Pensacola

Overview

Introduction

Located 340 mi/550 km northwest of Tampa, Pensacola is the largest city in Florida's Panhandle, and it also was Florida's original capital.

Pensacola is known as the City of Five Flags because it has been ruled by Spain, France, Britain, the Confederacy and the U.S.

Pensacola is home to a U.S. Naval Air Station, whose grounds include historic Fort Barrancas. Built by the British in 1763, the fort has been held by three different countries; under the U.S., it guarded the Pensacola Navy Yard. It was restored by the National Park Service in 1980. Also at the base is the National Museum of Naval Aviation, which houses more than 140 restored Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard aircraft.

Make time to visit the city's unusual historic districts: Historic Pensacola Village; the Seville Historic District, 1780s-1880s structures with Creole and Victorian influences; the Palafox Historic District; and the North Hill Preservation District, a late-19th- and early-20th-century neighborhood.

Two adjoining city museums—the Museum of Industry and the Museum of Commerce—present a number of interesting exhibits ranging from armor worn by Spanish explorers in the 1500s to horse-drawn carriages from the more recent past. Next door to the museums is the restored Julee Cottage, the 19th-century home of a free black woman that's now a museum dedicated to local African-American history.

One of the town's more distinctive attractions for travelers is the Brownsville Assembly of God, which holds rousing revival services that have brought big crowds to the city. Waits of up to five hours are not unknown for those who are trying to get a seat in the church.

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