26 Fun Things to Do in Pensacola, Florida: Museums, Downtown & the Outdoors

Aerial view of Pensacola, Florida at sunset

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Get ready for a dose of beachy fun, a touch of history, and a bit of adventure because we’re diving headfirst into all the amazing things to do in Pensacola: the Sunshine State’s westernmost city!

This sun-soaked city may be small, but it’s brimming with attractions and experiences that will keep you entertained and inspired. 

Whether you’re exploring the scenic bay area or discovering the vibrant downtown, there’s no shortage of things to see and do.

Take a stroll through Pensacola’s historic landmarks, indulge in the local cuisine, or simply soak up the sunshine on the stunning Gulf Coast. 

With a range of options to choose from, you’ll find the perfect activity to suit your mood and interests.

So, pack your bags and get ready to experience the charm and excitement of Pensacola.

Pensacola also features in our guides to fall in Florida and in the winter, as well as some of our favorite Florida state parks.

Best Things to Do in Pensacola, Florida

Check out these incredible and entertaining things to do in Pensacola, Florida! 

Our list is conveniently mapped from the downtown attractions all the way up to the destinations in the north, so you can easily plan your itinerary and make the most out of your stay. 

Pensacola Museum of Art

The Pensacola Museum of Art (407 S Jefferson St) is right in the heart of downtown Pensacola.

From 1906 to the mid-1940s, the building served as a jail, and since 1954 it has been showcasing fine art exhibits for the community of Pensacola.

Not only does the museum show art, but it also hosts at least one event per month.

These events range from storytimes for children to visual and writing workshops for adults.

Pensacola Museum of History

Pensacola is a historic city, and the Pensacola Museum of History (330 S Jefferson St) is an ideal place to explore that history.

The museum is home to two permanent exhibits: The City Of Five Flags, and Trader Jon’s which showcase the history of Pensacola under five different flags, as well as how the first businessmen operated in the town.

There is also one rotating temporary exhibit found at this place, which can explore anything from political history, first industry, culture, and geography.

Museum Plaza

Just behind the Pensacola Museum of History is the Museum Plaza (300 S Tarragona St).

The plaza is full of amenities, especially for it being so small.

There is plenty of green space in the middle, and street art and historical markers along the sidewalks.

A shelter, amphitheater, and playground can be found at the plaza, making it a great spot to take kids for some fun and playtime.

Museums of Industry and Commerce

Pensacola has plenty of Museums, and many are within just one block of each other.

This is the case with the Museums of Industry (200 Zaragoza St) and Commerce (201 Zaragoza St).

With a focus on the work that the people of Pensacola have historically done, from fishing to brickmaking, to logging, the Museum of Industry offers a fascinating insight into the region’s past.

The Museum of Commerce is home to a streetscape inside its large, almost one-room building and that streetscape contains trolleys, historic houses, shops, and anything associated with the consumer in historic Pensacola.

Plaza Ferdinand VII

Plaza Ferdinand VII is a historic plaza in downtown Pensacola.

The plaza is surrounded by Zaragoza Street, East Jefferson Street, East Government Street, and South Palafox Street, and the many restaurants and museums located on them.

Incorporating the colonial history of Pensacola, a stone fountain and bust of Andrew Jackson can be found near the center of the plaza.

Pensacola Children’s Museum

For those on a family vacation, something to go see might be the Pensacola Children’s Museum (115 Zaragoza St).

This two-story museum has exhibits for kids to interactively learn about history, biology, food, and culture.

The museum is managed jointly by the Pensacola Preservation Board and by the University of West Florida.

Ruby Slipper Cafe

Once you’ve explored some amazing Pensacola attractions, you’re bound to work up an appetite! 

Luckily, the city boasts a diverse culinary scene that will satisfy any foodie’s cravings.

The Ruby Slipper Cafe (509 S Palafox St) is a fantastic brunch spot just blocks from the waterfront.

Their menu includes breakfast items such as French toast and pancakes as well as lunch dishes like sandwiches and salads.

The location has an indoor dining room and a small patio for days when the weather is nice, which is often.

Bubba’s Sweet Spot

Bubba’s Sweet Spot (405 S Palafox St) is a perfect place to stop after lunch in Pensacola.

