The Magic of Mallory Square: A Key West Attraction

A trip to the lower Keys is not complete without taking in a Key West sunset from Mallory Square. Mallory Square, on the waterfront near the Key West Aquarium, hosts the famous nightly Key West sunset celebration.

Mallory Square in Key West

Hundreds of revelers – locals and visitors – drift westward down Duval Street in Key West when the sun starts to sink low in the sky. This is when the heart of Key West springs to life. The long, paved seawall area called Mallory Square fills with street performers, art and craft vendors, food carts and photo opportunities galore.

Nearby shops and restaurants will tempt you as you make your way to Mallory Square, but they’ll be open after the sunsets. Head on down to the waterfront so you have plenty of time to enjoy the sunset, and check out all the goings-on.

One of the most popular performers at Mallory Square has been there a long time. Commonly referred to as the “cat man,” this enterprising feline fancier has his cats trained to do all sorts of amazing things, from walking tight wires to jumping through flaming hoops. The cat man puts on a purrrrfect show just prior to sunset, and, as with all the performers, he’s working for tips.

Cat Man Mallory Square

Key West Art in Mallory Square

If you love affordable original art, you have your own Key West treasure hunt to undertake. This is a great time to pick up something that will remind you of your trip all year, or to find a gift for someone back home. You’ll also have the chance to meet colorful Key West locals.

Restaurants and Bars in Mallory Square, Key West

Mallory Square is fronted by a few ideally-located restaurants and bars. One particularly superb spot from which to watch the sun go down is the Westin’s sunset deck. Go upstairs, grab a barstool along the rail, order a frozen drink, and you have a ringside seat. From this spot, you have a view of all of Mallory Square, the sunset cruise boats, the beautiful Gulf of Mexico in all her splendor, and, of course, that fabulous Key West sunset!

Have your camera charged and ready; you may well want to use this shot for your Christmas card. And here’s a hot tip: use your flash to fill in light on the faces of anyone you shoot, if they’re posing with the sunset behind them. This will give you a perfect sunset shot. Enjoying a mojito or Jimmy Buffet’s acclaimed margarita might give you a perfect Mallory Square sunset memory.

Cat Man Mallory Square

History of Key West in Mallory Square

If you want to take in a little Key West history before sunset, head over to the Shipwreck Museum on Whitehead Street mid-afternoon. At this fascinating “historeum” you’ll hear all about the treasure hunting that laces Key West history. You’ll also likely leave with the burning desire to find your own sunken treasure. This can be easy, however: the cherry at the bottom of your tropical drink definitely counts!

No matter how many distractions you have at sunset, you’ll never miss the magic moment when the golden orb sinks into the sea. Too many “oohs” and “ahhs” precede each evening’s round of applause for Mother Nature at Mallory Square in Key West.