DescriptionThe City of Five Flags, founded by Don Tristan de Luna in 1559, has flown the flags of Spain, France, England, the Confederate States and the United States, and its government has changed hands 13 times.
In 1814 the British used the harbor as a base in their war with the United States but withdrew when the city was attacked by Gen. Andrew Jackson. Here Jackson completed the transaction by which Spain sold Florida to the United States in 1821. In the city's historic downtown at Plaza Ferdinand VII is the site where the Spanish flag was lowered for the last time. Pensacola was the territorial capital until 1822, and Andrew Jackson was a resident while governor of Florida.
The Seville Square historic district, bounded on the north by Government Street and on the east by Alcaniz Street, is an area of restored 19th-century buildings that now houses shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries.
Pensacola's Naval Air Station is a center for cartographic and aviation warfare training as well as headquarters for the Blue Angels precision flying team. The station is home to the National Naval Aviation Museum, one of the largest aviation museums in the world .
Gulf Islands National Seashore offers miles of unspoiled sugar-white beaches and emerald waters. Recreational activities include boating, swimming, nature walks, bird-watching and exploring pre-Civil War forts. Other outdoor activities can be enjoyed on the area's numerous waterways, including the Blackwater and Perdido rivers and Coldwater and Sweetwater-Juniper creeks. The USS Oriskany, a scuttled aircraft carrier and one of the world's largest artificial reefs, affords scuba divers an opportunity for underwater exploration.
The Wildlife Sanctuary of Northwest Florida, 105 N. S St., cares for injured and orphaned wildlife, including foxes, deer, eagles, egrets, herons, owls, pelicans and hawks; for information phone (850) 433-9453.
West of the city on Dog Track Road, Pensacola Greyhound Track presents dog races; phone (800) 345-3997.
Note: Policies vary concerning admittance of children to pari-mutuel betting facilities. Phone for information.
Pensacola throws several major festivals each year. Fiesta of Five Flags, beginning in late April or early May and lasting into early June, marks the city's founding and the five entities that have governed it—Spain, France, Britain, the Confederacy and the United States. Late September's Pensacola Seafood Festival transforms the Seville Square area into a destination for seafood dishes, entertainment, and arts and crafts vendors. The Pensacola Interstate Fair's rides, exhibits and music last 11 days in late October at the Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds. The Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival is a 3-day event at Seville Square in early November.
Visitor InfoVisit Pensacola/Pensacola Bay Area Convention and Visitors Bureau 1401 E. Gregory St. PENSACOLA, FL 32502. Phone:(850)434-1234 or (800)874-1234
Self-guiding toursThe Pensacola Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau offers free information about tours of the city.
ShoppingCordova Mall, 5100 N. Ninth Ave., contains more than 140 stores, including Belk and Dillard's. Historic buildings have been transformed into specialty shops on downtown's Palafox Street.
Things to SeeHistoric Pensacola