6 Things to Do in Tennessee Williams, Key West

Key West, Florida, is Known for its beautiful beaches and laid-back vibe; this small island also holds a special place in the heart of literature lovers as the former home of one of America’s most renowned playwrights, Tennessee Williams.

Born in Columbus, Mississippi, in 1911, Tennessee Williams was known for his bold and emotionally charged plays exploring the complexity of human relationships. His love for Key West began in 1941 when he first visited the island on a break from writing. He fell in love with its vibrant culture and tranquil atmosphere, eventually making it his home for over thirty years. Today, visitors can experience the island through the eyes of Tennessee Williams by exploring these must-visit destinations:

Tennessee Williams Exhibit

Located in the historic Custom House on Front Street, the Tennessee Williams Exhibit offers a glimpse into the life and works of the iconic playwright. The exhibit features Williams’s items, including his typewriter and play scripts. Visitors can also view memorabilia from his famous plays such as “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” The knowledgeable staff are always happy to share stories and answer questions about Tennessee Williams’ life in Key West.

Historic Walking Tour

Take a step back in time with the Historic Walking Tour, which takes visitors on a journey through the streets of Key West and its rich history. One of the highlights of this tour is visiting the houses where Tennessee Williams lived, including his primary residence on Duncan Street and his winter home nicknamed “The Little Yellow House” on Duncan Street. Along the way, you’ll also discover other notable landmarks that inspired Williams’ writing.

Tennessee Williams Museum

Located in the heart of Duval Street, the Tennessee Williams Museum pays tribute to the playwright’s time in Key West. Housed in an old Victorian mansion, the museum showcases rare photographs and personal items donated by close friends and family. Visitors can also watch a short film about Williams’ life and browse through the extensive collection of books and memorabilia.

Tennessee Williams Theatre

Experience the magic of live theatre at the Tennessee Williams Theatre, named in honor of the famous playwright. The theater regularly hosts performances of some of Williams’ most beloved plays and other works exploring similar themes. It’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in his captivating storytelling while enjoying a night out in Key West.

Division Street

For a taste of Tennessee Williams’ literary genius, head to Division Street. This charming street was the setting for his play “The Night of the Iguana” and served as inspiration for other works such as “Streetcar Named Desire.” Stroll down this picturesque street lined with colorful houses and imagine yourself in one of Williams’ plays.

The Man

Last but not least, no trip to Key West is complete without visiting the iconic sculpture of Tennessee Williams himself. Located on the corner of Whitehead and Petronia Streets, this larger-than-life bronze statue captures the essence of Williams as a writer and a resident of Key West. It’s the perfect spot for a photo opportunity and a reminder of the lasting impact that Tennessee Williams has left on this charming island.

So, if you’re looking for a unique travel destination that offers a perfect blend of literature and sunshine, Key West is the place to be. With its rich history, stunning scenery, and love for one of America’s greatest playwrights, it’s no wonder why Tennessee Williams called this island home.

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