beach is just a short walk away as well as a lagoon-style pool, fire pit, and thatched-roof tiki hut overlooking the water. The location and stylish renovations make this Anna Maria Island hotel on the beach stand out from any other. 

Plan your perfect island vacation by booking with us today.