There are so many things to do in the Downtown Pensacola area. I compiled this list based on the places we like to visit and places we would tell our friends and families to go. If I didn’t include a certain place, it’s because we haven’t been there or haven’t been there enough to give a review.
Let me add, this is a SHORT list of the many places to go and things to do in our town. I could go on and on. In an effort to not go on and on I decided to stick to the following for the reasons previously stated.
Where to Dine: All are locally owned
Wine Bar Palafox – Happy Hour every day 11-6, extensive wine list, full bar, nice menu. Great for a quick bite before a show at the Seanger or Vinyl, date night or girls night out.
Global Grill – Upscale dining, known for tapas, martinis and exceptional service. Reservations suggested
Nom Sushi – Must try the Tuna Tacos and Ramen Bowl, you’re welcome. Small space, with sushi bar seating.
Pensacola Fish House – One of the restaurants in Great Southern Group on the Gulf Coast, known for Grits Ya Ya. Great place for families!
Iron – Exquisite menu, exceptional service. Reservations are a must!
Carmen’s Lunch Bar – Kale Salad and Chicken Salad are my absolute favorite, served with a glass of crisp Pinot Grigio. Small venue, limited seating & hours.
Union Public House – delicious cocktails and fabulous menu
George’s Artisan Bakery & Bistro – Champagne Pop? Yes! Brunch is sooo good!
Dharma Blue – Divine Sushi menu, Backdown Roll, just get it. Small menu full of delicious entrees and salads. The Pear salad and pan fried oysters appetizer is my fave!
Lucy’s on the Square – Located by historic Seville Square. Flatbreads and nachos are so good! They serve a good selection of local beers and have a nice wine list.
Five Sisters Blues Cafe – Can you say authentic southern comfort food? Fried Chicken, fried okra and the most delicious collard greens you’ll put in your mouth.
Sunday Jazz brunch = Live Jazz Trio, Bloody Marys and Chicken & Waffles, yum. Good spot for families.
Where to Stay: It’s tough to recommend places to stay in your home-town since typically we stay at home, haha. However, we have had the opportunity to stay in or have heard first person reviews from friends that have stayed in the following hotels/bed & breakfasts.
New World Landing Inn, Pensacola Grand Hotel , The Lee House
For families, you can check VRBO and AIRBNB. With that said if you are traveling here it’s probably to be on or near the beach. The beaches of Pensacola Beach are some of the most beautiful in the area. I LOVE our Emerald Coast and sharing tips to enjoy it to the fullest will require a separate post. 🙂
What to see & do: Some of these spots will take you away from Downtown but worth the drive! Historical fact: Pensacola was first settled in 1559. If you enjoy history, you’re gonna be entertained.
Historic Tour – Check in with the Pensacola Historical Society for the tour schedule. If you visit during October, the haunted tour is a must!
Palafox Market – Saturday morning only, stroll through the vendors and who knows what you’ll find.
St Micheal’s Cemetery, Pensacola Art Museum, Pensacola Little Theater, several parks
Pensacola Maritime Park & Blue Wahoo Stadium – see a ball game & explore the park
Naval Aviation Museum – Free admission, you’ll spend the day! Located on Pensacola Naval Air Station.
Blue Angel Shows – If you are lucky enough to be in the area for this air show you will continue to return. Simply amazing! These pilots fly all over the country but the “Home” shows are typically in July & November.
Pensacola Lighthouse – climb to the top and enjoy the view! We had so much fun exploring the grounds of this historic spot.
Ft Barancas – Also located on NAS, You could easily visit the Fort and the Lighthouse after the Aviation Museum if you plan it right.
TT Wentworth Museum – located in Downtown Pensacola and full of artifacts and info about the city. Perfect for a rainy day. See if you can find the petrified cat.
Vinyl Music Hall – We have seen soooooo many shows here. Drvin’ & Cryin’, The Revivalists, Fleetwood Mac Cover Band, Guns & Roses Cover Band… It’s your typical standing room only venue with a swanky bar in the back called 5 1/2 (five and a half). You can access the bar from Garden St as well if Vinyl isn’t open.
Pensacola Seanger Theater – We have also seen an array of shows here! Pensacola Children’s Chorus performances, Grace Potter, Jerry Seinfeld, BB King, Robert Cray… recently Tedeschi Trucks Band. I hear the White Tie Rock Ensemble is fantastic!
Little fact: In 2017, I danced (more like frantically trying to remember the steps with the rest of the group) on the Seanger stage for a Dancing with The Stars style event to raise funds for a local charity! yep!
Shopping – Downtown Pensacola and surrounding areas are full of boutiques ranging from upscale to second hand. Palafox street is lined with a majority of shops of all types. Check out this article on Visit Pensacola to find out more.
Graffiti Bridge – a Pensacola Landmark also known as the 17th Ave trestle, this concrete bridge was built waaaay back for the CSX train. Police tolerate graffiti on the bridge, giving its name. Ever changing, the painted on graffiti has been estimated to be 3 inches thick! You might want to pull over in the boat launch parking lot to get a good look.
Breweries: I never knew we had such great brewers crafting micro brews. These places are a nice pit stop between shopping and/or exploring the Downtown area.
Pensacola Bay Brewery , Perfect Plain, Gulf Coast Brewery
Nightlife: Where to go for an after dinner drink, hear some live music or satisfy your dancing mood
Old Hickory Whiskey Bar – Think of a 1920’s Speakeasy complete with bartenders in leather aprons….. These guys and gals know the “brown stuff”. This is where you go when you want a fancy cocktail made with love!
World of Beer – pretty much sums it up, Blend Lounge is in the back if you want more of a full bar experience with thumping music. Taco Agave is also in this establishment with a small fresh mexican style menu and an array of margaritas – Strawberry Jalapeno is yum!
Seville Quarter – can’t decide weather you want to bust a move in da club or groove to a cover band belting out ballads or watch dueling piano show or play pool or visit the saloon bar where there’s no telling what band will be on for the evening. Maybe you just want to chill in the courtyard or end of the alley and listen to some reggae. Seville Quarter has 7 rooms of fun, seriously. You could spend all evening here and not get bored. Seville also has a wine shop and restaurant serving lunch dinner and Sunday Brunch.
Fish House Deck – usually a band during some nights of the week and on the weekends on the outside deck. Check the calendar to be sure especially in the off-season months. Wednesday is ladies night on the Deck and ladies drinks are $2!
There ya have it! My rundown of the places I’d recommend to my family and friends. I hope this is helpful in planning your trip to Pensacola and I hope you have a good experience in your your visit. Thanks so much for visiting my blog.
We love to travel and also love a stay-cation from time to time. You can read about some of our other trips like New Orleans and Breckenridge here and here.
What would you recommend if friends were coming to your hometown?