Founded in 1873, Coconut Grove is Miami’s oldest neighborhood. With lush tropical foliage and picturesque views of Biscayne Bay, the Grove has a bohemian past and a contemporary charisma that charms everyone who comes into contact with it. Here’s how to see the best of it.
Take a Tour of History
Begin a day by setting out from the Hampton Inn Miami-Coconut Grove/Coral Gables and renting a bicycle from Citibike. Then join Frank Schena, who offers a free narrative along with a ride through the shaded streets of the Grove. Alternatively, download the app for Freebee in the Grove – a ride service where the drivers are “Grove Ambassadors” who spout recommendations – or hop on the Coconut Grove Trolley. Whichever way you do it, make sure to pass by the embattled Coconut Grove Playhouse, listed on the National Historic Register, and the century-old, wood-frame shotgun houses in the western part of the Grove, originally settled by Bahamians.
For more in-depth investigation, stop at The Barnacle Historic State Park, where one of the area’s first settlers, Ralph Middleton Munroe, built his home, “The Barnacle,” in 1891. Tour the replicas of his two sailboats as well as the five-acre property, replete with mangrove hammocks that overlook the bay. Check for events that often take place on the lawn there.
Likewise, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens allows visitors to wander through the house (built by industrialist James Deering) and the grounds. This waterside mansion truly stuns the senses, but bear in mind that it’s out of Coconut Grove proper, and so it’s closer to a downtown hotel like Homewood Suites by Hilton Miami/Downtown Brickell.
Park and Play
For sunshine and green space, head to Peacock Park, where there’s everything from a playground for small children to New American fare and cocktails at Glass and Vine for the adults. At the water’s edge, David T. Kennedy Park is smaller, but features beach volleyball and free yoga on the weekends. Schedule a class for before or after you hit homegrown coffeehouse Panther Coffee for a caffeine boost, or sit at a sidewalk table at Green Street Café for its popular cinnamon roll pancakes.
If you’re visiting on a Saturday, you can source a vegetarian or vegan meal at the long-running Coconut Grove Organic Market, which is a fixture in the Grove. Nearby, the Coconut Grove Sailing Club’s instructional center offers lessons for both youth and adults. If you like the water but don’t particularly appreciate being on it, visit Monty’s Coconut Grove – renowned for its bayside happy hour and raw bar – instead.
Shop, Then Drop into Dinner
Spend the afternoon browsing the clothing boutiques that line Main Highway, Grand Avenue, and Commodore Plaza, such as Unika, Allie & Chica, and Market. For some culture and a pick-me-up, stop into bookstore&kitchen or Books & Books.
To sample the great local seafood, The Spillover, also known for its mead, cider, and craft beer list, is ideal. Contemporary farm-to-table establishment Ariete is another fresh favorite. Both places set tables outdoors, a convenience if you’ve stopped into Coco Cigars for a hard-to-find smoke.