Saturday, April 19, 2014

When is the best time of year to visit Key West?

Best time to visit Key West is January to May
Most visitors say the best time to visit Key West is January to May because the weather is perfect: it's not unbearably humid yet, and it's so cold at home. In fact, from November to March Key West is the hottest place in the entire contiguous USA. But, as a result, it's peak season, very busy and super expensive in Key West in these months. The off season (June to December) has its charms, but big downsides too, as I explain below, including a month by month guide.

But, let's start with some really great news...


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Top 10 posts on Key West Lookout

Here are the top 10 most read articles on this blog since I started Key West Lookout in 2009. Key West Lookout is written by me and only me. I am a regular Key West visitor, and have been taking vacations in Key West since 1998. My aim is to provide the best, most comprehensive and most up-to-date Key West vacation guide on the planet. My views here are totally independent, I have not accepted a penny for views negative or positive. Click the titles below to go to the post. See you in Key West!

#1: Best time of year to visit Key West








#2: Key West hotels








#3: Top things to do in Key West









#4: What to do in Key West when it rains








#5: Key West restaurants

#6: Gay Key West

#7: Best cocktails and martinis in Key West

#8: Key West guesthouses

#9: Planing a Key West vacation

#10: Key West pictures

SPECIAL: Fantasy Fest 2014

ALL MY OWN KEY WEST VIDEOS ON YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/KeyWestDavid/videos

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fantasy Fest 2014 Live

Fantasy Fest Key West
I am visiting Key West for Fantasy Fest 2014 in October - I will cover live blogging of the parties, surprises, stories and debauchery. 20 April 2014
Been really busy and have done a little worrying but no creative thinking at all about what costume to wear for Fantasy Fest! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO WEAR??!!

March 2014: 8 months to go. Had a drunk brainstorming session on theme for Masquerade March. And came up with inspirational idea... LOBSTER. 

I am going to come fully dressed as a fully dressed lobster (thermidor?). Brilliance. What do you think?


Asked to interview member of committee to ask the logic behind strange choice of theme but no reply. If you know someone on the Fantasy Fest committee please can you ask them if they would do an interview with me please.

Lots in the press about nudity and lewdness and body painting (instead of clothes) at Fantasy Fest 2013 and how to prevent in 2014. Ok, if you're a prude don't come. Keep the nudity to the nude zone and let the locals go to the non-nude zone. Maybe I'll change my mind come October when I (hopefully) witness it, but this is Key West getting all nanny state on us. Come on, relax, let's have the Key West spirit of the 70s/80s back.

click below for earlier updates…

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Shopping in Key West

Fun shopping in Key West
Here's the best shops and stores in Key West. I've chosen these shops because, like the best of Key West, they are unique, off beat, a little bit strange. So if you're after towels, rum, salt, hot sauce, hammocks, and kitsch tropical ware - Key West is the place for you. Pack a spare suitcase.

The best 9 stores in Key West are:
  • Salt, a small boutique store for interesting items made in, or near, Key West - including honey, art, jewelry and salt. A really beautiful shop.
  • Key West's first legal rum distillery. As well as the shop, this is where they actually make the rum. See the making in action and then buy the result.
  • Peppers of Key West. Hundreds of chilli pepper sauces from around the world. Sweet to mega hot. Tasting bar is free.
  • Leather Master. Fun toys and clothes for naughty boys. Recently has added a new section for ladies so I hear.
  • Assortment Inc. With Fast Buck Freddy's now closed, where do we get our outrageous tropical themed gear? At Assortment Inc of course.
  • Towels of Key West. Cheeky, camp and fun towels and t-shirts.
  • Cocktails of Key West. As above. Could they possibly be targetting gay men?!
  • Key West Hammock Company. Fantastic selection of hammocks but also fantastic metal murals of fish shoals and turtles for your garden wall.
  • Timmy Tuxedo's - 50 years and counting. Maybe the apostrophe is in the wrong place, but who am I to argue? They even have a website - Google it.
Here are some pictures and more details if you can't visit in person any time soon.....

