Are you making a move to the Tampa-area river city of Bradenton, Florida? No matter what is drawing you to the city — whether it is transferring to a new job, retirement, or looking for a great place to raise your family — the city has everything you need. The area is known for amazing water views, aquariums, and a laid-back vibe.
The summers can be extremely hot, but the cool breeze off of the water makes the temperatures more than manageable. The highs in the summer range between the mid-80s and the low 90s. The winter months are the coldest but rarely get below 40 degrees, with an average of around 50 degrees. The time of year that boasts the best weather in the area is between late February and early May as well as late October to early December. These times of year are cooler but still full of sunshine.
The area does see a decent amount of precipitation, though the amount varies significantly from year to year. The wettest season in the area is from June through September, with over a 40% chance of rain on any day. The lowest chance of precipitation comes in late fall.
Bradenton is considered an average-sized city just shy of 50,000 people, with over 20,000 households residing in the city. It does have a relatively higher population density, however, with just over 4,000 people per square mile. While the racial makeup of the city is primarily Caucasian, there is still some diversity in the mix with African Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders making up most of the rest of the population.
The area has many families but is also known for its large retirement population, with 25% of the population over the age of 65. The average age of residents is 42 years old. Median household incomes are lower than much of the nation, with a median income of $34,902 in the city and a median family income of $42,366. Unlike many other cities in Florida, many of the residents of the city were born in the state of Florida.
History of the City
The history of Bradenton can be traced back to the 1840s when Joesph and Hector Braden built a log cabin just south of the river in the hopes of establishing a new plantation along the Manatee. Unfortunately, Hector Braden drowned in 1846.
The tragedy did not deter his brother, however, and soon Joesph had a built a sugar plantation and a sugar mill where the Braden and Manatee Rivers meet. By the early 1850s, his plantation home was completed and became referred to as "Braden Castle." While the house is no longer intact, you can still see the ruins today, and the area was a popular spot for picnics in the earlier 1900s.
The property had fallen into disrepair after mounting debt caused Joseph to lose the property and return to Tallahassee in 1857. The area finally saw more growth in the 1870s when it was established as Fort Braden and drew in a number of investors and business owners.
The first mayor of the city suggested the name Bradentown in honor of Joseph Braden. The original name was misspelled though, and the area was known as "Braidentown" until the railroad came through in the early 1900s, and the name was changed to the proper spelling.
The town became a tourist destination during the 20s and began to flourish. As the town grew, a new city hall and courthouse were constructed. As tourism became a mainstay in the city, it eventually changed its nickname and motto to "A Friendly City."
Living in Bradenton
Bradenton has a high livability score, with top marks in amenities and weather. One of the popular reasons for residents to move to Bradenton is that the city and surrounding areas offer plenty to see and do both. Some of the most popular area attractions include the South Florida Museum, Bishop Planetarium & Parker Manatee Aquarium, De Soto National Monument, and Robinson Nature Preserve.
Another important factor that prompts many people to consider a move to the area is the affordability of the local real estate. The median price for a home in the city is around $135,000, which is over 18% lower than the average in the state and considerably lower than the national average. Even though the housing costs are low, the area is still expected to achieve steady appreciation over the year, with an appreciation average of 4.9% on property during the year and 10.7% projected five-year growth.
Best Neighborhoods in Bradenton
There is a diverse range of neighborhoods in the city of Bradenton, and determining which area is best for you will have a lot to do with how much you can afford to pay for your home as well as what type of lifestyle suits your taste. Some of the most popular neighborhoods that you will find in the city of Bradenton include:
For those who enjoy more of a city atmosphere, the city center of Bradenton may be the best option for you. Homes in the area tend to be on the expensive side for the city, running around $200,000 to $300,000 on average. Even though home prices are high, rent prices are on the low side when compared to other Florida cities, with an average of $1,249 per month.
This neighborhood is a suburban area that has a more downtown feel and is made up of mostly small to moderately sized apartment complexes, high-rise living spaces, and single-family homes. Since many of the houses and apartments are used as second homes, the area does have a high level of vacancy throughout the year.
If you are interested in moving to one of the more upscale areas in Bradenton, the Covenant Way neighborhood is definitely one to consider. Home prices are significantly higher than in other parts of the city, with a median home cost of around $641,000. Rental rates are also high in the area, running over $3,000 per month on average.
The neighborhood is comprised of primarily three- to four-bedroom single-family homes and apartment complexes, and much of the real estate in this neighborhood are owner-occupied. Still, 18% of the homes in the area are seasonally occupied, which means a quarter of the homes may be empty for at least half of the year.
