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Guidebook for Key West

Wendy

Guidebook for Key West

Parks & Nature
T
It is a lovely boat trip, including breakfast and lunch. The Park is closer to Cuba than Key West and has a rich history. There is time while there to snorkel (equipment is included) or just laze on the beach.
Dry Tortugas National Park
It is a lovely boat trip, including breakfast and lunch. The Park is closer to Cuba than Key West and has a rich history. There is time while there to snorkel (equipment is included) or just laze on the beach.
This is a lovely botanical garden which can transport you back to what Florida was before it was quite so developed. When we first visited, yoga classes were offered on the boardwalks in the morning, a lovely way to start the day!
Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden
5210 College Road
This is a lovely botanical garden which can transport you back to what Florida was before it was quite so developed. When we first visited, yoga classes were offered on the boardwalks in the morning, a lovely way to start the day!
The West Martello Tower is a lush garden inside an old fort and is run by the garden club. They have done a wonderful job restoring the grounds and making a peaceful garden area. There are banyan trees, coconut trees, a small butterfly garden, 2 gazebos, beautiful orchids and a small beach.
West Martello Tower
1100 Atlantic Blvd
The West Martello Tower is a lush garden inside an old fort and is run by the garden club. They have done a wonderful job restoring the grounds and making a peaceful garden area. There are banyan trees, coconut trees, a small butterfly garden, 2 gazebos, beautiful orchids and a small beach.
We thought we would have a quick look at some cute butterflies, but wished we had saved the entire day for this one! The setting is serene and the conservatory is filled with not just butterflies but birds, fish, and luscious vegetation. Next time we will allow time to sit peacefully and enjoy this gem!
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The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
1316 Duval Street
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We thought we would have a quick look at some cute butterflies, but wished we had saved the entire day for this one! The setting is serene and the conservatory is filled with not just butterflies but birds, fish, and luscious vegetation. Next time we will allow time to sit peacefully and enjoy this gem!
This gem is just a 20 minute walk from the condo. The fort itself is interesting historically, and just beyond it is what we think is the best beach in Key West. You can take the hammocks and/or beach chairs from the unit to enjoy the day. There is a good snack bar there, and the snorkeling is right offshore.
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Fort Zachary Taylor
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This gem is just a 20 minute walk from the condo. The fort itself is interesting historically, and just beyond it is what we think is the best beach in Key West. You can take the hammocks and/or beach chairs from the unit to enjoy the day. There is a good snack bar there, and the snorkeling is right offshore.
this little museum/aquarium is a short walk from the unit, and admission is free! There is a wonderful movie showing the area mangroves and sea life. Some of the exhibits are currently being updated/refurbished but still offer good information.
Florida Keys Eco-Discovery Center
35 E Quay Rd
this little museum/aquarium is a short walk from the unit, and admission is free! There is a wonderful movie showing the area mangroves and sea life. Some of the exhibits are currently being updated/refurbished but still offer good information.
The Audubon House and Tropical Gardens, located in Old Town a block away from Duval Street, dates back to the 1840s. The house was built by Captain John Huling Geiger, but is named after John James Audubon, who spent some time in the house and sketched many birds. Twenty-eight of his works can be found in the house. While you're here, take a look at the house's decor and then head outside to the lush and colorful garden, which includes herbs, orchids and other tropical plants.
Audubon House & Tropical Gardens
205 Whitehead Street
The Audubon House and Tropical Gardens, located in Old Town a block away from Duval Street, dates back to the 1840s. The house was built by Captain John Huling Geiger, but is named after John James Audubon, who spent some time in the house and sketched many birds. Twenty-eight of his works can be found in the house. While you're here, take a look at the house's decor and then head outside to the lush and colorful garden, which includes herbs, orchids and other tropical plants.
Sightseeing
Take a ride to Key West’s dark side and explore the African Slave Cemetery where 15 poor souls perished on their fateful journey and hear the ghostly tales of the famous Captain Tony’s Saloon where not all the spirits are stored in bottles. Come face-to-face with a mischievous doll named Robert whose nefarious powers are still wreaking havoc today and visit lost tombs, sacred grounds and the infamous Lady in Blue!
Hemingway who lived and wrote in Key West is brought alive by animated, well informed, personable docents.
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The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
907 Whitehead Street
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Hemingway who lived and wrote in Key West is brought alive by animated, well informed, personable docents.
