Florida Keys Campgrounds Logo

Insider’s Guide To Mallory Square In Key West

mallory square key west

One of the most iconic destinations in the Florida Keys – Mallory Square in Key West. This historic waterfront square has been a gathering place for locals and visitors alike for decades. It’s renowned for its vibrant atmosphere, stunning sunsets, and lively entertainment.

Mallory Square boasts stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico, making it the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy the natural beauty of the Florida Keys. You might be overwhelmed by the number of people walking around here, but that’s how you’ll feel that you’re a part of a welcoming community.

Whether you’re looking to experience the excitement of the Sunset Celebration or simply take in the sights and sounds of Key West, Mallory Square is a must-visit destination for you.

About Mallory Square Key West

about mallory square key west

Address: 400 Wall St, Key West, FL 33040-6633

Website: mallorysquare.com

Since Key West’s founding in the early 1820s, Mallory Square has served as the center of the community’s social and economic activities. It is the place where the cargo of the shipwrecks loaded by master wrecker Asa Tift would dock before being housed in his waterfront warehouses. The locals would congregate there to trade goods, chat, and news. 

After 150 years, Mallory Square remains the hub of Key West, offering dining options, retail stores, theaters, museums, live performances, and the most breathtaking sunsets you will ever see.

Here are the common shops and businesses you’ll see at Mallory Square:

  • Gift shops
  • Art galleries
  • Home goods
  • Key West treasures
  • Sweet treats
  • Coffee shops
mallory square key west accessbility

Mallory Square in Key West is generally wheelchair accessible. The area is designed to accommodate visitors of all abilities, including those using wheelchairs or mobility aids. Sidewalks are typically wide and smooth, and there are ramps and elevators in place to facilitate access to different parts of the square.

However, since Mallory Square is a historic area with some uneven terrain and cobblestone streets in certain areas, there may be some challenges for wheelchair users navigating certain sections. It’s always a good idea to check with the specific venues or attractions you plan to visit within Mallory Square to ensure they have appropriate accessibility measures in place.

Mallory Square is open to the public, and it’s one of the free things to do in Key West. You can enjoy its various attractions without having to pay an entry fee. However, keep in mind that while entry to the square itself is free, you may need to purchase tickets for specific activities or attractions within Mallory Square, such as boat tours or performances by local artists.

Tours Of Mallory Square

There are so many wonderful things to see and do in Mallory Square. Here are some tours on offer wherein you can immerse yourself in the place while having fun on your own or with your family.

Key West Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley Tour

trolley tour mallory square key west

Image Source: Viator

See the highlights of Key West with this narrated hop-on/hop-off trolley tour. Visit over 100 points of interest, encompassing Key West’s most popular attractions, accompanied by a knowledgeable guide who will walk you through the city’s history. 

Mallory Square is the first destination, located close to the Key West Aquarium in front of the sponge market. Trolleys will stop close to the shark by the American flag. The Island Juice Bar is located across the street.

From $55.60

Guided Bicycle Tour of Old Town Key West

mallory square key west biking

Image Source: Viator

Take a leisurely bicycle tour through Old Town Key West—a great way for visitors to get to know the area. Discover the history of the island and visit landmarks, including White Street Pier, Mile Marker Zero, and Mallory Square. 

Saddle up to the southernmost Point Buoy and take in the expansive views of the ocean. You may also easily fit this Key West biking tour into your calendar by selecting between morning and afternoon schedules.

From $53.00

Pirates and Treasure: Self Guided Tour of Key West's Old Town

audio tour mallory square key west

Image Source: Viator

Take an audio tour around Key West’s historic Old Town on your own, following the sun-dappled streets as they resonate with the thrilling tales of pirates, treasure seekers, and intrepid “wreckers.” You will sail from Mallory Square to the Key West Shipwreck Museum under the guidance of the eccentric Captain William Shade, the spirit of a pirate from the 1800s. 