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sloppy Joe's Bar Key West

Sloppy Joe's Bar on Duval Street Key West
Sloppy Joe's Bar is Key West's most famous bar and its most iconic facade. Sloppy Joe's history is as famous as its exterior. Show me a visitor who's visited Key West and NOT taken a picture of Sloppy Joe's! The bar has live music every day and Key West's best live webcam is right outside the bar so you can wave to your friends in real time. From the building's construction in 1937 through its Hemingway connection, this bar is beautiful, and different, by day and by night. You'll find below more pictures that you'll ever need or want to see of Sloppy Joe's - all taken by me over the last few years.
The main bar inside Sloppy Joe's Key West
Sloppy Joe's January 2014 facade
Red neon of Sloppy Joe's signage

Monday, March 3, 2014

Planning a Key West visit

You're planning a Key West vacation, maybe you've never been to Key West before. It's a fantastic place for a vacation with many things to do, lively, beautiful and friendly. And, of course, the weather is fantastic.
Planning a Key West visit. Key West is a small island, 126 miles down a dead end highway, and can be a busy place. So make sure you've done your planning. In this pic, the length of Key West's main tourist street, Duval Street, by the setting sun. It's not normally this quiet, this is taken during the summer when crowds are fewer.
This post will answer these questions:
  • How to get to Key West?
  • How bad is the traffic?
  • Where to stop off on the way down the Keys?
  • When to visit?
  • How long to stay in Key West?
  • Do you need a car / what to so with the car while in Key West?
  • What to wear in Key West?  How formal is Key West?
  • Where to stay and what to do?
  • How good is Key West for children?
So click on the link below and let's get going....

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Beautiful Key West

Beautiful Key West
Key West is a beautiful collision of nature, the ocean and the sun at full power. Get off Duval Street and take the time to get into the relaxed and tropical vibe. Beauty in plants, flowers, trees and animals combine with the ocean and spectacular, varied, historic architecture. Add the backdrop of weather (often blue skies) then Key West's getting pretty high on the beauty scale.

You have to come here in person and walk around the place. So all I can give you is an impression. Everything you see below is available in a few square miles in Key West Old Town. All these pictures are all mine and unadulterated by Photoshop or the like.

If you're visiting Key West, take some time to get off Duval Street and explore. If you're not, then sit back, look at the following pictures, and dream tropical!

The ocean
Dolphin in Key West - this taken in the Outer Mole (very near where the cruise ships dock)
>>> MORE BEAUTY...click below for Beautiful Key West Trees and Flowers; Animals; Sunset….

Friday, February 14, 2014

Key West signs

Key West sign. This is a good sign (Schooner Wharf)
There are some fantastic signs in Key West. Visually striking signs, funny signs, historic signs, homemade signs, famous signs...I take hundreds of pictures of signs, logos and signage. Here is my selection of my favorite Key West signs.







One Human Family in the Conch Republic
Birthplace of Pan American World Airways Key West - Caroline Street and Whitehead St
Half Shell Raw Bar - Eat it raw
To see dozens more Key West signs click below....

Saturday, February 1, 2014

What to do in Key West when it rains

If you're reading this then it's probably raining in Key West and you're looking for ideas about what to do. First, I'm sorry it's raining and I hope it passes soon. Anyway, what to do? The traditional answer in Key West when it rains is:  DRINK! You have a multitude of choices and you'll find the bars packed today if it's raining. But there are alternatives, of course....read on...
What to do in Key West when it rains.   Here on Duval Street someone has a different option than a rain poncho.  

Monday, January 27, 2014

Key West harbor

In Key West the harbor's called the Key West Bight, and the walk on the board walk is one of my favorite things to do in Key West.  
Key West Bight looking out to sea.
There is always so much happening there, every day is different. At dawn, it's almost solitary, for then on there is constant activity with the coming and going of hundreds of boats and ships; by afternoon it's the liveliest place on the island with noise from the harborside bars and restaurants; see the unmissable tarpon/pelican feeding at 4pm; and the watch the sun set in the evening.
And all of this within a few hundred yards of the very center of town...how can you miss it?!.. read on for more...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Most beautiful Key West houses and homes

There are some deeply beautiful homes on Key West.  They are all in Old Town Key West and so very walkable in an hour if you are in a rush or a few hours if you just randomly wander down a few streets in Key West.

Here are a just a few highlights to make you want to come to Key West and also to make you jealous of these beautiful and historic homes.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Alexander's Guesthouse Key West

Alexander's guesthouse Key West
Alexander's Guesthouse in Key West is currently the best gay guesthouse in Key West, without a doubt. Alexander's has 17 well maintained rooms, an excellent team and a social happy hour. Its location on beautiful Fleming Street is perfect - enough away from the madness of Duval Street but close enough to walk there in 15 minutes. Prices of the rooms, which vary significantly, range from $175 to $420 per night. Unsurprisingly, it is also currently ranked the best guesthouse of all 97 in Key West.

