Local Happenings | Key West Activities

It’s hard to be bored when in Key West.  Key West attractions range from museums and national/state parks to the famed “Southernmost Point” and the nightly held “Sunset Celebration” just to name a few.  There is something for everyone to explore and enjoy in Key West!

Rainy Day Fun!!

Key West – while known for its sunny skies & crystal blue waters – also has some fabulous indoor activities PERFECT for a wet, rainy day! Here are just a few of our favorites…

Tropic Cinema; At Home in Key West; Key West vacation1. Catch a Flick
Soak up some big screen fun at one of two movie theatres on the island.  Regal Cinemas located on Roosevelt Boulevard hosts more of the newer, main stream movies, while Tropic Cinema downtown Key West shows more artsy & classic films.  Both theaters have complete movie listings, trailers, & show times online with the option to purchase tickets in advance and skip the wait! Check them both out to get a taste of what’s hot & new on the filmmaking front, as well as a glimpse at some fabulous timeless pictures or those not generally shown on the big screen (at least not recently). Whether you have action junkies, horror lovers, romantics, or old souls in your group, you’re sure to find something for everyone.  So load up the gang, pick a movie or 2, and settle in with some popcorn!
For more information, visit Regal Cinemas and Tropic Cinema 

ecodiscovery; At Home in Key West; Key West vacation2. Visit the Eco-Discovery Center
The 6000+ square foot facility is bursting with fun, interactive exhibits sure to entertain any island visitor! Explore Mote Marine’s “The Living Reef” display containing a 2500 gallon reef tank filled with fish & live corals, a live reef cam, a video about coral spawning, and other interactive coral stations.  Step inside a mock Aquarius - the only undersea laboratory dedicated to marine science — that lets you take a virtual 1600ft dive to experience the beautiful marine life and see how scientists work under sea!  Investigate the “Terrestrial Exhibit” highlighting above-water eco-systems including upland pine lands, hardwood hammocks, mangroves, beaches. Other showcases underline dunes, seagrss flats, and deep shelf underwater communities — many with interactive tanks, touch stations, and flat screens.  Lastly, be sure to visit the gift shop (translation ladies…SHOPPING) for unique gifts, book, etc. Proceeds go towards educations programs to further educate people on the environment so shop away!!
(PS…admission is FREE!)
For more information, please visit www.eco-discovery.com

Key West Lighthouse; At Home in Key West; Key West vacation3. Tour the Key West Lighthouse
Take a full tour of this infamous Key West attraction stuffed with intriguing records, untold stories, and fascinating artifacts.  This little piece of rich, Key West history was essential in assuring the safe arrival of both military and commercial vessels navigating the shallow, reef-laden waters off the Florida Keys, and has seen many a visitor and story in her time! For example, did you know that when it opened in 1848 the lighthouse boasted a woman Keeper — nearly unheard of during the 19th center!? (we LOVE that we have always dared to be different!). Technological advances did away with the need for someone to fill this role and today this sentinel of the sea stands as a museum dedicated to Key West’s maritime heritage and to the men & women who bravely kept the light burning through the threats of war and weather. Visitors can walk up the 88 steps to the top of the light as well as explore the belongings, photographs, and words of the many Keepers and their families who lived a now obsolete – yet unforgettable – way of life. Definitely an experience unmatched anywhere else!
For more information, please visit www.hwahs.org/visit/lighthouse-keepers-quarters

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Happy Memorial Day!!!

For many people, Memorial Day is the traditional beginning of summer — and what screams “Summer” better than a day at the Beach? Key West has some fantastic seaside spots to set up for the day & celebrate summertime in true island style!!

fortzachbeachFort Zachary Taylor Beach
Located at the very southwestern tip of the island in the Fort Zachary Taylor State Park (through Truman Annex at the end of Southard Street), Fort Zach Beach is considered one of the best beaches in Key West. Typically more quiet, this pristine island spot features large palm-shaded picnic areas complete with charcoal grills; a gift store and small restaurant (Cayo Hueso); a rocky stretch on the west shoreline great for fishing; & some of the best snorkeling spots around! A rental hut offers various beach equipment including chairs, floats, and snorkel gear & the beach has a nice restroom & changing facility with showers.
Visitors can also enjoy narrated tours of Fort Taylor, the fortress that served as headquarters for the U.S. Navy’s East Gulf Coast blockade squadron during the Civil War. This squadron deterred numerous supply ships from reaching and leaving Confederate ports in the Gulf of Mexico, and the fortress still houses cannons and other war construction!

