Welcome to Key West, Florida!
Resting at the very bottom of Florida, Key West is a small island packed with a million things to do. Not many secrets exist on an island this size, but locals know a few, including how to spend a perfect day in the sun while visiting Key West. Tourists know the well-known attractions, but a worldwide local knows how to experience them best. This is an insider’s guide of some of Key West’s coolest local spots.
Worldwide Local Tip: If you love everything Ernest Hemingway, you must plan a visit to Blue Heaven restaurant on Thomas Street. Even if you aren’t hungry, you should try a slice of their huge Key Lime pie at the site where Ernest judged boxing matches when it was the Blue Goose arena. This is definitely a can’t-miss Key West restaurant.
Get Around by Bike
Whether you are here to visit and looking for a good time, or you are traveling with family, Key West is a beautiful place to explore by taking a ride. We aren’t referring to a car either, we mean on a bicycle. Many of the bike rental shops will tell you where to visit, but this would be amongst all the other tourists. We are going to tell you, Duval street is awesome a top recommendation. If you are wanting to really experience the local side of Key West, it is best to get off Duval street. Whitehead Street is known by the locals for being the best street in Key West.
Worldwide Local Tip: Rent a bike, then head towards the famous Southernmost Point Monument. Continue northwest, toward the Gulf of Mexico, and you will pass the Key West lighthouse. This was Ernest Hemingway’s home, with the property containing an amazing kapok tree, some of the largest banyan trees on the island, the Audubon House, and more. The best thing about renting a bike is being able to stop at the locations that you choose, or just cruise by and admire them from the street.
Key West After Dark
Now, if you are traveling to Key West, there is a good chance that you know what the local reputation is for the pub crawls, shots on Duval street, and the late nights out on the town. Duval street is great, but if you are wanting to get a drink away from the crowds, you’ll need to move off Duval street. Start with a craft cocktail and a round of pool, at General Horseplay on Caroline Street. Then, stroll over to the Chart Room Bar, tucked away in the Pier House hotel. They have great cocktails here, and this is also where Buffett played his first Key West gig. The best live music in town can be found at the Green Parrot Bar. Next, duck around the corner to Mary Ellen’s Bar on
Appelrouth Lane, for a fun dance party with the regulars.
Make the Most of the Key West Weather at the Beach
While you are here, you absolutely need to check out the Key West beaches. All of these beaches are man made. Since the Keys are mangrove clusters, the beaches used to have more shells and pebbles than sand. Over the last several years, however, the city has been working on beautifying the beaches to draw in more tourists. Smathers or Higgs beaches are perfect for white sand beaches and are even populated by food trucks. If you’re considering where to stay in Key West, hotels on the beach are always a bit more expensive--but the location is worth the extra money.
Worldwide Local Tip: Get out on the water! There is no way that you came this far south, surrounded by islands of paradise, to not get in the water. Paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, or even taking a sailboat out, are among the many options Key West has to offer. The coral reef and sandbar beaches, are just two more reasons why you must get out on the turquoise waters.
Key West Culture
Soak up the Cuban culture while you are here! Considering that you are only 90 miles from Cuba, enjoy it. This is where you can get the good cigars, rum, and, of course, coffee. Relish the vast Cuban culture that is soaked up throughout the Keys--especially the food.
Don’t Miss a Single Sunset!
There is a daily rite of passage when in Key West. This is for travelers and locals alike, no matter what your daytime activities include. When you know the sun is about to set, you need to head to Mallory Square’s sunset celebration, where you’ll join locals as you say goodbye to the day. It’s a massive party, with food vendors, artisans, musicians, and acrobats. It goes without saying that the most colorful time of day in the Keys is often at sunset. No two sunsets are ever the same, but they all deliver equally dazzling evening performances, which is why it’s customary to celebrate every night.
Enjoy Your Visit!
Key West is known for its unique, local atmosphere and of course the fantastic Key Lime pie. There is something for everyone in Key West, where you are guaranteed fun, flair, and a fantastic time. Roaming the city as a worldwide local will grant you unparalleled access to its amazing sights and fascinating sounds.