This tour is not your typical stroll; rather, it’s a vibrant exploration of history, where each step exposes the myths that have defined this island city. The best times to do the tour are in the early morning or right before dusk when the weather is more pleasant.

From $29.99

What To Do & See At Mallory Square

The Shops at Mallory Square, Key West by Bhanu’s Kitchen Bhanu’s Rasoi

Don’t worry if you’re thinking about visiting Mallory Square — there are lots of things to do in and around the area! In fact, there are so many that it can sometimes be difficult to know where to begin! Where should you go? What should you try? Which activities do you make an effort to fit in while you’re there?

That’s why we have curated a list of shops and attractions that you must visit while you’re in Mallory Square. These are some of our recommendations:

Boutique Alexandra

Situated in the center of Old Town Key West, Boutique Alexandra features carefully chosen items focusing on contemporary and vintage accessories. The shop showcases a blend of art-deco, mid-century, early European, and chinoiserie influences with a contemporary twist, appealing to a broad range of tastes. 

The people behind it opened a retail boutique that serves as a full-service interior design studio after ten years of specializing in home interior design and maintaining vintage deals as a side business. Boutique Alexandra offers upscale design services that are completed with carefully chosen accessories and artwork from the showroom collection.

Conchita Studio

Conchita Studio is a unique artistic space. A wide variety of art forms are on display in the gallery, along with handcrafted items manufactured locally, such as coasters, jewelry trays, candles, and jewelry! 

You can also go to activities that unite the community of artists and art enthusiasts, such as paint-and-sip sessions and exhibitions. You can interact with like-minded people, pick up new skills, and share ideas.

Blue Hibiscus

Hibiscus is a brand-new, family-run jewelry store specializing in stylish, well-made fashion jewelry worldwide! They have handcrafted lines from the US, Brazil, South Africa, and other countries.

Best Restaurants at Mallory Square

There are a ton of good restaurants in and around Mallory Square. You might also want to check out the Sunset Celebration food carts for a more laid-back experience. They provide popcorn, shrimp, conch fritters, fruity drinks, and more.

Nonetheless, here’s a list of the best restaurants in and around Mallory Square:

Cuban Coffee Queen

 

Miami might be the place to go in South Florida for authentic Cuban cuisine, but Key West is showing off its culinary prowess with two Cuban Coffee Queen locations: one downtown (5 Key Lime Square) and the original storefront on the waterfront (284 Margaret Street). 

This is not a sit-down restaurant, though there are a few seats outside where you can eat. The meal is extremely simple despite the restaurant specializing in coffee and takeout. 

Cuban traditions have a big impact on cookery, and coffee is no exception. You can taste authentic Cuban coffee and classic toast here!

Favorite menu item: Cuban Coffee – iced, espresso shot, con leche, frappe, etc.

El Meson de Pepe

el meson de pepe key west

 

This Key West Cuban restaurant is a local favorite, known for its authentic food, lively and rustic setting, and live salsa music. Family-owned and operated El Meson De Pepe has been in operation since 1985. They are on a first-come, first-served basis only.

Their dedication lies in preserving the Conch-Cuban culinary customs. Since they’re near Mallory Square, a popular spot for sunset celebrations, it’s a great chance to take part in the festivities while enjoying some tapas and classic tropical cocktails from the charming patio bar.

Favorite menu item: Plantain Chips – almost everything on the menu can be served with these fried ripe, sweet plantains as a side.

Hot Tin Roof

hot tin roof key west

Image Source: Hot Tin Roof – Yelp

 

Situated near Mallory Square, Hot Tin Roof is housed inside Ocean Key Resort. This is a charming seaside restaurant with outside terraces that could provide you with the greatest breakfast in Key West.

The restaurant’s logo features the outline of a cat sitting on a rooftop. This is because the restaurant’s name honors Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. “Resort casual” is the official dress code for the restaurant.

