We spend our time here at Culture Crusaders dedicated to spotlighting the hidden gems that make our city so special. But every once in a while, we have to address the places that also make it so typically…Miami. The destinations around town that have been with us all our lives, watched us grow up, and have become so identifiable with the 305. From shopping centers to tourist attractions, and in celebration of 305 Day, here are the places that are so “Miami”:
It’s hard to settle on just one individual place in Little Havana that would be representative of Miami’s Cuban personality (Versailles? Ball & Chain), so we selected all of Calle Ocho to cover our bases. Whether it’s the several blocks around 15th ST or pouring out into other areas of the neighborhood, Calle Ocho has a great selection of Cuban and Latin American businesses that can give any tourist a good dose of Miami’s spicier side.
Rauluminate / Getty Images via Trip Savvy
Although plenty of locals would never admit to visiting this high-traffic area of South Beach, it’s hard to deny that it’s not one of Miami’s most stereotypical sights. Art Deco architecture galore, ground floor cocktail bars with booming music, and plenty of sunburned snowbirds make it all the more recognizable to the masses.
via Short Term Rentals
When the Arts District began to grow in popularity, plenty of Miami’s most talented creatives rejoiced at the chance to be in the spotlight. Though many of those initial founders have been priced out, the art-fueled aesthetic still remains. Many locals might not be happy at the name brands and Tulum-inspired concepts that have now overrun the neighborhood, but we still love that Wynwood has drawn plenty of travelers to the mainland for once.
via The Mommy Directory
Much like Calle Ocho, we couldn’t pick a specific area of the Grove to represent Miami’s oldest neighborhood. Maybe it’s the fact that historical landmarks are the norm here, probably more than anywhere else in the city. While some of its landmarks have since gone, places like The Barnacle, Main Highway, Monty’s and Kennedy Park are still perfect places that define the laid-back charm that the area emits.
It’s not our favorite spot in Miami, but it’s the only waterfront shopping and dining space the city has so we have to embrace it. Anyone who grew up in this city knows Bayside like the back of their hand, since heading there was a big deal for families around town. It’s easily accessed by cruise passengers on a layover or international travelers looking to snag souvenirs on their way out.
via Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
While there are definitely certain areas a Miami resident will never admit to setting foot in, it’s hard not to love frolicking down Lincoln Road and spending an afternoon weaving in and out of its renown retailers and restaurants. It’s easy to be sucked in by the big names, but even easier to be sucked in by the charm of these local favorites found along the landmark outdoor mall.
We can’t stress enough how much true Miamians love themselves a good shopping mall, mainly because it’s the best way to gather all kinds of entertainment within one development. Some of us have our own favorites (Dadeland, Mall of the Americas, Sunset Place etc.) but Town & Country (now known as The Palms at Town & Country) holds a special place in a majority of Kendall locals’ hearts.
via Miami Smith
Something that is definitive of Miami is its massive amount of development and there are few places where you can witness it more than Brickell and Downtown Miami. Our skyline is growing at alarming rates, and Brickell was one of the foreshadowers of that trend. The financial district is a great place to go if and when you want to be reminded that Miami is considered the Gateway to the Americas, and that those doing the banking also require some loud places to let off some steam.
Katie Warren/Business Insider
For a little respite, let’s also remind ourselves that Miami is still very much a slice of paradise. While plenty of the greenery is being pushed away as expansion continues, there are still plenty of places where you can escape civilization and frolic in nature for a day. Matheson Hammock being one of the best examples of that. Part public park, part marina, and part public beach/lagoon, we love this historical spot for its quiet and breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay.
via Hotel St. Augustine Miami
Did we already say that Miami loves its shopping malls? So much so that they disguise them as regular city streets. And one of South Florida’s most famous would be Miracle Mile inside Coral Gables, another vastly historic area. Miracle Mile is special for its preservation of a unified, historical aesthetic (and low-storied buildings) as well as the identity as one of Miami’s oldest areas for local businesses and mom and pop shops.
What’s more Miami than wanting to party? While the team behind Club Space has vastly improved much of Miami’s electronic and DJ performances, the world famous nightclub still maintains the wonderfully weird side of Miami’s world-renown nightlife scene. Whether you’re watching the sun come up from their terrace, cramming in for an intimate show at Floyd, or even making a little escape to Eleven across the street, the whole experience is very Miami.
Are we really surprised to be wrapping the list up with yet another mall? We’re serious when we say that plenty of Miamians are thirsty for culture, especially since the only options that our government and the developers they so eagerly appease give locals for entertainment has to do with spending their money at malls. Dolphin Mall is one of Miami’s biggest, boasting huge box stores as well as beloved brands, movie theaters, bowling and of course the city-famous Dave & Busters and you have yourself a winner.
Cover photo via Community Newspapers.