What to see in Key West?
February 14, 2011 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Going to Key West this coming weekend. What should I absolutely not miss out on?

Details- Going with a small group of friends, all ladies. Give us some recommendations for sites, restaurants, beaches etc.
posted by citizngkar to Travel & Transportation around Key West, FL (16 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I've not keen to keywest since 2000, but what stands out in my memory still:

* Seven Fish (a fantastic restaurant).
* Day trip to the Dry Tortugas.
posted by devbrain at 9:01 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Breakfast at Sarabeth's is a must.
posted by jquinby at 9:01 AM on February 14, 2011

I love the Truman House White House
posted by Flood at 9:06 AM on February 14, 2011

Seconding "Seven Fish". Phenomenal little restaurant. Absolutely do not miss it. (I was there in July.)
posted by BobbyVan at 9:11 AM on February 14, 2011

If you have time, seconding Dry Tortugas, which are really gorgeous. Take your Dramamine well in advance though. That boat ride out was the first time I'd been seasick since I was a kid. And it was brutal.

Hemingway's house is cooler than I expected, if only for its population of polydactylic cats hanging around like a bunch of spoiled temple monkeys.
posted by Naberius at 9:13 AM on February 14, 2011

Oh wow, I'm so jealous, I love Key West. Without knowing your personal tastes, this is what would be on my itinerary for a weekend with the girls (in no particular order):

Skip sunset celebrations in Mallory Square and head up the Conch Hotel instead for the best view on the island

Have a martini or three in Virgillio's, pop 'next door' for great Italian food, or out back for the live band

Sunday brunch at Blue Heaven: arrive early, expect to wait for a table, enjoy a mamosa or two at the bar while you wait

If you fancy the beach, my personal preference is Fort Zach, but there is a larger stretch of stand round by the airport

If you have any vegetarians in your party (or just fancy skipping meat for a change) the Veggie Cafe has a great vibe and some really friendly staff (delicious food is a given)

If you wany to tour the old town and learn about it's history, the trolly tours offer a great introduction (there's a gay and lesbian tour on Saturdays; others run all week). But I'd also recommend just setting out on a walk through the streets and seeing what you discover

Nancy's secret garden and the out-of-town botanical gardens are both beautiful places to chill out and recover from a big night out

There are a number of drag shows on Duval, depending on your tastes -- Aqua is a personal, guilty favourite

Or, for more professional cabaret, there's probably something on at La Te Da's

I hope you have a brilliant weekend!
posted by londonmark at 9:17 AM on February 14, 2011

Don't expect much in the way of beaches there. The Keys are rocky mangrove islands, and most beaches there are man made.

That said, there's a nice state park with a cool beach called Bahia Honda about 30 miles north along the road to Key West. 30 miles on that road can take a long time if you get behind a slow going car pulling a boat, so it's not as close as it sounds. And look out for speed traps. The speed limit goes up and down dramatically along the road.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 9:19 AM on February 14, 2011

Oh, also! There's a little store called Besame Mucho in Bahama Village that turned into an all-time fave w/ mrs q. All sorts of great stuff in there.
posted by jquinby at 9:21 AM on February 14, 2011

Seconding the Truman Little White House and thirding Seven Fish. We also usually hit up B.O.'s Fish Wagon for a sandwich at some point, and Santiago's Bodega for tapas.
posted by ThatSomething at 9:26 AM on February 14, 2011

conch fritters. key lime pie. repeat.
posted by narcotizingdysfunction at 9:32 AM on February 14, 2011

Copious chill time for sloping around with flip-flops, watching sunsets, mild alcohol and just wandering around and going where whim, and music, takes you. Key West isn't Disney World, it's a state of mind.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:07 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, thanks everyone. Keep it coming.
posted by citizngkar at 11:11 AM on February 14, 2011

I would definitely check out the Hemingway House. I've been a few times, and even my friends that have little to no interest in Hemingway think it's a great tour.

For an excellent, lingering dinner Mangrove Mama's is top notch.

Looe Key Marine Sanctuary is just amazing. You can SCUBA if that's your thing, or just snorkel. Either way it's really something to see.

The Key Deer Sanctuary is also a unique place worth a visit. Key Deer are deer, but extremely tiny and adorable.
posted by EvilPRGuy at 2:18 PM on February 14, 2011

I was there at New Year's. For the obligatory tourist stuff, sunset at Mallory Square is worth it for the people watching, particularly if you go see the Cat Guy who seems to be the modern incarnation of Andy Kauffman. For touristy bars I liked Captain Tony's best, mostly because there was some actually good music and a somewhat local crowd. The best dinner I had was at Pisces. Quality and service in Key West varies wildly; Pisces was a proper restaurant.

For less common stuff.. I really enjoyed renting a golf cart and driving it around town to places a bit off Duval, like the cemetery and St. Mary Star of the Sea. I also wish I'd made plans to take a plane tour, either a quick ride in a biplane or the seaplane visit out to Ft. Jefferson.
posted by Nelson at 3:07 PM on February 14, 2011

oh, and some cafe cubano with the conch fritters and key lime pie.
posted by seawallrunner at 7:13 PM on February 14, 2011

The Key West cemetery is a must. Take time to find the quirky headstones that say things like "I told you I was sick" and "Devoted fan of Julio Iglesias." Here's a link http://www.keywest.com/cemetery.html.
posted by mudrick at 7:01 AM on February 25, 2011

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