higgsbeach2

Higgs Beach & Beach Park
Located at the end of Reynold’s Street on the Atlantic Ocean side of the island, this little piece of paradise boasts a diverse array of activities & offerings.  Attractions include a Civil War Era Fort (listed on the National Register of Historic Places); “Salute! On the Beach” – a lovely beach side cafe featuring a lighter, Caribbean-influenced cuisine; the largest African Refugee Burial Ground in this hemisphere; & the only shore-accessible underwater marine park in the United States.
Activities include swimming, snorkeling, sunbathing, beach volleyball, tennis, pickleball & a Children’s Playground.  Tropical Water Sports (a beach concessionaire) offers a broad array of beach accessories for rent including beach chairs, umbrellas, kayaks, and paddle-boards, among others.  Additionally, the historic civil war era fort known as the West Martello has served as the home of the Key West Garden Club for over 50 years and offers free self-guided tours of almost 2 acres of beautiful gardens with an ocean breeze and view.
For animal lovers, the Park hosts a large and actively utilized dog park with separate runs for small and large dogs!

smathers2Smathers Beach
Located a short distance away from Higgs Beach on the same side of the island (Atlantic Ocean), Smathers is the largest public beach in Key West and offers nearly a mile stretch of sandy, man-made beach splattered with shade-providing palms, restroom facilities, concession stands & vendors. With low surf and rarely an undertow, this seashore is ideal for small children & provides ample room to spread out and set up camp. Additional attractions include volleyball nets; picnic tables and sitting areas; bike and walking paths; & watersports rentals — jet skiing, parasailing, & windsurfing!
Visitors also have access to a public boat ramp, street or lot parking (some metered), and a front row seat for one of best sunrises you can see. Pick a spot to relax for the day & enjoy some of Key West’s best ocean views, or try your hand at an adrenaline-driven water activity! (We won’t judge, promise.)

**Whatever you choose to do this Memorial Day, enjoy…….and Here’s to SUMMER!!**

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Catch a Show!! —– Before They are Gone!

Looking for something to do an evening this week?  2 of Key West’s top performing theaters are kicking off the last days to catch 2 of the best shows in town!!

dogstoryA Dog Story!
Key West’s Waterfront Playhouse (deemed “The Best Professional Theater in Florida” by Florida Monthly Magazine) is hosting productions of A Dog Story, the charming musical tail, uh, tale, of Roland, a 29-year-old career-driven lawyer looking for a wife to complete his ten-year success plan. Unfortunately, Roland is pretty much inept with women. So he follows some advice of his womanizing best buddy:  “Get a dog for the summer as a chick magnet!”
Roland never suspects when he brings his tiny (and invisible-to-the-audience) Cupid to the Hamptons with him, that his world — and the worlds of his buddy Guy, the girl of his dreams Blair, and his dog trainer Miranda — are about to be turned upside down!
The snappy dialogue will make you laugh out loud & the catchy songs will alternately tickle you and tug at your heart.  Come and meet Roland, Cupid, and the rest! You’ll leave the show humming…and smiling!

Dates:          Now through May 24th!!
Times:          All Performances begin at 8pm
Location:     310 Wall Street — Just steps from the infamous Mallory Square!
For more information & to buy tickets, please visit  www.waterfrontplayhouse.org/shows/a-dog-story/ or call 305-394-7445

shortattentionShort Attention Span – Theater’s “Random Acts of Comedy”!
Key West’s Red Barn Theater (deemed “Broadway calibre theatre with an island address”) is hosting productions of Short Attention Span – Theater’s Random Acts of Comedy, a shocking laugh-packed evening of fun! Enjoy a fresh assortment of 10 minute plays by various playwrights starring various actors that are funnier & more thought provoking than ever. Red Barn is closing its 2014 season with this wildly funny & ridiculously popular little number so don’t miss it — it’s sure to leave you laughing for days to come!  (contains explicit Adult Language)

Dates:          Now through May 31st!!
Times:          All Performances begin at 8pm
Location:     319 Duval Street (rear)
For more information & to buy tickets, please visit www.redbarntheatre.com/short-attention-span-theatres-happy-meals/#tix or call 305-296-9911

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May 15-18: 1st Annual “Air-Land-Sea Poker Run”!!!

AirLandSea, At Home in Key West, Key West vacationWant to be part of the Florida Keys story?!  Then don’t miss this exciting motorsports event NEVER before staged anywhere on the planet!!