This candy store is not only home to boxed and bagged candy, but also fudge, caramel apples, and other finer sweets.

It is the exact type of candy store to find in a beach town, with plenty of options, including bulk jelly beans.

Seville Square

Seville Square (311 E Government St) is one of the closest small squares to downtown.

The square is mostly shaded by abundant trees with large canopies and is also home to a fountain and circular shelter in the center.

Seville Square hosts multiple events with live music in the shelter throughout the year.

Lucy’s in the Square

Lucy’s in the Square (301 S Adams St) is a small restaurant located across the street northwest of Seville Square.

This is a great place for a small bite to eat, they serve flatbreads, street tacos, and soft pretzels.

They also have plenty of alcoholic drinks to choose from.

The Dorr House

Looking for things to see in Pensacola that have a bit of history?

Pensacola’s historic district is full of things to take in, like the Dorr House (311 S Adams St), a historic mansion on Adams Street.

Those who are interested in architecture and interior design will especially enjoy touring this house, since it uses techniques not often used in Northwest Florida.

The house was owned by a local until 1975, a year after it was put on the National Register for Historic Places.

In 1975, the Historic Pensacola Preservation Board bought the property with the aim of turning it into the exhibit that it is today.

The District: Steak and Seafood

An excellent dinner spot near downtown Pensacola is The District: Steak and Seafood (123 E Government St).

The District is a fine dining experience with many surf and turf options to suit Pensacola’s location and culture.

Not only does the restaurant have dinner and drinks, but they also have four gourmet desserts from cheesecake to bread pudding.

Bartram Park

Bartram Park (211 Bayfront Pkwy) is a fine place to walk to on a cool morning in Pensacola.

The park has plenty of shade but also many waterfront views and looks directly out on the Seville Harbour Marina.

Some sculptures can also be found in the park ranging from abstract pieces to large anchor replicas.

Graffiti Pizza

Take a break from your Pensacola sightseeing and grab a bite at Graffiti Pizza (210 S Palafox St), a well-stocked pizza place that also serves salads and grinders.

It is a fantastic place for lunch, dinner, or even a midnight snack since they are open until 3 AM two nights of the weekend.

Graffiti Pizza also lets groups book their entire space to host parties or events.

The Saenger Theatre Pensacola

For those looking for places to go in Pensacola where they can see a show, the Saenger Theatre Pensacola (118 S Palafox St) is a great place right on Palafox Street.

The theater has a beautiful classic design, multiple entrances, multiple floors, and VIP viewing areas inside.

At least three shows per month are hosted by The Saenger, along with concerts by the Pensacola symphony orchestra.

Palafox Street

Aside from Main Street near the waterfront, Palafox Street is the main drag in Pensacola and has plenty of local businesses where tourists and vacationers can collect souvenirs while in Pensacola.

One can find local businesses, restaurants, and venues from Cedar Street all the way to Wright Street, which is nine whole blocks.

Perusing Palafox Street is one of many ways to spend an afternoon in Pensacola.

Aerial view of Pensacola, Florida at sunset

Restaurant Iron

Restaurant Iron (22 N Palafox St) is another fine dining experience located in downtown Pensacola.

The restaurant describes itself as a “refined southern kitchen” and has a goal of serving contemporary southern cuisine with local vegetables and herbs.

Their menu has many southern and seafood favorites that really capture Pensacola’s unique location in Northwest Florida, right between the deep south and the rest of Florida and their seafood joints.

Veterans Memorial Park of Pensacola

Looking for more things to do in downtown Pensacola?

Most towns of similar size to Pensacola have a park dedicated to veterans, and Pensacola is no different.

The Veterans Memorial Park of Pensacola (200 S 10th Ave) is located just off the waterfront east of downtown.

Ten memorials dedicated to people who have served in the military and were from Pensacola are located in the park.

Just across Bayfront Parkway from the park is another memorial located on a pier that stretches out into Pensacola Bay as well.

For more city fun in Florida, check our guide to Downtown Miami activities.

Vince J. Whibbs Sr. Community Maritime Park

The Vince J. Whibbs Sr. Community Maritime Park (301 W Main St) is a spacious park down on Pensacola’s waterfront.

There is plenty of viewing space to watch water traffic on Pensacola Bay, but also has abundant green space for playing frisbee.

