By: Kara Franker
Coral Gables is brimming with art, culture and history.
Head to historic Coral Gables for a colorful arts and culture scene, beautiful architecture, and festivals for all ages. Known as “Our City Beautiful,” Coral Gables features family-friendly vibes, a great food scene and opportunities for local boutique shopping. Adding to its allure, the neighborhood is also home to a vibrant arts and cultural scene and offers today’s visitors and locals a peek into Miami’s stunning architectural past. Stroll down charming café-lined boulevards shaded by towering Banyan trees and you’ll notice a variety of galleries, theaters, historical sites, gardens and more.
Catch a Show
Coral Gables is known for its entertainment and theater community. Located in the heart of Miracle Mile, you can’t miss the historic Actor’s Playhouse at Miracle Theatre which puts on both Broadway showstoppers and local productions for both adults and children. Past performances have included classics like West Side Story, The Toxic Avenger, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, In the Heights and more.
Inside the luxurious Biltmore Hotel, you’ll find a small local theater called GableStage, which was originally founded in 1979 as Florida Shakespeare Theatre. Bringing together international talent and the best of local actors, directors and writers produce Broadway-style shows. This award-winning theater produces everything from classical and contemporary hits, to shows written by up-and-coming South Florida playwrights.
The Coral Gables Art Cinema is an art house theater that plays top independent, foreign and documentary films like “Summer Wars,” “Paprika,” “Dazed and Confused” and “Lost in Translation.” Movies play almost daily, and interested visitors can visit the location’s website for movie dates and times.
Explore Local Art
Coral Gables is also home to a range of boutique art galleries that house everything from contemporary fine art, to sculptural works, paintings and more. While these galleries are open year-round, on the first Friday of every month art lovers can head to Coral Gables Gallery Night, where dozens of curated galleries open their doors along Ponce de Leon Boulevard. Hosted by Virginia Miller and the Coral Gables Gallery Association, the event runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and most galleries typically serve complimentary wine and refreshments for pedestrians wandering in and out of their shops. When it’s over, Coral Gables charming bar and restaurant scene is still open and vibrant, so pop into one of its intimate bars for another glass of wine or late-night bites and cocktails.
Located on Aragon Avenue not far from Miracle Mile, Coral Gables Art Museum takes visitors on a journey through the neighborhood's architectural landscape. Housed in a historic, coral stone building, this museum features architecture, urban design and planning, all with an element of sustainability, and even hosts original exhibits, monthly bike rides and Saturday morning walking tours.
While it isn’t an official art gallery, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is home to prized collections of exotic plants, vibrant flowers and a handful of outdoor art installations situated throughout the lush property. Dale Chihuly and Roy Lichenstein have both had longstanding exhibits there, while butterfly gardens, art and photography classes and of course, those stunning views, make this garden a cultural institution in Miami.
Attend a Festival
With its charming ambiance, Coral Gables is the perfect neighborhood to host local festivals. One of the most popular annual summer festivals is the International Mango Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Each spring, don’t miss Carnival on The Mile, where Miracle Mile turns into a global stage for musical performances of Latin jazz, funk and Caribbean rhythms. A non-stop party, this event is free and open to the public, and includes area restaurants, which line up along Miracle Mile to serve delicious food and drinks to hungry patrons of all ages.
From January through the end of March, Coral Gables hosts a Saturday morning farmers market, where local growers sell everything from bananas, chilies, citrus, spices, herbs and honey, to a wide variety of plants and trees. It takes place in front of Coral Gables City Hall, at the intersection of LeJeune Road and Biltmore Way.
Learn About Local History
As a historic community in South Florida, Coral Gables gives visitors and locals alike a peek into a part of Miami’s past. There are eleven locations that have earned recognition on the National Register of Historic Places. These include:
- Coral Gables City Hall
- Coral Gables Congregational Church
- Coral Gables Elementary
- The Merrick House
- the Old Police and Fire Station
- Coco Plum Woman’s Club
- Coral Gables Woman’s Club
- Douglas Entrance
- MacFarlane Homestead Historic District
- Venetian Pool
- The Biltmore Hotel
There’s surely more arts and culture in beautiful Coral Gables than you can soak up in one trip. So you’ll just have to save some for your next visit.
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