Palafox Street is the main artery of redevelopment and the heart of downtown. Having undergone a major revitalization in the past decade, it's the perfect place to stroll, shop, and eat. At Carmen's Lunch Bar, owner Mari-Carmen Josephs runs a Spanish-inspired communal-style restaurant, where she serves soups that change daily according to what's in season (an early spring favorite included celery root, apples, and golden beets), as well as dishes that are always on the menu, like the open-faced Spanish Lump Crab Melt on ciabatta. carmenslunchbar.com
Across the street, the year-old Mainline Art House stocks items like sailor's knot doorstops and aeronautics-themed oil paintings by gallery manager Kara Ffield. "Being a port town, we're influenced by Pensacola's nautical history, as well as its military history," Ffield says. mainlinearthouse.com.
Spend the night at Solé Inn and Suites. Located in a renovated 1959 Travelodge, the 45-room property off Palafox features sleek decor, a daily happy hour 5-7 p.m., and plenty of opportunities to Instagram yourself looking retro—but with the comfort of a modern bed. $109-$130: Sole Inn and Suites.
For drinks, Old Hickory Whiskey Bar is a must. Owner Katie Garrett, who grew up in Pace (just outside Pensacola) stocks more than 375 whiskeys. Garrett, also a historic preservationist, restored this building that dates back to 1881. oldhickorywhiskeybar.com
Have dinner at TYPE by Chef Blake Rushing. Signature items from this James Beard Award-nominated chef include truffle risotto fritters and a charcuterie board featuring lonza (cured pork loin), bresaola (Italian-style cured beef), house-made pâté, and house-made pickles. Entrées on the menu vary, but you can expect dishes like 24-hour-braised whole lamb neck and braised pork shank (small plates start at $4; entrées $25-$38). typebyblake.com
Spend your morning at Pensacola Beach—you'll know you've arrived when you see the iconic beach-ball-themed water tower. For another vantage point, drive west on the island to Fort Pickens. Built in 1829, the fort played a crucial role during the Civil War, and its remains are open to explore. Plus, the three wooden walkways there at the fort offer prime access to the beach. nps.gov
Flounder's Chowder House, which faces the Santa Rosa Sound, is the ideal place to take a break from the sun. Order the Shrimp Boat Platter, loaded with shrimp caught by Flounder's fishermen and prepared three ways, served with hushpuppies and flash-fried potatoes ($23.99). flounderschowderhouse.com
Squeeze your shopping in today because many stores in Pensacola are closed on Sundays. A must is duh—for Garden and Home, a 25,000-square-foot local institution on North 9th Avenue. It's like visiting the home of your most stylish friend—if she sold gorgeous furniture, like headboards from North Carolina's Lee Industries and glass goblets from Jan Barboglio in Texas. duhpensacola.com
Belle Ame' Bath & Body Products features handmade soaps, body scrubs, and lotions made with essential oils and natural ingredients, such as citrus cilantro and rosemary mint. belleame.com
For dinner, visit Nom Sushi Izakaya. Customers usually include a mix of tourists and pilots from the nearby Naval Station. Small plates include pork belly steamed buns ($7) and tori karaage ($6), Japanese fried chicken, perfect starters before a ramen bowl with house-made noodles and pickled vegetables ($11-$12). 850/466-3125
Start your morning at the Pensacola Beach Pier, where, if you're lucky, you can spot dolphins, manatees, and rays. pensacolabaybridge.com
Have lunch at Paradise Bar & Grill, an open-air bar. Owner Fred Simmons is known as "The Unofficial Mayor of Pensacola Beach"—ask him about his town because he's always got a story. paradisebar-grill.com
Leaving Pensacola, visit the National Naval Aviation Museum, the world's largest of its kind. Located about eight minutes west of downtown, it contains more than 150 aircraft from the Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard. Free guided tours are given four times a day.