Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (2023)

This post was written by Nicole Edwards, a freelance freelance sailing writer for BMTM.

When most people think of Key West, they think of Old Town, located on the southwestern side of the island. I anchored my sailboat off the coast of Old Town, landed on shore, and tied it to a dock in the historic harbor area, and loved it. Neighboring neighborhoods were only a few minutes walk away, making it very easy to explore all the popular sights, museums, cafes, restaurants, and art galleries.,walks and excursions.

New Town, on the other hand, is where Key West residents live and shop. I went by boat and did my shopping there, because it's much cheaper.

Part of what makes Key West so unique is its neighborhoods, most of which are in Old Town. I explored around eight of them, and although I found the edges to be blurry, it was clear to me when I was in the center of each one. In this article, I describe what makes each neighborhood so unique, and why you might want to stay there.

New Town - Good for a quick trip to Key West

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (1)

When youdrive to west key, it will pass through Cidade Nova before reaching Cidade Velha. Despite not being a cultural hub, hotel prices are quite comparable to Old Town, perhaps because New Town has its own attractions: parks, beaches, and jet ski and kayak rentals. It's also closer than Old Town to the Key West Rainforest and Botanical Gardens, Little Hamaca Park, and the Key West Nature Preserve.

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (2)

If you like coffee and pastries, according to the locals, New Town's Croissant de France does all the cooking and stocking for its Old Town counterpart. In other words, their freshest pies are available in New Town and about a dollar cheaper. I had buttered spinach and feta croissant with a small coffee.

Now for accommodation:

  • psYou can stay in the water inthis cute airbnb houseboatwhich starts at $125/night. The accommodation is quite primitive, so be prepared for an adventurous and creative stay.
  • ($$)To beairbnb casual rentalincludes the entire unit for $287/night and access to four pools. Parking is another $15/night.
  • ($$$)If you want a place on the beach, theMargaritaville Beach Houseis located in Smathers and has rooms starting at $345/night. Parking is included and there is a garden, terrace, restaurant, bar and outdoor pool.

Old Town: un Key West célebre

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (3)

I explored the old town in the dead of winter when it was decorated for the holidays. Without the decorations I would not have known it was December as the weather was in the 80's. Surprisingly, the island wasn't too crowded, which made it a joy to walk around and get acquainted with the neighborhoods. Here are six you might consider sticking with:

1. Historic port: proximity to charter boats

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (4)

It's here that you'll enjoy sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean from Mallory Square, which is a popular gathering place that hosts a Thursday farmer's market, live music and magicians, and offers plenty of seating along the waterfront.

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (5)

If you walk north from Mallory Square, you'll pass the marinas, where the charter boats are kept. The boardwalk is lined with waterfront bars and restaurants, like the Boat House Bar & Grill (I had a good Cobb salad there). You'll also find the Sails to Rails Museum (I heard the Dry Tortugas part of the exhibit) and the Turtle Museum (although I thought it would be a happy museum, it actually features a very sad story of how sea turtles became endangered).

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (6)

If you're planning a lot of water excursions, the historic seaport offers easy access to all ships. While tucked away from the bustling downtown Duval Street district, you can still enjoy plenty of excitement in a more laid-back, happy-hour setting. If this piques your interest, here are some places to consider:

  • psThe Key West Harbor Innis a B&B in the heart of Porto Histórico. Prices start at $200 a night, making it one of the most affordable hotels in Old Town. It also has great amenities like an indoor pool and bar.
  • ($$)If you're staying in the historic port area, you're better off staying on a boat!es airbnbit's docked at an outlet, so you'll be able to get to and from land in a boat.
  • ($$$)If you want to stay in a traditional Victorian home without breaking the bank,island town housestarts at $381/night and has hardwood floors and a garden.

2. Duval Street (Historic Center): great nightlife

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (7)

One song morphed into another as I passed the bars, restaurants, and souvenir stands. This is the place of urban nightlife, the center of the town of the island. It is the main street with shopping areas, full of pubs, cafes and party energy. Due to its difficult history as the economic backbone of Key West, thanks to immigrant workers and later tourists, this area is also known as the historic district. You'll notice that many of the establishments are Victorian, wood-frame houses that were built in the 19th century to accommodate Key West's rapidly growing population as a result of Cuban immigration during the Ten Years' War.

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (8)

If you decide to stay in the downtown area, which runs from Gulf to Petronia Street, here are my recommendations:

  • ps The old town mansion B&Bit serves organic fruits and small cakes for dessert, and has a terrace and a garden to relax. Rooms start at $225/night.
  • ($$)At $358 a night, this chic boutique hotel is conveniently located on Duval Street,Saint Hotel Autograph Collection, has a rooftop terrace and free bikes.
  • ($$$) the artist's houseis a popular B&B in the heart of downtown Key West, complete with vintage-style furniture and lots of art on the walls. Rooms start at $410/night.

