Insanity is the best word to describe Mallory Square at sunset. Another good description would be circus. At sunset, Mallory Square attracts all of Key West's freaks, scammers, carnies, drunks, and the tourists who so easily part with their money.
We walked through Mallory Square at sunset on both nights during our recent visit. To say the least it is entertaining. I never thought I'd see fire eaters, jugglers, unicycle riders, escape artists, and comedians.... and that was just one guy. All of the "performers" seems to have somewhat of a script, and they know each other and rotate spots so they can share the money from the prime locations.
Mallory Square also has a few booths selling tourist trinkets.
There's nothing quite like watching a sunset, especially when the sky burns a deep orange all around and black sailboats pass quietly in front of the dipping sun. Despite all the people, a truly romantic experience.
Every night people gather at Mallory Square for the sunset celebration, do not miss it. Mallory Square is filled with live entertainment before the celebration. If you can get to the Sunset Bar and Grill located at Mallory Square before the crowd, you will get your own private view of the sunset and a drink. This is a nightly celebration to say goodnight to the sun.
a time honored tradition when in key west is to go to mallory square downtown and celebrate the sunset. at this daily sunset celebration you will see street performers and other interesting key west locals. it is legal to bring a drink to mallory square as long as it is in a plastic container. a custom that is unique to key west.
Every evening at sunset sveral unusual entertainers come out to the docks of Mallory Square and perform such talents as tightrope walking, cat juggling and flaming sword swallowing. This Sunset Celebration is a must see experience that attracts tons of tourists and locals alike. Be sure you plan your dinner schedule accordingly so that you don't miss the fun. Also don't forget to leave a tip for the ones you enjoy as these guys really do some dangerous things for your entertainment.
OK, just above, I wrote a comment about Mallory Square being more than just about the "sunset celebration". And while that's all true, the event that gets everything pumping in the area is the daily sunset celebration.
I figured we'd need to get there early to get a nice seat, but the truth is that it seems to be a late-arriving crowd for sunset. I'd say that if you show up an hour ahead of sunset, you'll have you pick of places to relax and enjoy.
Basically, this is all one big street party. There are little bar stands selling daiquiris and beers, and bottled waters. You can, SURPRISE!, buy a t-shirt or two, too. Costume jewelry, incense, paraphenalia of "questionable legality"...it's all there. There are folk singers, dancers, mimes, clowns, all sorts of street performers and just plain old buskers, too.
We ended up hanging around a fellow who specialized in Houdini-esque escape stunts. He'd wrap himself in chains, hand upside down and such. All in the course of his little show, he had a great little Vegas stand-up comedy routine going too, and made great use of audience participation. At the end, as do most of the street performers, they passed the hat. Bottom line, we paid the guy $5 and got more than our money's worth in laughs alone.
...and the sunset....
Well, we've done sunset celebrations all over the world, and they're always memorable. But, Mallory Square was worth the time we spent waiting it out. And when ol' sol finally disappeared beneath the horizon, we were all glad to feel things cool off just a bit.
And remember, when the sunset celebration ends each day, that means the North Duval Street party celebration is about to kick into a higher gear.
An open air square filled with jugglers, tarot card readers, dog and cat shows, tight rope walkers, musicians, food vendors, jewlery makers, bamboo artists and more...looking over the ocean to the west as the sun sets over islands and sailboats.
Bring or grab a drink and sit down and enjoy the show. You haven't seen Key West if you haven't been here at sunset at least once during your trip.
Everyone here is an artist of some sort. They don't allow just anyone to set up a booth here. It has to be your of your own making (Food, Art, Juggling, etc...) Can be very funky depending on who is there that night.
The cat show is unique and fun if you can handle the overly eccentric 'Dominic' the cat trainer and his bad jokes...the cats are amazingly well trained though.
Oh Yeah, and the Hilton has bars set up where they make a good drinks...I always add an extra shot for a miniscule price.
You will need to get there around 5:30 pm to get a good spot – especially on days when a cruise ship or 2 is parked in front of the Hilton. Expect tacky side shows (i.e. trained housecats jumping through hoops of fire) and local vendors. I got a wonderful painted tank top from a woman at the very end of the pier. It will be crowded but the sunsets are spectacular. We viewed the sun going down almost every night we were in Key West!
As it gets late in the day take Duvall to Mallory Square for a fun Key West ritual & entertaining spectacle of performers, tasty food vendors and music....
Sunsets in Key West are pretty spectacular, thus, they celebrate them EVERY evening down at Mallory Square.
You'll love watching the fiery sun melt into the ocean with friends or a loved one.
Grab some freshmade guacamole or lemonade while there.
Enjoy the various performers peddling for a couple bucks from the lively crowd.
The Catman puts on shows in the square every night that he's in the Keys. He'll do a show before sunset, right after sunset, and sometimes a mini show after that.
He's a Key West Original and has been doing this for quite some time. He is eccentric to the point of being borderline crazy and it's awesome!
The Cats are trained to jump through hoops. Hoops with Paper over them, and hoops with fire. These are lions, they are ordinary house cats and the show is awesome. They do balance beam acts and catch tossed food with their hands.
I would make the trip to Key West solely to see the Catman. I haven't had a good time like that since I was a kid!
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