Palma Sola Park
The neighborhood of Palma Sola Park is a beautiful area with many well-built older homes. The area is upscale without being too ostentatious and has been home to multiple politicians from the state. Palma Sola Park comprises mostly well-kept single-family homes with beautifully landscaped yards. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and was settled just shortly after the Civil War.
Most of the street names in this neighborhood are exotic Spanish names, and the homes range from moderate-sized ranches to waterside mansions. Even though the waterfront homes in the area can be quite pricey, many homes along the inland streets are quite reasonably priced between $180,000 and $250,000.
If you want to see the face of Bradenton wealth, Riverview Boulevard is the place to look. Homes in the area have housed families for generations, and large mansions located on the water can fetch a price of three million or more. This neighborhood includes a large portion of the waterfront and is known for its old stone houses built in the 1930s as well as some newer mansions with a more modern style.
Its proximity to the water makes Riverview Boulevard attractive for boaters, and its tops schools make it the perfect place for families. You can find a nice home in the area for around $400,000 when not located on the waterfront. Most of the homes boast 3,000 square feet or more and four or more baths. The neighborhood has been recently attracting vacationers from nearby cities who are looking for waterfront property in a quiet and friendly community.
Best Schools in Bradenton
When looking for schools in the Bradenton area, you will have plenty of good options. Bradenton offers top-rated private schools, charter schools, and public schools that rank high in terms of safety, test scores, and extracurricular opportunities. Some of the best schools in the area include the following:
- St. Stephen's Episcopal School: This private school is known for its small class sizes, with a 9:1 teacher-student ratio, and an excellent science program that includes Marine Biology and AP Environmental Science. Students at the school boast higher-than-average test scores across all disciplines.
- Burton Glen Charter Academy: If you prefer to have your child enrolled in a charter academy, Burton Glen is likely the best choice for you. The ratio of teachers to students is higher than in private schools, at 22:1, but the overall school size is considered smaller than average. Burton Glen is known for its student diversity and extracurricular program participation.
- Braden River High School: One of the best public schools in the city is Braden River High school. The school is large, with over 2,000 students, but ranks high on health and safety, student diversity, and clubs and after-school activities.
Bradenton Employment Forecast
Bradenton has an unemployment rate of 3.4%, which is slightly lower than the national average of 3.9%. While there has been steady job growth year after year, it has been slower than many other major cities in the United States. Resident in Bradenton can expect to make an average income of over $22,000, which is lower than the national average of $28,000. Median household incomes for families is an average of just over $40,000 — almost $13,000 below the U.S. average.
Many large companies employ a significant portion of the residents in the city of Bradenton and surrounding areas. Some of the largest employers are the following:
- Bealls, Inc.
- Manatee Memorial Hospital.
- Sun Hydraulics.
- IMG Academy.
- Tropicana Products.
- Blake Medical Center.
- SYSCO West Coast Florida.
- Feld Entertainment.
Public Transportation in Bradenton
The city of Bradenton is primarily a commuter town, with most families having a vehicle to get to and from work and school. Many areas are pedestrian-friendly, and many areas make traveling by bike easy and practical. The temperate weather makes these modes of transportation feasible for most of the year.
If you are looking for public transportation, you can utilize the Manatee County Area Transit systems, which offer 10 routes through Bradenton and many of the surrounding communities, such as Palmetto and Ellenton. Buses run daily from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., except on Sundays and posted holidays. You can pay per trip or purchase a metro pass card for regular travel.
Festivals and Fun
When you live in Bradenton, you will find plenty to see and do all year round. If you enjoy getting out, mingling with the community, and learning more about art, culture, or music, you can check out one of the many festivals held in the area each year. Check out some of the most popular events in the Bradenton area that you don't want to miss:
Manatee County Fair
Nothing says fun for the whole family like the County Fair. This event, held in January, features livestock competitions, live music and entertainments, country music acts, midway rides and shows, and all your favorite types of fair food.
Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival
Also held in January, the Sarasota Seafood & Music Festival is the best way to sample the local seafood offerings of the area restaurants. You will enjoy a wide selection of seafood dishes, beer tastings, local bands, and other food and merchandise vendors.
Bradenton Area River Regatta
It is regatta time in February in the Bradenton area, and this is definitely an event that you don't want to miss. The event features boat races along the Manatee River and a variety of events and activities in both Bradenton and Palmetto. It is considered to be one of the largest spectator events in Southwest Florida.
St. Barbara Greek Festival
Hosted by the St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church, the Greek festival features authentic Greek food, folk dancing, live music, and Greek crafts. This annual event happens in February and is open to all who would like to attend.
The circus comes to town for the months of February and March and is the perfect place to take the whole family for a night or entertainment and wonder. The Big Top sets up at Nathan Benderson Park, and each year the circus performance follows a different theme. After 250 years, the circus is still full of wonder and excitement for the whole family.
