Free Parking Downtown Dec. 17-25—So You Can Shop 'Til You Drop
Posted: Nov 19, 2018 5:47 PMUpdated: Nov 26, 2018 2:46 AM
The holidays are almost upon us and soon we'll be turning on the holiday lights for the First City Lights Festival, immediately following the Winterfest Elf Parade on Friday, Nov. 23. Our historic streets are at their most beautiful under the glow of twinkling lights, and downtown shops, restaurants, galleries, bars and attractions are welcoming holiday shoppers with open arms. If you need further incentive, from Dec. 17-25 you can park for free at any DIB-managed on-street parking space, when the Downtown Parking Ambassadors will transform into holiday elves and help you carry large purchases to your car. Just call the "Elf Line": (850) 434-5371."We have more than 150 shops and galleries in Downtown Pensacola bursting with an eclectic mix of gifts for everyone on your list," said Downtown Improvement Board executive director Lissa Dees. "And from Dec. 17-25 we’re spreading cheer with free parking!"From half a million white lights to Santa and his elves to Winterfest trolley and train rides, you'll find a never-ending list of things to enjoy with friends and family once everyone is checked off your gift list. Check the downtown holiday calendar of events for a complete list of downtown happenings!
Best Holiday Shopping Experience Ever + 15 Places to Find the Perfect Gift
Posted: Oct 24, 2018 9:02 PMUpdated: Nov 9, 2018 9:46 PM
Black Friday is almost here. Prepare yourself. If thinking about a dizzying crush of frantic shoppers makes your head spin, may we suggest shopping along the historic streets of downtown Pensacola, where you can stroll at your own pace and browse an eclectic mix of unique shops, boutiques and galleries? The heart of the city is at its most festive this time of year, when the “traffic” you’ll encounter will likely include a miniature replica train, a holiday trolley, a horse-drawn carriage and, possibly, a gaggle of Segways.Below you’ll find our list of more than a dozen downtown shops that are just brimming with great gifts. Be sure to catch Palafox Market on Saturdays from 9am-2pm if you’re looking for one-of-a-kind art, handcrafted soaps, candles, toys, fresh flowers, produce and other locally-grown, locally-sourced, locally-crafted gifts. [TIP: Park in the Jefferson St. Garage and ask your downtown retailer to validate your parking. See the big sign inside the garage and enjoy free parking while you shop!]New to downtown, The Pensacola Merchant was founded “for those looking for all things Pensacola!”—their collection includes Pensacola-themed clothing, accessories, ornaments, gifts, books, toys, pet items, coffees and more. Is there a new homeowner or newly-married or engaged couple on your list? They will love the conversation-starting throw pillows, rugs, glassware and unique light fixtures at Urban Objects, and the engraved and personalized glassware carefully handcrafted by A&J Mugs. For your favorite holiday party host and hostess, make a pit stop at Bubba’s Sweet Spot and build a custom fudge box (more than 10 tasty fudge options, including allergy-sensitive flavors!). And for your sweet-toothed friends, drop by Adonna’s Bakery for macaroons and cannoli sets. PS—Adonna’s even offers a selection of treats for your furry, four-legged friends. For your favorite home chef, check out the humorous dish towels and unique kitchen accessories at Rusted Arrow Mercantile. Head to Ride Society, Pure Barre and Gracie for a gift that’s perfect for your favorite athlete. These fitness spots offer group classes as well as merchandise. Or pick up an “850” hat from The South Outfitters (better hurry—these hats fly off the shelf!). For clothing and accessories, we recommend Indigeaux, Melobay, and Gray, where you can find the latest fashions and accessories for women, and Don Alans for menswear, leather goods and gifts for the special men in your life. These are just a few of the shopping hot spots in downtown Pensacola, where gifts can be found at every corner, including art galleries and museums (we love the Trader Jon tees at T.T. Wentworth Museum!). No matter the size of your budget, downtown Pensacola will gift to you a truly different, truly enjoyable shopping experience. Happy (stress-free) hunting!
