Good Eats: Pensacola boasts a fantastic mix of casual and fine dining restaurants. My top local favorites include The Global Grill, Tu-Do Vietnamese, Sake Cafe, The Fish House, Jerry’s Cajun Cafe and Florida Pizza Kitchen. These are perfect go-to restaurants if you’re craving excellent service and a delicious meal.
Retail Therapy: It may seem a little biased if I say Jewelers Trade Shop so I will refrain from mentioning one of Pensacola’s true “gems” –Shameless plug!
True retail therapy can be found at many of Pensacola’s local boutiques. I could get lost in The Linen Corner, Celebrations, duh for Garden and Home and my new favorite, Belle Ame’. Each boutique has its own unique charm and welcomes customers with fun seasonal displays and friendly customer service.
Watering Holes: The Wine Bar is a wonderful spot for grabbing a glass of wine with the girls. Their selection of wine is impressive and the 2-for-1 happy hour is even more so. 5 ½ Bar is also perfect for a girls’ night out—Peach Bellini, anyone? Bimini Beach Bar at Hemingway’s Island Grill is my beach go-to. When that summer heat sets in, nothing is more refreshing than a delicious Mojito from Bimini.
Nightlife: For a casual night out, Play is the place to go. Play combines the atmosphere of a casual bar with a fun-filled arcade—genius! My friends and I love challenging each other to a few rounds of skee-ball. A Pensacola icon, and my absolute favorite nightlife attraction, is Rosie O’Grady’s Duelling Piano Show at Seville Quarter.
Outdoors: Enjoying Pensacola Beach is, of course, my favorite outdoor activity, but Blackwater River State Park comes in a close second. Canoeing and tubing with Adventures Unlimited or Bob’s Canoe Rentals & Sales is always a greatly anticipated summer activity.
Arts & Culture: The Pensacola Opera offers world-renowned talent in our own hometown. We are beyond lucky to be able to experience the vocal talents of performers like Hanan Tarabay, and many others, on our local stages. The University of West Florida Department of Theatre and Performing Arts is also a wealth of culture where UWF students showcase their developing talents throughout the year at very reasonable prices. Support the arts!
Never Miss Events/Festivals: Fiesta of Five Flags is always a summer favorite, as I love how it educates the community about Pensacola’s rich history in a fun, celebratory way. The Great Gulf Coast Arts Festival is also an annual favorite—nothing beats strolling through Seville Square admiring the unique art displays. A new favorite is the Council on Aging of West Florida’s Rat Pack Reunion. Last year, attendees were entertained by Roaster and Toasters of the 2011 Big Cheese, Fred Levin—this event has become a must attend in my book.