MIAMI RIVERWALK AND BAYFRONT PARK

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SCENIC EXTENSION: Miami Riverwalk and Bayfront Park.
After visiting the Olympia Theatre, turn right (east) on exiting the theatre and continue on Flagler Street towards Biscayne Bay.

Cross over Biscayne Boulevard. Notice the colourful sidewalk designed by famed Brazilian landscape artist Burle Marx, installed posthumously.

Once over the street, head towards the bay for a delightful stroll along Miami's Bayfront Park.

Click here for an interesting history of this fascinating plot of bay-side land, miraculously saved from the developers. Look for the art in public places, namely Isamu Noguchi's Slide Mantra, the Challenger Monument, the Claude Pepper fountain, the Liberty Column and the Tina Hills Playground.

Right next to the park is the wonderful Bayside Marketplace. This vibrant marketplace consists of exotic restaurants including Hard Rock Cafe, daily live entertainment, national brand name stores such as Brookstone, Disney Store, Victoria's Secret, Gap, Guess, etc. The marina is the base for the Island Queen Millionaire's Row Biscayne Bay cruises, amazing Thriller Speed Boats, El Loro Pirate Ship and the Heritage of Miami, a two mast topsail passenger schooner. Bayside's wealth of activity offers something for everyone.

Across from Bayside Marketplace is the American Airlines Arena, Miami's premier venue for rock concerts and home of the Miami Heat basketball team, Bongo's Cuban Cafe, a trendy nightspot owned by Gloria and Emilio Estefan and the Freedom Tower. The 17-story structure was modeled after the 16th-century Giralda Bell Tower in Seville, Spain., once a newspaper office, then a transit point for Cuban refugees and now perilously located in a burgeoning area of monstrous condominiums. .

Relaxing in Bayfront Park
Freedom Tower and Biscayne Boulevard
Rock Garden in Bayfront Park
Bayside Marketplace

Return to the fountain. At the fountain continue in a southerly direction towards the impressive Intercontinental Hotel and the Miami Riverwalk. Pop in to view the stunning atrium lobby.

Continue along the Riverwalk with Biscayne Bay and the mouth of the Miami River to your left. You may be fortunate to behold one of the little coastal steamers entering the river. Miami is the main port for Caribbean commerce with the United States.

The Riverwalk curves to the right as you arrive at the Miami River proper, beside the soaring 45-story One Miami Condominium. Across the river is Brickell Key, crowded with modern condominiums and the elegant Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Be sure to note the public artwork beside the path, especially along the retaining wall of One Miami.

Public Art on Riverwalk
Public Art on Riverwalk

Just across the river from the Miami Riverwalk is the immense Icon Brickell Complex. Below it, between the buildings and the river is a small grassy meadow. This is the site of the strange Miami Circle at Brickell Point. It is the only known evidence of a prehistoric permanent structure cut into the bedrock in the United States, and considerably predates other known permanent settlements on the East Coast. It is believed to have been the location of a structure built by the native American Tequesta Tribe. Discovered in 1998, the site is believed to be somewhere between 1700 and 2000 years old. Administered by the HistoryMiami museum, the circle itself remains buried to protect it. Plans are for a small site museum, an audio tour and several panels describing the arquelogical site.

Next on your right is the imposing Epic Miami Hotel and Residences and behind it, the Southeast Financial Centre, the tallest office building in Florida. In front of you is the Brickell Avenue Drawbridge. The Riverwalk passes underneath the Brickell Avenue Bridge, a bascule bridge originally built in 1915.

Epic Hotel and Southeast Financial Centre
Riverwalk east of Brickell Bridge

Once past the bridge, the Hyatt Regency Hotel, James L. Knight Conference Center and River Park Hotel are on your right.

Just past this you arrive at diminutive Fort Dallas Park, site of the original 1836 U.S. military post and cantonment during the Seminole Wars. This is a good time for rest and refreshment at Bijan's on the River Restaurant. Beside the restaurant is the Flagler Palm Cottage, an 1897 frame vernacular residence, It was moved from its original site in 1980 and is the last known structure in Miami directly associated with Henry Flagler and the early years of the city's development. Oldest known residence in downtown Miami.

Riverwalk west of Brickell Bridge
Bijan's Restaurant at Fort Dallas Park

Leave the Miami Riverwalk and get back onto the street and turn right (east) on SE 4th. Street. Look for the big "Red M" at the Riverwalk Metromover station. Designed as an entranceway to the station, "Red M" creates an intimate scale within the station's lofty eight story structure. The bright red color adds interest and excitement to the site.

Turn left (north) on SE 1st. Ave. On to your right is one of Miami's tallest buildings, the 47-story Bank of America Tower, with a Metromover station clinging to the side, the first elevated metro station in the world built into an existing building. The tower's three tiers allow it to have multiple color schemes in tribute to certain holidays and seasons.

On the corner of SE 1st. Street our Miami Riverwalk ends and you will rejoin the route of the Downtown Historical walking tour.

Flagler Palm Cottage
Bank of America Tower

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