Perhaps one of the most popular destinations on the island of Key West, Duval Street is the main drag of downtown, running north and south from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Although it is not much more than a mile in length – this is where the heartbeat of the city comes to life with a diverse array of restaurants, shops, world famous pubs and attractions.
Things To Do on Duval Street
On the corner of Duval and Front Streets; The Hogs Breath Saloon is one of those places you just can’t miss while visiting Key West. It’s been more than 25 years since this popular watering hole began catering to locals and visitors with great food, cold drinks and a daily lineup of local and national bands. Today, you can sit inside or out and enjoy a balmy ocean breeze and a cocktail, while you dig into an exceptional meal. Don’t forget to get your signature Hogs Breath Saloon T-shirt!
Come for a drink, stay for the music. This more than 100-year old Key West dive bar is where locals come to kick back, drink a few and get an earful of the best touring bands around. Located just off Duval on the corner of Whitehead Street, the Green Parrot is much more than a favorite pub, it’s an island icon and invites all who enter to enjoy a laid-back, come-as-you-are ambiance where many times the music, laughter and revelry spill out onto the sidewalk.
Have a close encounter with the creatures that inhabit the waters surrounding the Florida Keys at the Key West Aquarium. One of the most beloved attractions in the Southernmost city, the aquarium offers visitors a view to many marine animals including sting rays, sharks, sea turtles, tropical fish and more. Hold sea stars, conchs, sea cucumbers, Giant hermit crabs and horseshoe crabs that live in the Key West touch tank. Pet a shark and witness shark and sea turtle feedings. Check out the alligator and jellyfish exhibits and see variety of fish, sharks and the living mangrove ecosystem.
Today’s the day! That was Mel Fisher’s mantra as he spent 16 years searching for the sunken Spanish Galleon Nuestra Senora de Atocha. On July 20, 1985, he became the world’s greatest treasure hunter, finally finding the Atocha’s mother lode which included thousands of artifacts, silver and gold coins and much more. Today, visitors from all over the world come to marvel at the magnificent treasure Mel and his crew recovered from the Atocha and other sunken ships at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. The Museum, located on Greene Street, also has a variety of exhibits and educational programs for adults and children.
If you haven’t partied at Rick’s Bar, you can’t leave Key West until you do. Located right on Duval, Rick’s is not just a bar; it’s 8 bars – each with its own unique venue and all offering a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you want to jam out to live rock tunes at Durty Harry’s, dance the night away to disco at Rick’s Upstairs, chill out with a frozen daiquiri at Mardi Gras or sit in the shade of the giant Monkey Pistol tree at Rick’s Tree Bar, there’s something for everyone in this one unique place.
Stop in at the Audubon House and Tropical Gardens for a serene experience among natural and artistic beauty. John James Audubon visited the Keys in 1832, sighting and drawing 22 new birds for his “Birds of America” folio. At the house, you can view many of his works as well as various exhibits that showcase life in the 19th century. The gardens are a sight to behold as well. After you hear a marvelous account of the history of the house and the property by a knowledgeable guide, you are free to roam among the many tropical flowers in the garden. Be sure to see the koi fish pond and the 1850’s medicinal herbal garden.
Where to go when you’re ready for a slice of award-winning key lime pie or a bit of local history with a world-famous cocktail—head to Old Town between Simonton and Greene. Here’s where the renowned Sloppy Joe’s Bar has been serving locals, celebrities and travelers of all walks of life since 1933. Whether you’re hungry for some hearty fare or thirsty for your favorite beverage, Sloppy Joe’s is a true Key West tradition and a must-see! Don’t miss a taste of Key West’s original wine at the Key West Winery, where the wine is made of fruits like oranges, mangos and tangerines—but no grapes! A truly unique taste bud experience. There’s also a fantastic variety of shops for those who are looking for gifts, collectibles and clothing.
Believe It or Not!, you’ll love this odd-itorium where Robert Ripley’s extraordinary displays and artifacts wow guests from all around the world. More than 500 different items are on exhibition for people of every age to wonder about. Take your time and see if you can figure out if it’s real or if it’s not!
Old Town Trolley is a convenient way to explore Duval Street while maximizing your vacation time. Meet the aquatic creatures that surround the island at the Key West Aquarium, or dine like a local in one of the many restaurants down the strip. With stops throughout Key West, you can hop on and off at the sites you want to visit and learn about the rest during our fully narrated 90 minute historic sightseeing tour. Find the lowest price and money-saying packages by purchasing tickets direct through our website.
Things To Do Near Duval Street
One of the hottest spots to be in Key West is the world famous Duval Street. You could spend an entire afternoon or evening wandering up and down this well-known stretch and you’ll quickly discover why so many people flock here. The character and personality of Key West comes to life in a variety of celebrated restaurants, bars, art galleries, locally owned shops and much more.
For a taste sensation you won’t find anywhere else on the island, stop in at Turtle Kraals Key West Restaurant located directly on the historic waterfront on Margaret Street. Sample some of their amazing ceviche, which they prepare using fresh fish, an array of citrus juices, and spices. Be sure to head upstairs to the Tower Bar to enjoy your meal as you gaze out at the beautiful water and if you’re lucky, you’ll be just in time to witness Turtle Kraals legendary Turtle Races.
