Memorial Day Weekend in Pensacola has become famous for massive parties catering primarily to a LGBTQ audience on Pensacola Beach and beyond.
But if that’s not your scene, Pensacola still has plenty to offer on one of the prime vacation weekends of the year.
While the reputation is that the LGBTQ community takes over the entirety of Pensacola Beach, locals know that’s not actually the case. Throughout the day, parties take place at Park East, far from the central hub of Pensacola Beach, leaving miles of public beach available including Casino Beach, Quietwater Beach and Park West, and all of the beaches along Perdido Key. Fort Pickens and all of Pensacola Beach’s restaurants and watering holes stand ready to serve everyone, as well. At night, parties continue at Park East as well as at Capt’n Fun Beach Club and Flounder's Chowder House on the beach.
Memorial Weekend 2018 will be a major league weekend for minor league baseball, as the Pensacola Blue Wahoos take the field for a homestand against the Tennessee Smokies. Games begin at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 6:05 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit www.pensacolabluewahoos.com for tickets and information.
For a flashback to the grunge era, Vinyl Music Hall will welcome Nirvanna for a Friday night concert. The only nationally touring tribute to the late, great Kurt Cobain and Nirvana has been known to pack in the fans at downtown’s hottest live music venue, so you may want to get your tickets early. These guys are known for keeping Nirvana’s music alive in the most authentic ways possible. Visit www.vinylmusichall.com for tickets and information.
If your taste in music runs more toward swing, put on your dancing shoes and get set for the Seaside Stomp, a weekend-long Lindy Hop event running May 25-28. Featuring daytime classes at the University of West Florida and nightly dances at venues to be announced, this event attracts top instructors and popular bands and DJs to make your Memorial Weekend jump, jive and wail. Visit seasidestomp.weebly.com for more information.
Take time on Sunday to remember the real reason for the holiday. Honor those who gave their lives to ensure your freedom at Pensacola Veteran’s Memorial Park, 200 S.10th Street, for services and remembrance beginning at 9 a.m. If you can’t make it to the organized event, remember that the beautiful park is open daily and features memorials for those who have served in a wide variety of American conflicts. Take a walk around the scenic pond and take in the exhibits.
Speaking of remembering those who served, the National Naval Aviation Museum is always one of Pensacola’s best places to visit, but on Memorial Weekend, the museum can be especially poignant. The always-exciting museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and features a number of historic aircraft and displays as well as IMAX films, flight simulators and more aboard Pensacola Naval Air Station.
Don’t forget to leave some time to explore the bars, restaurants, galleries and shops of Downtown Pensacola’s award-winning Palafox Place — named one of America’s Great Streets — and the neighboring Historic Pensacola Village, featuring historic homes and a number of museums, including the Pensacola Museum of Art and the T. T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum.