"Must See" List!

Sima Kohen

I know when you are planning your trip to Miami, you want to see everything that you have heard about Miami. South Beach, Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive, Wynwood. Some shopping maybe Sawgrass, Bal Harbour, Aventura Mall, etc.

Being a Floridian for 16 years gave me a chance to see around the city in more depth. I thought you may also want to add some of those to your list of where to go.

Here are a few that you may enjoy;

Botanical garden

Established in 1962, the Miami Beach Botanical Garden offers free access to 2.6 acres of glorious horticulture and calm. But there’s more than plant life in the serene oasis: You can shop for local produce and Zak the Baker bread at the weekly farmers’ market which is to die for, or find your Zen under a well-kept palm tree at a lunchtime express yoga class. Farther south, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has been open to the public since 1838. The landscape itself is a veritable horticultural wonder, with miles of manicured lawns, waterfalls, lakes and other topographic features. You love nature you will love this one!

Venetian Pool

The Venetian Pool may just be the most beautiful in the world. The former quarry (was converted into a mock-Italian villa in the 1920s. The ornate results—all waterfalls and two loggias—may seem kitsch to those who’ve actually been to Venice, but there’s no denying the glamour of the place. During its near-century of service to overheated Miamians, the pool has played host to orchestras, dance troupes and even Hollywood stars. Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller are among the famous bathing beauties who’ve made a splash here. Try to avoid weekend if you do not want the crowd , but rest assured this is the best pool you have ever seen.

Key Biscayne

Key Biscayne (locally known as “the Key”) may not have much in the way of nightlife or shopping, but what it lacks in consumer attractions, it makes up for in serenity and seclusion. The northernmost island in the Florida Keys offers pristine beaches, two waterfront parks, a cycling path and gorgeous views of Miami. Toward the east end of the Key, Crandon Park has barbecue and picnic areas (which we have done many times in the past and enjoyed it a lot), making it great for family trips, while the tip of the island offers excellent and (and safe) swimming in the 400-acre Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

Once you get over the surreal sight of an Italian Renaissance-style villa in the hippie enclave that is Coconut Grove, visiting Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is like entering a wonderland. Built for Chicagoan industrialist and Europhile James Deering in the early 20th century, the extravagant architecture gives way to an opulent interior. Full of European antiques and decorative works from the 16th to 19th centuries and complete with original fittings, it will transport you to a golden age. No wonder it’s so popular when it comes to weddings and quinciañera portraits. I know it is hard to impress you when you have Ottoman History behind you but hey this is good enough for us the Floridians as the city is not that old.

Design District

The former Decorators’ Row has expanded into a hub for vanguard architecture, fashion and art. Among the numerous high-end interior showrooms is Holly Hunt, offering furnishings by the likes of Rose Tarlow, Christian Liaigre and Wendell Castle. In addition to the Institute of Contemporary Art, a growing number of galleries include not-for-profit artist space Locust Projects, popular for its artsy fundraisers and site-specific installations, and Palm Court’s Opera Gallery showcasing works by Keith Haring, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, among other modern masters. Multilevel, open-air shopping complex Palm Court is also the place to shop for luxury fashion labels including Emilio Pucci and Giorgio Armani.

For those of you spending three to four days in Miami this list won’t work but if you are spending good 10 days and want to figure out where else you can see in addition to those classic “Must See” list, than check these out!
I hope you will enjoy!
Until next time, bye for now.

Sima Kohen