3. Upper Duval (Historic Uptown): the artistic side of Key West

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (9)

In my opinion, Upper Duval is the classier side of Key West. It unites the vitality, history and natural beauty of this small island. It's also much quieter than the Historic Seaport and Downtown Duval neighborhoods. From Petronia Street to United Street, you'll experience a more artsy urban vibe filled with art and pottery shops and galleries (the Key West Gallery was one of my favorites).

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (10)

Although there are more residential Victorian houses and cottages here than commercial shops, cafes and restaurants, you're still on Duval Street and just a few minutes' walk from the nightlife. The Hemingway House, the Lighthouse Museum, and the historic Gato Cigar Factory (Key West was once known as "Cigar City USA") are just a few blocks away. You are also very close to the Southernmost Point (I waited 30 minutes in line to get my picture taken) and the Butterfly Conservatory.

If that sounds good to you, here are some of the top-rated hotels in this neighborhood:

  • psO Motel Southwindsstarts at $270/night and is right on Duval Street. Its minimalist rooms include a refrigerator and microwave.
  • ($$)the central locationPousada AmendoeiraIt features a tropical garden and has an outdoor pool and a hot tub. Rates start at $308/night.
  • ($$$)For a more artistic stay, the modernPousada Chave Orquídeaoffers a daily complimentary happy hour and features original artwork on the walls. Rates start at $433/night.

4. Heart of the old town: central location

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (11)

While we already mentioned that Old Town is its own district, there is also a smaller neighborhood, known as the "residential heart" of Key West, located between downtown and Upper Duval. It was here that Ernest Hemingway lived.

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (12)

Early shipbuilders built Victorian houses and cabins, some of which were built in the Bahamas and later moved to Key West by ship. I found this neighborhood very quiet and peaceful to walk around. The cemetery is close and many runners passed me through the streets.

If you stay in this old money area, you are a short walk from Bahama Village, the USSMainemonument, Uptown and Downtown, and the Truman Waterfront Park, all without the hustle and bustle.

I would recommend these hotels:

  • ps Or Hotel CasablancaIt is a small, historic B&B with an Irish pub. Rates start at $185/night.
  • ($$)A bicycle is included with your stay at theHotel Kimpton Farol, serving continental breakfast on the patio. Rates start at $322/night.
  • ($$$)The Garden HotelIt used to be the largest private estate in Key West, set on an acre of tropical gardens. Your room includes a private balcony or patio. Rates start at $482/night.

5. Bahama Village: Niche Community

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (13)

Bahama Village is a unique historic neighborhood that contributes to the diversity of Key West. It is named after its original residents, who lived in the colorful Bahamian-style structures and inspired the markets that still exist today. In October, there's the Bahama Village Goombay Festival, which celebrates Caribbean roots and traditions with marching bands, dancing, and lots of Bahamian food and music.

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (14)

Bahama Village is a great place to stay if you want to get away from the crowds. It is centrally located in an iconic part of the city, close to the Harry S Truman Little White House, US Mile Marker #0 and Truman Waterfront Park. EITHERfairhotel in Bahama Village that capitalizes on this culture is… dun dun dun:

6. Tennessee Williams White Street Gallery: zona residencial

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (15)

One of America's greatest playwrights, Tennessee Williams, used to have a home in this less-touristy Old Town neighborhood. It is also one of the most nature rich areas of Key West due to Bayview Park.

Where to stay in Key West (neighborhoods and hotels) (16)

Since it is quite residential, it is more popular with seasonal visitors. I have been through several vacation rentals and really liked the more relaxed atmosphere. For short term accommodation I would recommend the following:

  • ps The Inn of the Authorsstarts at $219/night. Its cozy accommodations are decorated with famous literary figures in mind.
  • ($$)Starting at $299/night, theHarbourside Motel y Marinaoffers the option of staying in a room or on a houseboat. You will have views of the marina and parking is included.
  • ($$$)The charming and homely 19th century house.Inn in Flemingis a six-bedroom B&B with a wrap-around porch. Rates start at $386/night and your stay includes complimentary snacks.


That's a roundup of some of the best Key West neighborhoods to stay in. If this helped you pick a favorite, let us know your decision in the comments below!

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Last Updated: 04/07/2023

Views: 6470

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Birthday: 1994-06-25

Address: Suite 153 582 Lubowitz Walks, Port Alfredoborough, IN 72879-2838

Phone: +128413562823324

Job: IT Strategist

Hobby: Video gaming, Basketball, Web surfing, Book restoration, Jogging, Shooting, Fishing

Introduction: My name is Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner, I am a zany, graceful, talented, witty, determined, shiny, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.