Thousands will Watch Downtown Light Up for the Holidays on Nov. 23
Posted: Oct 3, 2018 6:10 PMUpdated: Nov 9, 2018 9:57 PM
This Black Friday, Downtown Pensacola's annual holiday lighting ceremony will launch the First City Lights Festival, a diverse, season-long lineup of downtown holiday events including Ballet Pensacola’s “The Nutcracker," a “Little Spruce” makers market, Christmas lights tours with Go Retro and much more!  Crowds will gather in downtown Pensacola at around 5pm, immediately following the Winterfest Elf Parade, when the grumpy Grinch will attempt to prevent Augustus Maywho, the mythical mayor of Whoville, from flipping the switch to light up downtown and launch the holiday season. The Winterfest Elf Parade features characters from the Peanuts Gang, the Island of Misfit Toys and other Christmas classics, and will make its way from the T.T. Wentworth Museum to the steps of the Artel Gallery, where visitors will enjoy performances from the cast of Christmas characters, snow, “reindeer” games, food and more. Winterfest’s popular Performance Tours take visitors on a 60-minute trolley ride through downtown's historic streets, stopping along the way for live street performances featuring carolers, meticulously detailed sets and a full cast of Christmas characters.  All along the tree-lined streets of downtown, visitors will experience music, shopping, food, art and nightlife under a canopy of half a million white lights illuminating historic buildings, parks, shops, galleries and outdoor spaces. Visitors can navigate the eclectic downtown Pensacola district, voted “Florida’s Greatest Place," on foot or by Segway(R),  horse and carriage, pedi-cab or a Winterfest trolley. Wandering along Palafox throughout the holidays, you may chance upon live street performances, caroling in the streets, Santa posing for photos and Winterfest Trolley Tours.CLICK HERE FOR MORE HOLIDAY EVENTS!PHOTO CREDIT: Laura Bogan Photography
Public Art Around the Downtown District
Posted: Sep 19, 2018 3:41 PMUpdated: Nov 26, 2018 3:58 PM
Downtown Pensacola has become a beacon for local artists looking to make a visual and cultural impact in their community. The historic buildings and picturesque landscapes allow our cultural hub to celebrate artwork in many different forms. Discover the galleries, murals, and public art projects that provide a modern twist to “Florida’s Greatest Place.” As you walk down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, you’ll come across the 9/11 Homage to America; a sculpture designed by Peter King and Xinia Marin as a memorial to the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Further south in the historic district of downtown Pensacola, you’ll find a set of murals displaying antique ships at a Pensacola dock outside the Voices of Pensacola Multicultural Center and a painting of a horse-drawn steam-pumping engine with firefighters on the side of the Quayside Gallery, similar to the one housed by the building in the late 1800s when it was used as the headquarters for the Germania Steam Fire Engine and Hose Company. Further north, you can enjoy the bright, whimsical street art lining the walls of the First City Art Center, painted as part of the annual Foo Foo Festival, which celebrates local art, music and culture.Spread throughout downtown Pensacola are numerous painted parking meters. These repurposed meters are a great example of painting with a purpose as part of the Better Way to Give project created by the Greater Pensacola Chamber Foundation’s Leadership Pensacola (LeaP) Class of 2016. The project involved recycling obsolete parking meters — which were then painted by local artists and local businesses — to provide an alternative to giving directly to homeless people living on the streets. Throughout the downtown area you’ll also find many colorful five-foot tall pelicans. The Pelicans in Paradise project was dreamed up and organized by the Pensacola News Journal as a way to celebrate local art and culture in a fun, fresh way. See how many you can spot on your next downtown visit.As you head further west, you can enjoy the ever-changing Graffiti Bridge located on N. 17th Avenue. The old railroad overpass is constantly transformed by locals and visitors alike as a living canvas to express inspiration, love and creativity. The unique structure is a daily reminder of the importance of free expression.In the historic Belmont-Devilliers