Recently we got wind that Southern Living was scouting Pensacola for its upcoming vacation guide.
While those of us who are from this beautiful, historic, beach-front town have known all that Pensacola has to offer, it seems like the rest of the world is beginning to catch on to our little secret.
That made us think: Who better to give advice about Pensacola hotspots than two Pensacola girls!
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite rooms to let, sights and sounds, watering holes and dining establishments to serve as the insider’s guide to the ultimate Pensacola getaway.
Where to stay
The Lee House is a boutique hotel in downtown Pensacola overlooking Pensacola Bay.
Margaritaville Beach Hotel is an oceanfront property with breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Solé Inn and Suites, located in downtown Pensacola, is within walking distance of many great restaurants and shops. Other options: Marriott Courtyard downtown and Pensacola Beach Hilton.
Eats in town
In the last few years, downtown Pensacola has become a gastronomic destination.
For a quick, tasty lunch Carmen’s, al Fresco, So Chopped, The Fish House and Atlas all hit the spot.
If you are out for a date night or looking to celebrate a special occasion, Jackson’s, Global Grill, V Paul’s and Iron offer fine dining and great atmosphere.
Looking to grab a bite with the kids? McGuire’s, Hopjack’s and Seville Quarter have something for everyone.
Love sushi with a big city feel? Nom and Khon are two welcomed additions to the Palafox food scene.
The Panhandle may be known for its fried seafood (we recommend Captain Joey Patti’s and Chet’s), but these days our local chefs have stepped up their game. The menus are full of fresh ingredients and inspired creations.
Eats at the beach
A longtime favorite of ours, Peg Leg Pete’s is a must for lunch or dinner. The oysters and grouper sandwich are at the top of our list. Get there early during the summer months or you will be in for a wait. This place is popular among locals and tourists.
The Grand Marlin is located on Pensacola Beach at the foot of the Bob Sikes Bridge and overlooks the Santa Rosa Sound. The North Drop Bar is a great spot to have a drink before your meal and watch the sunset.
Other great spots at the beach: Red Fish Blue Fish, H20 at the Hilton, and Paradise Bar & Grill.
Our retail scene is stronger than ever with locally owned businesses.
Scout, Bluetique, Fig, The Market, Indigeaux and Between offer ladies clothing in a variety of styles from casual to cocktail.
Duh and Aqua are great stores to visit if you are looking for home furnishings. In need of a gift? Artesana and The Linen Corner are the places to go. Searching for a gem for that special person in your life? On Palafox, you will find Susan Campbell, Elebash’s and Jewelers Trade.
Also found on Palafox is Don Alans a menswear store conveniently located next door to Scout.
One stop shop
Duh is a unique spot and deserving of its own category. In addition to beautiful furnishings and garden accessories, Duh houses a ladies shop (Fig), a men’s shop, a stationery store, Norma’s (lunch), and Type (dinner).
Beer enthusiasts will find plenty of options at the World of Beer, with 50 craft beers on tap and 500 in the cooler. Whiskey connoisseurs will be right at home at Old Hickory, just a few steps away from WOB.
If you want options, head around the corner to Seville Quarter. With seven different rooms, there is something for everyone: live music, dance music, pool tables, dueling pianos or the relaxed atmosphere found in the courtyard.
McGuire’s Irish Pub houses its own brewery where they produce five regular beers and one rotating seasonal beer.
See & Do
Between Pensacola and Pensacola Beach, visitors will never want for something to do.
If history is your bag, Historic Pensacola Village takes you back in time. Anchored by the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum, downtown Pensacola is full of historic buildings and museums.
For a cultural experience, check out the Pensacola Museum of Art, the Pensacola Ballet, the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra or the Pensacola Opera.
The U.S. Navy has deep roots in Pensacola, and we are known as the “Cradle of Naval Aviation” because of all the Navy and Marine aviators who have trained on our local bases. Located on Pensacola Naval Air Station is the National Naval Aviation Museum, which houses a collection of aircraft that is sure to impress the young and old alike.
If you are in the mood for a little exploring, visit Fort Pickens. Completed in 1834, the forts were built to protect Pensacola Bay and its Navy Yard. This area is an undeveloped and beautiful part of Pensacola Beach.
In the warmer months, visit Fitness Onboard (across from Margaritaville) and paddleboard in Little Sabine.
Last but not least, no matter what time of year, do not forget to put your toes on our beautiful white sand and breathe in the salty Gulf air.