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World Travel Guide > Guides > North America > United States of America > Florida > Key West

About Key West

S. founded by shipwreck salvagers in the 19th century. Uniquely different, the town celebrates its mixed population of artists, hippies, gays, lesbians, rat-race drop-outs and fishermen. Natives call themselves ‘conchs’ (pronounced konks) after a Caribbean mollusk that lives in a big shell and goes at its own pace — describing the community that calls itself the Conch Republic. Bars and boutiques cater to tourists, six-toed cats have their own veterinarian at Ernest Hemingway’s former home, and roosters rule at the base of the town lighthouse.
Key West is a funky community at the southernmost tip of the continental U.

Sightseeing:

Cruise passengers and landside tourists congregate at the celebration of sunset called Fireball, at harborside Mallory Square. Buskers include jugglers, magicians, musicians and even a troupe of performing housecats. Rent a bike to tour or buy a ticket for one of the two on-and-off, narrated trams that stop at sites such as the home where Hemingway did some of his finest writing.

Highlights

• Hemingway Home & Museum
• Duval Street
• Lighthouse Museum
• Sloppy Joe’s Bar
• Mallory Square
• Old Town district
• Truman Little White House Museum
• Mel Fisher Maritime Musuem

Tourist information:

Key West Tourist Information
1601 North Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, U.S.
Website: http://fla-keys.com/

Shopping introduction:

Shopping centres mostly on souvenirs, though there are local artists selling different wares. Most of what you’ll see on crowded Duval Street between the bars and frozen-margarita stands is tourist kitsch, including crude-slogan T-shirts. Better-quality goods can be found at the mercantile landmark of ‘Fast Buck Freddies’, 500 Duval. Caribbean handicrafts are in Bahama Village, between Whitehead and Fort streets.

Restaurants:

There is no room to grow anything here, so prices are high, and seafood is the most-common entrée, though it is prepared in every possible style. The local speciality is Key Lime pie (made from the tiny citrus), it’s even sold as a frozen treat on a stick.

When to go:

Summers are long, with both temperature and humidity around 26̊C (80̊F). Winters are milder; although it is never cold. June-November is hurricane season.

Nearest destination:

Key West.

Transfer distance:

2km (1.2 miles).

Transfer time:

10 minutes.