Running in a north-south direction right through the middle of Key West’s historic district, Duval Street is often the only part of town that many visitors see. The northern end is a hive of activity, especially when a cruise ship is docked, with bars like Sloppy Joe’s and restaurants like the Hard Rock Café competing for tourist dollars with dozens of souvenir shops, food stands, and tour guides. The crowds lessen a little farther south from this nexus, and the architecture and cultural style that defines the city becomes a little easier to see.
Although it’s only about a mile long, Duval’s range of shopping, dining and drinking options can easily occupy an entire day, but make sure to take time to look at a few of the unique and beautiful buildings.
The building that houses St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (401 Duval St.) dates from 1901, although the parish has been on the property since the mid-1800s; their previous buildings were destroyed by the 1886 Great Key West Fire and several different hurricanes.
The old Strand Theater (527 Duval St.) is currently a chain drug store, but the building still evokes the glory of its 1930s roots.
Built in 1871 by Cuban exiles, the ornate San Carlos Institute (516 Duval St.) is a museum, library, art gallery, and theater focusing on Cuban and Cuban-American culture.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition