Discover Upper Buena Vista

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By: Angela Caraway-Carlton

What happens when you’re enamored by a property full of magnificent trees and their enchanting beauty? In Miami, you shape an entire development around them. Upper Buena Vista is a new enclave of shopping, dining and entertainment in the Buena Vista neighborhood, located just north of Wynwood and Miami Design District, that’s built around two towering banyan and ficus trees. While shopping can often be a frantic experience, Upper Buena Vista feels as if you’ve escaped to a calming sanctuary that encourages you to linger. The tree branches are speckled with hanging wood lanterns. There’s a tiki hut for communal dining or just relaxing and you’ll want to pose for a photo in front of eclectic artwork like a vibrant Pinocchio statue. What’s truly different is the small size of the 21 shops, appropriately called microboutiques and petite boutiques, that range from 250-to- 500-square-feet. Think of them as the “tiny houses” of fashion and food, loaded with eclectic local and global finds — most of which you won’t find anywhere else in Miami. The idea is to give up-and-coming and smaller artisanal brands a space to sell their unique creations.

At The House of Findings, comb the racks for vintage, global, upcycled and handmade fashions from the Victorian-era to the 90s. The owner, Mayra, travels the world to curate her ever-evolving collection — from a bold-patterned Pucci dress to unique furnishings from another place and time. You never know what you’ll discover. At Iniva, the owners teamed up with artisans from Kenya to Tanzania for a modern approach to African clothing, handbags, hats, jewelry and home décor that beautifully fits our bright, Miami aesthetic. Your sense of smell will go crazy at House of V, which is filled with fragrances made in France and high-end home decor. Swing by Sangre de mi Sangre for custom jewelry made in Mexico with the best silver and unique stones from Brazil, Turkey, India and beyond. Move on to True Joy for clothing and accessories splashed with inspiring quotes and religious messages and stop in Soul Plug for covet-worthy collectible sneakers.

Just as eclectic as the neighborhood, is Upper Buena Vista’s food. Take a shopping break to refuel at several different restaurants boasting international cuisine. For an authentic taste of France, Café Crème offers yummy quiche, sandwiches, croissants, exotic salads and to-die-for pastries. At the Japanese-fusion joint Kraken Lab, create your own customized poke bowls with bases like rice, quinoa, arugula and cauliflower rice topped with baked salmon, octopus or tuna. At Vista, run by the husband-and-wife duo behind local Italian favorite Fratelli Milano in Downtown Miami, you’ll find a fusion of Italian staples with Miami flavors. Standouts include the poblano pesto gnocchi and snapper a la plancha — and the two-story restaurant also boasts the neighborhood’s first rooftop bar. Don’t leave without grabbing a cholado from Amazonica, a refreshing tropical drink from the streets of Colombia created by blending fresh fruits with shaved ice and crowned with a bright orchid — the cool treat also makes for a colorful Instagram-worthy picture too! Blast off the calories with a shot of cold during a cyro-therapy session at KŌV.

If you’re looking for some pampering after all that shopping, pop in ContestaRockHair, an Italian salon with a rock ‘n roll vibe which also has another location on Miami Beach, for a blow-out or edgy cut. Cozy up at the inviting EPOCH Nail Bar & Beauty Lounge, where three sisters from Spain will make your nail art dreams come true. Palm trees, geometric shapes, fruit — you dream it or show them a photo and they’ll do their best to free-hand any nail design. Of course, you can also get a regular manicure or pedicure too. But it’s Miami … so blue nails for the ocean or palm tree artwork just feels right.

Before you leave the serene oasis of Upper Buena Vista, head to the big tree to hang a colorful ribbon and make a wish. You may just wish for more time there.

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