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Coconut Grove neighborhood guide

Get to know Coconut Grove with our guide to the area’s best local restaurants and bars, arts, entertainment and things to do

Photograph: Miami-Dade County).Credit: Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Barnacle Historic State Park in Coconut Grove

Miami's oldest enclave offers lush gardens and eclectic architecture. Once a bastion for free-thinking wheeler-dealers who enjoyed its serene bay setting, Coconut Grove still attracts free spirits and creative types, and the Grove continues to enjoy a reputation as a cultural (and cultured) oasis, even if chain stores reign supreme.

Beyond the malls and boutiques, it's a pretty little neighborhood with a few pockets that are full of character. Since the 1920s, independent-minded locals have banded together in repeated attempts to secede from Miami, each of which has failed. More recent attempts at secession have been hamstrung by the small matter of Miami City Hall being located in the Grove. In the 1960s, the area was the heart of Miami's counterculture, a southern cousin to San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury and New York's Greenwich Village. In 1963, residents launched the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, which is now recognised as one of the leading arts events in the US.

Central Coconut Grove
Coconut Grove's centre of activity is focused on the intersection of Grand Avenue, McFarlane Road and Main Highway. It's an area busy with shops, offices and restaurants, and it has the benefit of being one of the best sections of Miami for walking—aside from South Beach's Lincoln Road, the Grove is just about as pedestrian-friendly as south Florida gets.

Along Grand Avenue, between Mary and Virginia Streets, is Mayfair in the Grove, once a fortress-like shopping mall, now a lovely open-air shopping destination. At the busy intersection of Grand Avenue, McFarlane Road and Main Highway is CocoWalk, a huge and hugely successful open-air mall that helped revitalise the Grove in the early 1990s.

South Coconut Grove
When walking west on Grand Avenue, don't go too far inland, as beyond McDonald Street (aka SW 32nd Avenue) things can get a bit hairy. Instead, head south on vegetation-lined Main Highway. Two short blocks down, its chairs and tables crowding the junction with Commodore Plaza, is one of the Grove's most popular meeting places, the GreenStreet Cafe. A further block along, hidden behind a thicket of plants and trees, is the Barnacle Historic State Park, the original residence of pioneer Ralph Munroe.
 
Buzz out on Main Highway and you'll reach the end of Coconut Grove at the Kampong (4013 Douglas Road, at Bay Breeze Avenue), a stunning, seven-acre botanical garden with an Indonesian-inspired house set by a lagoon, which has been visited by the likes of Winston Churchill, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Dwight Eisenhower in its storied past.

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