The Shops at Mallory Square Plaza, located on the waterfront in Key West’s historic Old Town, rests adjacent to the cruise ship port, just west of Duval Street on the Gulf of Mexico. The Mallory Square Shops run the length of Wall Street, close to the Key West Shipwreck Museum and the Old Post Office and Customshouse.
Most importantly, Mallory Square is Key West’s social hub, home to hotels, art galleries, cafes, pubs, and the island’s most popular attraction, drawing hundreds of visitors each night. The Sunset Celebration, one of the city's most important events, includes specialty vendors, artists, musicians, food carts, and street performers. The renowned venue happens every day in Key West, beginning two hours before sunset.
Sunset Celebration Highlights
Located on the Mallory Square Plaza docks, the festival begins two hours before sunset on the northwest waterfront and ends soon after sundown. The event takes place every night, seven days a week, 365 days a year (weather permitting).
Pro Tip: Entrance to the Sunset Celebration is FREE; however, the city asks visitors to support the local artists, performers and food vendors by purchasing their art, eating delicious island fare and tipping the buskers.
What's more, the event circles around the breathtaking fuchsia and gold embers disappearing into the Gulf of Mexico horizon and also celebrates iconic figures like Mark Twain and Tennessee Williams. As a result, the nightly experience captivates travelers worldwide by featuring magicians, clowns, poets, psychics, photographers and other entertainers for an incredible cultural experience.
Pro Tip: Experts recommend booking Mallory Square tours ahead of time to secure your party’s spot.
- Local Vendors: From jewelry designers to apparel and accessories, unique souvenir shops, and art booths – you’ll find it all and more at Mallory Square’s Sunset Celebration.
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- Live Music: Check out the bagpipes, drummers, guitarists, singers, and songwriters performing live with an island flair. The lively atmosphere and Key West vibe are catching!
- Stunt Performances: Step back and prepare to be dazzled by the numerous juggers, fire throwers, mimes, and high-wire acts that continue to delight audiences. Oh, there are also cats jumping through fiery hoops!
Fun Fact: The Mallory Square area is supposedly haunted as many ghastly tales trail the streets. Try the Ghosts & Gravestone tour in the evening for the full Key West effect!
- Comedy Shows: Sit back, relax and enjoy the revelry of Key West. Comedy troupes abound, ready to tickle your funny bone.
Pro Tips: Before you sit to enjoy the beautiful twilight, buy your drinks prior to arriving in Mallory Square, at the lines near the docks are long!
The Shops at Mallory Square
- Blue Hibiscus: This family-owned jewelry boutique offers hand-crafted quality fashion with a touch of international panache!
- Ocean Blues Studio: Ocean Blues is an artist workspace and gallery representing contemporary artists throughout the Florida Keys. Stop by and see painters and sculptors in action!
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- Bella Laine: For unique gifts, candles, jewelry, and hand-crafted art pieces stop by Bella’s.
- The Blue Cat: Don’t forget to bring home a gift for Friskers! Pet owners rave over the amazing selection of bowls, toys, apparel and other rare items.
- Wello Art Studio: Hello Gorgeous! Stop by this small art studio/gallery located on the second floor of the Mallory Square Shops. Wello includes the works of local talents, Chloe Woessner and Wesley Bellard.
- Cuban Coffee Queen: Coffee lovers unite here for rich, authentic Cuban coffee like nowhere else! They also serve delicious egg sandwiches, Mojo port and Havana rice and beans.
In addition, other shops include Key West Soaps, Bespoke Florists, and Native Colors, a gallery filled with artisans from around the globe.
Mallory Square History
Since the early 1820s, Mallory Square has been the site where famed Key West pirates, like Asa Tift, docked their ships and stored prized possessions in the waterfront warehouses. Legendary writer Tennessee Williams started a nightly ritual of watching the eventide from the Mallory Square pier.
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In the 1960s, a group of gypsies and hippies assembled to watch the glorious gloaming. Then in the 1980s, vendors risked their livelihood, peddling at the docks. Soon the area turned into a flea market for entrepreneurs selling their wares. Not long after, a group of united citizens went to court to preserve the artistic integrity of Mallory Square and protect the Sunset tradition. Today the legendary Celebration has grown into an internationally known attraction that benefits the city of Key West.
The Memorial Sculpture Garden at Mallory Square Shops
The Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden in Mallory Square opened in 1996, with 36 sculptures by artist James Mastin. The central monument, “The Wreckers,” pays tribute to the salvage operation that made Key West one of the nation's wealthiest coastal cities.
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The landmark gardens draw over one million visitors each year and feature several life-sized bronze busts of local Key West historical figures that include Ernest Hemmingway, Asa Forsyth Tift, Harry S. Truman, and Thomas Lanier “Tennessee” Williams.
Fun Fact: Key West was home to Ernest Hemingway and many other famous writers. Other distinguished scribes include Shel Silverstein, Tennessee Williams, and Robert Frost. Some say Key West has inspired more writers per capita than any other American city.