Home to the Venetian Pool, the Biltmore Hotel, and Miracle Mile, there’s no shortage of places to explore in this gorgeous city. The best way to admire the distinct Mediterranean architecture is on foot, as the manicured sidewalks and frequent crosswalks make the city particularly pedestrian friendly. And if you’re feeling a bit tired, hop on the free circulator trolley that roams up and down Ponce de León Boulevard.
Books & Books
It’s hard to imagine Miami without Books & Books. The local book store chain is the epicenter of the literature scene in Miami, with a constant stream of author talks and educational lectures. Roam the stacks and grab a bite to eat at the cafe. You won’t regret a single second spent at Books & Books.
Coral Gables Art Cinema
Located just across from our beloved Books & Books is the Coral Gables Art Cinema. If you are a fan of foreign, classic, and independent film, this beautiful art house is without equal. The films are carefully selected and you can usually catch the newest indie films here. The seating is cozy and the snack and beverage variety is excellent too. We especially love their after-hours showings, which feature late-night cult classics like Fight Club and Monty Python.
Coral Gables Musuem
What used to be the city’s police and fire station now serves as the hub of history and culture in Coral Gables. There’s a rotating set of exhibits which right now includes one featuring city founder George Merrick, highlighting his hand in building the Gables into what it is today. The museum’s central plaza, lined with coral fossils and limestone, is a great place to relax in between bouts of soaking up the city’s fascinating history. Be sure to check out the gallery nights on the first Friday of every month.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is part paradise, part natural museum. Dr. David Fairchild opened the garden back in 1938 and now you can walk through 83 acres of tropical gardens meticulously designed with hand-picked plants from all over the world — orchids, bromeliads, African trees, and several species of endangered plants, to name just a few. On top of being downright gorgeous, Fairchild also hosts a ton of events, from art exhibits to festivals, lectures to art classes.
Lip Service Miami
Lip Service has called Coral Gables home for years. The premise is simple: eight true stories in eight minutes. It was started in 2006 by Miami native Andrea Askowitz, but now is run by the Miami Book Fair. If you’ve ever listened to The Moth, you’re no stranger to live storytelling and if you haven’t here’s your chance to experience it in all of it’s glory. You can even apply to tell your own Miami story — who knows you might be the next local celeb.
What they do: Event
Website: Visit Here
Price: $15 per show
Address: 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL
Matheson Hammock Park
Remember that scene at the beach from Something about Mary when Ben Stiller gets a fish hook caught in his cheek? That beautiful beach is actually a man-made atoll pool nestled in Matheson Hammock Park, which happens to be one of the most scenic parks in Florida. The park spans more than 630 acres and features plenty of biking and walking trails, banyan trees, a kite boarding cove, boat launch ramps, restaurants, and picnic pavilions. It’s a particularly great spot for sunrise walks and sunset picnics.
The Biltmore Hotel
If there is one spot that captures the bygone splendor of Coral Gables’ Prohibition-era glamour, The Biltmore Hotel is it. Built in 1926, The Biltmore has survived many things in its nearly 100-year lifespan: hurricanes, land busts, gangsters, and even, according to rumors, ghosts. Hardships aside, the Biltmore has transformed itself into a popular four-star hotel, with a delicious champagne brunch, a beautiful pool, and golf course access, all surrounded by a lush, tropical landscape – albeit at a steep price. They have an afternoon tea if you want to go all Downton Abbey.
University of Miami
Don’t let the plethora of collegiate colors and attire mislead you, because there is more to UM than sports. For one thing, the campus itself is beautifully manicured, open for anyone to lay out on the lawn while you listen to the school’s alternative music station (WVUM 90.5). You can catch a new film at the respected Cosford Cinema or an art show at the Lowe Art Museum. Maybe you want to brush up on your French? They have that too, as well as many other continuing education courses to choose from. (Courtesy of University of Miami University Communications)
University of Miami Sports
Let’s face it, the best sports teams in the 305 are probably all at the University of Miami. People live for UM football – they ran this city during the 80s and 90s and their all-day, party in the sun tailgates are nothing short of legendary. The basketball team has consistently been in the top 25 for the past few years and we’re pretty sure the UM baseball team could beat most major league squads as they pump out pro players on the regular. And who can resist those Mark Light milk shakes at the UM baseball games? They even have a Twitter account (@) for those creamy and delicious cups of heaven, which come in 40 or so flavors. (Courtesy of Thomson20192/Flickr Creative Commons)
What they do: Sports, milkshakes
Website: Visit Here
Hours: Changes with the season
Address: 1320 S Dixie Hwy
Before it was a pool, it was a limestone mound that was excavated and used to build Coral Gables’ earliest iconic structures. The pit left behind was filled with spring water from an underground aquifer, and it was opened for business as the Venetian Casino. Today, it’s no longer a casino, but you can still swim in the frigid, grotto-like pools surrounded by the lush Gables foliage and cool down under the cascading waterfalls.
Writing Class Radio
A podcast made by Miamians and recorded at UM, Writing Class Radio is for storylovers. If you get inspired by hearing how other people tell their stories, and about how you might become a better storyteller — you should definitely tune in. Because even if you don’t think you’ve got a story to tell, listening to these writers’ trials and tribulations just might get your creative juices flowing.
What they do: Podcast
Website: Visit Here
Address: 1320 S. Dixie Hwy, Coral Gables