It also has a playground, splash pad, and an amphitheater.

There is an amphitheater that hosts concerts on summer Sunday evenings.

Nick’s Boathouse

Nick’s Boathouse (455 W Main St) is also located right on Pensacola Bay.

The restaurant has fresh fish, seafood dishes, and sandwiches on the menu.

All fish served at their restaurant is sourced directly from the Gulf of Mexico, with nothing being imported.

Nick’s has an indoor dining room, and for those who want to enjoy the waterfront, a sizable outdoor patio.

Dolphin Tour

Embark on a dolphin tour from Pensacola Beach with a local crew and certified captain, and enjoy an exciting day at sea searching for dolphins and other marine life.

Learn about fascinating dolphin facts as you take in the beautiful views of the sea.

Relax and enjoy the onboard surround sound music system, and choose from a variety of food and drink items available for purchase. 

Don’t forget to grab a souvenir to commemorate your unforgettable dolphin tour experience.

Pensacola Bay

Sunrise Dolphin Watching Cruise

If you’re an early riser looking for an unforgettable dolphin-watching experience, then a sunrise cruise on Pensacola Bay is just what you need! 

Led by a USCG-licensed captain, this tour takes advantage of the calm waters in the early morning hours, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a serene and memorable experience.

As you glide across the bay, take in the stunning views of the Gulf Island National Seashore’s pristine white sands and keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins frolicking in their natural habitat.

Check out our favorite things to do in Destin for more nearby dolphin-watching fun!

Corinne Jones Park

Corinne Jones Park (605 W Intendencia St) was just developed in the last ten years to provide a playground and open space to people in the neighborhood.

The park is home to a pond and walking trail, playground, picnic shelter, and basketball court, all in a two-block space.

For those seeking stuff to do in Pensacola beyond the typical tourist attractions, this location is nestled in a residential neighborhood, offering a glimpse into the lesser-known side of town.

Another Broken Egg Cafe

For those not from the southern United States, Another Broken Egg Cafe (721 E Gregory St) will be a treat.

While the restaurant has many locations, they are all in the southeastern United States, which makes sense, due to their southern cuisine.

The cafe is a fantastic place for brunch with omelets, chicken and waffles, and French toast.

The East Hill Neighborhood

Pensacola is a historic city, and since it was colonized by the Spanish, its city structure is slightly different from what is seen in most American cities today.

The East Hill neighborhood is a mostly residential area of Pensacola, but unlike most residential areas in the United States, there is a public square every three to five blocks.

Within the East Hill neighborhood, there are six squares including Miraflores, Andalusia, Granada, Toledo, Cordova, and Operto, all of which provide green space, walking paths, and benches for visitors to enjoy.

So for those looking to get away from downtown, visiting some of these squares should be on their list of things to do in Pensacola Florida.

Bayview Park

Another one of the places to visit in Pensacola located in the East Hill neighborhood is Bayview Park (2000 Lloyd St).

Bayview Park is a more comprehensive park for this neighborhood and features a playground, dog park, beach, community center, and tennis courts,

The park also has a boat launch into the Bayou Texar, which is connected to Pensacola Bay.

Scenic 90 Cafe

East of the Bayou Texar is the Scenic 90 Cafe (701 Scenic Hwy).

The cafe serves all-American food like burgers and fries, but also has some seafood on the menu.

Designed after a 1950s diner, the Scenic 90 Cafe brings a unique aesthetic to the place.

Bay Bluffs Park

A little-known fact is that Florida is the flattest state in America.

This is why Bay Bluffs Park (3400 Scenic Hwy) is so unique.

A boardwalk with stairs is available at the park for those interested in hiking among the bluffs.

The park also has a long beachfront that is more sheltered and secluded than one would find elsewhere in Florida since it backs up to ninety-foot bluffs instead of the traditional sand dunes.

This is one of the exciting things to do around Pensacola for those looking for opportunities for outdoor recreation and exploration.

Final Thoughts

Pensacola offers a diverse range of activities that will satisfy any traveler’s appetite for adventure and relaxation.  

We hope you’ve our list of Pensacola activities and attractions to try to help you plan your next visit. 

Feel free to let us know which one is your favorite in the comments below.

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