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Hidden Gems in Miami

Ammara Younas2024-01-09

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Miami, the Magic City, is a vibrant and diverse destination known for its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, and iconic Art Deco architecture. While these aspects are widely celebrated, there's a lesser-explored side to Miami that unveils a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. In this guide, we'll take you on an immersive journey through Miami's secret spots, local favorites, and unique experiences that go beyond the usual tourist attractions in Miami.

Explore the Best of Miami Tour with Little Havana and More


Exploring Hidden Gems in Downtown Miami

Our hidden gems exploration begins in Downtown Miami, where the city's heartbeat can be felt amid the towering skyscrapers and bustling streets. One noteworthy gem is Weekends at The Wharf (114 SW North River Dr.) This open-air event space along the Miami River hosts festivals, sports events, and yoga sessions, where you'll find a tranquil spot for drinks and food over the weekends.

For a unique and free way to explore Downtown and Brickell, hop on the Miami Metromover. This free automated train provides elevated rides above the city, connecting key landmarks like the Miami-Dade Arena, Bayside Marketplace, and Miami-Dade College. Enjoy epic views from the modern carriages as you traverse the city.

Biscayne Bay Cruises

A hidden gem that offers a different perspective on Miami is the Biscayne Bay Cruise. Departing from Bayside Marketplace Downtown, this 1.5-hour cruise takes you to Miami's hidden islands, showcasing million-dollar homes and their yachts. The narration on the tour points out the residences of the rich and famous, providing a unique glimpse into Miami's glamorous waterfront.

Venturing further into the nightlife scene, Club Space (934 NE 11th St.) stands out as an all-weekender club for EDM enthusiasts. With massive disco balls and international DJs like Green Velvet, the club's terrace allows revelers to witness the night transform into the morning—a must-visit for those who love to dance until dawn.

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Antonio Cuellar / Unsplash

Unique Movie-Going Experience

For a movie night beyond the ordinary, head to the CMX Theater (701 S Miami Ave.) on the 4th floor of Brickell City Centre. This cinema offers a luxury experience with comfortable seats, hand-crafted cocktails, and meals served directly to your seat.

Uncovering Ancient Miami

Delve into Miami's ancient history at the Miami Circle National Historic Landmark. Discovered in 1998, this 38-foot circle is believed to have been created by the Tequesta People over 1,700 to 2,000 years ago. Often referred to as the Stonehenge of Miami, it's a testament to Miami's rich cultural heritage.

Brickell Key's Tranquil Beauty

Brickell Key, also known as Claughton Island, is a man-made residential island offering a serene 1.2-mile walking path with stunning views of the water and Miami's mainland. At Three Tequesta Point, discover the 21-foot bronze sculpture, El Centinela del Rio, designed by sculptor Mario Carbonell.

For a dining experience with a view, visit La Mar (500 Brickell Key Dr.), a Peruvian restaurant overlooking Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline. It's an ideal spot for a delightful evening, showcasing one of the best views in Miami.

Little Havana's Culinary Delights

Little Havana, a vibrant neighborhood known for its Cuban influence, hides some of Miami's culinary treasures. While Versailles (3555 SW 8th St.) is famous for its Cuban cuisine and serves as the unofficial town square for Cuban exiles, El Palacio de Los Jugos (1545 SW 27th Ave.) offers a more hidden gem experience. Here, enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and refreshing fruit juices.

Embark on a Culinary Trip through Little Havana!


Street Art and Latin Music in Little Havana

Explore the murals of Little Havana, such as the iconic Little Havana Mural (2614 SW 8th St.) by Atomik. For a less crowded alternative, head to Sushi Sake (1615 SW 8th St.), where another vibrant mural awaits. Dive into the lively Latin music scene at popular bars like Ball & Chain (1513 SW 8th St.) and Cafe La Trova (971 SW 8th St.), or seek the unique fiesta experience at Fonda La Chismosa (981 SW 8th St.)

Miami's Free Trolley and Wynwood's Street Art

Discover Miami's neighborhoods in an unconventional way with the Free Miami Trolley, connecting Brickell with Little Havana. Embrace the artistic spirit of Wynwood, known for its ever-changing street art scene. Stroll along NW 2nd Avenue, NW 21st Street, NW 1st Place, NW 23rd Street, NW 26th Street, NW 27th Street, and NW 3rd Avenue to witness the vibrant murals that adorn the buildings.

Brickell City Centre & Mary Brickell Village

For those with a penchant for shopping, Brickell has two key areas worth exploring. Brickell City Centre (701 South Miami Ave) is a four-floor shopping complex featuring renowned brands like Apple, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Levis. Events like baby classes, yoga sessions, and live music add to the vibrant atmosphere.

Another shopping destination is Mary Brickell Village (901 S Miami Ave). This area not only caters to shopping needs but also offers services like haircuts and nail treatments. It's an excellent spot to meet friends for food and drinks after a day of retail therapy.

Ancient Spanish Monastery

Nestled in modern North Miami Beach, the Ancient Spanish Monastery is a captivating journey into European history. Originally constructed in Sacramenia, northern Spain, this Florida Heritage site has weathered time to become a cherished South Florida monument. Boasting a stunning backdrop, it's a popular choice for weddings, first communions, quinces, proms, and photo sessions. 

While casual tourist photos are free, those aiming for amateur, student, or professional photography with the monastery as a backdrop need to pay $375 for three hours, covering admission for up to six people. 