Just a short distance from Turtle Kraals, on Caroline Street, is a longstanding Key West favorite. Pepe’s Café first opened its doors in 1909 making it the oldest eating-house in the Florida Keys. They serve up everything from mouthwatering breakfasts that include hearty omelets, pancakes, home fries, grits and granola to burgers, blackened fish sandwiches at lunch and juicy steaks and pork chops at dinner. Eat to your heart’s content, get your original Pepe’s Café t-shirt and don’t forget to sample the homemade Key Lime Pie.
Located at 830 Caroline Street, this art gallery began showcasing a variety of artistic works in 2007 when locals Tony Gregory and Christine Scarsella decided it was time to fulfill their dream. A two-story building just one block from the Key West Harbor, Art@830 features everything from paintings and jewelry to glass art and sculptures on the first floor and Tony’s studio on the second floor. The gallery is among others in this historic neighborhood, and hosts an art walk every first Thursday of the month from 6-9pm.
A significant part of American History, this lovely Key West museum on Front Street was where President Harry Truman came for a quick getaway and ended up staying for 175 days. As many who visit Key West do, the President fell in love with the island. During his time here, he lived, played and worked, running the country from this historic site, including holding many important government meetings and events. The house is now a museum and offers visitors a chance to see many of Truman’s personal items, furniture and artifacts. Guided tours are led by knowledgeable docents who will share with you the fascinating history of the house, facts about Harry Truman and the many other notable figures who have visited and stayed here throughout its past.
This gallery has a wide variety of contemporary tropical art by Amanda Johnson, a local artist who captures the many facets of life in Key West. From paintings of coconut palms, the sea and the famous Key West sunset to works that feature resident roosters, local hangouts and much more, the charm of the island is exuded through the many original pieces. Walk in, enjoy the tropical music in the background and feel free to get your own slice of paradise in the form of one of their many exceptional masterpieces available for sale.
Located in a bright green and yellow storefront at 802 Duval Street, Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Pie Shoppe was founded more than 20 years ago. Since then, Kermit’s has established a reputation for its tasty Key lime creations – including being recognized as having the best Key Lime Pie by Food Network, National Geographic and Paula Deen. Visitors and locals are drawn in for their famous pie and their array of other unique Key Lime products including cookies, salsa, taffy, jellybeans, tea, olive oil, chutney and much more. Their Duval Street shop is the perfect place to grab some Key Lime delights to bring home after your Key West vacation—and to lounge on the front porch as you indulge your taste buds with a Key Lime Pie Bar dipped in dark chocolate.
History thrives at the Crowne Plaza La Concha where vintage Key West meets modern day. Built in 1926, the Crowne Plaza La Concha is located on Duval Street, just a few blocks away from all the excitement and hustle of Old Town. Imagine sitting in the same lobby that President Truman sat in or staying in the same suite where Ernest Hemingway penned “To Have and Have Not”.
The oldest house in South Florida was built in 1829 by Captain Francis Watlington who was, among other things, a wrecker. Watlington, his wife and their nine daughters lived in the house for many decades. A beautiful example of the kind of colonial architecture found in the Caribbean, the house is now a museum that welcomes visitors from around the world. Guests see gold that was salvaged from shipwrecks, paintings, model ships and a separate kitchen. Furnishings, carpets and the house décor all reflect the era of the wreckers and their success that made Key West the richest city in America at one time. There’s also a lovely garden with benches offering a shady spot to relax. Learn a little history, admire the ancient architecture and more at the Oldest House Museum.
As part of the San Carlos Institute, which was founded in 1871 to help the Cuban community in Key West, the San Carlos Theater offers a variety of entertaining productions throughout the year. It’s the first and oldest theater in Key West, and was once a home to touring ballets, opera and theater companies. Today the San Carlos Theater, after a magnificent restoration, offers concerts and other theatrical events.
For those who love film and not the mainstream box-office variety, Tropic Cinema in Key West has got a ticket just for you. The theater was founded after a group of disenchanted film buffs got together to bring unique documentary, independent and foreign films to Key West. The group, now called the Key West Film Society, rapidly gained support from the community and soon the Tropic Cinema was created. Today the cinema has a large following and is home to the area’s best alternative films. The Tropic is a full-time, triplex theater, a cultural center and gathering place. Within the large lobby, many special events are held including jazz concerts and literary lectures.
Established in 1832, St. Pauls Episcopal Church is the oldest church in South Florida. The current church is the fourth to occupy this location, the previous churches being destroyed by fire and hurricanes. Visitors today will find a magnificent collection of stained glass windows and free organ concerts Monday through Friday at 12:15 by music director Joe Lowe.
The Key West Post office is done in the Martello style, similar to the East and West Martello Civil War forts on the island. If you need a stamp or to mail a postcard or package, stop in and see the post office that has been taking care of residents and visitors alike for nearly 200 years.