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Riverwalk Bradenton, Florida

Bradenton, Fl, Is No Longer The Stepchild Of Sarasota

| Sande Caplin |

This is a reprint form October, 2015.……Bradenton has a lot going for it.  People who live in Bradenton and enjoy all it has to offer no longer say the word Bradenton under their breath when they are asked where they live. Here are some interesting statistics about Bradenton that you probably didn’t know: As of 2014, Bradenton’s population is 51,763. Since 2000, it has had a population growth of 0.04 percent. The median home cost in Bradenton is $151,900. Home appreciation the last year has been 15.20 percent.  Compared to the rest of the country, Bradenton’s cost of living is 3.70% Lower than the U.S. average. Bradenton public schools spend $11,065 per student. The average school expenditure in the U.S. is $12,435. There are about 17 students per teacher in Bradenton. Compared to the rest of the country, Bradenton’s cost of living is 3.70% lower than the U.S. Average.  The unemployment rate in Bradenton is 5.60 percent(U.S. avg. is 6.30%). Recent job growth is positive. Bradenton jobs have Increased by 5.20 percent, and the average commute time is 22 minutes. The National Average is 25 minutes. Looking good!

Bradenton is in Manatee county, which is 11 miles north of Sarasota and 31 miles south of Tampa. It’s located on the beautiful Gulf Coast and includes the barrier islands of Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island. The region is surrounded by waterways and offers year-round sunshine. The Bradenton area is well known for its excellent beaches.

Tropicana, a major orange juice producer, has juice production facilities located in Bradenton. The city is home to the headquarters of the prominent sports clothing chain, Champs Sports and the corporate offices of Beall’s Department Stores. Tourism and agriculture are important parts of the economy. A healthy, well-rounded economy shows a solid future for the Bradenton area.

A little background information: Hernando De Soto arrived in the area in 1539. He explored the terrain for gold and other riches. The city was named in tribute to Dr. Joseph Braden who provided refuge in his fort-style home to residents during Indian uprisings. The current makeup of the city was established in 1943 by merging the municipalities of Manatee and Bradenton.

Just some of Bradenton’s interesting array of attractions are:
*South Florida Museum, featuring exhibits of the cultural and natural history of the region
*Parker Manatee Aquarium
*Bishop Planetarium
*Art Center Manatee
*Village of the Arts includes houses, studios and galleries for the local artists
*Cortez Fishing Village
*Fort De Soto National Park consists of five islands
*Gamble Mansion
*Pittsburgh Pirates participate in spring training at McKechnie Field
*The Palma Sola Botani
*The Bradenton Riverwalk
*Bradenton Blues Festival

Bradenton Florida Night LifeAs I previously stated, Bradenton Beach. Anna Maria Island, and Longboat Key, make up the greater Bradenton area and are known to be Florida’s last undiscovered beaches. There are no fast food restaurants or big hotel chains. Everything is cozy cottages and mom and pop shops. People know your name when you consistently patronize these wonderful local shops and eateries. Locals love to engage their patrons in conversation, so Bradenton dwellers have earned a reputation of being extremely friendly. 

The downtown area is pleasant and walkable, with plain, sprawling suburbs surrounding Bradenton towards the north-south I-75 corridor.  The economy in general and future job growth projections are strong and the area’s wealth and economic base are strongly supported by healthcare, government and retail concerns.  There is plenty to do, and the area is strategically centered to provide a smaller city lifestyle while taking advantage of the greater set of city services available in neighboring metropolitan areas like Tampa and St. Petersburg.

It’s a place with no shortage of accommodations, great eateries, and loads of family activities. Looking for a publication that will tell you about local events?  There is the Bradenton Herald, Island Magazine, Applause Magazine, Gulf Coast Family, the Longboat Key newspaper, Sarasota Herald Tribune, and the St. Petersburg Times. Check out the area’s favorite online newspaper at There’s lots of blues jams, clubs and out-of-the-way restaurants featured on the Sarasota Post. Check it out.

Sport Fishing Bradenton FloridaBradenton has beautiful parks that provide positive financial impact by enhancing property values, increasing municipal revenue, and attracting businesses, home buyers, visitors, and retirees. For this reason, the Downtown Development Authority and Realize Bradenton joined forces with many other partners to transform the shoreline of the Manatee River into the spectacular Bradenton Riverwalk. The redeveloped park opened October 18, 2012. Not only picturesque, the Riverwalk provides entertainment by offering concerts, festivals, movies, food, volleyball and educational events.  Enjoy skateboarding ,yoga, fishing, crafts, youth theater, living history, boating, art making, exercise, and many community connecting activities. Visit the Realize Bradenton Calendar online for a schedule of all up- and -coming events.

So what do you think?  I bet there was a lot about Bradenton you didn’t even know, and you live here!  Okay, so there’s no excuse for you to say there’s nothing to do in Bradenton.  Come out and join in the fun. Bradenton rules!

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