Nightlife and Speakeasies in Wynwood

As night falls, Wynwood transforms into a lively hub for nightlife. While Wynwood Walls is a popular attraction, explore the area's streets to discover hidden gems of colorful murals. Dive into the night at two speakeasies, The Mad Butcher (2300 NW 2nd Avenue) and Coyo Tacos (2320 NW 2nd Ave), offering an immersive dining and drinking experience.

Lagniappe in Midtown

Escape the bustling city at Lagniappe (3425 NE 2nd Ave.) in Midtown. This hidden oasis serves grilled food and cold drinks under a canopy of plants during the day and transforms into a magical space with festoon lights as night falls. The venue also features live music, providing a serene yet vibrant atmosphere.

Miami's Design District

Adjacent to Wynwood, the Design District offers a surreal experience with huge art installations like the 10ft SOLO Cup by Paula Crown and the Buckminster Fly Eye Dome at Palm Court. The district boasts designer stores, shaded swings, and even a Dior cafe, making it a haven for art and design enthusiasts.

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Tuan Nguyen / Unsplash

Culinary & Cultural Delights in Coral Gables

Explore Coral Gables, a meticulously planned community southwest of Downtown. Dive into history at the Venetian Pool, a public swimming pool built in a coral rock quarry. Learn about the city's founder at the Merrick House (907 Coral Way) and savor Portuguese pastries at the Majestic Portuguese Bakehouse (3340 Coral Way).

Coconut Grove's Rich History and Natural Beauty

Coconut Grove, Miami's first continuously populated neighborhood, boasts lush greenery with century-old giant oaks and banyan trees. Witness the neighborhood's signature peacocks that roam freely, adding a touch of whimsy to the residential streets. Relax at the sandy shores of Matheson Hammock Park (9610 Old Cutler Rd.), a hidden tropical paradise within the city.

Venetian Causeway and South Pointe Park

Take a scenic walk across the Venetian Causeway, a series of bridges over Miami's Venetian Islands. Revel in the views of million-dollar homes and enjoy a peaceful journey to Miami Beach. At South Pointe Park, escape the crowds and watch cruise ships enter and exit the harbor, offering a serene experience away from the bustling South Beach.

Explore South Pointe Park, Skyviews Observation Wheel, Key Biscayne & More with a Miami Night Tour!


Seafood Delights at Joe's and Versace's Mansion

Savor Miami's love for snow crabs at Joe's (11 Washington Ave.) in South Beach. Joe's has been an iconic seafood destination since 1913, providing a classic Miami dining experience. For a unique dining setting, visit the former mansion of Italian designer Gianni Versace, now known as Villa Casa Casuarina (1116 Ocean Drive). Dine by the famous gold-lined pool and immerse yourself in luxury.

Art Deco Hotels and Diverse Beaches

Explore the iconic Art Deco District in South Beach, where hotels from the 1920s to 1940s showcase Tropical Deco architecture. Stay in beautifully preserved buildings like The Avalon, The Leslie, and The Tony (formerly The Tiffany). Venture beyond South Beach to discover other beaches like Surfside Beach, Bal Harbor, and the clothing-optional Haulover Nude Beach.

Key West Day Tour

For a day of sun, rum, and Key Lime Pie, embark on a Key West Day Tour. Departing early in the morning and returning late at night, this tour allows you to explore Hemingway's house, the southernmost point in the continental USA, and the vibrant Duval Street.

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Martin Zangerl / Unsplash

FAQs

What are some of Miami's hotspots?

Tourists love Miami for its sizzling South Beach, vibrant nightlife, cultural centers, delicious cuisine, and tropical gardens! Embrace the vibrant energy of South Beach's Ocean Drive, lined with pastel-hued Art Deco buildings and bustling sidewalk cafes. Indulge in the city's Latin flavor with a visit to Little Havana, where Calle Ocho comes alive with music, art, and the aroma of authentic Cuban cuisine. 

The pulsating nightlife of Miami is best experienced in the trendy clubs of Brickell and the renowned LIV at Fontainebleau. Finally, venture into the lush landscapes of the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden for a serene escape amidst exotic flora.

What are the most beautiful places in Miami?

Miami boasts a myriad of beautiful places, each with its own unique charm. Some highlights include the vibrant and artistic walls of Wynwood, the iconic and lively South Beach with its art deco architecture, the lush landscapes of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, the serene Matheson Hammock Park, and the picturesque Venetian Pool. 

Additionally, the stunning views from South Pointe Park, the historic ambiance of Coral Gables, and the tropical beauty of Coconut Grove contribute to the city's diverse and enchanting aesthetics. Explore these gems to discover the most beautiful facets of Miami.

How can I see the skyline at night in Miami?

You can witness Miami's glittering skyline at night by exploring locations like Bayfront Park, Venetian Pool, South Pointe Park, Venetian Causeway, Ocean Drive, Matheson Hammock Park, The Kampong, Deering Estate, Merrick Park, and the Miami Beach Boardwalk. Each spot offers a unique perspective, showcasing the city's captivating lights against the backdrop of Biscayne Bay or the Atlantic Ocean.

Conclusion

Hidden gems in Miami add an extra layer of excitement to your visit, offering a diverse range of experiences beyond the well-known attractions. From secluded beaches to vibrant neighborhoods, each hidden gem contributes to the rich tapestry of Miami's culture and history. Whether you're a local seeking new adventures or a visitor craving an authentic Miami experience, these gems promise to make your journey unforgettable. So, dive into the lesser-explored side of the Magic City and uncover the treasures that await you.

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