"The buck stops here" was on the desk of Harry Truman at the White House in Washington. Truman often travelled to this Naval facility to escape the pressure of office during his tenure as president. The Little White House is just down the street from the unit. The tour guides are exception and bring alive the history of the place, where other presidents (including JFK) visited. There are free exhibits you can view and anice gift shop. The setting is beautiful.
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Truman Little White House
111 Front Street
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"The buck stops here" was on the desk of Harry Truman at the White House in Washington. Truman often travelled to this Naval facility to escape the pressure of office during his tenure as president. The Little White House is just down the street from the unit. The tour guides are exception and bring alive the history of the place, where other presidents (including JFK) visited. There are free exhibits you can view and anice gift shop. The setting is beautiful.
88 steps to the top Lighthouse is worth it for the views. Once you're up there the viewing balcony at the top is very narrow. After taking in the amazing views take a look around the keeper's quarters, which have been around since 1887. The cozy house is now a museum that surveys the history of lighthouses in the Keys, with photographs and various artifacts. One ticket gets you access to both the lighthouse and the museum. Admission for adults costs $10; kids ages 6 and up get in for $5, while children 5 and younger can enter for free.
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Key West Lighthouse
938 Whitehead Street
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88 steps to the top Lighthouse is worth it for the views. Once you're up there the viewing balcony at the top is very narrow. After taking in the amazing views take a look around the keeper's quarters, which have been around since 1887. The cozy house is now a museum that surveys the history of lighthouses in the Keys, with photographs and various artifacts. One ticket gets you access to both the lighthouse and the museum. Admission for adults costs $10; kids ages 6 and up get in for $5, while children 5 and younger can enter for free.
A popular spot for Kodak moments, this iconic Key West landmark draws crowds for their selfies 90 miles from Cuba. Truth be known, The Truman Annex and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park are farther south, if you want to save some time and avoid the crowds.
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Southernmost Point of the Continental US
Whitehead Street
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A popular spot for Kodak moments, this iconic Key West landmark draws crowds for their selfies 90 miles from Cuba. Truth be known, The Truman Annex and Fort Zachary Taylor State Park are farther south, if you want to save some time and avoid the crowds.
Located in Old Town, Key West Cemetery has been around since 1847. The quirkiness of the city's residents extends even to the grave. Tombstones in this 19-acre cemetery don't wear the typical inscriptions. Instead, you'll find epitaphs that reflect the island's casual lifestyle. Some of the more well-known inscriptions include "I told you I was sick" and "At least I know where he's sleeping tonight." One tombstone is actually a ship's mast. While you're here, take note that many of these burial plots actually have multiple people stacked on top of one another. While walking the cemetery is free, you may want to plan a guided tour by calling 305-292-6718.
Key West Cemetery
701 Pauline Street
Located in Old Town, Key West Cemetery has been around since 1847. The quirkiness of the city's residents extends even to the grave. Tombstones in this 19-acre cemetery don't wear the typical inscriptions. Instead, you'll find epitaphs that reflect the island's casual lifestyle. Some of the more well-known inscriptions include "I told you I was sick" and "At least I know where he's sleeping tonight." One tombstone is actually a ship's mast. While you're here, take note that many of these burial plots actually have multiple people stacked on top of one another. While walking the cemetery is free, you may want to plan a guided tour by calling 305-292-6718.
327 Foot museum ship from WWII and Viet Nam. It is a National Historic Landmark. INGHAM served our country from 1936 to 1988 and in 1985 was the most decorated ship in United States Service as noted in a letter from President Ronald Reagan in the exhibit room. It is the last American Warship afloat to have sunk a German U-Boat (626) in WWII. It served as the Flagship for the seaside operation of General MacArthur's return to Corrigedor in the Philippines. She served from 1936 to 1988. Offering one of the best Sunset viewing platforms in Key West.
USCGC Ingham Maritime Museum
327 Foot museum ship from WWII and Viet Nam. It is a National Historic Landmark. INGHAM served our country from 1936 to 1988 and in 1985 was the most decorated ship in United States Service as noted in a letter from President Ronald Reagan in the exhibit room. It is the last American Warship afloat to have sunk a German U-Boat (626) in WWII. It served as the Flagship for the seaside operation of General MacArthur's return to Corrigedor in the Philippines. She served from 1936 to 1988. Offering one of the best Sunset viewing platforms in Key West.
