Key West Gay City Guide: Living in Paradise

Key West is a place to live your life out loud. It’s a collection of all types of communities, whether you’re a foodie, beach bum, or into art, there’s a little something for everyone. It’s been a long-standing queer destination that’s culturally rich with a city motto of “One Human Family.” What could be better than that?

A Brief History of Key West

Key West is only 7.5 square miles and sits 90 miles north of Cuba. Cayo Hueso is the original Spanish name of the island. It translates to “bone cay” because of the large reefs in the area. The United States took possession of Florida from Spain in 1821, and the rest was history.

The island was relatively isolated until 1912, when it was then connected to Florida’s mainland. Today, people that live in Key West are referred to as “conchs” after the pretty ocean shell.

Stats on Key West

  • Key West is the southernmost city in the United States.
  • The city is closer to Cuba than Miami.
  • Forty-one degrees is the record low for the city.
  • Key West has the third-largest barrier coral reef in the world.
  • It’s where the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico meet!

Here are some more fun facts about Key West.

The Community of Key West

Key West has a large number of gay elected officials, a gay chief of police, and a rainbow flag flying at city hall. The town is the county seat of Monroe County which includes the Florida Keys.

Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Key West

The center’s mission is to provide a place to promote and strengthen the community and identity of every LGBTQ member in Key West. Opened in 1998, the GLCC is located a few blocks off of Duval Street (the queer neighborhood in the city).

Key West Business Guild

Focused on integration and inclusion, the mission of the Key West Business Guild is to promote the LGBTQ community through networking, special events, and supporting gay-owned businesses. They’re a great resource.

Key West International Airport

It’s good to know that way down south, there’s an easily accessible airport right nearby. The airport serves travelers from all over the world and is super convenient for residents who travel for business.

The Best Weather

Of course, one of the major appeals of Key West is the weather. The climate is tropical savanna, with only a small difference in monthly mean temperatures between the warmest and coolest months. It’s one of the only places in the United States to never record a frost. So, if you don’t like cold weather, it’s quite ideal.

However, what’s nice about the island life is the salty ocean breezes that still keep things cool. Temperatures rarely reach over 95 degrees.

LGBTQ Events in the City

Key West Pride – June

Key West Pride is like nothing else. It happens the second week of June and is a major party event. It’s a welcoming scene for everyone involved with plenty of rainbow flags.

Key West Tropical Heat – August

This all-male four-day bash is filled with pool parties, themed events, and plenty of adult entertainment.

Womenfest – September

Key West welcomes women from all over the world for one of the largest lesbian gatherings in the United States. Each year, thousands of ladies flock for tons of activities, events, and fun in the sun.

Hot Pink Holidays - December

This four-day event brings the holiday season to the island. This is a shopper’s paradise, with deep discounts all over Key West.

Key West Neighborhoods

The really happening neighborhood for the LGBTQ community is in and around Duval Street. It’s a downtown, commercial-zoned street in zip code 33040. The median sales price for a home is $550,000 and the average price per square foot is $500. The area typically has 377 homes for sale.

Here are the average prices based on home size:

  • 1 bedroom - $397,700
  • 2 bedrooms - $566,864
  • 3 bedrooms - $788,321
  • 4 bedrooms - $986,750

This area is also referred to as Old Town. Here, the architecture is classic bungalows and guest mansions.

Ready to look at some "for sale" homes in Key West? Connect with a top Key West Gay Realtor today!

Arts and Entertainment

Mallory Square

This festival marketplace celebrates the sunset every night with food, fun, and street performances. It’s located at the center of the historic waterfront and offers unparalleled shopping.

Nancy Forrester's Secret Garden

A playful haven for rescued parrots of every color, shape, and size. Guests can picnic, create art, play music, and interact with the birds.

Parks and Recreation

The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

The former residence of the favorite author, it is said Ernest installed a pool for his wife and put a penny in the bottom because of how costly it was. Go to see the famous studio, garden, and six-toed cats.

Fort Zachary Taylor

A quiet beach and state park that features water sport rentals, trails, a café, and a pre-civil war fortress.

The Nightlife

Bourbon St. Pub

On the corner of Petronia and Duval Street, this is definitely a hot spot for queer men. Every night at 10 p.m. be sure to catch the “Men of Bourbon” review. They have a killer happy hour too.

Aqua Nightclub

Every night catch a drag show by the Aquanettes. There’s also weekly karaoke and dance parties to keep you busy. It’s a lively bar and a super good time.

Bobby’s Monkey Bar

Here you can grab dinner, drinks, and see some live music. It’s the perfect spot for a nightcap and has a cool ambiance.

La Te Da

This is the place for everything LGBTQ. From cabaret shows to lodging and bars, you won’t need to leave this place all night! You can’t miss the colorful blue awning.

Key West is a fun and lively place that has something to offer everyone. For being in the tropics in a large LGBTQ community, the housing is still pretty affordable. It’s a diverse and open place that is incredible year-round.