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By: Matthew Meltzer

What destination wouldn’t love discovering unused land right under its nose or, in Greater Miami’s case, right under its Metrorail tracks? Locals and visitors alike: Meet The Underline, a new linear park that offers opportunities for exercise, art appreciation, cultural performances and relaxation among lush plantings stretching from Downtown Miami to Kendall.

One Woman’s Vision

The Underline is not a massive, city-planned project, but rather the dream of one woman who saw great potential in the areas beneath Miami’s Metrorail tracks. When Meg Daly broke both her arms in 2013 and couldn’t drive, she began taking the train to physical therapy appointments, walking the last stretch of her trip under the tracks. In doing so, she discovered wide, shaded areas – prime real estate that was largely being ignored.

Daly envisioned a public recreation space – a combination linear park, urban trail and public art destination. She teamed up with James Corner Field Operations (project lead for New York City’s Highline) to design what would become The Underline. Her Friends of The Underline organization continues working tirelessly to make the vision a reality.

The first segment of the park opened in 2021 in the Downtown Miami/Brickell area. This half-mile section, named Brickell Backyard, reaches from the Miami River to Southwest 13th Street. By 2025, when phases 2 and 3 are open, the 10-mile-long Underline will stretch from Downtown Miami to the Dadeland South Metrorail Station near Dadeland Mall in Kendall, passing through Coconut Grove, Coral Gables and other communities and creating a total of 120 acres of tropical gardens and outdoor recreation space.

Exercise Trails and Much More

The Underline will give everyone in Greater Miami an extended, shaded route for flexing their endurance muscles. Separate biking and walking/running paths keep exercisers safely apart as they traverse Miami. The park’s first phase, which is under the Brickell Metrorail station, includes a full fitness center, complete with a multisport court for basketball and soccer, a running path and an outdoor urban gym with versatile fitness equipment.

Yoga at The Underline
Visit The Underline's Brickell Backyard for a yoga class or concert

Recreation and Relaxation

The Brickell Backyard portion also features a 700-square-foot stage that can be used for everything from yoga classes to small concerts, with a 2,300-square-foot plaza where audience members can sit and take in the show. At the park’s far northern end is the open-air River Room, a communal space with a dog walk and plenty of native vegetation right on the Miami River that serves as a calming oasis in the midst of bustling Downtown Miami.

The Underline’s abundant shade and lush greenery make it an inviting place to dine outdoors. Plentiful picnic and game tables invite visitors to sit and relax, perhaps with an al fresco lunch or dinner, and free Wi-Fi throughout the park keeps everyone connected. Newly commissioned public art, ranging from murals on the track’s cement pillars to intriguing sculptures, adorns the park.

Tropical Gardens

The Underline gives visitors a chance to experience some of the tropical foliage that makes Miami so naturally lush. Through a joint initiative with Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, the park has been filled with native grasses, tropical plants and even a colorful collection of orchids, giving it a distinct sense of place.

The Oolite Room, in the Brickell Backyard section, has four butterfly gardens filled with plants that attract and feed these beautiful and important pollinators. They’re the first of 20 planned butterfly gardens along the 10-mile corridor.

A Park for Everyone

The entire Underline will be accessible to people of all ages, abilities and fitness levels, and since it’s at ground level, there are no stairs to navigate. Whether you’re looking to join a pickup game of basketball, work on your laptop in the shade of the tracks, go for a long run or just enjoy a stroll with your dog, you’ll be able to do it in this world-class urban park.

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