Key West Ghost Tours by Ghosts & Gravestones
501 Front St
Drinks & Nightlife
Our favorite Realtor, Jimmy Olson, plays the piano and welcomes audience participation in this elegant setting a short walk from the condo. Catch him Thursday evenings from 5-7, grab a glass of wine or a beer from the bar by the pool, and enjoy!
The Gardens Hotel
526 Angela St
Our favorite Realtor, Jimmy Olson, plays the piano and welcomes audience participation in this elegant setting a short walk from the condo. Catch him Thursday evenings from 5-7, grab a glass of wine or a beer from the bar by the pool, and enjoy!
Located in an historic house, the Porch offers good craft beers and wine, with seating both inside and out on the porch overlooking the heart of Old Town.
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The Porch
429 Caroline Street
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Located in an historic house, the Porch offers good craft beers and wine, with seating both inside and out on the porch overlooking the heart of Old Town.
During he 1930s Joe Russell ran a speakeasy where Ernest Hemingway often went to buy illicit bottles of scotch. The day after Prohibition ended, Russell opened the The Blind Pig; the name was changed to Sloppy Joe's at Hemingway's suggestion - adopted from a club in Havana where the floors were always sloppy from he melted ice of seasfood. Although the location has changed, the flavor of Sloppy Joe's remains the same, and in mid-July each year you can enjoy its Hemingway look-alike contest.
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Sloppy Joe's Bar
201 Duval Street
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During he 1930s Joe Russell ran a speakeasy where Ernest Hemingway often went to buy illicit bottles of scotch. The day after Prohibition ended, Russell opened the The Blind Pig; the name was changed to Sloppy Joe's at Hemingway's suggestion - adopted from a club in Havana where the floors were always sloppy from he melted ice of seasfood. Although the location has changed, the flavor of Sloppy Joe's remains the same, and in mid-July each year you can enjoy its Hemingway look-alike contest.
Arts & Culture
Old Town Literary Walking Tour Each Friday and Saturday you can join the Old Town Literary Walking Tour, a stroll through downtown Key West, illuminating stories of writers that have called Key West home. Inspired by David A. Kaufelt’s original literary walking tour, the tour features the former homes and favorite haunts of writers, including Tennessee Williams, Shel Silverstein, Elizabeth Bishop, and Robert Frost, and highlights tales of lesser-known local talents. Tours commence in front of the Monroe County Public Library, 700 Fleming Street (between Elizabeth and William Streets) in Key West and last approximately 90 minutes. Please be on time and wear comfortable shoes.
Key West Literary Seminar
717 Love Ln
Old Town Literary Walking Tour Each Friday and Saturday you can join the Old Town Literary Walking Tour, a stroll through downtown Key West, illuminating stories of writers that have called Key West home. Inspired by David A. Kaufelt’s original literary walking tour, the tour features the former homes and favorite haunts of writers, including Tennessee Williams, Shel Silverstein, Elizabeth Bishop, and Robert Frost, and highlights tales of lesser-known local talents. Tours commence in front of the Monroe County Public Library, 700 Fleming Street (between Elizabeth and William Streets) in Key West and last approximately 90 minutes. Please be on time and wear comfortable shoes.
Mel Fisher spent 7 years successfully salvaging the 1715 Fleet, a fleet of sunken treasure-laden ships, which sank off the coastline - which is why the surrounding area got the name, "Florida's Treasure Coast". He then went on to discover the main pile of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha in July of 1985. This is the largest underwater treasure find in history. Mel's family continues the search for the remaining cargo of the Atocha today.
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Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
200 Greene Street
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Mel Fisher spent 7 years successfully salvaging the 1715 Fleet, a fleet of sunken treasure-laden ships, which sank off the coastline - which is why the surrounding area got the name, "Florida's Treasure Coast". He then went on to discover the main pile of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha in July of 1985. This is the largest underwater treasure find in history. Mel's family continues the search for the remaining cargo of the Atocha today.
Located in the heart of Mallory Square, the Waterfront Playhouse is a 150 seat theater which has hosted community theater in Key West for 75 years. Productions include internationally known plays and casts, as well as the rich variety of local talent.
Waterfront Playhouse
407 Wall Street
Located in the heart of Mallory Square, the Waterfront Playhouse is a 150 seat theater which has hosted community theater in Key West for 75 years. Productions include internationally known plays and casts, as well as the rich variety of local talent.
