Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle. Pensacola is a sea port on Pensacola Bay, which is protected by the barrier island of Santa Rosa and connects to the Gulf of Mexico. A large United States Naval Air Station, the first in the United States, is located southwest of Pensacola; it is the base of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team and the National Naval Aviation Museum. The main campus of the University of West Florida is situated north of the city center.
Arts and Entertainment
There are a number of different performance venues in the Pensacola Area, including the Pensacola Bay Center, often used for big ticket events, and the Saenger Theater, used for performances and mid-level events. Other theatres used for live performances, plays and musicals include the Pensacola Little Theatre, Pensacola State College, University of West Florida and Loblolly Theatre. Boasting ballet, opera, symphony, theatre and an accredited museum of visual arts, Pensacola is the only city between Mobile, AL. and Tampa, FL. to offer the 'big five.'
Serious collectors, curious window shoppers and those anxious to try their creative side at everything from glass blowing to belly dancing at hands-on working art centers are drawn to Pensacola’s dynamic art and cultural scene.
The Pensacola Bay Area has come into its own as a dining destination, and visitors can taste the delectable choices for which Pensacola's restaurants receive acclaim. Eateries range from waterfront and flip-flop casual to truly elegant, and serve dishes as varied as Southern barbecue, fresh local seafood, Cajun specialties and traditional American fare.
Historic downtown Pensacola is a charming, waterfront neighborhood boasting dozens of locally owned restaurants, boutiques, cultural museums and art galleries. Shoppers may choose from fine imported textiles, eclectic home furnishings, fantastic wines, work from local potters, painters and glass artists and hand-made jewelry.
The Pensacola area has been designated as a hot spot for biodiversity in plant and animal life by the Nature Conservancy. Guided eco-tours by foot, kayak or boat are available from local outfitters who know where to go to spot wildlife. Residents can join a ranger-led nature tour at Gulf Islands National Seashore or hike or bike along the Edward Ball Nature Trail. The Perdido Watershed is a picturesque area for canoeing and kayaking. Additional national and state parks offer year-round exploration. Pensacola is home to the most beautiful beaches in the world from Perdido Key to Pensacola Beach, where blue skies, emerald-green water and swaying sea oats welcome Pensacola residents year-round.
The more than 30 public primary and secondary education schools in Pensacola are administered by the Escambia County School District. There are also over 160 private schools in the area. The University of West Florida, located north of the city, is the largest postsecondary institution in the area. It also has the largest library in the region, the John C. Pace Library. Click to see UWF's Online Program Portal. Additional postsecondary options include Pensacola State College and Pensacola Christian College.