Fans & aficionados can watch history in the making as participants from around the globe enjoy up to 5 days of motoring, boating & flying in tropical paradise. The entire event will be filmed by a crew of professional videographers (from helicopters, truck mounted cameras & drone quad-cams) for a feature-length Fox Sports TV Special capturing the excitement as groups rally from Miami to Key West by Air, Land & Sea!

The Run kicks of Friday 5/15 with departures from Ft. Lauderdal & Miami.  Stopovers & checkpoints occur in Key Largo, Islamorada, Duck Key & Marathon with the final Destination landing in Key West. Conch Republic Seafood Company in the Historic Seaport hosts the Key West Poker Run Village Parties Friday 5/15 & Saturday 5/16 featuring a car show, a boat & yacht show, Poker Run video coverage on the Jumbo Video Screen, & a Dinner Party complete with Awards & Poker Run prizes. Follow the action from start to finish or meet up with participants at designated hotspots!

Interested racers can still Register via the Florida Powerboat Club — Motor Bikes: $295 (1 rider), Cars & Coaches: $495, Boat, Yacht, Airplane: $695 — and fee includes:
– Poker run entry for (2) participants
– Function passes for (2) to all parties Wed – Sat
– Poke Run Hand & access to win great prizes
– Poker Run souvenir Tees & Goody Bag
– Souvenir Poker Run HG Blu-ray
– Personal photo galleries on FPC (Florida Powerboat Club) Website
– Event staff to provide reservation services for all lodging & parking
– Extensive Television, Magazine & Social Media coverage…with LIVE streaming during the event!

For more information including Registration Details & a complete Schedule of Events, please visit http://www.flpowerboat.com/key-west-air-land-sea-poker-run.html or contact Florida Powerboat Club at (954) 545-1414 or fpcevents@gmail.com

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Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Our beautiful island boasts some spectacular spots to treat mom this Mother’s Day!! These are just a few we know of sure to get the job done and put a smile on her face!

Bistro245; At Home in Key West; Key West vacationBrunch! — at Bistro 245
Bistro 245 boasts not only one of the most talked about brunches on the island, but also breathtaking views of the Key West Harbor. Enjoy casual dining inside or out (whatever tickles mom’s fancy) while you soak in magnificent waterfront scenes depicting what Key West life is all about. Their buffet wraps around much of the dining room & includes appetizers (salads, sushi, seared tuna, imported & domestic chilled meats, etc.); a raw bar; warm entrée dishes (rack of lamb, crab stuffed shrimp, scallops, grilled lobster, smoked conch, salmon, etc.); dozens of side dishes; mimosas & champagne; & a dessert section full of fruit tarts, chocolate lava cake, vanilla Crème Brulee, cheesecakes, pastries, & more — hallelujah!
Mother’s Day brunch is served from 10am-2pm; $46 per person.
For more information, please call 305-292-4320

PierHouse, At Home in Key West, Key West vacationLunch (AND Spa Pampering!) — at The Pier House
The Pier House Resort & Spa is featuring 2 amazing specials this Mother’s Day!
– Enjoy a delightful brunch/lunch buffet at Harbourview Café with pristine views of the Gulf of Mexico & their private white sand beach.  Selections include a vast array of island-inspired Florida Keys favorites, Caribbean cuisine, &  fresh local seafood.
– OR treat mom to a day at the Spa complete with lunch!!  Save $50 on their Ultimate Spa Sensation package which includes a full milk & honey body treatment, a 15minute massage, a botanical facial, a spa manicure & pedicure, and a spa-inspired lunch. She’ll leave looking & feeling her best —- the least you can do for her after all mom has done for you!
Harbourview Café Brunch is served from 11am-3pm; $44 per person ($19.95 for children)
For more information, please call 305-296-4600

CafeSole, At Home in Key West, Key West vacationDinner — at Café Sole
This decadent little Key West jewel is known for turning out amazing dishes time and again that leave customers raving about them for weeks! This Mother’s Day they are featuring a 3-course dinner full of delightful treats that promise to follow suit.  Guests enjoy choice of an appetizer (including their popular Grilled Portobello Carpaccio Flower with white truffle oil & Parmesan cheese!); choice of an entrée (ranging from Rack of Lamb & Roasted Duck to Prime Rib & Hogfish Sole); and a dessert trio comprised of Chocolate Zabayon, fresh Florida strawberries & Vanilla Crème Brulee — oh my goodness!!  If you are looking for a fantastic, unique place to pamper mom, Café Sole certainly makes the cut!
Mother’s Day dinner is served from 5-10pm; $33 per person.
For more information, please call 305-294-0230

 Happy Mother’s Day!!!
from your friends at “
At Home in Key West” 

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19th Annual Key West Songwriter’s Festival!!

songwriters3, At Home in Key West, Key West Vacation, Songwriters FestivalThe largest festival of its kind in the world!!
— 5 days, 50+ shows, & 150 Performers!!

