Coconut Grove neighborhood guide

Get to know Miami and SoFlo area by area—the best local restaurants and bars, arts and entertainment and things to do in Coconut Grove

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Barnacle Historic State Park in Coconut Grove

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


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.

Restaurants and bars in Coconut Grove

Le Bouchon du Grove

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4

Everything about this bistro screams "France"—except for the warm service. The cozy room, the closely packed tables and the convivial buzz are all très Paree. The home-made foie gras terrine and the onion soup are especially good.

  1. 3430 Main Highway, at Grand Avenue
  2. Main courses $20-$30
More info

Gibraltar

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 3/4

Gibraltar is different from most of Miami’s all-style, no-substance waterfront eateries: it provides priceless views of Biscayne Bay and pricey nouveau seafood that is actually worth every cent. Located on an island just off Coconut Grove, the restaurant boasts a glass-walled indoor space and a classical waterside courtyard. The menu is fish and shellfish, and the preparation and execution are top class.  

  1. Grove Isle Drive, off S Bayshore Drive
  2. Main courses $18–$45
More info
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Things to do in Coconut Grove

The Kampong

This glorious seven-acre botanical garden was once the home of botanist Dr. David Fairchild, who went on to found the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. As chief of the Seed Section of the US Department of Agriculture in the early 20th century, Fairchild traveled the world collecting plant specimens and bringing them back here. One of only two tropical plant research sites in the country, it's a stunning place, with an Indonesian-inspired house set by a lagoon. Scientists and world leaders such as Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower have all visited, as did Fairchild's father-in-law Alexander Graham Bell, who invented a device for extracting fresh water from sea water while staying here. To this day, botanists and horticulturalists come to the Kampong, now part of the Hawaii-based National Tropical Botanical Garden, to conduct research.It's open to the public for guided tours on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10.30am and noon from September to June. Self-guided tours are possible from Monday to Friday between 9am and 4pm, by appointment only.

  1. 4013 Douglas Road, Coconut Grove
More info

Miami Science Museum

It may not be the most technologically advanced museum, but where else are you greeted by a giant concrete sloth? The permanent exhibits are of mixed quality, while the displays compiled in association with the Smithsonian Institution are educational and occasionally fascinating. The recently opened Energy Playground—which features a range of interactive exhibits, including the Human YoYo and the Giant Lever—are fun for the kids. The adjoining Planetarium is a bit old-school (it opened in 1966), but benefits from the free observatory viewings on the first Friday of each month (8.30–10pm), a favorite of south Florida teens for decades.

  1. 3280 S Miami Avenue, at SW 32nd Road
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Cultural highlights in Coconut Grove

Miami Science Museum

It may not be the most technologically advanced museum, but where else are you greeted by a giant concrete sloth? The permanent exhibits are of mixed quality, while the displays compiled in association with the Smithsonian Institution are educational and occasionally fascinating. The recently opened Energy Playground—which features a range of interactive exhibits, including the Human YoYo and the Giant Lever—are fun for the kids. The adjoining Planetarium is a bit old-school (it opened in 1966), but benefits from the free observatory viewings on the first Friday of each month (8.30–10pm), a favorite of south Florida teens for decades.

  1. 3280 S Miami Avenue, at SW 32nd Road
More info
More museums and galleries in Coconut Grove

Hotels in Coconut Grove

Courtyard Miami Coconut Grove

Courtyard Miami Coconut Grove features a heated outdoor pool, a fitness center and a tennis court. Offering panoramic bay views, it is located 3.7 miles from University of Miami.Each room is equipped with cable TV and an ergonomic chair with a work desk. Coffee-making facilities are also included. Select rooms and suites include a small refrigerator.The Bistro serves sandwiches, salads, and soups along with other hot appetizers throughout the day. Breakfast, dinner and beverages are on-site. Complimentary coffee is available in all rooms.Courtyard Miami Coconut Grove is 7.5 miles from Crandon Park on Key Biscayne. Miami Beach Convention Center is a 20-minute drive away.

  1. 2649 South Bayshore Drive, 33
  2. $101.00 to $179.00 per night
Book online

Sonesta Coconut Grove Miami

Located 9.6 km from Miami International Airport, Sonesta Coconut Grove Miami features rooms with bay or city views and free WiFi. The hotel has an outdoor pool, hot tub and sauna.Guests can enjoy on-site dining at Panorama Restaurant & Sky Lounge, which overlooks Biscayne Bay and serves award-winning Peruvian cuisine.The modern guest rooms offer a wall-mounted 42-inch flat-screen cable TV and an alarm clock radio. They provide a safe and are equipped with a coffee maker.Coconut Grove Sonesta Miami has over 8,000 works of art. Guests can access the well-equipped gym and the squash courts.Sonesta Miami Coconut Grove is 3.2 km from Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. It is within 12.9 km of Dolphin Harbor Miami Seaquarium and Jungle Island and 22.5 km from Miami Metro Zoo.

  1. 2889 McFarlane Road, 33
  2. $129.00 to $269.00 per night
Book online

Apartment Miami 2

Located in Miami, Apartment Miami 2 offers an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. The property is 600 metres from Cocowalk Shopping Center and 3.1 km from Miracle Mile Miami.Accommodation will provide you with a TV, air conditioning and cable channels. There is a full kitchen with a dishwasher and a microwave. Featuring a shower, private bathrooms also come with a bath.If you feel like visiting the surroundings, check out Vizcaya Museum (3.5 km) and Miami Museum of Science and Planetarium (3.6 km).Miami International Airport is located 8 km away.

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Shopping in Coconut Grove

CocoWalk

Residents of this one-time boho ghetto howled at the arrival of corporate America in the form of this multi-story, semi-outdoor mall. It’s everything you’d expect from a block whose residents include Gap, Victoria’s Secret and Starbucks. There’s also a 13-screen Paragon movie theater.

  1. 3015 Grand Avenue, at Virginia Street, Coconut Grove
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