district,  you’ll find various works from local artist Carter J. Gaston, whose brightly painted murals depict many of the area’s well-known residents and landmarks. The self-proclaimed “world’s best live portrait artist” once spent a week painting local African-American leaders including Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Jr., the nation’s first black four-star general; Dr. John Sunday, a trail-blazing legislator and James Polkinghorne, Jr among many other important historic and cultural figures. “It’s great to see public art inspiring more artistic projects that reflect the city’s future while showcasing our rich history,” said local artist Evan Levin. In 2016, Levin partnered with Ashton Howard to paint the colorful 3,000 sq. ft. Jefferson Street Mural that illustrates Pensacola’s iconic history. A year later, the duo returned with CUBED; a 12-day mural installation with a live public art performance featuring 16 local artists transforming their works into four 8'x8' cubes. The colorful works of art can now be viewed at the UWF Historic Trust Museum Plaza located behind the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum. A new public art installment will debut at this year’s Foo Foo Fest. CUBED Luminous is a 4 day (and night) outdoor digital art festival consisting of a 12ft x 18ft LED cube and 16 laser projectors projecting on four 8ft x 8ft cubes located at the UWF Historic Trust Museum Plaza from November 8-11, 2018. This digital art festival, curated by the Pensacola Museum of Art, will also feature music with a mix of DJ sets and live music performances from local and regional bands as well as a Makers City Marketplace and food trucks. Join us in downtown Pensacola to enjoy the many examples of public art and be sure to return for the highly anticipated CUBED Luminous 2018 event from Nov. 8-11. You can also join us for one special Friday every month on Palafox as we take art to the streets for Gallery Night. Downtown galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and bars open their doors to the night air as visitors and locals flood the streets to enjoy music, art and cuisine.
Get Off the Eaten Path at These Downtown Restaurants
Posted: Sep 12, 2018 9:22 PMUpdated: Nov 26, 2018 2:46 AM
Pensacola has a rich culture—made evident in the eclectic food options of its downtown area. From southern comfort food to Middle Eastern cuisine, you will have no problem finding a spot to satisfy your culinary cravings. Let’s take a trip off the “eaten path” of downtown Pensacola to discover your new favorite dining destinations!  Located on Palafox Street is Dog House Deli, a casual and lively spot for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its menu features a plethora of mouthwatering options ranging from Cajun style crawfish andouille to a Chicago-style hot dog worthy of the Windy City. “The Doghouse” has monthly, and even weekly events that highlight food specials, guest chefs and charitable projects.  Further down Palafox is Four Seasons Catering and Eatery. This local gem specializes in event catering and dine-in options and features a dainty menu of fresh salads, premier seafood and signature flatbreads. Around the corner is Jordan Valley, a Middle Eastern restaurant featuring authentic cultural dishes like hummus plates and lamb platters. The outside patio offers a relaxing hookah lounge area.   Further west, you’ll find Union Public House located across the street from the Blue Wahoos Stadium and Community Maritime Park. This crafty southern pub combines fresh ingredients with inventive ideas to curate a wide variety of delicious menu items, including the wild boar sloppy joe and heirloom tomato grilled cheese. UPH offers a main, lunch and happy hour menu featuring shareable small plates and hearty entrées.   One of the newest additions to the downtown area is Big Top Brewery, which is the only downtown brewery to serve both beer and food on its menu. With 24 beers on tap, table seating, big screen TVs and game tables, Big Top offers a lively environment for the thirsty (and hungry) guest. Be sure to check out some of their unique brews, including the sweet, zesty Conch Republic Key Lime Wheat ale and the rich, full-bodied Okefenokee Backwater Imperial Stout. Next time you visit downtown Pensacola, be sure to explore some different dining options and venture to one of these unique spots off the eaten path!