Sure, come for the party atmosphere, but while you are here explore the Cuban side of Key West. There are several sites of Cuban historical significance in Old Town Key West and along Duval Street. Although several have been repurposed to cater to the tourist trade, you can still find the Cuban heart and soul of Key West.
T-shirts, posters, and pedestrian souvenirs mingle with ceramics and fine art, all with a Cuban theme.
HOURS: Daily 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The tourists may snap up the pink grapefruit marmalade and key lime jelly, but locals come here for gourmet quality foods: produce, high quality meats and seafood, even a sushi counter.
HOURS: Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. | Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Look for these classic cigar maker's homes along Elizabeth Street. A few are now guesthouses that rent by the week.
This neo-classical style building has been the center of Cuban culture in Key West for more than 85 years. Jose Marti was a frequent visitor to what he fondly named "La Casa Cuba," the Cuban House. A museum and library containing Cuban historical documents are open to the public. There are also regular programs presented in the Institute's Opera House, a large auditorium that has hosted such greats as Enrico Caruso.
HOURS: Friday to Sunday noon to 6:00 p.m.
LENGTH OF VISIT: Allow one hour.
The house, built for cigar magnate E. H. Gato, Jr., is a large, imposing Classic Revival style structure. After its completion in 1885, the owner had the house jacked up, moved, and turned around so that the building's porches would enjoy the cooling shade away from the late afternoon sun. The Gato House is now home to the Southernmost Point Guesthouse.
This was the de facto headquarters of Marti's Cuban Independence Movement. In the 70s, it bore the name "La Terraza de Marti," but now goes by "La Te Da" a name that could only happen in Key West! The La Te Da Hotel is an adults-only resort hotel that includes a fine-dining restaurant called Alice's Restaurant.
The Alfonso/Diaz Carrasco House on Eaton Street is a two-story Classic Revival house complete with a tower and gingerbread trim. The Cuban consul to the United States used the house from 1906 on. It includes a second building separated by a garden and pool. The two properties are currently apartment buildings.
This large building on Mallory Square is where Immigration clerks processed thousands of Cuban refugees into the United States during the 19th century. Home to the Cuban restaurant El Mesón de Pepe, there is also a small museum depicting Cuban life in early Key West with depictions of a typical barbershop, spirited games of dominos, and cigar making.
HOURS: Daily 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
LENGTH OF VISIT: Allow 20 to 30 minutes.
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