After a delightful time at Miami Beach, we checked out of our hotel and started our Florida road trip by heading into Miami for a some hours of exploration. We didn’t have a lot of time, but we did want to see Bayfront Park, Little Havana, and Coconut Grove. Miami has so much more, but with limited time, you do what you can!
First, we parked near the water – there are quite a few parking lots along Biscayne Boulevard – and took a walk along Bayside Marketplace and Bayfront Park.
One of the first things we saw was the Torch of Freedom, a memorial dedicated to immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Nearby was the Venezuelan statue dedicated to Simon Bolivar. Nicknamed “El Libertador”, this man from Caracas was a South American leader who was instrumental in helping the people secure independence from Spain.
As we made our way to the waterfront, we found that the views were fabulous!
Taking a stroll through Bayside Marketplace, we found that there were a few shops, and some cute places to eat. In the end, we decided that it was a little early for lunch, and while the scenery was quite nice, that we would likely get better quality food from Little Havana.
After a while, we decided that while we were having fun, we wanted to make sure we had time for at least one or two more stops, and made our way back to our car.
At this point, we drove to Little Havana for lunch. The main restaurant and shopping area on “Calle Ocho” is only about 8 blocks, so it doesn’t take long to walk the whole stretch.
One of the most famous memorials in this area is the one dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in the Cuban Bay of Pigs Invasion. In this failed military attack, over 100 people lost their lives and over 1,000 were taken prisoner.
After walking the main street (and seeing some murals and the place where people play dominoes), we settled on Sala’o for lunch. Great choice! With live music, great decor, fabulous appetizers, and tasty entrees, what’s not to like?
After lunch, we drove through some lovely residential areas, almost running over a peacock, and eventually arrived in Coconut Grove.
This delightful area has many cute shops and restaurants.While I loved my lunch in Little Havana, I was longing for some of the food that I saw! (Note the picture below is between lunch and dinner, so kind of empty).
We took a quick walk towards the nearby Marina as well. Regardless, with its walkability, Coconut Grove felt more like some of the downtowns in the Bay Area than much of its surroundings in South Florida.
On the Road Again
With a 3.5 hour drive to the Kennedy Space Center in front of us, we didn’t stay much past 3pm, but if we would have had more time, there was plenty more to see at all three of the places we visited! If you are traveling to the Miami area, try to leave the beach for at least a few hours and explore this delightful city!