If you like some cold brews and amazing live entertainment, make sure to put February's Dub Fest on your calendar. The event is an annual celebration put on by JDubb's Brewing Company and features award-winning craft beer tasting and performances by area bands.
Thunder by the Bay
If you like loud bikes and loud music, then plan to attend the Thunder by the Bay event in nearby Sarasota. Engines will roar through the Sarasota County Fairgrounds while guests enjoy live music, food, and cold brews. The events conclude with a "Bikes on Main" Block Party that kicks off in the downtown area.
Venice Italian Feast & Carnival
Whether you consider yourself part of the Italian American community or just enjoy immersing yourself in a fun and exciting culture, the Venice Italian Feast & Carnival is a good time for all. The event is four days of Italian food and family fun celebrating Italian heritage.
Suncoast Blues Festival
If you are a fan of music, the Turncoats Blues Festival is an event that you don't want to miss. You can listen to the greats that help make the Blues a genre that withstands the test of time. Not only can you enjoy an event full of music, but you can also sample flavorful food and libations.
Whiskey Obsession Festival
Whiskey lovers in the area look forward to the Whiskey Obsession Festival that rolls around each April. This four-day event includes tastings, classes, and lunch and dinner pairings. The event concludes with the grand tasting event, where you can enjoy hundreds of whiskey samples and a live music street party in the downtown area.
Suncoast BBQ & Bluegrass Bash
The end of April is reserved for bluegrass music and BBQ at the Venice Airport Festival Grounds. Listen to your favorite bluegrass players perform while you enjoy some of the best barbecue that area restaurants and BBQ joints have to offer.
The cuisine in the city of Bradenton is exceptionally diverse, with classic America offerings such as barbecue and steakhouse favorites as well as Cuban-influenced fusion cuisine. The area is also famous for freshly caught seafood, which is a staple at many restaurants — especially fine dining establishments.
You will find plenty of places to grab a quick bite to eat, to sit down for a family meal, or to enjoy a quiet and romantic date night. Where you choose to go will largely depend on what you are craving, but the following are some of the most popular restaurants in Bradenton:
- Sage Biscuit Cafe: Located on Cortez Road, Sage Biscuit Cafe is the perfect place to grab some breakfast or lunch in a casual and family-friendly atmosphere. You will find many familiar breakfast and lunch offerings as well as vegetarian and vegan options.
- O'Bricks: Enjoy the taste of good Irish Pub food? Looking for an early evening martini? You can get the best of both worlds at O'Bricks on Main Street. The pub has a popular happy hour, with varying drink specials that make it the perfect place to enjoy a celebration.
- SweetBerries: If you are looking for the perfect end to the evening or just want a place to indulge your sweet tooth, a trip to SweetBerries may just be what you need. The eatery is not only home to some amazing frozen custard but also boasts a wide range of soups, salads, and sandwiches. The best part is that you can create your own custard concoction. Order a concrete, which allows you to pick your custard and toppings to mix in.
- Mission BBQ: If you're craving some tasty barbecue for your evening meal, then make sure to pay a visit to Mission BBQ. Not only are their meats slowly cooked to perfection, but they also offer made-from-scratch sides.
- Cafe Havana: For those who love Cuban food, you can get some amazing and authentic Cuban sandwiches at the Cafe Havana. Located on 63rd Street, the restaurant offers your favorite Cuban sandwiches alongside classic Cuban coffees.
Fun Facts You Might Not Know About Bradenton
Even if you are already familiar with the city of Bradenton, below are some fun and interesting facts that you may not have been aware of:
- The Bradenton Gulf Islands are actually two islands connected together by free bridges that connect Bradenton to Lakewood ranch.
- There are six Blue Wave-certified beaches in Bradenton: Anna Maria, Coquina, Cortez, Holmes, Manatee, and Whitney.
- Bradenton is close to some of the most visited cities in Florida, including Tampa, Miami, and Orlando.
- The city is the birthplace of horse surfing.
- Located in Bradenton is the historic Gamble Mansion, which is the oldest standing antebellum plantation in southern Florida.
- Bradenton is the home of the oldest working fishing village in Florida, Cortez Historic Fishing Village.
- Bradenton is the home of Tropicana's production facility.
- LECOM Park is the spring training facility of the Pittsburg Pirates.
- The state's largest live-work art community, called the Village of Arts, is located in Bradenton.
- Anna Maria Island has over 7 miles of completely uninterrupted beach.
Things to See and Do in the City of Bradenton
One of the best parts about moving to the city of Bradenton is that there is so much to see and do — whether you are looking for fun activities for a date night or family-friendly activities to create an eventful afternoon.