Built as a carriage house in 1829, the advent of the automobile made the Red Barn obsolete, so it was adopted by the Key West Community Players, who offered a variety of plays there through 1940s. In the 1960s, the Red Barn’s theatrical ambitions were revived by Ruth Guttman who, with her husband Yehuda Guttman, presented wonderful puppet shows. Yehuda, a gifted concert pianist, also played many beautiful concerts at the Red Barn. Renovated in the 1980s, The Red Barn has been home to such artists as Richard Wilbur, poet laureate, Shel Silverstein, Tennessee Williams, and Jimmy Buffet.
Red Barn Theatre
319 Duval Street
Built as a carriage house in 1829, the advent of the automobile made the Red Barn obsolete, so it was adopted by the Key West Community Players, who offered a variety of plays there through 1940s. In the 1960s, the Red Barn’s theatrical ambitions were revived by Ruth Guttman who, with her husband Yehuda Guttman, presented wonderful puppet shows. Yehuda, a gifted concert pianist, also played many beautiful concerts at the Red Barn. Renovated in the 1980s, The Red Barn has been home to such artists as Richard Wilbur, poet laureate, Shel Silverstein, Tennessee Williams, and Jimmy Buffet.
The Studios offer a diverse program of unique cultural opportunities just a stone's throw from the chaos of Duval street. The lovely art gallery, friendly staff, and in-house artists all combine to make this a very welcoming and wonderful space in Key West. Classes are offered in a variety of disciplines.
Books & Books @ The Studios of Key West
533 Eaton St
The Studios offer a diverse program of unique cultural opportunities just a stone's throw from the chaos of Duval street. The lovely art gallery, friendly staff, and in-house artists all combine to make this a very welcoming and wonderful space in Key West. Classes are offered in a variety of disciplines.
Entertainment & Activities
Sebago is one of several companies offer sailing, snorkeling and kayaking tours, and sunset cruises. Most are located along Front Street. If you sign up for a snorkeling tour, you'll likely sail to the Florida Keys Reef — the only living coral barrier reef in North America. Located 7 miles off the coast of Key West, the reef offers shallow waters ideal for beginners. Travelers can also sign up for kayaking tours and paddle through the uninhabited mangrove islands in the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. Depending on the company you choose, tours can range from half-day to full-day excursions, and most include beverages and light snacks.
Sebago Watersports
Sebago is one of several companies offer sailing, snorkeling and kayaking tours, and sunset cruises. Most are located along Front Street. If you sign up for a snorkeling tour, you'll likely sail to the Florida Keys Reef — the only living coral barrier reef in North America. Located 7 miles off the coast of Key West, the reef offers shallow waters ideal for beginners. Travelers can also sign up for kayaking tours and paddle through the uninhabited mangrove islands in the Key West National Wildlife Refuge. Depending on the company you choose, tours can range from half-day to full-day excursions, and most include beverages and light snacks.
For an iconic Key West sunset, walk over to Mallory Square at the northwest tip of the island. During the Sunset Celebration (a free, nightly arts festival that starts about two hours before sunset), this is one of the best spots on the island to catch the sun's last moments and revel in the end of the day. But because it's one of the best vantage points for sunsets, it's also extremely crowded. The buskers are entertaining, but the some people feel the shops and eateries around the square are kitschy and overpriced. You probably need to go only once to experience the event.
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Mallory Square
400 Wall Street
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For an iconic Key West sunset, walk over to Mallory Square at the northwest tip of the island. During the Sunset Celebration (a free, nightly arts festival that starts about two hours before sunset), this is one of the best spots on the island to catch the sun's last moments and revel in the end of the day. But because it's one of the best vantage points for sunsets, it's also extremely crowded. The buskers are entertaining, but the some people feel the shops and eateries around the square are kitschy and overpriced. You probably need to go only once to experience the event.
Getting Around
With its level terrain and wealth of amazing things to see and do, Key West is the perfect place to explore by bike - no parking hassles or fees! There are bike racks right in the neighborhood, and We Cycle is just a block or so down Southard Street on the right.
We Cycle | Key West Bike Rental (Old Town)
326 Southard St
With its level terrain and wealth of amazing things to see and do, Key West is the perfect place to explore by bike - no parking hassles or fees! There are bike racks right in the neighborhood, and We Cycle is just a block or so down Southard Street on the right.
