In other parts of the United States, fall means a large change in the weather. The leaves change color and the temperature drops. Air conditioners get turned off and heaters come back to life. People swap their flip flops and tank tops in for socks and sweaters. The first snowfall is just around the corner...
Key West has a few of these changes though they aren't as extreme. The temperature doesn’t go down much but the humidity in the air declines.
Our air conditioners get turned down or off and we rarely rely on heaters. Locals never trade in their flip flops or our tank tops; we just pair them with jeans instead of shorts.
The winter holidays are very unique in Key West. Since a good percentage of the locals work in the tourism industry, we stay put during the holidays. A number of people have very tiny kitchens making it difficult to cook a large spread or host a table of guests. Luckily, many restaurants take this stress off our backs and host their own festive meals.
Pirates and Paradise brings swarms of seafaring adventure to the shores of Cayo Hueso. We also make our own festive island traditions. The City of Key West’s Holiday Parade (305-809-3881) on December 7th welcomes Santa and Mrs. Claus as they float down Truman Ave. In mid-December the Schooner Wharf Bar hosts the 23rd annual Schooner Wharf Bar/Cruzan Rums Lighted Boat Parade also known as the Bight before Christmas. Watch lighted boats parade in the Historic Seaport in competition for the best decorated vessel!
Get into the holiday spirit by taking a self-guided tour of beautifully decorated inns and houses. The Holiday Historic Inn Tours take place in the evenings in December. Your ticket includes light appetizers and holiday refreshments; not to mention the many dazzling lights and displays! The Old Island Restoration Foundation hosts their Annual House Tours. The much anticipated tours run once a month December - March. The tour features lovely homes and gardens of 5 private homes.
The Mermaid and the Alligator house and gardens are decorated every holiday season with thousands of lights.
Key West’s music scene is eventful and exciting; the holidays are no exception. Tune in to a variety of concerts and performances around the city. The Keys Chorale Holiday Concert on December 6th is a musical event you can’t miss.
Before you know it the New Year will be here. Key West celebrates in a number of different ways on December 31st. Ring in the New Year with Sushi as she drops from a giant red high heel at Bourbon Street Pub (305-296-2388). The Liberty Clipper drops a pirate wench at the Historic Seaport (305-292-3302). Perhaps you’d enjoy Sloppy Joe’s (305-296-2388) conch shell drop! No matter where you choose to indulge you’re sure to enjoy the celebration. Come back year after year and create a holiday tradition you will never forget!