The 5 best things about Alexander's
1: It's really friendly. Both the staff and the guests.
2: The basics are gotten right, always. The service is excellent; the property and rooms are spotless and excellently maintained.
3: Happy hour (free for 1 hour from 5 to 6pm) every evening at the pool bar in Alexander's. Very social, very fun.
4: It's not bland and standardized like a hotel. The rooms are all different, and have character. You're in the middle of the community in a residential area in Key West Old Town.
5: It's gay. See other gay hotels and guesthouses here.

Click below to see videos, loads of pictures taken my me, a history of Alexander's, the Alexander's ghost and cat, why Alexander's is called Alexander's, and a room by room guide....

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pier House Resort Key West

The Pier House Resort hotel is my favorite of the 6 Key West big brand hotels. For my money, it beats the other 5 contenders and has the most stunning rooms, with stunning ocean views, in Key West. If you can afford an ocean view or good partial ocean view here - and they are super-expensive - then this might be the hotel for you. However, there are also a lot of city facing, and garden facing rooms with not very good outlooks. Honestly, these really are not as good and I would not stay in one.

Here's my take on the Pier House hotel and the reasons why it's the best of the Big 6:

click below to see rest of post...

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Duval Street Key West

Duval Street is Key West's main street with dozens of bars, restaurants, shops and lots of loud and/or weird people. It's always busy - to get some tranquility just fall back a few blocks from Duval, if you want to. Duval Street evolves down its length from Gulf of Mexico (Front Street) to Atlantic Ocean (and the Southernmost point end). The very noisy end is the Front Street end - after 5 blocks it gets less hectic and more interesting. Don't assume all Duval Street is like the first few blocks: if you can restrain yourself from going into the alluring bars in the first few blocks, you've got many more treats awaiting you further along.... I really like Duval from Eaton Street and up.

Here's some pictures of the journey up Duval Street. starting at the bottom at the intersection of Duval and Front - the center of town. Click below

Fantasy Fest 2014 Key West

Fantasy Fest 2014 in Key West is a 10-day series of events and crazy parties running from 17 to 26 October 2014. The Fantasy Fest theme for 2014 is Anim├ęted Dreams and Adventures.

Fantasy Fest 2014 Key West
Fantasy Fest 2014 Key West
This will be the 36th annual Fantasy Fest in Key West and the very best events (in my opinion anyways) come at the end: the Masquerade march on Friday 24 October and the big showpiece event, the Parade on Saturday 25 October 2014.

This is my guide to Fantasy Fest 2014 if you're new to it and are interested in my personal view.



CLICK BELOW TO READ MORE…go on you know you want to...

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Peppers of Key West

Visit Peppers of Key West store: as if Key West is not hot enough already this experience makes you even hotter. This is a great store on Greene St in Key West which sells all things related to peppers and chillies. Sit up at the tasting bar and let the team take you though a tasting of a dozen sauces, starting from mild and going as hot as you dare. How far up the hot scale can you go?....
The tasting bar at Peppers of Key West at 602 Greene Street. We're mid-tasting here, starting off with some very mild and tangy sauces.  This is great fun, and free!






Click to see the rest of the story and a video of us at the chilli tasting bar on a recent visit....and to see their most powerful $2,000 bottle of hot sauce....click below...

Key West pictures of the week

Here are my Key West pictures of the week, every one taken by myself, during my few days in Key West in early January. Leading the pack, and my biggest surprise of the week, was a dolphin which I snapped from land and who appeared immediately in front of me. I've never seen a dolphin in Key West before from land and so this was a neat surprise. He hung around for 5 minutes or so before disappearing. After all these visits, there are still some trees that surprise me in Key West too. I'm not totally sure what this tree is with the amazing buds but maybe someone can tell me in the comments. It looks other worldly, something that could appear in sci-fi. Details of certain buildings fascinate me and the red brick tile feature on the top of the Old Custom House caught my eye this time. We don't look enough at the detail life offers us.

Please enjoy. They are all original, taken by me, and totally un-photoshopped or altered in any way.

Natural and organic Key West photography.

Dolphin in Key West comes up by the sea wall in the Outer Mole. It was early morning and there was just me and him around. He hung round for five minutes.
Shrimping boats, here 2 of a dozen of them, came inshore from their hunting grounds, because of bad weather expected soon.

more pictures - click below

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Key West rum distillery

Key West rum
Key West's first legal rum distillery is in full production at 105 Simonton Street. Yep, I'm sure gallons of the stuff has been brewed in Key West illegally but this is the real deal! It's all made here in this historic building (which used to be Key West's coca cola bottling plant - anyone for rum and coke?!). They sell and distill the rum here on site and you can look into the distillery and ask questions.






The big question of course is: does the rum taste any good?

Click below to read more...