Emerson Point Preserve
Located at the mouth of the Manatee River is a 365-acre preserve known as Emerson Point Preserve. This is the perfect place to learn more about the native plant communities and wildlife found in Florida. The area is home to both prehistoric and historical sites, such as the Native American Portavant Temple Mound, and features an observation tower that provides picturesque views of Terra Cela Bay. You can spend the day hiking, mountain biking, or enjoy a stroll along the many multi-use trails located in the preserve.
Florida Maritime Museum
If you would like to learn a little more about the history of the area, the Florida Maritime Museum provides you with a glimpse of the people and events that shaped Florida into the state it is today. The museum occupies 4 acres of land and includes the historic fishing village of Cortez as well as a 1912 schoolhouse building.
The Florida Maritime Museum was designed to showcase the significance of the regional commercial fishing industry. It features photographs, historical artifacts, models of boats, instruments, tools, shells, plans, books, diaries, and periodicals, all showing what commercial fishing life was like throughout history.
Village of the Arts
The Village of the Arts is an eclectic artists community that includes more than 100 homes, art galleries, studios, workshops, restaurants, and cafes for working artists. The village is over 36 acres and has many artist cottages from the 1920s and 1930s that have been restored to their former glory. Many of the cottages have received an artistic upgrade with bright colors that create a truly artistic feel. The area is also famous for holding outdoor workshops in which anyone can participate.
De Soto National Memorial
The De Soto National Memorial was created to commemorate the landing of famed explorer de Soto, who was one of the first Europeans to explore the southern part of the United States and Florida in the mid-1500s. The memorial is 26 acres of beautifully landscaped land, located just 5 miles from the city. The area features 3,000 feet of coastline where the Manatee River flows into the Tampa Bay. Most of the activities in the memorial include outdoor activities such as fishing, camping, hiking, nature walks, kayaking, and canoeing.
If you are a baseball fan, one of the must-dos for the spring season is stopping by LECOM Park to watch the Pittsburg Pirates complete their spring training. The park was initially called McKechnie Field when it was built in 1923, in honor of Bill McKechnie, who was a Pittsburg native and Hall of Fame manager. The park was renamed after receiving new sponsorship from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, shortened to the acronym LECOM.
Significant upgrades and renovations have been made to the park since the name change, making it one of the best facilities in the country. It also features amenities such as a 19,000-square-foot boardwalk that runs the entire length of the outfield and a boardwalk barbecue area. The newly covered bleachers now fit up to 570 seats, and the expanded fan plaza makes it the perfect place to spend the afternoon.
Manatee Village Historical Park
For history buffs, the perfect place to spend the day is the Manatee Village, Historical Park. The park is home to a collection of historical objects, artifacts, and buildings that help show visitors how life in Florida was during the pioneer years. Some of the historic buildings include a smokehouse and mill, Potter's Barn, Fogarty Boatworks, Curator's Corner, a blacksmith shop, Wiggins General Store, and an 1887 church. You can enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the shaded picnic tables and allow the kids to play at Junior Junction.
Moving to Bradenton
Moving to Bradenton can be exciting. The area is continually growing, and new places to go and things to do are always popping up. What's even better is that you will be able to enjoy the beautiful temperatures and sunshine throughout most of the year. However, to make your move go more smoothly, there are a few things you need to know.
Florida Is Known for Its Diversity
The entire state of Florida is known for its diversity, and you will find yourself immersed in a number of cultures and heritages. You will not only experience the influence of a variety of cultures but also see some strong Southern culture in certain cities around the state. To make the most of your new home, try to learn about the different cultures that make up your city and attend local events celebrating those cultures.
The City Is Very Seasonal
Bradenton is a popular place for snowbirds who enjoy spending the winter months away from the cold temperatures in the north. This means that the months of October and April can see a significant influx in people residing in the city and visiting popular local attractions.
You Will Enjoy Low Taxes
There are only seven states left in the country that do not have a state income tax, and Florida is one of them. Florida also does not assess other taxes, such as inheritance tax or estate tax. This means that residents get to keep not only more of their income but also more of any money that is passed down to them.
Exploring Nature Is More Than Going to the Beach
There is so much to see and do outdoors in the city of Bradenton, and that includes more than making a trip to the beach. However, the area also boasts numerous parks and preserves where nature lovers can enjoy foliage, blooms, and wildlife.
Baseball Is Taken Very Seriously
Teams from all across the United States come to the Florida area for their spring training. These events draw hoards of locals as well as tourists, which means some areas can get a little crowded when the season is in full swing.
Whether you are moving to the city of Bradenton to raise a family or to take advantage of a promising job opportunity, the city can provide you with everything that you could want or need.