Conceived by John Ringling in the 1920s, St Armands Circle is an upscale outdoor mall surrounded by posh residences on St Armands Key. Moreso even than the downtown, this traffic circle is Sarasota's social center, where everyone strolls in the early evening, window shopping while enjoying a Kilwin's waffle cone. Numerous restaurants, from diners to fine dining, serve all day.

The circle is also an unavoidable traffic choke point; midmorning and late-afternoon beach commutes are worst.