Discover a different side of paradise only locals get to experience! From the local cuisine that showcases the flavors of the Conch Republic, to the hidden gem hot spots that only homegrown islanders know about. If you want to experience Key West like a true local, this guide is made just for you.

Southernmost Experiences

Often referred to as Miami’s backyard, Key West is the southernmost island in the Florida Keys. These spots around the island highlight this unique location. Hit up any of these fun places and see just how far south paradise takes you!

Snorkel the Reef

The Florida Keys is home to North America’s only living barrier reef and the third largest in the world.

Go Parasailing

Soar up to 300 feet above the crystal clear Key West waters for a birds-eye-view. You could even spot a turtle or stingray.

Tour the Hemingway Home & Museum

Visit the house Hemingway called home in the 1930s. You may even spot a six-toed cat!

Enjoy Margaritas & Cheeseburgers in Paradise

You can never go wrong with a burger from Hard Rock Cafe. And the best margarita can be found at First Flight, especially during happy hour.

Sample the Key Lime Pie

Grab a slice of Key Lime pie on a stick from Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe. You can even choose to have a slice dipped in chocolate!

Rooster exploring Key West around all the locals

Fun Local Customs & Quirks

Every place has its own customs and rituals. What may seem silly to you, is just island-living for us. Explore some of our quirkiest and fun local characteristics with these popular suggestions.

  • Locals are called “Conchs”.
  • Watch out for chickens roaming around the island – they are the true owners.
  • Take advantage of the “Southernmost Instagrammable Moments”; Like the Southernmost Buoy and the Mile Marker 0 sign, both on Whitehead Street. Of course, Duval street at night too.
  • Sunset Celebrations every day at Sunset! Watch at Mallory Square or experience this magical moment on Fury Commotion on the Ocean to escape the crowds.
  • Rent a bicycle for an eco-friendly way to explore all the little side streets in Old Town.

Two people sitting on the beach

Hidden Gems Only A Local Would Know

When in Rome, do like the Romans. When in Key West, do like the islanders! These are our favorite hidden gems that only a true local would know about. Get lost in these Conch Republic staples and see what life is like for people living in paradise.

Explore sandbars and mangroves in the backcountry. Experience this on the Island Adventure Eco Tour.

Besame Mucho

The best boutique on the island.

Tropic Cinema

Everything you could want in a movie theatre complete with a popcorn bar.

Fisherman’s Cafe

Unique seafood restaurant located in the Historic Seaport that compliments the fresh local flavors of old Key West.

families enjoying the sunset in mallory square in key west

Places For People Watching

What if we told you Key West had some real characters? If you don’t believe us, just take a look for yourself. Get a glimpse of the charming locals that make up the Key West community at these excellent people-watching locations.

The Garden of Eden

You’ve just gotta see the place for yourself!

Mallory Square

A beautiful spot to watch a Key West sunset where you can find a wide variety of street performers and local artists selling their handmade treasures.

Schooner Wharf

A great outdoor bar with quirky characters located in the Key West Historic Seaport.

A must-visit location as a Key West local: the Green Parrot Bar

Cocktails & Drinks

Shaken or stirred? On the rocks or neat? The possibilities are endless in paradise. Sip on island vibes with our favorite cocktails and drinks around Key West.


Hello, Martini Monday? Kick-off your week with a Pineapple Pizazz or Key Lime Pie Martini.

Point 5

Upstairs at Nine One Five. Start your evening with a classic cocktail such as the Cool as a Cucumber or a glass of wine from their extensive wine list.

Blue Heaven

Always a classic! Whether you’re stopping by for breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner, Blue Heaven has you covered with a variety of Mimosas and delicious cocktails.

Conch Farm

Best happy hour! A happy hour with 2-for-1 drinks daily from 4 pm – 7 pm with the best seaport views.

Green Parrot

Everyone’s favorite barLocated just off Duval Street, swing in for a Root Beer Barrel and you will not be disappointed.


Well, those are the picks. Now you get a real taste of life as a local. There’s a reason people come to paradise and never leave. If you tackle all the spots on this list, you may just become a permanent vacationer. Who knows, we always love adding more people to our Key West community!

Last Updated 03/18/2024