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One Day in Key West

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Feeling like an island on the edge of the world (or at least of the U.S.), Key West is defined by its eccentricities, from its iconic colorful homes, to tangy key lime pies, to the six-toed cats that roam Ernest Hemingway's homestead, this town certainly has an individual character that makes it impossible to confuse with any other American city. Here's how to spend a day soaking it all in.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • LGBT
  • Beach Goer

8 Places

5 City Tips

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Map

8 Places

Blue Heaven

Restaurants

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

Speciality Museums

US 1 Mile Marker 0

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Southernmost Point

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park

Beaches, Historic Sites, State Parks

Sloppy Joe's

Restaurants

Mallory Square

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Piers & Boardwalks, Parks

Duval Street

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Tanya A's City Tips

  • As with all American cities, it is customary to tip 15-20% when dining out.
  • If you are relatively well located near Duval Street, it is easy to get to most destinations by foot or bicycle.
  • Key West is known for its laid-back style, so flip flops are acceptable at most restaurants and bars.
  • If a car is necessary, it's generally better to take a taxi rather than having to worry about parking.
  • A handful of upscale establishments have stricter dress codes, (such as closed-toed shoes for men, or no jeans). If you're headed to one of the fancier spots, call ahead to ask.
  • Blue Heaven
    Restaurants (American, Caribbean)
    See more photos
    Tanya A Says:

    This quirky outdoor restaurant is famed for its key lime pie and eclectic decor, and you will often find live music and roosters roaming free here. While Blue Heaven has now become a popular spot with tourists, it is well worth the wait for a table — and you can always enjoy a drink while roaming around the garden or gift shop.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • As Blue Heaven is a bit outside the main part of town, it may be too far to walk. Take a bicycle or taxi as parking tends to be limited.
    • Stop in for an early brunch to beat the crowds, but be sure to treat yourself to a slice of key lime pie anyway!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #23 of 348 restaurants in Key West
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Popular place 11/12/2018
    • Blue Heaven 11/12/2018
    • Blue Heaven
    Address:
    729 Thomas St
    Key West, FL 33040-7334
    Phone:
    +1 305-296-8666
    Price range:
    US$ 15 - US$ 28
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:00 AM - 10:30 PM
    Other:
  • The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    Tanya A Says:

    The beautiful Spanish colonial home where Ernest Hemingway lived with his second wife Pauline allows literature fans and history buffs alike a unique glimpse into the life of one of America's most beloved literary figures. In addition to observing Papa Hemingway's former bedroom and writing room (set up as it was when he was penning such classic short stories as 'A Clean Well-Lighted Place' and 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro'), visitors can check out the pool where Hem and Pauline hosted many a party. The most famous part of the Hemingway Home experience, however, has to be the many six-toed cats that roam the grounds, most of whom are descendants of Snow White, a polydactyl (six-toed) cat that a ship's captain gifted to Hemingway.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is a gift shop if you want to buy any keepsakes, including replicas of the cat dish that Hemingway used for his pets.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 130 things to do in Key West
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Full of Fun History! 12/12/2018
    • Very interesting place 12/12/2018
    • The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum
    Address:
    907 Whitehead Street
    Key West, FL 33040-7473
    Phone:
    +1 305-294-1575
    Price range:
    US$ 13 - US$ 13
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • US 1 Mile Marker 0
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    Tanya A Says:

    Marking the southernmost point of U.S. Highway 1, which stretches 2,390 miles up to Fort Kent, Maine, Mile Marker 0 is literally the 'end of the road,' even though it's the center of town. Worth a stop-off if you're passing by...

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • This might be a good time to bring your "selfie stick" in order to make sure you get a shot with you in it.
    • Look for the sign off the road that calls this location "the end of the rainbow."
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #36 of 130 things to do in Key West
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Unique Photo Op 12/12/2018
    • It's Gone!! 11/12/2018
    • US 1 Mile Marker 0
    Address:
    490 Whitehead St
    Key West, FL 33040-6545
    Phone:
    +1 305-294-1129
    Other:
  • Southernmost Point
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Tanya A Says:

