Introduction to Key West, Florida

Key West is the name of the city and the island it's situated on. It's located at the southern tip of the Florida Keys in Monroe County and is referred to as the "Southernmost City in the Continental United States." The island is a popular destination for cruise ships. "Old Town" attracts a vast number of tourists. Key West has a tropical climate. The well known Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams resided on the island.


The Calusa Indians were the original inhabitants. In 1521 Juan Ponce de Leon was the first European to arrive on the island. Florida was initially a Spanish colony. In 1763 the British were in charge of Florida and the Spaniards and the native Indians were relocated to Havana. Spain took back control approximately twenty years later, however the Spanish government did not exercise its control of the island. In 1815 the Spanish governor, residing in Havana, deeded the island to Juan Pablo Salas, an officer in the Royal Spanish Navy Artillery. In 1821 John W. Simonton, a businessman from the United States acquired the island from Salas.

After 1830 a vast number of immigrants, called Conchs, arrived from the Bahamas. In 1860 salvaging shipwrecks made Key West the most prosperous city in the state of Florida. Although Florida was part of the Confederacy during the Civil War, the island was still controlled by the Union, due to the Union's naval base. A vast number of Cubans relocated in Key West during the 1860's and the 1870's.


  • Old Town Key West.
  • Heritage House Museum & Robert Frost Cottage.
  • The Studios of Key West is a prominent artist community.
  • The Key West Botanical Forest and Garden.
  • The Shipwreck Museum provides a scenic view of the island.
  • The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory includes a glass domed tropical butterfly environment.
  • Southernmost Point.
  • Key West Cemetery.
  • The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum features treasures taken from shipwrecks from all over the world.
  • Key West Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters Museum.
  • Ernest Hemingway's home is now a museum.
  • Key West Nature Preserve.
  • Key West Aquarium.
  • Curry Mansion Museum is a superb Victorian structure.
  • Harry S. Truman Little White House.

Entertainment and Nightlife

Duval Street is a very popular location for restaurants and bars including Rick's Cafe, Captain Tony's Saloon, Rick's/Dirty Harry's Entertainment, the Bull and Whistle, Sloppy Joe's and Irish Kevin's Bar. The Sunset Festival at Mallory Square begins a few hours before sunset and can be described as a street carnival. Tourists enjoy shopping and dining at the Key West Historic Seaport. The Tennessee Williams Theatre is utilized for the performing arts and community events. The Key West Literary Seminar features well known writers. Visitors enjoy the Trails of Margaritaville Tour and also Fantasy Fest.

Outdoor Activities

Swimming with dolphins for children is offered in the Key Largo/Key West Area. The popular Conch Tour Train takes passengers through the historic Old Town. Tourists enjoy glass bottom boat excursions. Excellent opportunities for diving and snorkeling are located along the reefs. The shoreline near Fort Jefferson is a popular destination. Tourists can take a ferry ride to the notable Dry Tortungas National Park. Sightseeing cruises are a great way to enjoy Key West and the beautiful clear waters. Fishing is a popular outdoor activity. Some of the best beaches are Rest Beach, Fort Zachary Taylor, South Beach and Higg's Beach.


Total Population 25,187
Male Share of the Population 53.1%
Female Share of the Population 46.9%
Senior Citizens 13.3%
Employed Population 16+ 13,383
Age of the Population 40


% of people married 38%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 30.6%
Median Earnings25+ $30,890
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $19,951
Median Earnings With High School Degree $26,089


Median Family Income $59,198
% Above Poverty Level 87.4%
% Below Poverty Level 12.6%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 14 minutes
% Working from Home 6.2%
% Walking and Biking to Work 25.1%
% Using Public Transportation 2.4%


People Living Alone 36.9%
Median Gross Rent $1,547
Median House Value $430,900


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 32.1%
US/American 0.1%
English 10.7%
Irish 9.2%

Key West Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 120 miles SW of Kendall, Florida (center to center)
Nearest Large City 130 miles SW of Miami, Florida
County Monroe
Standard Zip Codes 33040
P.O. Box Zip Codes 33041, 33045
Phone Area Codes 305
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 24.555
Longitude -81.782

Key West Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 2.1 miles
Jan Temp 65 to 75 F
Apr Temp 72 to 82 F
Jul Temp 80 to 89 F
Oct Temp 76 to 85 F
Annual Precip 38.9 inches
Distance 6.6 miles
Jan Temp 65 to 75 F
Apr Temp 72 to 81 F
Jul Temp 79 to 89 F
Oct Temp 76 to 85 F
Annual Precip 42.7 inches
Distance 93.7 miles
Jan Temp 56 to 78 F
Apr Temp 62 to 85 F
Jul Temp 73 to 91 F
Oct Temp 70 to 87 F
Annual Precip 55.5 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Key West, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

East Rockland Key (33040)

Fort Jefferson National Mon (33040)

Key West Nas (33040)

Munson Island (33040)

Raccoon Key (33040)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Key West Public Libraries

Monroe County Public Library System
Key West, Florida
(305) 292-3595

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Key West Hospitals

(305) 294-5531
Emergency Service: Yes

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Key West High Schools

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Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,380 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 20

Serves 25 students.

Key West Colleges

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Historic Key West


Residence in palm grove c1900.

Select a photo to view (Source):

Residence in palm grove c1900.

View from hotel c1900.

Rubber tree in U.S. barracks between 1890 and 1901

Additional Resources
Info for Key West Government Officials

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