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(2023 - Winter Issue)


Known for its snow-white sandy beaches that Canadians love, the Pensacola Bay Area also boasts a thriving arts and cultural scene, historical and archaeological sites, chic shops, eclectic galleries and award-winning restaurants. Hands down, it’s the way to beach this winter.


Pensacola’s historic Palafox Street is all abuzz during Gallery Night, an event held on the third Friday of each month. Food trucks, performers, artists and merchants all converge together when the streets here transform into busy pedestrian walkways showcasing art, music, and food.

The First City Lights Festival begins in late November and lasts three months with festivities that include street performances and trolley tours that choo-choo past historic buildings adorned in a canopy of half a million white lights.

Voted “Florida’s Greatest Place” by the American Planning Association of Florida, Pensacola has a rich and colourful history dating back more than 460 years. An eclectic blend of historic resolve and cosmopolitan progress, Pensacola’s downtown district is the only city in the region to offer the arts version of the “Big Five”— (Pensacola Saenger Theatre, Pensacola Symphony Orchestra, Pensacola Opera, Ballet Pensacola and Pensacola Museum of Art)—all are conveniently situated within walking distance.


Your splashy arts go-to is Graffiti Bridge, a famous Pensacola landmark known for its ever-evolving colourful façade. Built in 1888, this historic train trestle changes daily as people have been painting the railroad overpass for generations. Graffiti coats every square inch of the bridge, offering everything from memorials to professions of love to anniversaries to political messages and community announcements.

For more street art, take a self-guided tour of POP Murals, a community initiative, to learn about the area’s rich fascinating history depicted on the walls of prominent buildings.


Downtown Pensacola’s Winterfest celebration is another family-friendly crowd pleaser with special visits made by Santa Claus, and by other popular storybook characters like the Grinch, Scrooge, and the conductor from “The Polar Express,” who lead their own special tours around the historic district.


Music lovers and songwriters converge on Perdido Key in early November at the Frank Brown Songwriters’ Festival. This multi-venue event is a great way to learn the stories behind the music. For adventurous beach-goers, take the plunge and dive into the fresh saltwater at a Polar Bear Dip on New Year’s Day—one takes place on Perdido Key and the other at Pensacola Beach. Groups and families gather in costumes, swim suits and even wetsuits to take a cold dip and feel the brisk salt water on their faces. It’s a thrilling way to start the new year off fresh.

After all, the way to beach is to visit Pensacola this winter.

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For more information on these and other events, surf on over to VisitPensacola.com

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