Downtown Pensacola

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The Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board (DIB) is an independent state agency funded by a special tax levy on properties within its district boundaries. The district consists of 40 blocks that encompass the urban core of downtown Pensacola.

 

Business District - Pensacola

Located on the western side of downtown is the area defined as the Business District. The district is home to many professional firms, the Chamber of Commerce, and a number of financial institutions with ATMs.

West Garden Street features unique local shopping at Artessana, Artessana Fine Wines, Ever’man Natural Foods, and The Market and Mainly Shoes.

For a quick bite of lunch, try Ever’man Natural Foods Deli or Lisa’s Garden Street Deli.

Bay Center District - Pensacola

Located in the northeast portion of downtown, this district is home to the Pensacola Bay Center (Civic Center), a venue Pensacola’s hockey team, the Ice Flyers, or fans screaming for their favorite big-name musical artists. Each year, the Bay Center’s schedule holds headlining musical acts, circus attractions, and traveling shows that are each more impressive than the last. For an unexpected surprise, try ice skating!

The Bay Center also hosts public ice skating after many of the Ice Flyers’ games. Visit pensacolaciviccenter.com for more information.

Belmont DeVilliers - Pensacola

The northwest corner of downtown is anchored by the Belmont DeVilliers district rich with culture and heritage. The DeVillers Cultural Heritage Museum at the intersection of Belmont and DeVilliers Streets serves as a showcase of local and national blues, jazz and gospel talents as well as a local performing arts museum. Across the street is the Belmont Arts & Cultural Center, offering live performing arts, glass blowing and pottery workshops, and static art displays. Just a few doors away on DeVilliers Street is The Gumbo Gallery featuring an eclectic blend of art dedicated to showcasing the “forgotten communities” of Pensacola.

The food and entertainment offerings in this district continue the salute and respect for the unique heritage and culture found there. Blue Dot Barbeque is a long standing fixture just steps away from the main arts and cultural offerings. The Five Sisters Blues Café across the street from the Belmont Arts & Cultural Center features some of the best southern style soul food in the region and live local entertainment on the weekends.

At the eastern end of the district on Spring Street is the Downtown Public Library. With free public use computers and internet access, visitors to Pensacola can keep up with the happenings back home or research some element of the local offerings more thoroughly.

Historic District - Pensacola

The Historic District is Downtown Pensacola’s largest, covering nearly fifty blocks. Visitors to this authentic part of downtown are beckoned to savor the French Creole, Spanish Colonial and British Arts and Crafts influenced architecture and atmosphere that abounds.

A tour of the twenty-seven properties that comprise the Historic Pensacola Village, part of a larger National Register Historic District, is not to be missed.

Many of the structures and house museums are decorated in authentic period style and staffed by interpreters or reenactors in period dress. Explore the footprint of where the British Fort of Pensacola once stood; and don’t miss a chance to stand in historic Plaza Ferdinand, designed by the Spanish, where General Andrew Jackson accepted Florida from Spain and first raised the American flag over this land. Or visit the interesting eight acres of St. Michael’s Cemetery (website address), one of the oldest cemeteries in Florida, in use since the 18th Century. History of a more recent nature can also be seen at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Plaza on North Palafox Street or in Veterans Memorial Park along Bayfront Parkway/Main Street.

Museums & Arts District - Pensacola

Tucked away just south of the Historic District and north of the Waterfront District is the largest concentration of museums and art galleries in Northern Florida. While the artistic and historic offerings are many, the size of the district is the smallest in downtown. Centered generally around the intersection of Zaragossa and Jefferson Streets, four museums, a performing arts center, and several art galleries are just a block or less away.

The T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum, located in Pensacola’s original city hall, was built in 1907 and is home to three floors of diverse collections illustrating life in the Florida panhandle from earlier periods via artwork, antiques, relics, and hands-on discovery.

Another must-see in this district is the Pensacola Museum of Art occupying the former Pensacola Jail, is where magnificent works of art from sculptors and painters including Salvador Dali, Miriam Schaprio, and Milton Avery mingle with standing collections and touring displays from the 20th and 21st centuries. Just a few steps down Zaragoza Street are the Pensacola Historical Museum and the Museum of Commerce – both worth the effort.

Waterfront District - Pensacola

The picturesque old coastal town of Pensacola is flanked by water to the east and to the south. Along the southern shores of downtown is where the Waterfront District can be found. The Port of Pensacola offers seven berths allowing for docking of most ocean-going vessels. Many a local, as well as visitors, can be seen watching the container vessels and occasional tall ship dock and depart.

Just outside the gates of the port are some of the most quintessential Pensacola restaurants bestowing local flavor and color to their patrons. The Fish House and Atlas Oyster House, located in a massive historic canning factory, offer signature seafood dishes like Grits a YaYa with waterfront dining and live music right on Pensacola Bay.

To the west of the Port at the southern terminus of Palafox Street is Plaza de Luna, named for the Spanish explorer who first set foot on the shores of Pensacola in 1559. This spectacular waterfront park is a great place to watch the ship traffic at the port, let the kids frolic in the interactive fountain, toss a fishing line, or simply watch the sunset over Pensacola Bay. Late afternoons on Thursdays from April through September are even more special as free live music fills the air until right before sunset.

Just a couple of blocks north of Plaza de Luna is the New World Inn, a charming boutique hotel with individually decorated rooms and a quiet atmosphere reminiscent of a less hurried time. Adjacent to this location is 600 South, a perfect place to enjoy fine wine and authentic Italian cuisine indoors or outside in the spacious courtyard.

At the westernmost edge of the Waterfront District is the home of Pensacola’s Community Maritime Park. The facility hosts a sports stadium, wharf, public marina, and an outdoor amphitheatre. The parks is also home to Pensacola’s minor league baseball team, the Blue Wahoos.

For More Information About Downtown Pensacola - Visit Official Website.

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