The Key West Songwriters Festival is the largest festival of its kind in the world!  The event showcases musical magic from more than 150 of Nashville’s Performing Songwriters as they take to our unique Key West stages to showcase their Chart-Topping Original Music.  Enjoy 5 days & 5 nights of Live Music staged in numerous intimate audience-friendly island settings including boats, bars, beaches, tropical resorts, intimate listening rooms and Main Stage events!!  Highlights include chart-topping RCA recording artist Sara Evans; Jeff Hanna, founding member of the iconic Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; The World Famous Headliners, a rock band comprised of five leading songwriters & musicians; and many, MANY more!!

In its 19th year running the festival has come to be one of the most loved & sought-after events Key West hosts, introducing music lovers to the faces, voices & stories behind the songs. Many writers return year after year to perform their tunes for adoring audiences as well as preview & reveal new melodies!

For complete details including the full performance schedule, please visit www.keywestsongwritersfestival.com 

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Happy Hour HotSpot!! —– Santiago’s Bodega

santiagos2, At Home in Key West, Key West Vacation

the “At Home in Key West” crew
at Santiago’s Bodega

As promised, we’ve been busy “researching” the island’s best Happy Hour spots!! The At Home in Key West crew recently celebrated our “We Survived the Season Party” at Santiago’s Bodega — one of our all-time favorites — and one of the hottest happy hour finds around!

This fabulous little Key West gem is tucked away in a quaint residential section of Old Town & offers a truly unique dining experience.  Santiago’s features over 30 delectable tapas-style dishes, soups, & salads in a cozy, intimate atmosphere perfect for unwinding & story sharing.  They have an extensive selection of wines, full bar service, and some of the best Sangria ever made!! (available by the pitcher I might add.) Superb daily Chef-Selected Specials and Happy Hour promos from 3-6pm only enhance this already fantastic experience, and make it a “must-see” on your Key West to-do list.

Some of the most raved about dishes from our work meeting (ahem) last week include uber-fresh yellowfin tuna ceviche, delicious roman meatballs, melt-in-your-mouth beef tenderloin, & scrumptious puff pastries.  The brussel sprouts will knock your socks off and yes…we chose a vegetable — once you try them you’ll understand why!
You will need to call ahead to make a reservation, so be sure to include Santiago’s in your planning.  You will NOT be disappointed!

For more information or to reserve online, please visit http://www.santiagosbodega.com/key-west/

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5 Fabulous, FUN, Family-Friendly Key West Activities

Looking for some fun, entertaining island activities the whole family can enjoy?  Key West is bursting with them – here are some of our personal favorites!

lazydogs1. “Get Out!” — at Lazy Dog
— and Kayak or Paddleboard the distinctive waters & mangroves of the lower Keys!  Lazy Dog has the largest fleet of kayaks & stand up paddleboards on the island and is situated on one of the best little pieces of real estate around allowing guests to launch directly from their “office” and  immediately be enjoying tidal pools, marine life, & more. They offer eco tours, backcountry snorkel tours, and unguided rentals where they give you an easy-to-follow map complete with suggested areas to explore.  Best of all, this great island company embraces a true Key West approach to life —“have fun in all that we do!!” — how can you go wrong!!
For more information, please visit www.lazydog.com

aquarium2; At Home in Key West; key west vacation2.  “Pet a Shark!” — at the Key West Aquarium
The Key West Aquarium is a fabulous, unique & inviting attraction to visit while in town. It is home to many fascinating aquatic animals including parrotfish, moray eels, barracuda, tropical fish, tarpon, sharks & grouper and features a touch tank of small sea creatures that children can touch and feed. Guided tours take place daily at 11am, 1pm, 3pm & 4:30pm that include shark feeding and even an opportunity for guests to touch or “pet” a shark! So  stop by and get up close & personal with some of the water-life essential to the lower keys ecosystems!
For more information, please visit http://www.keywestaquarium.com/

