Settled by hardy Northerners in 1873, Coconut Grove was built for the most part by West Indian craftsmen brought in from the Bahamas. Those Bahamian roots are still evident in the many Caribbean-style houses, tropical landscaping and street names found in the neighborhood. And each June, the Miami-Bahamas Goombay Festival, a rollicking carnival-like street party, honors that history.
Another culturally diverse neighborhood, Coconut Grove like South Beach has undergone a renaissance in recent years and is jam-packed with tourists and locals who come to marvel at its quaint, tropical beauty and artistic ambiance. More than 75 restaurants and cafes line the streets -- along with art galleries, antique shops, fashion boutiques, bookstores and ice-cream parlors.
Tucked behind coral rock walls are two of the more unique attractions in the neighborhood -- Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a grand 70-room mansion, and The Barnacle, the historic home of Miami pioneer Ralph Munroe. Soon, a new 250-room Ritz Carlton will open in Coconut Grove. Taste of the Grove is a must for food and Jazz lovers.
The Grove” has been dubbed “the village with a rhythm all its own.” A rhythm that is played out in tree-lined streets, scores of shops, restaurants and night-spots and a throbbing, upbeat street life that vibrates with a character all its own.
Coconut Grove may have changed since its days as a bohemian village populated by artists and radicals, but its zany charm and energy are as potent as ever. Located on Biscayne Bay just ten minutes south of Downtown Miami, The Grove is unlike any other neighborhood in Greater Miami and the Beaches.
Coconut Grove’s waterfront parks offer the best vantage points for observing manatees, wildlife and the sailboats in Biscayne Bay.
Dinner Key, originally the base for Pan American World Airways’ seaplane flights from Greater Miami in the 1930s, now houses Miami City Hall, which was converted from the original hangar.
Earlier Grove history is evident at The Barnacle, the 110-year old home of pioneer Commodore Ralph Munroe.
The gründest home of all is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.
Festivals and street fairs such as the extraordinary Coconut Grove Arts Festival; the Coconut Grove Food and Music Festival (formerly Taste of the Grove); the Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival and the Banyan Arts Festival, add to Coconut Grove’s excitement.
There’s nothing dull about shopping in Coconut Grove: from motor-bikes to fine jewelry, antique books to gourmet foods, cutting-edge style to classic clothes — the specialty stores on the downtown streets offer an exhilarating range of merchandise. In both CocoWalk’s open-air enclave and the Streets of Mayfair strolling zone, shopping is part of the total dining and entertainment experience. Look for stores featuring some of the best known names in retailing, and individually owned shops that epitomize sophistication and cool. And when the joys of shopping fade, you can head for one of the bars or restaurants and round it all off with a movie.
Coconut Grove’s variety and originality is reflected in the dining choices offered by its fine restaurants, themed eateries, sports bars and casual outdoor cafes. On the menu find French, Italian or Spanish-inspired cuisine; Mexican and American dishes and seafood. In the Grove eating out is always in good taste.
Night life revolves around fun and funky neighborhood bars livened up with jazz, salsa and reggae. Nocturnal pursuits focus on the Grove’s favorite pastime of seeing and being seen.