By Brian Chapman
After moving around as an Army brat and growing up all over the world, I finally found a place to settle down: the Coconut Grove area of Miami.
Like the rest of Miami, Coconut Grove is blessed with warm weather and tropical sunshine year ’round. However, unlike the hustle and bustle of Miami, Coconut Grove is a quaint historic section of south Miami that is known for luxurious living, small town boutiques, and unparalleled dining.
I love driving home through the canopies of enormous banyan trees, and seeing the same indoor plants from Virginia growing naturally all around me. If our yellow lab, Sunshine, lets us leave the dog park, my girlfriend and I walk into the very pet friendly heart of the Grove regularly for drinks and dinner. While enjoying cool breezes at sidewalk tables, it’s easy to look around and see why Miami vacations are so popular — incredible sunshine, tropical environment, luxurious cars, and exotic people.
Cocowalk, in the heart of the grove, makes it easy to find familiar stores and restaurants like Cheesecake Factory and Gap. You’ll also find one-of-a-kind stores and restaurants like Jaguar’s Ceviche Bar and Ludo’s Italian Restaurante. If you’re not local, Coconut Grove has some of the best Miami hotels, such as The Ritz-Carlton, Mayfair, and Grove Isle. All of which have the best restaurants in South Florida and a full spa for a little bit of pampering before and/or after dinner.
Coconut Grove’s central location and beautiful views of Biscayne Bay offer the perfect location for a variety of city events. Each year, my girlfriend and I join thousands of tourists and locals at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. We also enjoy the impressive fireworks displays on the 4th of July and New Years Eve. In addition, Coconut Grove shuts down the streets for one of the largest Halloween parties with some of the wildest costumes ever seen on Halloween! Less traditionally, Coconut Grove hosts the annual Coconut Grove Bed Races and the King Mango Strut
each winter! Tracy and I also look forward to more subtle evenings out like going to see Shakespeare in the Park at Peacock Park or listen to the music at the Barnacle. Before the Sandbar, Fat Tuesday, and Crazy Pianos get jumping for the late night entertainment, be sure to check out the Vizcaya mansion or the Fairchild Botanic Garden.
With so much to see and do, and so many restaurants and shops, Coconut Grove is a great part of any Miami vacation.
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A Coast Guard Lieutenant and Virginia Tech Hokie living amongst the “Canes” in southern Florida, Brian’s blog was inspired and reviewed by his “better half” and approved for publication by the dog.