Chef Scott Maurer reinvents traditional American food by fusing parts of Latin America into small plates. He brings with him twenty years of expertise working in the food and beverage industry. 

Favorite menu item: Seared Scallops & Colossal Shrimp – almond mole, maduros, peanuts – (gluten free)

Mallory Square Sunset

When the nightly event began to gain popularity in the late 1960s, the famous statement “See you at Sunset!” came to represent the essence of Key West’s history and spirit. It’s a celebration and viewing that starts two hours before sunset.

The grandeur of Key West’s renowned sunsets was first recorded in government documents in the early 1800s. It is reported that playwright and raconteur Tennessee Williams started the first Key West Sunset Celebration by cheering as the sun set. Naturalist and novelist John Audubon wrote about them in his unique style. 

Everyone is welcome to participate in the Key West Sunset Celebration, which offers a breathtaking view of the sun setting over the Gulf of Mexico as it glows pink and scarlet. The union of friends and talents has enthralled both residents and visitors.

sunset mallory square key west

Here’s what you can expect when visiting Mallory Square:

Live Music

Enthusiastic singers and composers with an island vibe, 6-string aficionados, up-and-coming singers, maybe a solo act, and perhaps a set of bagpipes. This is the Key West Sunset Celebration’s soundtrack.

Stunt Performers

Gather around, make some room, and enjoy the sights and sounds of countless street entertainers, including jugglers, high-wire acts, sword swallowers, unicyclists, and, if you’re lucky, cats leaping through hoops of fire (which is entirely safe).

Comedy Shows

Along with joke tellers, comic troupes, mimes, and other performing artists, one can also find professional storytellers, a highly esteemed art form in the Conch Republic.

Local Vendors

Examine the handcrafted goods produced by the neighborhood’s artists, which include apparel, jewelry, paintings, souvenirs, and much more. Mallory Square and Key West are practically synonymous and wouldn’t be the same without the other.

Explore Mallory Square

Known for its vibrant social and commercial scene since the 1820s, Mallory Square is a popular spot in Key West for dining, shopping, and touring. A lot of city tours stop in the square while sunset cruises sail by on their way out to sea. Visit the area in the evening to take in the Sunset Celebration; you’ll see quirky entertainers, street artists, and a welcoming crowd soaking up the sun.

Due to its small streets and lack of parking, the area is difficult to access by private vehicle. Either take the Key West trolley or reserve a hop-on, hop-off bus tour to access the area quickly; both have stops close to the square.

Related Articles

Beyond the iconic landmarks and bustling streets, multiple parks in Key West beckon both locals and visitors alike. This article will explore the top eight parks that make this place special. Let’s take a virtual tour of these places and see which of them you should visit next!

Have you been on a Key West sunset cruise before, or is it something you’re considering? Here are 9 sunset cruises you should hop on!

When is the best time to visit Key West? You might be wondering about that while planning your next vacation with friends or family. In this blog post, we’ll break down the different seasons and factors that can help you decide the ideal time to visit Key West.

Mallory Square Key West FAQs

Mallory Square in Key West is famous for its nightly Sunset Celebration. During this event, locals and tourists gather to watch the breathtaking sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. The square comes alive with street performers, artists, musicians, and vendors selling crafts and souvenirs. It’s a lively and festive atmosphere that has become a beloved tradition in Key West.

Mallory Square has a rich history dating back to the early 1800s. Originally used as a shipping and warehouse district, it was named after Stephen Mallory, a United States Senator and Secretary of the Navy for the Confederate States during the Civil War. Over the years, it evolved into a bustling commercial center and later became a popular gathering place for locals and tourists.

Duval Street is often considered the main strip in Key West. Stretching approximately 1.25 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, Duval Street is lined with historic buildings, shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. It’s a vibrant and eclectic thoroughfare that offers something for everyone, from lively nightlife to cultural attractions.

Janelle
Author: Janelle

Search The Blog