Mallory Square

Square in Key West

Image by Dennis K. Johnson Getty Images

Take all those energies, subcultures and oddities of Keys life and focus them into one torchlit, family-friendly (but playfully edgy), sunset-enriched street party. The child of all these raucous forces is Mallory Sq, one of the greatest shows on Earth. It begins in the hours leading up to dusk, the sinking sun a signal to bring on the madness. Watch a dog walk a tightrope, a man swallow fire, and British acrobats tumble and sass each other.

Have a beer. And a conch fritter, and take a front-row seat to the music-filled mayhem. Once sunset arrives, all eyes turn to the water; and the showing comes crashing to an end shortly after the streaks of post-sunset gold, amber and lilac light up the evening sky.