A development wave is redrawing the face of Coral Gables
Coral Gables is the City Beautiful. And the city does not want you to forget this fact.
Also it doesn’t want you to even think about moving here and painting your house some insane color to express yourself.
But let’s be real. You are unlikely to ever be able to purchase one of the lovely Mediterranean-style homes in the Gables, so like the rest of us, you will have to settle for just visiting.
Which is OK! There are many reasons to visit this city. Here are a few of them.
Breathe in nature at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
There’s a chocolate festival. An orchid festival. A mango festival (enter at your own peril). There are workshops and a lovely butterfly garden. But mostly, there are plants and trees. Eighty-three acres of plants and trees at this garden, from habitats all over the world, from the Spiny Forest of Madagascar to the Rainforest to the Tropical Fruit Pavilion. It’s a reminder of how nice Miami used to be before we all got here.
Go full “Downton Abbey” at The Biltmore
Shed your flip flops, T shirt and bike shorts to enter a metaphorical time machine and find yourself part of a more genteel era at afternoon tea in the hotel lobby. There are seatings at 2, 2:30 and 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, and admission is $45. Scones 4 life. Reservations at biltmorehotel.com.
Dine at Cafe Abbracci
There are no windows, but there’s plenty of history at this landmark Italian restaurant, which has been home to big shots and heavy hitters for 30 years. Pretend you’re one, too.
Stuff your face at Eating House
If you prefer your dining experiences to be slightly more casual, head to Eating House and dive face first into a bowl of Giorgio Rapicavoli awesomeness. If you pass on the cauliflower elote or the Dirt Cup dessert, you will regret it forever.
See your favorite author at Books & Books
There are readings practically every night at Miami’s favorite independent book store, plus a cafe, live music and Wine Down Wednesdays (when bottles of wine are 50 percent off). But mostly there are books and a knowledgable staff to help you find your next read.
Watch a late-night movie at Gables Art Cinema
Every Saturday, the little art cinema that could shows a late-night movie as part of its After Hours program. Could be a cult classic or maybe a foreign favorite. An old, familiar summer blockbuster might even pop up. The films are shown on 35mm, and tickets include popcorn and a happy hour.
Drink a pint on St. Patrick’s Day at JohnMartin’s Irish Pub
Celebrate Oktoberfest at Fritz & Franz Bierhaus
Speaking of beer, if you want to get your Oktoberfest on, there’s no better place than this beer garden. The party lasts for days. Remember Uber is your friend.
Look up at Giralda Plaza
Ever since the Umbrella Sky went away, Coral Gables has worked to keep an installation overhead at the pedestrian plaza. Right now it’s Jessy Nite’s Sun Stories. Note: You are required to post Instragram photos if you’re going to walk down this street.
Take a swim in Venetian Pool
Built in 1923 from a coral rock quarry, the 820,000 gallon pool is filled with spring water from an underground aquifer, with towers, waterfalls and a couple of grottos so you can feel like the mermaid or merman you are.
Go see a show
Look at rich people’s houses and wish you lived in them
You can’t afford this house. May as well drive around and look at all the places you’ll never live. Be sure to keep Waze on; you’ll never get out of here if you go old-school and try to rely on the street signs, which are at a worm’s eye level.