September 2019: Funky and quaint Coconut Grove continues to offer plenty of exciting options when it comes to dining, drinking and getting outdoors. But in a neighborhood full of history, there’s still plenty of change. The Cinépolis theater and the rest of CocoWalk, while currently closed, are chugging steadily along toward a massive renovation and expansion set to debut spring 2020. And though the Coconut Grove Historic Bike Tour no longer runs, the new Grove Scenic Bike Tour has taken its place, packing in all the same history plus up to 15 tandem riders aboard a Cycle Party bike.
With a stunning waterfront setting, it’s no wonder the list of best things to do in Coconut Grove is heavy on the outdoor activities. The Bohemian neighborhood boasts acres of green space and miles of bike trails and running pathways as well as exercise equipment and basketball courts to lure people of all fitness levels and athletic disposition to go break a sweat. Though the area’s shaded shorelines and wide sidewalks also lend themselves to lovely Miami brunches and some of the most scenic waterfront dining in Miami.
Unlike much of Miami, Coconut Grove’s main shopping, dining and outdoor attractions are exceptionally walkable. But for those rare occasions when you need a lift, keep in mind free transit options like the trolley system and Freebee ride-hailing service. Whether it’s your first time visiting or you fancy yourself a local, you’ll find there’s so much to do in Coconut Grove if you just know where to look.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Coconut Grove
Best things to do in Coconut Grove
What is it? The grand dame of Miami real estate, this Italian Renaissance-style villa set on Biscayne Bay served as Chicagoan industrialist James Deering’s winter home from 1914 to 1916. Its perfectly manicured gardens are a photographer’s dream.
Why go? Visit for the wildly extravagant architecture, hundreds of European antiques and works of decorative art from the 16th and 17th centuries, and idyllic setting. Vizcaya often hosts free programming for families and festive events, like seersucker-themed parties and outdoor yoga.
What is it? Feed your soul, nourish your body and stock your fridge at Glaser Organic Farms’ weekly market. Aside from fresh produce and a vegan cold-food bar, the event brings out numerous local vendors from the health and wellness space.
Why go? A refreshing ice cream sandwich from Courtney’s Cookies, whose vegan, gluten-free creations are as close to healthy as a dessert can be; vegan mushroom tacos from Sugarcane Papi, a best-seller that always sells out quickly; and fresh Thai coconut water, plus other tasty items from market regulars.
What is it? A stunning, nine-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.
Why go? One of just five National Tropical Botanical Gardens in Florida and Hawaii, it’s certainly a place worth visiting if only to see its 80-year-old, 50-ton baobab tree from Tanzania.
What is it? Learn about the historic neighborhood while pedaling in tandem on this scenic two-hour tour aboard a 15-seater Cycle Party bicycle. Tours depart every Sunday at noon.
Why go? Your Cycle Party “pilot” comes equipped with historical facts, music and insightful knowledge of the area so you can explore the Grove’s architecture, foliage and fascinating Bohemian past while sipping beverages and jamming out. 3390 Mary St, Ste 130
What is it? A charming waterfront park with walking/cycling trails, a dog park, outdoor fitness equipment, volleyball courts and the very Instagrammable Miami-etched benches that face Biscayne Bay.
Why go? Dog- and people-watching is fun, and finding the motivation to exercise is easy when practically everyone around you is breaking a sweat. Afterward, cool down with a frozen lemonade from A.C.’s Icees truck, which has had a permanent spot in the parking lot for more than four decades.
What is it? A whimsical, ’80s-themed milkshake bar serving indulgent, pop-culture inspired creations and ice-cream floats, plus beer and wine. There’s a full living room setup in the back designed to look just like owner Matt Kuscher’s childhood home, complete with retro video game consoles.
Why go? Prepare for the ultimate sugar rush. You can’t go wrong with any of the made-to-order shakes, but we love the Golden Girl: a banana milkshake with cream cheese frosting, Golden Grahams cereal, vanilla wafer, toffee bits, a Twinkie and a homemade blondie with a cherry on top.
