Key West
Key West exudes a Mardi Gras-like atmosphere, especially during festivals. While you can see this year-round at the bars in town and at the Sunset Celebration with its sword swallowers and fire jugglers, the best way to soak in the culture is at one of the city's annual parties, like Fantasy Fest, a precursor to Halloween. The festivities include everything from a royal coronation ball crowning the Conch King and Conch Queen to drag queen contests, pet masquerade costume contests, and The Fantasy Fest Parade. In July, the city honors writer Ernest Hemingway during the annual Hemingway Days Festival with a lookalike contest at one of his local haunts, Sloppy Joe’s.