Who’s ready for a trip to Miami? It’s hard to say no to that one, huh? Whether it’s Cuban food you’re craving or super sugary beachy cocktails; partying until the cows come home, beautiful beaches, hot weather and sunshine or stunning people either dressed in $10,000 Versace suit or pretty much nothing at all, Miami is an irresistible city that offers it all! Whether it’s the outstanding food, the incredible culture, or the amazing people (just don’t put them behind a steering wheel, holy smokes!) you’re after, there really are so many reasons to love Miami! Each ‘neighborhood’ of Miami has such a unique personality and something different to offer. For now, we going to focus on Coral Gables, a beautiful, suburban, upscale, neighborhood in Miami, which is also the oldest neighborhood. It’s only 20 minutes from the Miami International airport, and the home of University of Miami, as well as various upscale shopping centers and restaurants. If you find yourself being a South Beach snob, why don’t you take a day and check out Coral Gables next time? Here are five reasons why you should make Coral Gables a stopping point on your next trip to Miami!
- The Shops at Merrick Place
- Biltmore Hotel
- Miracle Mile
- Coconut Grove & the food scene (great news, most places are much less expensive than South Beach)
- It’s relaxing and nowhere near as touristy as other places in Miami
- The Shops at Merrick Place
What an upscale, stunning mall! This outdoor mall boasts numerous high-end stores, as well as an Equinox gym, Soul Cycle and tons of outdoor dining on the ground level surrounded by lush, well-manicured greenery and palm trees outlining the courtyard. Just about every car you see in the garage here is nothing short of what it costs to buy a house in some cities (think $175,000 or more). This mall puts many Beverly Hills shopping areas to shame. Don’t like shopping? Ladies, you could shop, while you make your partner hit up the gym, or get him sauced at Sawa and ask for a couple bucks…win, win for everyone! (Maybe…depends who you ask there!)
There’s so much history at this hotel, it’s well worth a quick visit! The hotel, which was built back in 1926 was known as a place where the wealthy would hold fashion shows, golf tournaments and water shows. The pool, which is still intact at the hotel, was the largest pool in the world back in its time. When World War II happened, the hotel was turned into a military hospital. Take one good look at this hotel from the outside, you can easily see the resemblance of a hospital. Is that a scream you say?! A mix of spooky and historic, this hotel is worth a visit.
- Miracle Mile
When it comes to Miami, you’ve never seen so many luxury cars and upscale retail stores in your life and Miracle Mile is no exception. This area of Coral Gables which took two years total for renovations was launched in 2018. One great thing about the makeover is that streets are much bigger, so many restaurants now offer outdoor dining and lots of people watching! There are so many dining options here, it’s hard to choose.
Ortanique on the Mile, a lovely family owned upscale Caribbean restaurant, is one suggestion. The restaurant itself is painted in lots of vibrant summer colors, the service staff is very friendly, and the food is very fresh and delicious.
- Coconut Grove (and the massive amount of dining options here and all-around Coral Gables!)
Coconut Grove is perfect for inexpensive, tasty restaurants where you can sit both indoor and outdoor and people watch to your hearts content. It’s hard to choose one eatery as they all have high ratings and even better, they’re nowhere near as expensive as most of the places in South Beach! They also had a bookstore wine shop and lots of yoga studios. How can you go wrong there? Here are some lovely restaurant recommendations:
Strada in the Garden: highly (highly) recommended. Dining at this restaurant will have you feeling like you’re in the Greek Isles (and who doesn’t love that)? The ambiance has a very Mediterranean feel to it. Maybe it’s the white washed wooden furniture with pillow seats tied to the chairs, the giant blackboard by the bar area outlining the wines they have available for the evening, the open layout, the wine shelves separating the bar area from the restaurant, or the little alleyway alongside the restaurant aligned with plants, there’s something ever so romantic, charming, and relaxing, you feel like you’re on vacation on an island somewhere! This staff is exceptionally friendly, and the food is excellent! Try the lightly fried green olives. WHEW, delicious!
For a very low-key evening, check out LoKal (part of the Kush group). LoKal is a funky, friendly ‘neighborhood staple’ proudly serving dishes that utilize local ingredients & tacos that are to die for! One neat thing about LoKal is that it’s the first restaurant in Miami-Dade County to use 100% clean, newewable energy sources from wind and solar power. (Take that one Donald Trump!) It’s a friendly, ‘smaller’ restaurant that will make you feel good while you’re there and after you leave. The staff is very hospitable too!
Many people in Coral Gables live there or work there (or both), so places are very reasonably priced, people are much more friendly and there’s a sense of community, which is comforting. South Beach can often have this ‘fake’ aura to it, like everyone you see has just cashed in their 401K plan to rent a Bugatti for that one evening or sold their unborn child just to wear the latest Versace dress. It can be so touristy, it’s a bit overwhelming at times, don’t you think?! If so, check out Coral Gables next time you’re in town. Small cities are all the rage these days anyway!