What is it? A stunning indoor/outdoor hotel featuring a rooftop pool and bar with all-white cabanas reminiscent of Saint-Tropez, plus a sprawling, Zen-like wellness facility, Jurlique Spa.
Why go? If you’re considering an overnight stay, claim a balcony room with an outdoor jacuzzi and chill jungle vibes. Staying a few hours? Book a spa treatment and finish off the day with a soak at the upstairs pool. Saturdays offer free rooftop yoga at 8am.
What is it? A superb independent shop stocked with bestsellers but also lots of small publishers. Its wooden-floored rooms include one devoted to antiquarian rarities and another to kids’ books, and its café serves up reliably delicious sandwiches, pastries, coffee and tea.
Why go? Rely on Books & Books’ knowledgeable human employees to help you select your next page-turner, rather than an algorithm. There are always thoughtfully selected staff picks on display, as well as regular discussion groups and author readings.
What is it? One of Miami’s longest-running parades, King mango parodies the year’s headlines each December, turning them into wacky and hilarious floats.
Why go? We get it, some years are tougher to relive than others. But the mixed bag of strange characters and mildly offensive humor proves that laughter cures all.
What is it? This is the Grove’s command central for the socio-anthropological sport of people-watching, thanks to the Green Street’s strategic placement on a bustling corner at Main Highway and Commodore Plaza.
Why go? To accompany this activity, management thoughtfully provides excellent salads, flatbreads, pastas and burgers. We’re partial to Sunday brunch, when you can indulge in massive, made-to-order omelettes and a damn near perfect Bloody Mary as the crowds roll by.
What is it? Built in the late 19th century, this distinctive home on the water’s edge served as the original residence of pioneer Ralph Munroe. It’s the oldest standing house in Miami-Dade County, having survived hurricanes and other natural disasters, and today operates as a historical site.
Why go? At just $2 to get in, the Barnacle offers hours of entertainment for very little. Explore the home, check out the old boathouse or pencil in one of its many public events, like outdoor movie screenings in the summer, the Mad Hatter Arts Festival in the fall and theater productions in the winter.
What is it? Right now, it’s a dusty construction zone, but it will soon become a larger, shinier, multistory, semi-outdoor mall designed to match the luxe new condos rising on the waterfront.
Why go? Backed by some of the city’s hottest chefs, Sushi Garage, Botanico Gin & Cookhouse, Mister 01 and Los Generales Mezcal & Grill are among the new restaurant concepts slated to open by spring 2020.
What is it? A super-popular hang out on the water suitable for rowdy college students and families alike. Thatch-roofed, open-walled miniature tiki huts surround a stage from which reggae and calypso bands do their damnedest to persuade the diners and drinkers to dance.
Why go? The killer happy hour and even better marina views. Fridays after work, the infamous PK3 cocktail will loosen you right up. For hanging out on a weekend, a basket of fried seafood and pitcher of beer will do just fine.
What is it? One of the Grove’s numerous waterfront greenspaces, Peacock is smaller than the others but well equipped, boasting basketball courts, a playground and a small pier that overlooks Biscayne Bay.
Why go? For the free community vinyasa yoga classes every Tuesday and Thursday night at 6pm. Glass & Vine also offers a bucolic indoor/outdoor dining experience within the park, helmed by Chopped alum chef Giorgio Rapicavoli.
What is it? Launched in 1963 by local residents, this three-day festival over Presidents’ Day Weekend brims with music, food and art.
Why go? Peep work from over 260 artists while you stuff your face with local bites.
What is it? The former site of the Dinner Key Auditorium, this park opened in 2015 features seven acres of turf, concrete pathways, palm trees and boat access.
Why go? With its abstract seating and open space, Regatta Park is ideal for picnics, sports (pick-up soccer and ultimate frisbee games are frequent here) and general outdoor pursuits.