How to do Key West the Right Way
Key West has become a major tourist destination for it’s wonderful nightlife, delicious food, and sandy beaches. It’s array of Cuban flare and historic beauty has made it into a must-see in Florida. Luckily, I’m only a car ride away, which makes it a frequent destination for my friends and I. If you’re heading down to Margaritaville anytime soon, I have compiled a list of must-do’s for city. Keep in mind though, everyone runs on island time.
WHERE TO STAY
Everyone knows Key West is notorious for pricey hotels. For this reason, I ventured out of Key West and began searching for hotels in Stock Island- an island just outside of Key West (about a 15 minute drive to Duval Street). The Perry Hotel Key West was at the top of this list. With it’s modern yet beachy flair, it caught my eye pretty quickly. The hotel sits directly on a marina, making it extremely easy to book fishing charters, dolphin excursions, and snorkeling trips. The hotel also had a beautifully decorated bar, two restaurants, and a free shuttle to the main part of town. I was sold! When I arrived, I was immediately greeted with a complimentary, and generously poured, glass of prosecco. I was given a small tour of the hotel grounds and then taken to my room. Everyone was extremely attentive and helpful. Because the hotel is new, the rooms were in pristine condition.
Saturday morning we had breakfast at their restaurant, Matts Stock Island. The breakfast was INCREDIBLE. They served dishes from the Cuban Croque (a delicious twist on the French croque madame and Cuban sandwich) to various eggs benedicts. The menu was right up my alley (and highly instagrammable ;)) If I have to recommend a place to stay, this would be it. It is away from the hustle and bustle of Key West, yet close enough to be right in the middle of the action within 10 minutes.
WHERE TO EAT
There are some great places to eat in Key West and many are hidden on side streets or off the beaten path. I don’t necessarily recommend eating on Duval Street unless your main intention is to people watch. There are a few solid places, but if you want great food, venture a few streets over. Below is a list of my favorites (in no particular order).
Hogfish bar and grill (right before key west)
Great fish and great atmosphere. Their most famous dish, unsurprisingly, is their hog fish sandwich. You can’t stop in without grabbing one of those. This is a famous locals spot so you know you’re getting the best fish in the Keys.
One of the more popular spots to eat is just around the corner from Duval Street. Blue Heaven has become the place to be Sunday mornings if you like mimosas, live music, a great eggs benedict, and unfortunately, a long wait. Making a reservation is highly recommended. It is also my favorite place in Key West for key lime pie (which is a must). The merengue is twice the size of the pie!
Better Than Sex
The name says it all. This spot is definitely one of a kind and a must-visit in Key West. Serving only decadent desserts and beverages, this spot is perfect for a date or even a group of friends. The ambiance is dark and seductive, adding to the whole “better than sex” vibe. The menu is provided to you on an Ipad which allows you to see what youre ordering. I recommend the wine rimmed with chocolate, red velvet cheesecake, and the chcoclate and brie grilled cheese.
Cuban Coffee Queen
Do I need to go into depth with this one? Get your coffee fix RIGHT HERE.
BOs Fish Wagon
This little shack is located right off the water on the corner of a parking lot. It might not be the most attractive location, but the fish sandwiches are definitely worth the visit. Plus, you’ll have baby chickens running circles around your feet!
Glazed donuts is a great shop that sells, yes you guessed it, donuts. From maple bacon to plain glazed, you will not be disappointed. This spot is perfect for a quick treat after a big meal or even for breakfast. Be wary, they tend to sell out pretty quickly.
Fritas Cuban Shack
This shack is located right around the corner from Green Parrot Bar, one of the most famous bars in Key West. If you’re looking to break your diet, this is the right spot for you. Serving delicious (and cheesy) fritas, empanadas, Cuban coffee, and more, you really cant go wrong. I highly recommend ordering the frita with two patties and a fried egg. ** not for the faint hearted **
WHAT TO DO
Key West is notorious for its nightlife. Most people, including myself, will head down there just for a night on Duval Street. They don’t believe in DJs, so don’t expect to find one. On Duval, its all live music played by local, and extremely talented, bands. If you see hoards of bachelorette parties, you know you’re in the right place. Below is another list of famous spots on the street, although it is recommended to bar hop until you can’t sing “Sweet Caroline” anymore.
Duval Street Bar Hop
Sloppy joes bar
The Smallest Bar