Miami’s had it’s fair share of major events and moments over the years. But where do all of those moments happen? On the just-as-famous roads, streets, avenues, and boulevards that connect the city. Whether your memories are mostly of being stuck in traffic on them or the street party that erupted when a certain Cuban leader died, these are the streets that make Miami, Miami.
It’s got a lot of names, but whether you call it Tamiami Trail, SW 8th Street, or simply “Calle Ocho,” this stretch of road has been the hub of Miami’s Cuban community for decades. It’s brimming with Cuban food, ventanitas, and infectious music and includes well-known spots like Domino Park (formally known as Maximo Gomez Park) and the Tower Theater. Use our Little Havana guide to explore it.
Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue
Ocean Drive is the most South Beach spot on South Beach – bars and clubs compete to pump out the loudest beats on the block until 5 a.m., and there’s a steady stream of beautiful people in bathing suits. The Art Deco architecture has been preserved fastidiously, making it one of the architecturally interesting strips in Miami-Dade too. This is the place you take out of towners if they want to see the Miami of Miami Vice… or drop unreasonable amounts of money on brightly colored cocktails. It merges into Collins Avenue at 15th Street, where you’ll find the low-slung Art Deco buildings merge into towering big name hotels from the Miami Beach heyday, like The Palms, plus some of Miami’s most famous nightclubs, like LIV. They’re bordered to the east by Miami’s most famous strip of beach the whole way.
One of Miami’s oldest destinations, Miracle Mile was chosen to be the hub of Coral Gables by the city’s founder, George Merrick. In 1922 he picked this half-mile stretch of Coral Way to be the center for Coral Gables City Hall and the main place to catch the trolley line. The grand Mediterranean buildings, many of them still the same buildings built during Merrick’s time, are full of high-end shops, restaurants, art galleries, bridal stores, and, of course, the Miracle Theatre. The mile’s Streetscape makeover is trying to make it more pedestrian friendly for shoppers and add a French feel.
Downtown Flagler Street
Yes, we promise this street wasn’t always under construction, although it feels that way sometimes. Henry Flagler’s namesake has been running through the oldest part of Downtown Miami, officially, since 1921. It still looks like it’s from a different time, thanks to buildings like The Olympia Theater and lots of brick. The architecture along Flagler shows how much Miami has changed throughout the years. It’s a mix of historic 1920s-style buildings and Miami’s Art Deco signature flair. It’s also the official latitude base that defines Miami-Dade’s north and south streets on the grid system.
Biscayne Boulevard in MiMo
Much of Biscayne Boulevard is just traffic lights and run-of-the-mill buildings, but when you hit the historic MiMo District, aka Upper Eastside, Miami history shines through. Most of the motels lining this street date back to the 1950s and 1960s, and retain much of the original architecture. The area went through a rough patch in the 1980s (like many of Miami’s historically great spots) and a fair amount of seediness went down at those motels, but preservation efforts are well underway today as the area booms. Save the Coppertone girl!
Like it or not, you’ve probably been to Lincoln Road Mall at least once – if not for the massive crowds and street performers, than for the New World Center or Colony Theatre. Like most of Miami Beach it was once a mangrove forest, but now it’s a pedestrian-only strip that intersects with Alton Rd., full of places to eat, shops and rows of very manicured palm trees. Locals love to hate it for its chain stores and hawkers, but no one can deny it captures that South Beach spirit.
Old Cutler Road and Ingraham Highway
The towering trees lining either side of these roads meet in the middle to form a thick, shady canopy, transporting you to another point in time. These roads – which connect at Cocoplum Circle and cut through Coconut Grove and the Gables, all the way south to Cutler Bay and beyond – were inaugurated in the 1870s. It’s one of the most naturally beautiful routes in Miami today – and is lined by some of the county’s most beautiful homes, too.
Aka, West 177th Ave., this is one of the main ways to get to or from Homestead. If you grew up or live down South, then you’ll know that long ago the western bypass was considered the divide between urban and rural Miami-Dade — although nowadays development stretches for miles west of it in many spots. It feels like like one of Miami’s most rural roads, given its spectacular views of the Redlands.