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The downtown area is an important part of any town. After all, so many of our great cities and towns were born from the Main Streets they started from so many years ago. Most downtown areas feature specialty shops, restaurants, theaters, and so much more. The great downtown and main streets of our Gulf Coast towns are truly the hearts of our communities.

There are many wonderful Main Streets located along the Gulf Coast, and listed below are just five of my favorite. Is your favorite town missing? Leave a comment or email me at [email protected] and let me know so we can include it in a future story.

1. Fairhope, Alabama

Fairhope is a charming town situated on the pristine eastern shore of Mobile Bay. It’s a place where you have just as much chance seeing pelicans as you do the plentiful pigeons along Fairhope Avenue and South Section Street, where dozens of shops and local restaurants are within short walking distance. This historic resort community is filled with a taste of New Orleans — with creole and French-inspired architecture lining the streets and offerings of melt-in-your mouth beignets. If your appetite is looking for something a little more coastal or “deep south,” then pick up some fresh-picked crabmeat or try some of the best barbecue you’ll get your hands on.

Fairhope has a lot of local pride, with its downtown area featuring art galleries, restaurants and more than 80 unique shops. With a plethora of festivals — from antique shows and arts and crafts festivals to the annual L.A. Songwriters’ Festival (here, “L.A.” means Lower Alabama). Come summer — Fairhope’s location on Mobile Bay brings the possibility of jubilees, a natural phenomenon when live flounder, crabs, or shrimp suddenly wash ashore by the thousands.

 

2. Pensacola, Florida

Downtown Pensacola keeps getting bigger and bigger. Pensacola is by far the oldest city along the Gulf Coast — 456 years and counting! Palafox Street (formerly George Street when the town was under British rule) is the epicenter of the bustling metro of half a million people. While the saloons and brothels of the town’s boomtown beginnings are long gone, you will find many locally-flavored restaurants and places of libation, to include Restaurant IRON and the Old Hickory Whiskey Bar. If you just want to take in the scenery and history, there are plenty of museums, including the T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum, historic Plaza Ferdinand and Seville Square, along with beautiful Plaza de Luna, overlooking the burgeoning Port of Pensacola and Pensacola Bay.

Adorable Downtown Pensacola. #Pensacola #florida #pensacolabeach A photo posted by Beautiful Pensacola (@beautifulpensacola) on

  Jaco’s on Palafox Pier. Not a bad dinner view. #Pensacola #pensacolabeach #jacos #palafoxpier #florida   A photo posted by Beautiful Pensacola (@beautifulpensacola) on

The newly renovated Rex Theatre downtown. It’s nice when history has a future. #pensacola #rextheatre #florida #history A photo posted by Beautiful Pensacola (@beautifulpensacola) on

3. Rosemary Beach, Florida

Rosemary Beach is a New Urbanism community located along the Florida panhandle’s scenic Route 30A between Panama City and Destin. The 107-acre, Gulf-front town was designed 20 years ago, just as Seaside was a decade before. 

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