Travel Leisure

Discover Pensacola, Florida’s Next Rising City

When most people conjure images of Florida, Miami often springs to mind. However, sitting along Florida’s coastline is another gem—Pensacola. While it might not be the most famous city in the country, it certainly ranks among the most picturesque destinations.

Even more surprising is the city’s Black roots and businesses. Pensacola is filled with positive stories of the Black diaspora. Here’s why Pensacola is Florida’s next rising city.

Enjoy A Black-Owned Bed & Breakfast

If you’re searching for a charming getaway that feels like a visit to your grandmother’s home, The Celestine is the perfect choice. This enchanting bed and breakfast, dating back to the 1880s, has carefully preserved its original colonial design, providing guests with a trip down memory lane. While the house retains its historical charm, the individual rooms have been tastefully updated with modern decor.

This distinctive bed and breakfast is the brainchild of the great-granddaughter of Celestine Elizabeth Tolliver Harrison. Born in 1908, Harrison was the cherished matriarch of her family, known for raising five children with her husband, Buster, and later welcoming eight grandchildren into her loving home. Each room at The Celestine reflects the unique personalities of her children. The establishment is a heartfelt tribute to a heritage steeped in love and distinction. Its thoughtfully designed spaces beautifully intertwine family narratives with the rich tapestry of Pensacola’s history.

Activities & Culture

General Daniel “Chappie” James Museum & Flight School

Another must-see experience is the museum of Tuskegee Airman General Daniel “Chappie “ James. Born and bred in the heart of Pensacola, General James embarked on an educational journey that would ultimately define his legacy. He received his formative education at his mother’s esteemed school and graduated from Pensacola’s Washington High School. Later, his path led him to the venerable Tuskegee Institute, where he became one of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen and proudly served in the 99th Squadron. The museum also offers an aviation program for disadvantaged youth, which has successfully inspired students to pursue careers in aviation.

Pensacola Beach

During the peak months of the year, the beaches are filled with tourists and locals but not as congested as Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. Towards the end of the summer is the best time to go since you’ll still have temperatures in the 80s well into October.

Visit Fort Pickens on The Gulf Islands Seashore

Fort Pickens is a brick fortress that was developed pre-Civil War. Enslaved African Americans were used to build the fortress, and it’s also believed to be one of the stops along the Underground Railroad.

Explore Downtown Palafox Street

Palafox Street is Pensacola’s answer to New Orleans’s French Quarter. This popular street is where you can find your pick of bars, restaurants, boutique shops, and breweries. You can also access Pensacola’s museums and art galleries within walking distance.

Wine & Dine At These Black-Owned Locations

Five Sisters Blues Cafe

Upscale southern dining at its finest. The fried chicken is to die for, and their take on southern desert staples is culinary excellence. Five Sisters has an amazing staff as well, delivering top-tier hospitality on any day of the week.

Blue Dot Barbeque

For many years in the downtown section of Pensacola, Blue Dot Barbeque has been a staple in making burgers their way. Everything on the menu is served as-is. Ask for cheese on your burger and expect to get a side eye from the locals.

Casks & Flights Wine Tasting Room

Casks & Flights is the go-to spot for locals to catch a drink and enjoy some great vibes. On the weekends, local DJs play popular Pensacola club songs as the crowd sings along.

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