Unlike the surrounding brick-lined streets, Aviles Street is special. Aviles is the oldest street in the nation and the early home to St. Augustine’s arts district. Enter Aviles Street by walking under the stone archway. Dating back to the 16th Century, Aviles was known as Hospital Street because it was the location of the second Spanish Military Hospital Museum. It was also the location of an early church, cemetery, boarding homes, and schools. Today it is a thriving arts district with several galleries with all styles of art, jewelry, handmade leather goods, boutiques, and antique shops. Sidewalks are lined with outdoor seating for independently owned restaurants and cafes. There’s even a gourmet ice cream sandwich shop called Peace Pies.
You’ll also find historic places and museums on the street. The Spanish Military Hospital Museum informs visitors of the early medical practices of the Spanish. The General Kirby House is home to the St. Augustine Historical Society. The Father O’Reilly House Museum, one of the oldest structures in St. Augustine, was purchased in 1785 by Father Miguel O’Reilly, an Irish priest in the service of the Spanish Crown. Today, the museum focuses on the history of the house, the Catholic tradition, and the story of the Sisters of St. Joseph who preserve and maintain the museum.
There is plenty to do on this historic St. Augustine street, so whether you want to shop, learn about the history of the area, or just want to grab a bite to eat, a stop on Aviles Street is a must.