Prism Itinerary: 24 Hours in Coconut Grove
May 18, 2018Pola Bunster
Last month we unveiled the first in our series of neighborhood maps and 24-hour guides, starting with Little River. In true Prism fashion, we’re keeping it rolling to encompass the entirety of this vibrant city we call home. This time, we’re taking it a little more south: Coconut Grove. The lush, low-key, and highly historical neighborhood is home to more than just peacocks and hippies. Get ready, because this one’s as jam-packed as they come…with good reason.
Coconut Grove has always been an escape. Its roots lie in the snowbirds who found its natural habitat and proximity to water perfect for a seasonal haven. Ever wonder who Commodore, Munroe, or even Peacock were? They’re more than just street or park names, they’re the forefathers of where we now spend our lazy Sundays. More than just vacationers, Coconut Grove was also an escape for immigrants looking for a new home. In 1825, Bahamians, British, and Americans fused together and have helped make the neighborhood as colorful and friendly as it now is.
Let’s take a drive, shall we?
Your 24-Hour Itinerary:
If you’re coming from the south, we suggest driving into the grove along Main Highway, so you can take in the luscious banyans and oaks. From the north, drive along South Bayshore to see the historical houses and Florida Limestone cliffs. Start your morning off with a juice from The Last Carrot, a Miami favorite and OG vegan-friendly outpost. Take in a class at Dharma Yoga to get the much-needed energy push for today’s epic tour.
After that, do as the locals do and grab a bite to eat. If you’re looking for trend, Panther Coffee is always a good idea. But if you want that down-to-earth diner vibe, check out Coral Bagels for the seriously good breakfast only true Grovites know about. Then, you’ll take a quick tour of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, always better in the morning. This Mediterranean villa is easily one of the most breathtaking architectural landmarks in Miami. Weave in and out of the mazes, and fawn over the house. You can peruse it in an hour tops. Cool off at Kennedy Park with the age-old classic: A C’s Icees, still kicking, and still cash only.
By this time, your legs might need a little rest. Get in your car and drive through the Grove streets to really see the breadth of its charm. Drive by the old Grove cottages built in the early 1900s around the magnificent Plymouth Congregational Church and its ivy-ed stone walls. Within that neighborhood, you’ll stumble upon Charlie’s Woods on Palmetto Ave., the plot of public forest land donated to the City by the late Coconut Grove Arts Festival founder, Charlie Cinnamon. It really is a secret garden.
18 years ago, you would’ve seen our Director of Storytelling owning these streets at 10 years old with her gang of merry skateboarders. It’s a happy, family-friendly neighborhood, filled with magical discoveries and artist communes around every corner. From here, you should head back into the downtown area, and walk through the tropical hardwood hammock to discover The Barnacle Historic State Park. With is expansive lawn and views of Biscayne Bay, it is the oldest house in its original location in Miami-Dade County. Built in 1891.
On a Saturday, this would be a perfect time to hit up the Coconut Grove Farmer’s Market deeper in the West Grove Historic Bahamian Neighborhood. But on a regular day (except Monday & Tuesday) we’re going to let you in on a secret: Shore to Door Fish Market. The hole in the wall is off the beaten path of your usual Grove seafood spots and offers the freshest catches. Take another break at the Bookstore & Kitchen for some delicious eats and fine reads. Or, give yourself a treat at Bianco Gelato where some of Miami’s best vegan ice cream is made fresh daily.
Evening & Late Night
Okay, now’s the time we’ve really been waiting for. You’re going to want to do happy hour somewhere, and the Grove has many options. If you want drinks with a view, head to Glass & Vine in Peacock Park, from the same team behind Eating House. Or, if you want a low-key locals hang, Happy Wine has some of the best happy hour tapas in the city. For dinner, we suggest either Ariete to impress your crew, or Lokal, the original Kush home for a seriously amazing feast. What’s the real dinner destination, though? Bombay Darbar. Highest rated Indian cuisine in Miami. Just go.
By now you’ll be wanting to walk off your food, or get right into partying. Don’t worry, because Coconut Grove loves both of those things. You can’t drink in the Grove and not pass by Taurus, one of the oldest names in all of Miami. Barracuda is your quintessential dive bar experience, where beer pong and local taps reign supreme. You can get fancy at any of the Italian restaurants along Commodore Plaza if that’s your thing, too. But most importantly, a trip to Coconut Grove would not be complete without this last stop: El Taquito. Every local has at least a dozen crazy nights that end (or start?) at this tiny Mexican outpost.
Other Must-Catch Spots:
Food & Drink
Monty’s Raw Bar – A Keys-like Marina-side shack perfect for happy hour.
Grove Bay Grill (FKA Scotty’s Landing) – Even more low-key, even more local version of the above.
Flanigan’s Seafood Bar & Grill – It might be a chain, but we Grovites love those Mexican Mondays and ribs.
Milam’s Market – The local market chain had to be included, if not for it’s amazing chicken salad.
Peacock Garden Bistro – Historical and charming hidden gem perfect for a romantic dinner.
Harry’s Pizzeria – One of the earlier branches of the beloved Miami favorite.
Sandbar Sports Grill – Penny beers, insane drink specials, your classic college bar.
Asian Thai Kitchen — It’s literally inside a Kwik Stop and it’s delicious.
Green Street Cafe – Another Grove classic, home to packed brunches and a solid atmosphere.
Things to Do
Shake A Leg Miami – A non-profit water sports spot dedicated to serving people of all abilities and getting them on the water.
Coconut Grove Sailing Club – Adult sailing, wooden house, and one of the best sunset views in the neighborhood.
Coconut Grove Branch Library – Sandwiched among historical buildings, it’s as quaint as you can imagine.
Women’s Club of Coconut Grove – A gorgeous wooden and stone home founded in 1891 by Pioneer women. Originally the Housekeeper’s Club.
Alice C. Wainwright Park – Closer to the Rickenbacker, this gorgeous park is tucked away along Biscayne Bay.
CocoWalk – A go-to spot for shops and movies currently under renovation.
Mayfair Hotel & Spa – Luxury hotel in the middle of the neighborhood. Amazing deals on massages.
Books & Books – We all know the name, it’s coming to the Grove this year.
Hare Krishna Cultural Center – A temple compound hidden among the residential side.
Blanche Park (dog park) – Right next to the temple, one of the more open dog parks in the city.
Kirk Munroe Tennis Center – The public tennis center with tons of options for outdoor activities.
KROMA Gallery – A collective art space dedicated to upholding local history and current art forms.
The Kampong – The site of Dr. David Fairchild’s home tucked away along Main Highway. Filled with hundreds of native and non-native plants, historic and Southeast Asian inspired. It’s a treasure.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Historic Home – Need we explain further?
Sunrise Harbor Park – A small family-kept neighborhood park on the verge of Coral Gables.
Merrie Christmas Park – Expansive and friendly, this park is beloved by many.
On the Other Side of US1 (but had to include)
Casola’s Pizzeria & Sub Shop – Pizza the size of your face, wings the size of your hands. Popular spot post-high school sports games.
El Carajo Tapas & Wines – Located inside a gas station rest stop, it’s mind-blowingly good.
The Original Daily Bread Marketplace – Part market, part fast-casual, fully Middle Eastern and amazing.
Beautiful maps designed by Beth Rhodes.