Whether you’re heading to Miami for the first time or the hundredth, it’s likely that you’ve missed a few hidden gems during your trips. While the tourist spots are all a must-see, we all need a break from the crowds every now and again.
Here are the hottest hidden gems in Miami for those trying to avoid tourists.
Parks and Nature
The Fruit and Spice Park
This 37-acre park is labeled a “subtropical paradise” on its website and holds more than 500 types of exotic fruits, herbs, spices, and nuts that can be found all over the world. While they hold several festivals and events throughout the year, it’s still considered a hidden gem among Floridians.
Crandon Park Gardens
As former zoo that was once abandoned, Crandon Park Gardens is now a must-see attraction that few know about in Miami. After going out of business, the zoo left behind most of its attractions, including animal enclosures that would now be considered inhumane and the remnants of a once popular railroad ride. Now, the zoo has been repurposed as a park and is home to a ton of Miami’s natural wildlife.
Simpson Park Hammock Pavilion
Originating in 1913, this park started as a small preservation of the native hardwood hammock and has since grown to eight acres. Hammock is the kind of tree that covered Florida thousands of years ago, and this is the only area in Miami where it remains untouched. Designed by architect Chad Oppenheim, the structure symbolizes the relationship between nature and architecture as it allows the natural trees and plants to intertwine all throughout the structure.
Manatee Bend Park
If you’re looking to take in some of the local wildlife, Little River Park (which has been nicknamed Manatee Bend Park) is a must-see. This waterfront area offers great scenery and a spot to watch the manatees. Close to several restaurants, this park accommodates those looking to take a short walk or those who are looking for a quiet spot to read a book.
Restaurants and Bars
Hidden in the back of a gas station convenience store, El Carajo is a quaint Spanish restaurant few people know about. Known for its homemade style meals, El Carajo also has one of the widest varieties of wines in all of Florida. As a successful family business, El Carajo has a separate cafe and bakery serving internationally-inspired coffee and desserts for those on the go. It’s abnormal location and speakeasy-like decor make this restaurant a one-of-a-kind hot spot for the few locals that know about it.
Located in the Alton Road stripmall in Miami Beach, the Drunken Dragon is an Asian-inspired restaurant that offers guests Korean barbeque as well as tiki-themed cocktails. The exterior is discrete with tinted windows and nothing but a neon side reading “market.” When entering the building, guests are greeted by a dim sum cart hostess stand and Japanese bondage themed photographs. Its do-it-yourself tableside grilling option makes this a one-of-a-kind spot, if you manage to find it that is. If you’re not in the mood to cook your own meal, the Drunken Dragon also offers several menu items that are prepared by a chef.
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila
If you’re in the mood for some Mexican cuisine, the Bodega Taqueria y Tequila is the place to be. Designed to look like a popular street food truck, only the locals know that the speakeasy located in the back is considered to be one of Miami’s hottest lounges. After experiencing the area’s best tacos, guests can slip through a hidden door that will lead them to an area of couches and a long bar that often hosts local musicians and DJs. This late-night spot might be hard to find, but once you’re in, you’ll be expected to stay and party until sunrise.
Take a break from the beaches and the poolside cocktails to relax in a different way with some goat yoga. A trend that was started in Oregon, it combines the breathing techniques of yoga with the company of a dozen or so Nigerian dwarf goats who provide a sort of animal therapy for those flexing on their mats. The goats are there to snuggle with, give you hugs, or simply to inspire some laughter while you get in your daily exercise. Occasionally, the goats will nuzzle guests and offer even the most experienced yoga experts a mental break from the hustle and bustle of Miami.
While Florida’s weather can be unpredictable at times, there’s no amount of rain that can prevent you from playing a few rounds of paintball. Splat Paintball Park is one of the highest rated paintball arenas in South Florida, offering two acres of dry turf to play on and a professional layout. It’s the perfect way to get yourself away from the tourist crowds and have some fun!
What’s so great about Miami being such a popular city is that there is no limit to the things you can find to keep busy. This includes the city’s dozens of quality spas. You can take the day to get a massage, a laser facial, a pedicure, or even fit in a laser hair removal appointment.
All of these treatments take less than an hour and will have you feeling fresh and renewed to take on the rest of the day. If you plan to take on a laser treatment, whether it be hair removal, a facial, or any of the numerous other possibilities, there’s no need to worry about discomfort or excessive redness. Most professional laser clinics perform these treatments using a dynamic cooling device, which numbs and cools the skin to reduce pain or swelling. Simply have your procedure done and get on with your day!