My husband has always wanted to visit Key West, so for our anniversary we decided to try somewhere new. We booked our trip and then I started researching to see things that we should do while we were there. It was then that I discovered that we were visiting Key West during Fantasy Fest(one of their biggest festivals) where the town goes crazy getting dressed up (or undressed, but covering their body with body paint or tassels). This is definitely not the time to visit Key West with your kids. There are festivities daily, and at night as you walk up and down Duval Street you can stop in the different bars and restaurants for live music and check out the crazy outfits everyone is wearing.
We flew from LA to Miami and then took a connecting flight to Key West. The connecting flight was only a 30-minute flight. We stayed at the Sheraton Suites Key West. The hotel provides shuttle service to the hotel from the airport (we didn't know this and spent $20 for a cab), as well as a complimentary shuttle into town and back to the hotel (we used this shuttle quite often). We had a lovely 1-bedroom suite, which was very spacious and even included a refrigerator and microwave. The hotel is located right across the street from Smathers Beach and is a 15-minute drive into town.
We love live music so it was great to be able to walk down the street and hear various bands playing. We were even lucky enough to catch a Grateful Dead band one night at a place called Schooner Wharf Bar.
There are a number of things to do in Key West and to get acclimated in the beginning I took the Conch Tour Train, which is a 90-minute tour throughout Key West with 4 different stops where you can hop on and off. The driver gives you a history of Key West as he takes you through the tour. I stopped to visit The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. You can take a self-guided tour, or they offer guided tours. The guided tours are very interesting as you get the inside scoop on so many stories. They also show a 10-minute film. The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is near Hemingway's House. There are beautiful butterflies flying around and you can get some beautiful pictures. The Southernmost Point is also nearby, so be sure to stop there as well. Mallory Square is a popular area where at night everyone comes to hang out and watch the street entertainers while watching the sunset. The Key West Aquarium is located in Mallory Square, and is a cute little aquarium where they have scheduled feedings and a touch tank. Ripley's Believe It Or Not Ripley's Believe It Or Not is nearby as well, and always fun to learn about things you find hard to believe. They also have a tunnel you walk through that feels like you are spinning in the circle. The next day we toured Harry S. Truman Little White House. We had a very knowledgeable guide who informed us of the history of the house, the numerous guests, and back stories on Harry S. Truman. Very interesting.
Our first night we had a fabulous dinner at Tavern N Town. We started out with a margherita pizza, which was really good. I then had the petite caprese salad and the prime rib, and both were fantastic. They have a great bar with wonderful martinis. I really enjoyed my key lime martini.
We also found a great pizza place right off of Duval Street called Paradise Pizza. Joshua who was working there was super nice, and we actually went back there a couple of times because it was so good.
One evening we took a sunset sail on a Sabago Watersports catamaran. Unfortunately it was a cloudy day and we didn't get much of a sunset, but the crew was super nice and provided drinks and appetizers as we sailed around in the water.
Dinner at Michaels was great. They have indoor and outdoor dining. We had a nice table outside. They start by serving warm bread with honey butter (yum). We had the best French onion soup I have ever had, and I enjoyed their corn and crab clam chowder soup special. For dinner I selected the filet al Forno from their lite side menu. I really enjoyed being able to order smaller portions so that I could save room for the chocolate volcano cake....heaven.
We drove from Key West to Miami in 3 hours and stopped at Mrs. Mac's Kitchen in Key Largo for lunch. It was very crowded but we still got great service. We enjoyed the Caribbean style crab cakes, their famous Philadephia Steak Sandwich, and an order of their wings. They are known for their key lime pie, but we were just too full to try it. Next time...
We stayed at the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, which is located right across the street from the beach. We had a beautiful suite with an ocean view. Unfortunately we had bad weather while we were there, so we never got the chance to hang out on the beach there.
We had rented a car but it was much easier to use Uber while we were there. We took an Uber to Las Olas for dinner at Grille 401. We enjoyed the grilled artichoke with remoulade sauce that was very flavorful, Caesar Salad which we both loved, and the prime rib that was cooked to perfection and served with parmesan potatoes. There was nice live music in the bar area. The restaurant was packed when we walked in at 7:00. After dinner we took an Uber to Cafe del Mar to see our favorite guitarist, Alex Fox. He is truly an amazing guitarist and if you ever have the opportunity to see him perform, you should.
The next morning I went to breakfast at La Bonne Crepe on Las Olas Blvd. They have both crispy and soft crepes. I preferred the soft crepe and really enjoyed my Nutella crepe.
For dinner we went to Asia Bay Restaurant, also located on Las Olas. They have a very large menu, including sushi and Thai, so we tried a variety of dishes including the miso soup, spring rolls, tempura vegetables, fried rice, diced steak, and the Usuzukuri, which is thin slices of tuna, salmon, and white fish with scallions and sesame seeds in a ponzu sauce. Everything was delicious.
Our last night we had dinner at Luigi's Tuscan Grill, where we enjoyed a wonderful Caesar Salad with homemade oven-roasted croutons. They are known for their pizza, so we tried the "tomato pie" (aka cheese pizza), which was amazing. The crust was wonderful. For dinner I had the Ricotta and Pear ravioli with a gorgonzola cream sauce and topped with white truffle oil, which was so different and so tasty.
Our last day we visited Coconut Grove to have lunch and do some shopping; however, the area is not what is used to be. After lunch at Harry's Pizzeria, where we had a great pizza and their most popular item, Warm Brussels Sprouts & Stracciatella, sliced pears, pistachios, torn herbs, in a creamy parmigiana, we drove to Miami airport to fly home.
While Key West was fun and exciting during Fantasy Fest, I look forward to returning when there is not a festival going on in order to enjoy a relaxing tropical vacation without the added excitement. I would like to thank Key West for hosting me for my activities in Key West.