Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Key West's Food & Travel Guide

Ultimate Guide to Fantasy Fest 2024: Insider Tips and Must-Do Events

a group of people on a stage in front of a crowd

We are days away from the most colorful, creative, costumed (or barely clothed) Festival of Key West and it’s so close we can almost taste the drinks and smell the paint.

Fantasy Fest isn’t something you accidentally arrive during the middle of without knowing (you already know from the hotel room price spike). So it’s very unlikely that you came unprepared, but like many of us, so much goes into planning costumes, or securing special parade viewing tickets, that the details get hazy, or lost, or better yet ignored! To help a brother (or sister) out, we’ve made it easy for you to have the BEST Fantasy Fest that you could possibly have. From cocktails to costumes, we’ve got your hook up on how to maximize what could be your very first, last, or one-and-only Fest with all the inside scoop! Happy Parading!

a group of people posing for the camera

Let’s Start with the Basics…

What To Do: There are approximately one million parties (not really, but definitely a big handful each night) happening in the 10-day Fantasy Fest (aka “FF”) span, and you’re NOT going to make it to them all, so start by scanning the Fantasy Fest Website to pin point your favorite themed parties to attend the nights you’re here.
*Insider tip: Themed costume or not, even if you’re dressed “to the nines” for a niche-themed party, always have a back up party or bar (or two) in case anything turns sour. It’s better to go to a fun place in the wrong costume, then stay and have a bad time. Ps. everyone’s drinking and no one cares that you’re showing up to the Great Gatsby party dressed as a Pimp.

Photo // The Marker Key West

So Speaking of Getting Dressed Up, “What If I Don’t have a Costume?”

Where To Get a Costume: Sadly, there’s not a lot of options when it comes to costume buying in Key West. Don’t despair! “Not a lot” means there still are one or 2 options…


Start the search at Fairvilla. It’s the closest thing we have to a costume shop, though it’s probably more for bedroom role playing, you can actually find some real gems there!  They also offer a wide variety of wigs, accessories, and everything in between. The 524 Front St shop is open daily from 11 AM- Midnight.

Imagination Station

This children’s toy & game shop redirects its focus for our big festival offering fun disguises! This place is packed to the rafters with costume options

Mixed Mercantile

For our pixies, witches, and tu-tu trollops, Mixed Mercantile on Duval Street carries a luxurious array of beautifully handmade tu-tus of all colors. From rainbow to black, these stunning eye catchers can be used again and again. A few corsets also still remain, but they’re going fast! Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Photo // Bill Klipp

Leather Master

If you’re heading to kinky parties (and we have so many there’s actually a pass you can buy to enter all of them) Leather Master on Applerouth might have what you’re into: straps, buckles, tapes, and chains of your wildest dreams.
*Insider tip: Don’t discount our discount stores! Salvation Army on Flagler Ave is a great place to rummage for the best deals if you’re the creative type. Ross on N. Roosevelt can be another place for a the shoes, outfit, or accessory you were needing at a steal! 

“What if I Don’t Want to Wear a Costume… or Anything for That Matter? Where Can I Get Body Painted?”

Great question and easy answer… all over! Body Painting is so popular that many famous body paint artists from all over the country and world make sure to be here at your disposal. Here’s a few good recommendations:

Sunset Pier

Join the premier all girl team of body artists Femme Fatale Quatre Body Art, October 19-27 starting each day at 1 PM at Sunset Pier, 0 Duval Street. From small body art pieces to full body’s they can help your imaginations run wild! To book an appointment call or text 850-596-4065. Spontaneous? Walkups may be available. Prices start at $40 and up, and they do it all-waterproof, sweat proof, as well as a bling for all you glitter junkies!

Photo //

Paradise Tattoo

Celebrity body painter artists, including Sean Avram from Skin Wars, are setting up shop at the Paradise Tattoo parlor on Duval  to unleash their creativity.  You’ll stand out with stencils, glo paint, finger painting, water & sweat proof and/or glitter boobs! All paint jobs get a professional photo shoot and the best will join their Wall of Fame. Or get a forever body paint job (aka tattoo). After all- you’re at the right place. They’ve stocked select costumes and accessories to accessorize your PAINT! Call 305-292-9110 for  appointments. Open Daily from 10AM- Midnight.
*Insider tip: Garden of Eden, Key West’s exclusive year-round “clothing optional” bar will have artists at the ready during FF so that you can paint and party simultaneously. This hidden gem in plain sight is located on the 3rd floor of The Bull on the corner of Caroline and Duval. Across the street between Caroline’s and The Porter Mansion, tents will be set up on Duval for walk up appointments by serious talent. Even if you’re not interested in getting painted yourself, stick around awhile and watch the magic happen!

