The Top Things to Do and See in Coral Gables, Miami

Photo of Nick Dauk
9 September 2021

Coral Gables sits just south of Miami, along Biscayne Bay in Florida. Established in the 1920s, this upscale neighborhood is known for its multi-million dollar mansions and leafy streets as well as the historic Biltmore Hotel and Venetian Pool.

With neighbors like South Beach and the Miami Heat basketball team, you’d better believe that Coral Gables is keeping up with the Joneses. This stretch of South Florida cuts up the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve, capping itself off right below Miami International Airport. Within its city limits, you’ll find tree-lined streets full of boutiques and restaurants that rival the digs in Downtown Miami. Whether you’re swiping right on the University of Miami campus or swiping your credit card on Miracle Mile, Coral Gables is ready to show you a good time.

Have brunch at the Biltmore

Biltmore Hotel Miami Coral Gables
Courtesy of Biltmore Hotel Miami Coral Gables /
Who says you can’t make a new tradition while on holiday? Join South Florida’s late-risers for brunch at the Biltmore. No soggy waffles or lukewarm scrambled eggs here. Your plate will be pleasantly arranged (for Instagram, of course) with white fish ceviche, fish roe, squid ink tagliolini and pork osso bucco. If you prefer classics, like savory sausage links or sunny-side-up eggs, they also taste amazing in the Biltmore’s shady courtyard. And, yes, bottomless mimosas, bloody marys and bellinis are all included.

Explore the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Botanical Garden, Museum, Park
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gable in the Miami area of Florida
© James Schwabel / Alamy Stock Photo
The aromatic succulents and the 700ft-long (213m) vine pergola are just a few of the sights at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Visit with your kids, who will love playing in the immersive Children’s Garden, or bring your pooch for a dog date, and watch as their snout tries to sniff out every fragrance. The Wings of the Tropics are especially awe-inspiring as hundreds of butterfly species surround you while you walk through.

Take a ride on the Coral Gables Trolley

Train Station
Trolley Bus on Ponce De Leon and Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, Florida
© Juan SiLVA / Alamy Stock Photo
Cruise through Coral Gables with a little vintage style on the free trolley system. Over two dozen stops effortlessly keep you busy for the day. We suggest boutique shopping on Miracle Mile, craft beers and indie films at the Coral Gables Art Cinema as well as starlit yoga at the Coral Gables Museum’s Full Moon Glow-UP. If you desire a little more adventure in your day, hop from the trolley onto the Metrorail, and explore Downtown Miami with ease.

Swim in the Venetian Pool

Swimming Pool
View at a deserted swimming pool in the sunlight, Venetian Pool, Miami, Florida, USA
© Image Professionals GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Fancy a quick dip in one of the most famous pools in Florida? Completed in 1924, the Venetian Pool is the largest freshwater pool in the United States, holding around 820,000 gallons (3,104,040 liters) of fresh water from an underground aquifer. During the summer months, this is drained and refilled daily. Soak underneath the artificial waterfalls, and swim through the grottoes before drying off on one of the poolside lounge chairs. Note: it’s only open from the end of March until the end of November.

Cycle through Matheson Hammock Park

The Round Beach at Matheson Hammock County Park Miami Florida
© Panther Media GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo
Enjoy the coastal breeze as you pedal through Matheson Hammock Park, a 630-acre (255ha) tropical garden that was first opened in 1930. Many hotels in Coral Gables offer bicycle hire so you can explore the park on two wheels. The park’s best feature is the man-made atoll pool, flanked by palm trees, which is flushed naturally by the nearby Biscayne Bay. Wade through the warm water, or hire a kayak at the beachfront to explore further afield. Bring a picnic, or book a table at the swanky Red Fish restaurant.

Shop on Miracle Mile

Shopping Mall
Miracle Mile Cafeteria, Coral Gables, Florida
© Ken Hawkins / Alamy Stock Photo
Let’s cut to the chase: the Miracle Mile is not a full mile (1.6km). Yet, it’s absolutely miraculous just how much world-renowned shopping and dining can exist on a mere half-mile (o.8km) stretch of South Florida. Smoke a hand-rolled cigar, sip a shot of Cuban espresso, and get fitted for a custom-tailored suit without breaking a sweat. Not rich enough for your tastes? Sample gourmet desserts, slip into the perfect pair of deck shoes, then book a trip to the Caribbean, all before sitting down for a fresh sushi lunch.

Admire the Alhambra Water Tower

Florida, FL, South, Miami, Coral Gables, Alhambra Water Tower, 1924, Denman Fink, designer historic, sightseeing visitors travel traveling tour touris
© Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 13+ / Alamy Stock Photo
The Alhambra Water Tower is known as “the lighthouse that has never seen the sea”. In fact, it’s not actually a lighthouse at all – it was built in 1924 and used as part of the city’s water supply system until 1931. The tower was set to be demolished in 1958, but the city of Coral Gables restored it to its original aesthetically pleasing façade. You can’t miss it as you drive around Alhambra Cir.

Browse ancient relics at the Lowe Art Museum

Museum, University
Florida, South, Miami, Coral Gables, University of Miami, Lowe Art Museum, art, building, exterior, entrance, outdoor, sculpture, metal, white, Hans v
© Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 3+ / Alamy Stock Photo
The permanent collection of global art at the Lowe Art Museum is breathtaking. Journey from 2,500BCE to the present day via African textiles, ancient Mediterranean sculptures and Native American pottery. Fast forward to modernity at the Palley Pavilion, where stunning contemporary glass masterpieces dance in the sunlight. Even if you’re unable to spend the day at the museum, a walk through the University of Miami campus will treat you to inspiring outdoor installations.

Sierra Brown contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on September 9, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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