key west Duval street
as seen by island scooters of key west
Duval Street (DOO-VAHL) is a famous downtown commercial zoned street in Key West, Florida, running north and south from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. Duval Street (DOO-VAHL) is a famous downtown commercial zoned street in Key West, Florida, running north and south from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean. From shore to shore, the street is just over a mile in length. It is named for William Pope Duval, the first territorial governor of Florida.
Duval Street was designated a “Great Street” in 2012 by the American Planning Association.American Planning Association, Great Places, 2012 The beautiful Bahamian and Spanish influenced Victorian Mansions of Duval Street have been well preserved through local preservation efforts starting in the 1960’s.
On the Atlantic Ocean end of Duval Street there is a mix of early Key West Victorian mansions and bungalows’ dotting the neighborhood. Art galleries, boutiques, inns and Bodega’s line the wide sidewalks. Although this end of Duval is more residential and less filled with tourists, the sidewalks still bustle with activity.
Near the southern terminus of Duval Street is the buoy marker for the southernmost spot in the United States not far from the Southernmost House, a striking Victorian architecture mansion built in 1896. A favorite of both Harry Truman and author Ernest Hemingway, the building was restored to its formal beauty and opulence with a $3 million renovation in 1996.
Duval Street well represents the cultural influence of Key West’s proximity and cultural ties to Cuba. Many Cubans immigrated to the area beginning in the late 1860’s. At one time, the many cigar stores on Duval gave the city the moniker “Cigar City USA.” There are many pleasant outdoor cafes to enjoy another Cubano influenced product, “Cuban Coffee,” which is espresso made from roasted Cuban Coffee beans with a heavy dose of sugar.
At the north end, tourists from the cruise ships that dock at the Westin harbor complex, Mole pier or Mallory Square are often seen traversing Duval Street’s many shops  in the afternoon looking for souvenir trinkets and T-shirts. The streets are congested with Pedi cabs, trollies, bikes, mopeds, cars, and the Conch Train all adding to the touristy feel of this heavily visited end of Duval.
Near the northern end of the street is Mallory Square. Historic Mallory Square is the center of Key West’s waterfront. The City of Key West and Duval Street share their beginning along this deep harbor waterfront.
On certain nights, the gulf shores of Duval Street often vibrate with a carnival like atmosphere that lasts until dawn and beyond. In fact, the ritual has a name known to tourists and residents as the “Duval Pub Crawl.” Duval is the location of many famous restaurants and bars, including Sloppy Joe’s, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, which is the original, Fogarty’s Restaurant, Bar and Bakery, “The Flying Monkeys Bar”, The Bull and Whistle, Rick’s Cafe and Irish Kevin’s bar. Tour outlets book the “Duval Pub Crawl” activity and provide knowledgeable guidance for the tourist wishing to visit and imbibe at the famous drinking establishments, for a fee.
A 1967 National Park Service survey of Historic American Buildings designated 18 buildings as historic. A full six blocks were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Further protection for this historically significant street has been created through the City’s, “Historic Architecture Guidelines,” approved in 2000, which sets standards for construction on Duval Street.
Duval Street is also a neighborhood within the City of Key West.
It is the area on either side of Duval Street, and includes the area to the north of Front Street, containing Wall Street, Mallory Square and the Port of Key West.
Duval Street is mentioned as the place where Jimmy Buffett is partying in the song “My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink and I Don’t Love Jesus.”
Duval Street is featured on an episode of Hogan Knows Best when Brooke goes missing for hours when the family is vacationing in Key West.
Duval Street is mentioned in the 1978 disco song “Key West” by the Village People: “take a walk down Duval Street, you never know who’ll you meet.”
The economy of Duval Street is an essential part of the fictional novel ‘Callahan’s Con’ by Spider Robinson.
key west duval st