Travel Guide: Key West

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I'll be honest, I can be pretty picky when it comes to the places that I take a liking too. My hometown is Washington D.C., which I generally consider a clean and beautiful city that is full of history - so I tend to love other places that embody similar characteristics. I was thus pleasantly surprised at how quickly I fell in love with Key West.

I knew nothing much about the city going into it which meant every little thing from the chickens roaming the streets to the sky blue painted on the ceilings of porches were truly small wonders. One of my favorite moments was just reading a book on the porch under blooming jasmine on a muggy night - so simple and yet so lovely. I was there in the off-season, so there weren't huge amounts of tourists roaming around, but it was super hot and humid the entire time. I didn't mind the weather at all, but if you're sensitive to the heat you might want to keep the weather in mind when planning when to go.

If you're interested in where I stayed and where a portion of these photos were taken, it's a vacation rental called the Villa Tropicale. I highly recommend it if you're traveling with a big group. It's absolutely beautiful, crazy aesthetically pleasing, and a five minute walk from the beach. Now on to the recommendations!

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Good Eats

  • La Grignote: An adorable French bakery with great breakfast and a resident pup named Léa!
  • The Banana Café: This bistro has some serious tropical 1920s vibes, complete with pictures of Josephine Baker. Both breakfast and lunch are great!
  • Hot Tin Roof: The best place to be if you want to watch the sunset during dinner. The great food doesn't hurt.
  • Bruschetta: This little spot is in the midst of the most touristy area, but don't let that deter you. It's super solid Italian food and they have possibly the best bruschetta I've ever had.
  • Firefly: This Southern food spot is a necessary stop on your trip, I promise. 
  • Cupcake Sushi: Cutest dessert ever?? Quite possibly. These bite size cupcakes look just like sushi and are amazing.

Good Sights

  • Higgs Beach: If you want to go to the beach, I recommend this one. Beyond the typical beach stuff, there are some great historical spots like the AIDS Memorial, African Slave Cemetery, and the West Martello, which was once a fort and now houses a botanical garden.
  • Ghost Tour: A little disclaimer, this tour was not scary (unless you're really freaked out by creepy dolls, in which case you may want to avoid Robert), but it was very informative. I learned a ton of Key West history, including some bizarre stories. Plus if you want to take a tour, it's nice to take this one since it's at night and the temperature will have cooled off a bit.
  • Hemingway House: Go for the beautiful architecture and fascinating history, stay for the six-toed cats - there are 43 of them on the property!
  • Put Your Walking Shoes On: My biggest recommendation is just to get out there and walk. It's a very walkable island and it's the best way to see as much as possible. Some of the most fun I had was just walking to and from places, observing the wildlife and admiring the beautiful historic houses. Another great thing to do is walk to a bodega and get coffee and Cuban bread for breakfast!
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