Best Things To Do Near Miami's Airport

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By: Shayne Benowitz

There’s more to Miami’s airport area than flying in and out of MIA. While the hub is considered the gateway to Latin America, it’s also the gateway to Miami and there are plenty of things to do nearby. Whether it’s a round of golf, discovering the airport’s impressive art collection or an aviation geek’s dream restaurant, read on for our insider guide to Miami’s airport area.

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Airport Art

Welcome to Miami, Bienvenido a Miami—these are signs you expect to see upon arrival at Miami International Airport. What you might not expect is the airport’s museum-quality public art, site-specific installations and curated galleries. Think, sculptures of marine life swimming in snowflake-like constellations by Donald Lipski and terrazzo floors awash in mother of pearl and cast bronze sea creatures spanning a half-mile stroll through the terminal by Michele Oka Doner. Upon your arrival or departure, take your time to look around and soak up all the art before your eyes.

    Miami International Airport Hotel

    Live out your Tom Hanks Terminal dreams inside a hotel that’s actually located inside the airport. If you’ve missed a connection or have a particularly long layover, the 252-room Miami International Airport Hotel located in the Central Terminal’s Concourse E provides a comfortable place to stay with plenty of Art Deco style. With direct access to airline ticket counters, departure concourses, public transportation and the rental car center, you can easily make this your headquarters for a brief and convenient stay in Miami. And their Top of the Port restaurant offers panoramic views of the runways, a bonus for aviation geeks.

      Versailles

      Little Havana is located just southeast of the airport area and it’s home to some of the best Cuban food in town. Established in 1971, Versailles has long been a meeting place for Miami’s Cuban diaspora who come together here over ropa vieja (stewed beef), black beans, rice and sweet plantains. Despite the mirrors etched in baroque patterns lining the wall and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, the place has a casual diner vibe and is welcoming to all. This is a prime place to try a famed Cuban sandwich made with ham, pork, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles, toasted to perfection on Cuban bread, as well as strong, sweet Cuban cafecito.

        International Links at Melreese Country Club

        Designed by Charles M. Mahannah, Jr., the 18-hole, par-71 golf course at the International Links at Melreese Country Club dates back to 1960. The 135-acre course underwent a $3.9 million renovation in 1997 to include a 12-acre driving range and it’s home to the University of Miami’s women’s golf team, as well as Barry University and Johnson & Wales University’s men’s teams. The challenging course consists of five lakes, nine waste bunkers, a cypress wetland and 97 sand bunkers. It’s a wonderful way to spend a day in the great outdoors in the airport area.

          Grapeland Water Park

          Located near the grounds of the International Links Melreese Country Club, Grapeland Water Park is a fun-filled splash park with features designed by Britto, Miami’s own pop art impresario. It’s a family-friendly destination designed for kids of all ages. Come play on shipwreck-themed waterslides, a shallow water play area with water canons and Buccanneer Falls where a wave of water is unleashed at regularly scheduled intervals. There’s also a lagoon-style swimming pool and lazy river.

            94th Aero Squadron

            Geek out over lunch at the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant, overlooking the runway of the Miami International Airport. It’s the second oldest currently active military fighter squadron in the United States. The restaurant at this historic site will provide you with headphones so you can listen to air traffic control while you dine. Choose from a wide range of menu options including spicy shrimp Guadalajara to hanger steak. It’s the ultimate experience for aviation geeks.

              More About The Airport And Nearby Area

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