Home to a vibrant downtown with old-Florida ambience, Bradenton is never short on charm. Located on Florida's southwest coast, between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay, Bradenton features freshwater lakes, towering palms, galleries, boutique shops, and restaurants. Bradenton meeting venues are to be found on the mainland and on Anna Maria Island, a pristine, unpretentious barrier island with funky little beach bars and a wooden pier; as well as Longboat Key, an upscale resort area a few minutes north of Sarasota.
Thanks to its convenient southwest Florida location, Bradenton is within a short distance of both the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) and Tampa International Airport (TPA). Located just 45 miles outside of Bradenton, the Tampa International Airport provides nonstop service to more than 70 domestic and international locations. Tampa International serves an average of 22,000 daily passengers. Smaller, yet with more than one million passengers each year, SRQ is located six miles north of downtown Sarasota and only 10 miles south of downtown Bradenton. The airport features regular nonstop service to Toronto, Washington, DC, New York, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee, as well as seasonal international and domestic charter service.
Once on the ground, attendees can access the Manatee County Area Transit buses, which provide direct service from SRQ to downtown Bradenton Area Convention Center. Perched along the scenic Manatee River, the Bradenton Area Convention Center is a flexible-space, full-service center located just two miles from Bradenton and 15 miles from Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. The Bradenton Area Convention Center (formerly Manatee Convention Center) features the 32,400-square-foot Gulf Islands Center Hall, which can seat up to 4,000 delegates.
There are also a number of unique venues in Bradenton that are perfectly suited for a range of group events and meetings. As the largest natural and cultural history museum on the Florida Gulf Coast, Bradenton's South Florida Museum is not only home to a number of exhibits on the region's rich heritage, but also to Bradenton's official mascot, a manatee named Snooty. Groups can get a great view of Snooty and other resident manatees when meeting in such museum spaces as the VIP Boardroom and Spanish Plaza: each features underwater views of the manatee habitat.
Other Bradenton unique venues include the celebrated Bunker Hill Vineyard and Winery, which focuses on green operations in the making of its handcrafted wines. Manatee Village Historical Park, a collection of restored, historic buildings from the region's pioneer past, welcomes private events in its 1887 church and courtyard gazebo, set under a canopy of native oak trees.