Key West is a bohemian island with an anything-goes attitude that attracts artists and dreamers. Here, at the southernmost point in the continental United States, you’ll find art galleries, jewelry shops and boutiques with a laid-back island vibe for the perfect one-of-a-kind Key West souvenir. It’s easy to navigate to the island’s best shopping on foot or by bicycle within historic Old Town. Here are the best items to take home.
Key West is a flip-flop wearing kind of town, so what better place to buy a pair of leather sandals — especially if they’re handmade in Key West? Since 1966, Kino Sandals (107 Fitzpatrick Street) has been the most coveted brand amongst island locals and visitors for its sandals’ quality, comfort and affordable prices (around $15). Named for Cuban immigrant Roberto “Kino” Lopez, it’s been a family business for generations. Kinos are easily recognizable for their supple leather straps, knot details and handcraftsmanship. Seventeen styles are available, and all sandals can be fully customized at the Key West factory and shop.
Art galleries dot the island, so you can’t walk far before stumbling into one. Island Arts Co-Op Gallery at 1128 Duval Street features the work of several Key West artists. It’s a great place to choose from locally crafted jewelry, watercolors, pottery, photography and oil paintings. Other popular galleries include Wyland Galleries (623 Duval Street) for Wyland’s signature marine-life-inspired work, Harrison Gallery (825 White Street) for sculptures by the Harrisons, and Archeo (1208 Duval Street) for African art and gabbeh rugs. These are just a few, but you can pretty much create your own art walk in Key West … and it doesn’t need to be the first Friday of the month.
Whether you’re shopping for a statement-making diamond or a piece fashioned from sunken treasure, Key West is a top destination for jewelry. Along Mallory Square, you’ll find jewelers such as Diamonds International (122 Duval Street) and Little Switzerland (271 Front Street), while Local Color (425 Greene Street) sells signature Key West “hook” bracelets, happy-hour rings with two different gemstones, and coin pendants from the ancient Atocha shipwreck in a funky, laid-back shop.
Key West is famously only 90 miles from Cuba, and many Cuban traditions have crossed over. One of these is the Cuban cigar rolling techniques. You’ll find kiosks selling cigars throughout the island, but for a high-quality stogie, visit Rodriguez Cigar Factory (113 Fitzpatrick Street), the oldest manufacturer in the Florida Keys that uses the traditional Cuban technique. The collection ranges from the mild Reserva Privada, aged four years and made with Nicaraguan binder and filler, to the full-bodied Series 84 Maduro, made with a cedar barrel-aged wrapper.
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico and with its sunshine-filled days, Key West is where you want to purchase your next sundress, bikini or sunglasses — and lucky for you, the island is brimming with boutiques. Head down Duval Street to discover shops like the “eco-chic” Green Pineapple (1130 Duval Street) for vintage jewelry and flowy dresses, or go slightly off the beaten path in Bahama Village for great finds at other locally owned shops, such as Wanderlust (310 Petronia Street) and Bésame Mucho (315 Petronia Street).