Nights are Spoken For, But Don’t Forget to Fill Your DAYS with Fantastic Festivities!

Photo //

Goombay Festival sweeps Bahama Village!

This exuberant street party showcases island arts and crafts, music and food in the heart of Key West’s historic Bahama Village neighborhood. The main entertainment stage is located at the corner of Petronia and Fort Street featuring nonstop musical entertainment ranging from gospel to reggae. Friday & Saturday (Oct. 20-21) Noon to midnight; FREE.

Join the Dead on a Zombie Bike Ride 

This Sunday, Oct. 22nd, rise from the dead and gather at Zombieland in Fort East Martello at 2 PM to get your blood flowing, bodies painted, and a mid-afternoon snack from 2-6 PM. Hop on your bike and join the thousands of costumed zombies at 6 PM when the zombie invasion heads down US1 to Duval Street for the Zombiefest in Downtown Key West. Register now at Zombie Bike Ride $10.00 entry

The Perry Puts on a Pool Party

Don’t miss the duckie takeover at The Perry Hotel! We’re kicking off Fantasy Fest with a pool party like you’ve never seen before – complete with a pool full of rubber duckies, beverage samples, and swag. Duck floats, duckie bathing suits, duckie tutus, and creativity are encouraged! This event is FREE and open to the public, 12pm-4pm.

Cocktail Crawl Creeps Off Duval 

Get liquored up with specialty craft cocktails by Key West’s best local hidden gems on this wonderfully curated tour. Walk off Duval St, lead by a Key West local, into tucked away bars (new and old) that still, for the most part, remain local secrets. The $79pp tour includes 5 wonderfully preselected drinks, fun historical tidbits, and yummy appetizer bites during this 3 hr 3:30-6:30pm Happy Hour tour. Select days thru Fantasy Fest. Get your tickets here.


Finally, And MOST Importantly, Here’s Where to Watch the Parade!

Photo // Nick Doll

Bash at Bourbon St.

Join us for one of the best views of the Fantasy Fest parade on Duval St. from the Grand Balcony of the New Orleans House. , 305-293-9800 or ; 724 Duval Street $200 open 8 AM-8 PM

Flock to First Flight

Enjoy all the parade Extravagance from the comfort of First flight Island Restaurant & Brewery. Our exclusive parade viewing party offers a delectable buffet meal, 3-hour Open Well Bar (domestic beer, house wine & well drinks). CONTACT JACKIE- Call 305-293-8484, or email to make your reservation today! Tickets range from $99 -$220.

Get elevated at Rooftop

It’s the best of Fantasy Fest fun in an upscale atmosphere. Come enjoy prime parade viewing from the comfort of our second-level patio. This year’s party will feature a beautiful gourmet buffet and will include beer, wine and well drinks. This is an exclusive, limited-seating event— reservations are required. No walk-ins and no crowds! The price per person is $225; tax and service charge are not included. For further details and booking information contact the restaurant at 305-294-2042 or email . . Doors open at 6:00 PM. Come see why Rooftop Café has been serving paradise for over 40 years! 308 Front Street.

Rock out at Hard Rock

Hard Rock Cafe will be grilling up a Fantasy Fest exclusive menu including prime rib of beef and fresh lobster. Priority seats still remain! Contact Nicole at for VIP red carpet treatment. 313 Duval Street, 305-293-0230. Doors open at 6 PM!

Have a “Grand” Ole Time

The largest balcony on Duval street! Open Bar, Light Hors d’Oeuvres, beads to throw and an amazing view of the 2018 Fantasy Fest Parade. Tickets will be available on For More Information call Brad 305-203-3461.801 Bourbon Bar – 801 Duval St. If you are a Very Important Kinkster you should check out our week pass to all of our events!

Tango to Mangoes

Book early for an incredible step-up viewing and dining experience at Mangoes Restaurant, situated in the heart of Old Town Key West, at 700 Duval. Elevated seating, drink specials, and dinner menu – live music earlier in the evening. Covered bar and indoor/outdoor air-conditioned facilities will keep you cool and dry whatever the weather. . VIP upstairs balcony and Ricky Ricardo Room (30-50 person capacity) by emailing

*Insider Tip: it’s free to view on the street… just sayin’



a group of people on a stage