COCONUT GROVE WALK

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We invite you to discover the magic of Coconut Grove - Miami’s Village! A place to experience exquisite dining and shopping along with world-class hotels. Home to the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse, a South Florida landmark for more than 75 years and an acclaimed home for live theater since 1956.

Coconut Grove offers a cosmopolitan village setting where you can indulge with a visit to distinguished art galleries and cutting edge bars and nightclubs.

A recent attraction to our walk is the new Coconut Grove Peacock Tour. Fashioned after the Cows in Chicago, the Cincinnati Pig Gig, The Flamingos of Miami Beach and the Roosters of Little Havana, Coconut Grove will host a herd of beautiful peafowl this Spring 2010. The Coconut Grove Peacock Tour has been created by long-time resident Heather Bettner to develop and bring a unique interactive public art exhibition to Coconut Grove. Larger than life fiberglass peacocks decorated by Coconut Grove Artists, Sponsored by businesses and individuals and benefiting local charities and non-profit organizations will be on display throughout the Coconut Grove village and main thorough fares starting March 2010 for six months, with a charity auction and black tie Peacock Ball held in September 2010.

Coconut Grove is proud to host many outstanding events throughout the year such as the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, the No. 1 arts festival in the Nation. The King Mango Strut Parade, a fun and light hearted parade filled with satirical interpretations of local public figures. The Commodore Block Party; what could be better than fine dining and beautiful art and music under a cover of stars. These are but a few of the many year round events held in the village.

Coconut Grove Arts Festival
King Mango Strut

We shall start our tour at the Miami City Hall beside Dinner Key Marina. See below for instructions on how to get there.

Miami City Hall. Miami's City Hall started out as Pan American's Seaplane Terminal. The terminus, once the largest and most modern marine air facility in the world when it was built in the early 1930's, has been Miami's City Hall since 1954. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Having undergone extensive restorations, various elements of the interior have regained their original look such as the ceiling, the wall murals and the beams. The ceiling consists of panels depicting the signs of the Zodiac painted in a sleek modern style. The beams holding up the ceiling are decorated with stylized "wings" and bands in the Pan American colors. Covered with paint during the 1950's, the murals near the ceiling depict the history of flight, from Leonardo Da Vinci's designs to the modern Clipper planes flown by Pan American.

Don't be put off by the somewhat formidable security guard at the entrance. It is a public building and well worth visiting inside. Take special note of the wonderful photo collection on the ground and first floors depicting the history of PanAm.

Dinner Key served as a base for Pan American World Airways' flying boats during the 1930s and 1940s. It was one of the world's largest airports and the main hub for air traffic between North and South America. After the technological advances of World War II made seaplanes largely obsolete, Pan Am transferred its operations to Miami International Airport.

One of Pan Am's hangars was used for many years as an exhibition hall and auditorium, the Dinner Key Auditorium. This was the site of the incident in 1969 in which Jim Morrison of the Doors was arrested for exposing himself to the audience.

Today, Dinner Key is used primarily as a marina and is the largest in Florida.

Miami City Hall
Dinner Key

From the City Hall walk north west on Pan American Drive towards the tall buildings on Bayshore Drive. Just to your right is the Grand Bay Hotel. Turn left on Bayshore Drive and pass the Coconut Grove Bank on your right at the corner of 27th. Avenue. On your left is Myres Bayside Park and beyond that part of the Dinner Key Yacht Basin.

Turn right at Mary Street. Note the whimsical statue on your right in the gardens of the condominium. This short block brings to the corner of Mayfair in the Grove. 20 years ago the semi-circular window frame was the entrance to one of Miami's finest up-market shopping malls. The mall fell on hard times and has been converted back and forth between offices and retail businesses. Regrettably it's not a shadow of it's former glorious self except for the exotic Mayfair Hotel and Spa. On the corner of Virginia Avenue, look up to see the unusual metalic screens covering the top two floors and hiding the intimate balconies of this exotic property. Be sure to pop into the lobby to get an idea of how Mayfair looked in its glory days. The entrance is on Florida Avenue, No. 3000.

Right next door is what Mayfair had always hoped to be, the lively and eclectic CocoWalk.

Approach to Mayfair
Mayfair in the Grove

Cocowalk is an open-air shopping mall housing 38 shops, including a 16-screen movie theatre, many restaurants and upscale shopping. Very popular with locals, outdoor cafes grace every level. The spacious and welcoming brick-paved courtyard highlighted with Victorian-style lamps, plays host to live music every weekend evening. Try some of the best gelato you have ever tasted at Coco Gelato on the patio.

Turn right when you exit Cocowalk and continue down Grand Avenue past Cheesecake Factory and the Post Office on your right.

Turn left at the post office onto tree-lined Commodore Plaza.

Look to the right on this street for Waldo's, a sports bar set up like a traditional English pub. On the left is a 3-story building that looks as if it were blown here by Katrina from the French Quarter in New Orleans. It contains Christabelle's Quarter, an exotic cajun and creole restaurant and jazz club. There's lots of outdoor eating and drinking along this lively, colourful street.

