Destination Idea: Coconut Grove, Florida

by GO GlobeHopper

One of Miami’s original neighborhoods, Coconut Grove dates back to the 19th century. The community charms locals and visitors alike with its lush tropical surroundings, bayfront parks, and eclectic dining and shopping. Delve into the area’s Bahamian heritage at its cultural landmarks and attractions, and join laid-back locals at sidewalk cafes to indulge in good food and enjoy tranquil bay breezes.

Set on the shores of Biscayne Bay, Coconut Grove is a free-spirited place where colorful peacocks roam free and families gather for picnics along the water. With a compact village vibe, Coconut Grove is easy to navigate. Take advantage of the plentiful parking, and walk among its shops and restaurants, as well as the green spaces and parks fronting the bay.


Places to Visit

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

To become acquainted with Coconut Grove’s abundant heritage and the pioneers who first settled here, history buffs should explore Coconut Grove Village West, a historically Black neighborhood centered around Charles Avenue. Check out the remaining shotgun houses – humble wood-frame homes – sprinkled throughout the neighborhood; the Colored Library (Odd Fellows Hall), built in 1896 as the area’s first library for Black people and a communal meeting place for members of fraternal organizations; the Mariah Brown House, originally owned by one of the first Bahamians to arrive in Coconut Grove; and the E.W.F. Stirrup House, the home of a Bahamian carpenter who went on to become a millionaire. Several local churches are rich in history, including the Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, the oldest Black church in the community, and the Christ Episcopal Church, founded by a group of West Indian settlers.

To explore a different period in Coconut Grove’s history, spend a leisurely day strolling the Renaissance-inspired gardens and grounds of Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the elaborate Gilded Age winter retreat of industrialist James Deering. The opulent main house is filled with original furnishings and art, and the lush gardens and bayside views are perfect for Instagram-worthy pictures.

Step back in time at another bayfront gem, the five-acre Barnacle Historic State Park, which offers tree-lined paths for bird watching and scenic strolls. As the historic property of yacht designer, sailor, and Coconut Grove pioneer Ralph Munroe, the park houses replicas of two of his sailboats along with his 1891 home, the oldest in Miami-Dade County. Check out The Barnacle’s events calendar, which includes numerous activities throughout the year such as moonlight concerts and outdoor films.

If you’re looking for more space to stretch your legs (and let the kids burn off pent-up energy), head to Peacock Park. The nine-acre park is filled with recreational spaces including softball and soccer fields, a playground, and a wooden boardwalk that winds along the edge of Biscayne Bay.


Sail Away

Key Marina

You can’t talk about Coconut Grove without mentioning boating on the area’s glistening waterways. Book sailing lessons or rent a vessel at Shake-A-Leg Miami, or charter a boat out of scenic Dinner Key Marina. If you want to enjoy bay views without leaving terra firma, sample festive drinks and a seafood feast at longtime favorite Monty’s Raw Bar, a lively waterfront tiki restaurant at the Bayshore Landing Marina.

The iconic shopping and dining hub of CocoWalk has been reimagined with a new look and an updated roster of well-known retailers and cute boutiques. Refuel at one of its hot restaurants including PLANTA Queen, known for its plant-based comfort food, Mister 01 Extraordinary Pizza or Salt & Straw, an ice cream shop offering unique flavors. Other neighborhood favorites include Glass & Vine, serving lunch, dinner, and brunch in a setting amid mature trees in gorgeous Peacock Park; and the tropical oasis of Peacock Garden Resto Bar & Grill recently renovated to feature an indoor-outdoor dining room in what feels like a secret garden. For breathtaking views of the bay and the skyline, escape to Bellini, the rooftop restaurant at the Mr. C Miami Coconut Grove hotel, where namesake cocktails flow and Italian food reigns supreme.


Festivals and Farmer’s Markets

Farmer’s Market

Look for an array of festivals throughout the year, including the beloved Coconut Grove Arts Festival – held annually on President’s Day weekend – where artists from Miami and around the world display and sell their work. Every Saturday, locals flock to the vast Glaser Organic Farms Farmer’s Market to scoop up fresh produce, tropical fruit, and other raw and vegan foods.

Art, food, shopping, history, and waterways are perfect for exploring – you can discover it all in the welcoming enclave of Coconut Grove.


Source:  Greater Miami Convention & Visitor’s Bureau
All 4 photos sourced from Pixabay

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