If you have friends or family who would like to visit Key West, the Key West Express offers ferry service from Fort Myers Beach or Marco Island to Key West and back. It's easier than driving, though more expensive - but it's a comfortable ride, offering food and bar service and lovely sunsets. Remember there is always the possibility of rough seas in inclement weather.
Key West Express
100 Grinnell Street
If you have friends or family who would like to visit Key West, the Key West Express offers ferry service from Fort Myers Beach or Marco Island to Key West and back. It's easier than driving, though more expensive - but it's a comfortable ride, offering food and bar service and lovely sunsets. Remember there is always the possibility of rough seas in inclement weather.
This trolley service visits about 50 sites around Key West and is a great way to see it if this is your first visits. Reviews on Trip Advisor vary - some people have had great experiences,, and others feel the drivers' skills could be improved. But if you are not a walker, it's a good way to get around without the hassle of driving and parking.
Hop On Hop Off Tours
This trolley service visits about 50 sites around Key West and is a great way to see it if this is your first visits. Reviews on Trip Advisor vary - some people have had great experiences,, and others feel the drivers' skills could be improved. But if you are not a walker, it's a good way to get around without the hassle of driving and parking.
Food scene
Just a few blocks from the unit on Whitehead Street in Bahama Village, this casual outdoor restaurant (signs will also point you to Bahama Village Market and Ram's Head) offers comfortable outdoor dining with a friendly staff and a varied menu.
The outdoor dining, location right on Duval, and casual atmosphere at Mango's draws us back every trip!
Mangoes Restaurant
700 Duval St
The outdoor dining, location right on Duval, and casual atmosphere at Mango's draws us back every trip!
The first time we ate at Sara Beth's, the line ran down the street past the Hemingway House. There's a reason for that, and the wait was worth it: the food was phenomenal. The atmosphere is simple, but it's a great spot for lunch.
Sarabeth's Kitchen
530 Simonton Street
The first time we ate at Sara Beth's, the line ran down the street past the Hemingway House. There's a reason for that, and the wait was worth it: the food was phenomenal. The atmosphere is simple, but it's a great spot for lunch.
Alonzo's is one of our favorites, with its location right on the water, its amazing selection of oysters and its great happy hour menu.
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Alonzo's Oyster Bar
700 Front Street
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Alonzo's is one of our favorites, with its location right on the water, its amazing selection of oysters and its great happy hour menu.
Key West - Sunset Key Ferry for Latitudes Resort and Restaurant
Enjoy a lovely boat ride over to Sunset Key and enjoy beachfront dining at the Westin's Latitudes, where you can order everything from elegant but fairly priced apps to amazing entrees. The views, the food, the atmosphere are all spectacular!
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Американски ресторант "Географски ширини"
245 Front Street
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Enjoy a lovely boat ride over to Sunset Key and enjoy beachfront dining at the Westin's Latitudes, where you can order everything from elegant but fairly priced apps to amazing entrees. The views, the food, the atmosphere are all spectacular!
Just a few blocks from the unit on Whitehead Street in Bahama Village, this casual outdoor restaurant (signs will also point you to Bahama Village Market and Ram's Head) offers comfortable outdoor dining with a friendly staff and a varied menu.
Blue Macaw Island Eats & Bar
804 Whitehead St
Just a few blocks from the unit on Whitehead Street in Bahama Village, this casual outdoor restaurant (signs will also point you to Bahama Village Market and Ram's Head) offers comfortable outdoor dining with a friendly staff and a varied menu.
Amazing southern cuisine served by an informative, welcoming staff.
Firefly Key West
223 Petronia St
Amazing southern cuisine served by an informative, welcoming staff.
La Petite Grignote
517 Fleming St
Banana Cafe
1215 Duval Street
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Американски ресторант "Синият рай"
729 Thomas Street
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Little Pearl
632 Olivia St
Ambrosia Key West
622 Fleming Street
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Santiago's Bodega | Key West
207 Petronia Street
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Cafe Sole
1029 Southard Street
Try upstairs!
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Louie's Backyard
700 Waddell Avenue
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Try upstairs!
Martin's
917 Duval St
Японски ресторант "Юфка Коджин"
601 Duval Street
Moondog Cafe
823 Whitehead St
The Flaming Buoy Filet Co.
1100 Packer Street
Antonia's Restaurant
Duval Street
Thirsty Mermaid
521 Fleming St
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Hurricane Hole
5110 Overseas Highway
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Origami Sushi Bar
1075 Duval St
Ocean Grill & Bar
1075 Duval St