Interior of CocoWalk
Christabelle's Quarter, Commodore Plaza

At the end of the block, turn right at Main Highway and wander past Sr. Frog's to the shuttered Coconut Grove Playhouse. Constructed as a movie house in 1926, the historic Playhouse includes two stages, the 1700-seat proscenium Mainstage Theater and the intimate 100-seat Encore Room Theater. It opened on January 3, 1956 with the US premiere of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, starring Bert Lahr and Tom Ewell. In 1982, actor-director José Ferrer was named Artistic Director, and under his supervision the Playhouse gained a reputation as one of the nation's leading theatres. Among the productions that premiered here prior to a Broadway opening are Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys, starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, and Urban Cowboy. Sherry Glaser’s Family Secrets moved to off-Broadway and became its longest running one-woman show. The Playhouse presented the world premiere of Fame: The Musical, which went on to great success in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and London’s West End, and mounted a revival of Death of a Salesman, starring Hal Holbrook and Elizabeth Franz, prior to a national tour. Financial difficulties forced the Playhouse to suspend its 2007 season indefinitely, and its future is bleak.

On the other side of the road look at the giant ficus trees sprawling over the limestone wall. Ficus trees, collectively known as figs, are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The trees grow into huge monsters, but regrettably, as the roots tend to stay near the surface, they are prone to tumbling over during hurricanes.

Next on our list is a visit to the venerable Barnacle. You can read all about The Barnacle here. Careful, The Barnacle is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and holidays.

Coconut Grove Playhouse
Ficus Trees

Return back along Main Highway past sidewalk cafes and unusual boutiques. The small church to your right was the original location of St. Stephan's Episcopal Church. Amidst the mosquitoes and swamp-lands of 1886, Miss Flora McFarlane came to Coconut Grove from London and is credited with the establishment of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church. In 1906, she invited the local Episcopal women to an organizational meeting and St. Stephen's Church was established as a mission in 1910. In 2009 the original church was torn down in a controversial act, and a replica has replaced it. At the Main Highway/Grand Avenue junction, turn right on McFarlane Road heading towards the Bay.

Dwarfed by the elegant Sonesta Hotel is the Coconut Grove Public Library. In 1995 the Coconut Grove Branch Library celebrated 100 years of service. The Library, which overlooks Biscayne Bay, includes a wing built as a replica of the original 1901 structure. Appropriate for this seaside community, the Branch is home to a unique Sea Life collection honoring the memory of Midshipman, Julian Bishop, U.S. Naval Academy 1912.

The grounds of the Coconut Grove Branch Library contain the oldest marked grave in the county. It belongs to Eva Munroe, the first wife of Commodore Munroe of The Barnacle. She died in 1882 at their camp along The Miami River.

Opposite the library is a red-roofed building which is the recreation centre for Peacock Park. Peacock Park was where the first hotel on the south Florida mainland was located. Called the Bay View Inn (later known as the Peacock Inn), it was built in 1882, on the site of the present-day park, by English immigrants Isabella and Charles Peacock, who had been the owner of a wholesale meat business in London.

Walk through the park to enjoy the view of Biscyane Bay and the Dinner Key yacht basin.

Coconut Grove Public Library
Peacock Park

Half a block to your left on Bayside Drive is the infamous Mutiny Hotel. This was the preferred hotel of Miami's "Cocaine Cowboys" of the early 80's. Rooms were furnished in exotic themes and cocaine was the magic word there. Everyone was selling it or snorting it. Of renown were its infamous sex parties, which sometimes lasted for months at a time. A school superintendent used to have wild weekend cocaine parties for years, until he got busted. Now all is back down to earth, and it is just another luxury hotel.

Opposite in Myres Bayside Park is a metal yellow giraffe and red horse. An example of Miami's Art in Public Places, the giraffe sculpture is one of three pieces of art created by sculptor Frederick Prescott donated to place in the City’s parks. Mr. Prescott dedicates himself to creating monumental kinetic sculptures created specifically to live outside and move naturally in the wind.

Continue strolling through the park beside Dinner Key until you arrive back at Miami City Hall.

A good lunch (or dinner) suggestion is Monty's' in the Grove. It's not gourmet, but it's a fun place to get some typical American dishes in an attractive location facing the bay and yacht club. It is locally popular for it's happy hour. Just a few blocks north of Miami City Hall at 2550 Bayshore Drive.

Dinner Key Yacht Basin
Giraffe and Horse

Bus/Metrorail services from Miami Beach
C (103) From 41st. Street, Miami Beach via Collins and Washington Avenue to Miami Downtown Government Center. Every 20 mins.
S 119 From Sunny Isles Beach, North and South Beach via Collins Ave to Miami Downtown Government Center. Every 15 mins. Fare is US$ 2.25 each way.

At Miami Downtown Government Center ascend to the Metrorail station.
Take the southbound train. Coconut Grove Station is the third stop. Fare is US$ 2.25 each way.
Descend to street level and take the Coconut Grove Circulator, No. 249. Runs every 15 minutes. US$ 0.25 fare. Alight at the corner of Bayshore Drive and Pan American Drive. You will see the City Hall at the end of Pan American Drive. Total fare from Miami Beach to Coconut Grove will be US$ 4.75 each way.

If you plan on travelling a lot by local public transportation you may find it easier and more economic to purchase a US$ 5.65 single-day pass or a US$ 29.25 seven-day transit pass (called EASY Ticket).

Driving Directions
From the North
Take I-95 South to the end, which becomes US 1. Continue South and turn left at SW 27th Avenue. Cross Bayshore Drive, at which point the street becomes Pan American Drive. Continue around the Convention Centre and find somewhere to park as close to City Hall as possible.

From the South
Take US 1 North to Grand Avenue. Turn right at Grand Avenue and continue to the end. Bear right into Mary Street for a short half block to Bayshore Drive. Turn left on Bayshore Drive and continue to the traffic light. Turn right on Pan American Drive. Continue around the Convention Centre and find somewhere to park as close to City Hall as possible.