Without doubt, the most picturesque suburb of Miami is Key Biscayne. The island connected to the mainland by the Rickenbacker Causeway boasts stunning 360-degree views of the water and the glittering Miami skyline. You can sunbathe along the beach, go golfing at Crandon Park, kayak in the bay, and even visit the historic lighthouse in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Part of the island is home to a ritzy residential neighborhood, but the barrier island hosts a plethora of locals and tourists eager to enjoy the beauty of the suburb. Key Biscayne is also the closest to the city, located just at the exit of Brickell’s business district.
The residential neighborhood of Coral Gables is known for its shaded oak tree avenues and Mediterranean Revival architecture. Many homes date back as far as the 1920s, and its trendy thoroughfare of Miracle Mile is reminiscent of Spanish pedestrian-friendly streets. Visitors can go for a swim at Venetian Pool, the historic public pool carved from a rock quarry, visit the butterfly conservatory at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, or even go golfing at The Biltmore Golf. There’s also plenty of luxury shopping to do at Merrick Park, and for sports car fanatics, The Collection is a must-see.
The oldest neighborhood in Miami, Coconut Grove boasts breathtaking waterfront views of Biscayne Bay, lush tropical parks and its share of historic museums. It’s home to the The Barnacle – the oldest house in its original location in the city, dating back to 1891. Also worth visiting is the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, a beautiful villa clad in European-style interiors and sprawling gardens once the home of famous business magnate James Deering. You can enjoy a stroll through Cocowalk to peruse quirky boutiques, art galleries and enjoy the bohemian lifestyle of “the village.”
Just along South Dixie Highway, South Miami is buzzing with foreign restaurants, a plethora of chic boutiques, and a few pubs here and there. Residential but still lively, there are plenty of specialty stores near the shopping mall Sunset Place. You can get your sweet-tooth fix at the endless array of French bakeries or Misha’s Cupcakes, and catch a flick at the movies.
When Cuban immigrants descended onto Miami, they settled in what is now called Little Havana. The historic neighborhood just west of Downtown Miami, is a cultural phenomenon. Here you can learn a little Spanish on your walk along Calle Ocho (8th street), and sample a taste of Cuban cuisine at Versailles Restaurant. Enjoy croquetas and Cuban coffee, play dominoes with old Cuban gentlemen at Maximo Gomez Park, and get a lesson in Miami’s most influential population – the Cuban community. If you really want to knock Miami off your bucket list, you can’t do it without a visit to Little Havana.