shipwreck; At Home in Key West; key west vacation3. “Touch Treasure!” — at the Key West Shipwreck Treasure Museum
The Shipwreck Treasure Museum allows you to step back into time and discover Key West’s unique maritime heritage and how it became the richest city in the United States. Explore a fascinating warehouse surrounded by booty collected from the reefs.  Listen to tales of dangerous wrecks and daring recoveries. Discover artifacts from the shipwreck Isaac Allerton – partially salvaged when she sunk in 1865 & rediscovered in 1985, the Isaac Allerton is the richest shipwreck in Key West history.  Kids can even lift a genuine silver bar from 1656 & climb the 65′ lookout tower alerting Mr. Tift of any wrecks on the reef if need be! Gather some real Key West history as part of your holiday & make learning FUN!
For more information, please visit http://www.keywestshipwreck.com

butterfly3; At Home in Key West, key west vacation4.  “Wing-It!” — at the Butterfly & Nature Conservatory
Explore a magical & inviting oasis bursting with hundreds of the most beautiful winged creatures in nature.  Amid an impressive collection of flowering plants, cascading waterfalls and trees, you will discover a variety of some 50-60 butterfly species from around the world & over 20 exotic bird species.
Visit the Learning Center for fun facts & a rare close up of a variety of live caterpillars feeding and developing their host plants!
Top it off with a stop by the unique, vibrant Gift Shop full of butterfly and nature-related items, as well as Wings of Imagination, the gallery offering original artwork by Sam Trophia for the perfect piece of Key West memorabilia!
For more information, please visit http://www.keywestbutterfly.com

sunsetcelebration; At Home in Key West; key west vacation5.  “Celebrate!” — at the Key West Sunset Celebration
Join locals and visitors alike for this famous, nightly festival at Mallory Square!  Beginning 2 hours before sunset, the celebration explodes with live music, jugglers, clowns, psychics, artists, vendors, and delicious food & drink all along the water’s edge. The atmosphere & view have captured the love and astonishment of thousands, including iconic figures such as Mark Twain in the 1800s & Tennessee Williams in the late 20th century.  The Key West Sunset Celebration invites everyone to partake in watching the gorgeous pink & red sun dip into the Gulf of Mexico — it is one Key West experience you simply CANNOT miss!
For more information, please visit http://www.sunsetcelebration.org

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32nd Annual Conch Republic Independence Celebration

IndependenceCelebration, At Home in Key WestHAPPY BIRTHDAY CONCH REPUBLIC!!  
Want a one-of-a-kind Key West Experience to write home about? — Well this is IT!

Join locals and visitors alike as the island celebrates its secession from the United States – we have always dared to be different!  This 10-day long birthday bash is full of wacky, wonderful events including the notorious Drag (Queen) Races, conch shell blowing contests,  the Schooner Wharf Conch “Car” Show, and of course the infamous bloody battle in Key West harbor where Conch Republic vessels toss stale Cuban bread at Coast Guard vessels in a mock secession.  Also enjoy scores of live music performances, fabulous food fairs, and other enjoyable pet & family friendly activities throughout the entire gala.  This event showcases the independent & eccentric spirit that characterizes the Florida Keys!

Dates:          April 18th – 27th
Times:         *various:  see full schedule for complete details
Locations:   *several:  see full schedule for complete details

For more information including the full event schedule, please visit http://www.conchrepublick.com/schedule.htm or call 305-296-0213

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19th Annual Taste of Key West

Taste_of_Key_West_2014.4, At Home in Key West, Taste of Key West, Key WestOne word —- YUM!!!  

More than 50 Key West restaurants offer up scrumptious tapas-sized samples of their signature (and our favorite) island cuisine.  Always well attended, this culinary celebration will have you dashing from fare to fare all the while enjoying a generous selection of wines & the beautiful ocean scenery of the Truman Waterfront.  Each taste costs only between $3 -$8 & proceeds benefit AIDS Help Inc. — a noteworthy cause sure to leave you happy & full!!

Car traffic is usually heavy – so come by bike or foot and cruise on past the cars lined up. The Old Town Trolley offers free transportation for the event starting at 5:30pm at the Pier House (1 Duval Street) with stops at the Westin, La Concha, the corner of Simonton & South Street, and the Casa Marina Resort. The Trolley runs every 30 minutes until last departure from Truman Waterfront Park at 9pm.

Date:          Monday, 4/14
Time:         6-9pm
Location:   Truman Waterfront Pier at the end of Southard Street

Admission to event is FREE. Food tickets sold in $1 increments. For more information including a complete list of restaurants & wineries, visit http://www.aidshelp.cc/taste.html or call 305-296-6196.

 

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