    No visit to Key West would be complete without visiting and having a photo taken with the Southernmost Point marker. Not only is this spot the southernmost point in the continental United States, but it's also notable for being only 90 miles away from Cuba.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    Tips
    • Make sure you have your camera ready to go, so as not to hold up the line.
    • Expect a bit of a line to get your photo, but you will most likely be able to get a fresh coconut to drink while you wait.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #39 of 130 things to do in Key West
    • Too Iconic to miss! 12/12/2018
    • I guess you need a photo of yourself with this icon 12/12/2018
    • Southernmost Point
    Address:
    Whitehead Street
    Key West, FL 33040
    Phone:
    +1 305-809-3700
    Other:
  • Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
    Beaches, Historic Sites, State Parks
    See more photos
    Tanya A Says:

    A common misconception about Key West is that it is a beach destination. Although it is surrounded by water, there are actually extremely few beaches here. However, if you are craving a beach day, Fort Zachary Taylor State Park hits the spot with its soft sand and clear waters. Here you can visit the 1845 fort, explore nature trails, or snorkel in the waters surrounding the world's third largest coral reef.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If you prefer snorkeling with professionals, there are many tours available in the old town; you can even book one that returns in the evening for a sunset cruise.
    • Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins!
    • Equipment for various water sports is available for rent if you want to get out on the water.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 130 things to do in Key West
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beach area 11/12/2018
    • best beach in key west 11/12/2018
    • Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park
    Address:
    601 Howard England Way
    Key West, FL 33040-8395
    Phone:
    +1 305-292-6713
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    Other:
  • Sloppy Joe's
    Restaurants (American, Bar, Pub)
    See more photos
    Tanya A Says:

    On December 5, 1933 — the very day that Prohibition was repealed — Joe Russell, a free-thinking speakeasy operator in the 1920s, opened what is now a Key West icon. The rowdy saloon bore the monikers 'Blind Pig' and 'Silver Slipper,' before Hemingway himself suggested 'Sloppy Joe's' (the name of another of Papa's favorite bars in Havana). Stop in for a delicious margarita, and stay for the live music.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • The original Sloppy Joe's, now Captain Tony's Saloon, is actually two doors down and is certainly worth visiting as well.
    • Every summer, the bar holds a "Papa Hemingway Look-Alike Contest." Devoted fans should check the website for dates!
    • Guests under 21 are allowed in the bar until 9:30pm.
    • This is a great stop for afternoon drinks — as they say, "it's five o'clock somewhere."
    • Hemingway's face graces the bar's signage, and you'll find some of the author's memorabilia inside.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #125 of 348 restaurants in Key West
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A Fun Place 12/12/2018
    • It's a bar 11/12/2018
    • Sloppy Joe's
    Address:
    201 Duval St
    Key West, FL 33040-6507
    Phone:
    +1 305-294-5717
    Price range:
    US$ 0 - US$ 20
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 AM - 4:00 AM
    Other:
  • Mallory Square
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Piers & Boardwalks, Parks
    See more photos
    Tanya A Says:

    Mallory Square is a stunning spot to watch the sunset. There are plenty of bars and cafes where you can grab a drink or a bite before heading to the square to see the sky light up in bright oranges, reds and yellows. This is an absolute must-see as every night is a spectacular light show.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • This is a very popular activity, so make sure to claim a spot early. Local performers and artists gather, so you'll have entertainment while you wait for the "main event."
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 130 things to do in Key West
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Sunset at Mallory Square! 12/12/2018
    • Mallory Square 11/12/2018
    • Mallory Square
    Address:
    400 Wall St
    Key West, FL 33040-6633
    Other:
  • Duval Street
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Tanya A Says:

    Key West is known for its laid-back bar scene, and Duval Street is at the epicenter — in fact, it's pretty much also the center of the city itself. This pretty (and delightfully kitschy!) lane is where it all happens; it's populated with fun restaurants, cute boutiques, local art galleries, gaudy souvenirs shops, drag shows, and much more that make it perfect for an afternoon stroll or a night out.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Trendsetter
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • The street is actually not very long, so be sure to take your time and relax — walk slowly...
    • While Duval street is THE place to be for a night on the town, it is worth visiting by day as well.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 130 things to do in Key West
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Spend your time here, you won't be sorry! 12/12/2018
    • A place to drink and shop 11/12/2018
    • Duval Street
    Address:
    Duval Street
    Key West, FL 33040
    Phone:
    +1 305-395-8807
    Other:
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