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Get to know Bradenton

Though Bradenton technically only refers to the county seat of Manatee County, many locals use the term to loosely refer to the entire area around the city, especially to differentiate it from Sarasota County. Bradenton is one of the smaller metropolises around Tampa Bay and its size gives the city a small-town vibe, earning it the nickname of “The Friendly City.” This is a sports-mad town, with Champs Sports and department store chain Bealls both headquartered here. Bradenton is also home to the renowned IMG Academy, a boarding school and professional training destination, with alumni including Olympians, tennis Grand Slam champions, NBA athletes, NCAA champions, and top NFL draft picks. It’s not just all-sports-all-the-time in Bradenton though—the town also has Village of the Arts, an unusual live-work artists’ community, made up of colorful 1920s bungalows transformed into galleries and studios.

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Living in the Tampa Bay area

Central West Florida encompasses the area surrounding Tampa Bay, including Tampa itself and stretching down to St. Petersburg, Bradenton, and Sarasota. This coastal region is what people imagine when dreaming about Florida, a place where year-round sunshine beckons and every day is a beach day. Many have been lured to Tampa Bay by its weather, including baseball’s annual migration to spring training and The Ringling Brothers Circus’s long-time winter home in Sarasota. There’s a wide range of places to live, whether it’s year-round or only for a snowbird’s sojourn. The area includes barrier islands with picturesque beaches, busy urban downtowns, artsy neighborhoods of cafes and bungalows, and inland master-planned gated communities that are among the fastest growing in the nation. There’s no shortage of fun in Tampa Bay, with pro sports teams in residence, well-regarded museums, delicious restaurants, and a ton of outdoor activities on land and sea.