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Top Activities in Pensacola

See all 76 things to do in Pensacola

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Pensacola Attractions

Known at the Western Gate to the Sunshine State, Pensacola is a city with a longstanding tradition of welcoming travelers to its shores. In 1559, Spanish explorers landed here only to be forced into a hasty retreat following a devastating hurricane, preventing the city from becoming the nation’s first colony. Today, Pensacola is home to an impressive array of colonial structures. In addition, several of Florida's finest institutions, including the National Naval Aviation Museum, make the city a target for history buffs and beachgoers looking to soak up some sun.

Areas & Neighborhoods in Pensacola

By 1754, Spanish settlers had established a presidio, or military settlement, at the site of present-day Pensacola, and many of the original colonial buildings remain. Whether you want to mine these troves of living history or stroll the working port and waterfront, the neighborhoods of Pensacola offer something for everyone.

Downtown

A quick 15-minute trip from Pensacola International Airport, Downtown Pensacola beckons with 450 years of Florida Panhandle history alongside regional restaurants that serve up mouthwatering seafood with a side of Southern charm. Blossoming crepe myrtle trees shade the shopping district, where laid-back boutiques and gourmet food trucks dominate the scene.

Seville Square Historic District

An enclave of Downtown, the Seville Historic District marks the site where Spanish explorers first set foot on Pensacola's sugary sands. Stepping inside this charming district feels a bit like time travel, and tourists flock here to visit the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum, whose permanent City of Five Flags exhibit offers a top-notch introduction to the history of Pensacola.

North Hill Preservation District

Stroll through the North Hill Preservation District and you'll be rewarded with views of 19th- and 20th-century homes built from the felled yellow pine forests that once blanketed the hillside. Idyllic green spaces break up the landscape in this area that appeals to the architecture-obsessed as well as adventurous travelers looking to work off Sunday brunch.

Things to See in Pensacola

To truly immerse yourself in the history of Pensacola, the University of West Florida Historic Trust offers walking tours through the city's most historic region. Duck inside saltbox cottages and red-brick buildings that bring the city's lineage to life. Inside a former jail, the Pensacola Museum of Art brims with European, American, and African art that calls to mind the region's diverse heritage. Across the street, the Pensacola Little Theatre stages plays inside the oldest continually operating community theater in the Southeastern United States. If it's music you're after, pay a visit to the esteemed Pensacola Symphony Orchestra or Vinyl Music Hall for contemporary acts.

Sightseeing in Pensacola

With so many things to do in Pensacola, it can be tricky to know where to start. After whetting your appetite on the seafood in town, consider joining a regional outfitter for a guided fishing expedition in the protected waters of Pensacola Bay. To beat the heat, head to Sam's Fun City, where an amusement park and waterpark promise hours of family-friendly fun. Finally, a trip to the National Naval Aviation Museum is a must. Next door, at the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, you can climb the lighthouse catwalk and watch the navy's high-performance flight squadron—the Blue Angels—complete their gravity-defying acts.

Free Things to Do in Pensacola

A vacation in Pensacola doesn't have to break the bank. You can leave your wallet at home if you go to:

Bayview Beach Park - If you want to turn up the dial on fun during your getaway, this is the place to do it.

Plaza De Luna - This modern-style local landmark is a wonderful backdrop for some selfies.

The Old Quina House Museum - Feel like you've stepped back in time while wandering around this historic attraction.

Seville Square - This bustling spot is a popular hangout for both visitors and locals.

Pensacola Scenic Bluffs Highway & Bay Bluffs Park - Kick back and let the natural surroundings here soothe your soul.

Naval Live Oaks Reservation - Work on your green thumb and enjoy admiring the beautiful and diverse plants on show.

Explore The Neighborhoods of Pensacola

Navarre Beach

Navarre Beach is known for its pristine beaches, and you can make a stop by Navarre Beach Fishing Pier and Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center while in the area.

BeachesFishingBird Watching

Orange Beach East

While visiting Orange Beach East, you might make a stop by sights like Gulf State Park and Perdido Key Beach.

Downtown

If you're spending some time in Downtown, Saenger Theatre and Historic Pensacola Village are top sights worth seeing.

Northeast Pensacola

While visiting Northeast Pensacola, you might make a stop by sights like Cordova Mall and Bay Bluffs Park.

Southeast Pensacola

While visiting Southeast Pensacola, you might make a stop by sights like Wayside Park and Veterans Memorial Park.

Northwest Pensacola

While visiting Northwest Pensacola, you might make a stop by sights like Five Flags Speedway and Marcus Pointe Golf Club.

Learn More About Pensacola | Blog


Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Pensacola on a sunny day?

Make the most of the weather (and stretch those legs as well) with some of these outdoor experiences:

What is Pensacola famous for?

Pose for a happy snap at Pensacola Naval Air Station — it's an iconic local attraction.

What should I not miss in Pensacola?

Don't go home without crossing off the following superb attractions:

  • Pensacola Civic Center
  • University of West Florida
  • Historic Pensacola Village
  • Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park

Are there cheap things to do in Pensacola?

Keep more of your hard-earned cash in your pocket with these fun and frugal things to do:

What can you do in Pensacola for free?

Your trip to Pensacola needn't cost a bundle with free attractions like these on offer:

  • University of West Florida
  • National Museum of Naval Aviation
  • Fort Barrancas
  • Perdido Key Beach