The hidden gems of Miami

Friday, September 21, 2018
By Azamara

Miami is a world famous destination, known for its beautiful beaches, attractive climate, and vibrant culture. But this wonderful Florida city is also replete with attractions and locations that those unfamiliar with Miami will probably not be aware of. There really is a plethora of amazing hidden gems to discover for those looking to make their luxury holiday cruise to Miami a memorable and eclectic adventure. From stunning parks to quirky museums, it’s all here. So, without any further ado, let’s begin our guide to the hidden gems of Miami.

Deering Estate

Deering estate Miami

Image credit: Armando Rodriguez

One of the truly most idyllic spots in Miami, and a location replete with hidden gems is the Deering Estate, an area that was created to preserve Charles Deering’s 1920s-era property. Deering was a preservationist and art collector and the estate is today a wonderful escape from the outside world, thanks in no small part to its picturesque location on the South Dade coast. Featuring historical buildings, mangrove forests, tropical Rockland, and much more – the Deering Estate shouldn’t be missed. Speaking to us about what makes it an unmissable Miami attraction, the team behind the Deering Estate told us:  

“The Deering Estate is a 21st Century house museum and an environmental preserve listed on the National Register of Historic Places, owned by the State of Florida and managed by Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department. The Deering Estate provides exceptional recreational and cultural activities for the community where guests can experience a unique mixture of nature and culture. From canoe tours to butterfly walks and guided museum and natural areas tours, the Deering Estate has diverse activities and special events for the whole family to enjoy!”

Deering Estate Miami hidden gem

Image credit: Armando Rodriguez

Putting to one side the house tours, hikes, lectures, exhibits, canoe tours, full moon yoga, and musical concerts, the Deering Estate listed for us a few of what they believe are their best-kept secrets for visitors to discover:

“The Prohibition Cellar at the Deering Estate: Delve into prohibition history by joining us in the prohibition era cellar, in the basement of the Stone House, built in 1922. Join us for a tasting of fine spirits from a local Florida distillery at the Deering Estate.

“Natural Areas Tour – Tequesta Indian burial mound: Guests can learn about South Florida’s native peoples while hiking through the Tropical Hardwood Hammock to one of the last Tequesta Indian burial mounds in existence. Centuries ago, the lush grounds at the Deering Estate were home to the Tequesta Indians and in the Natural Areas Tour, guests can visit a burial mound where 12 tribal chieftains were laid to rest more than 600 years ago.

“Flora & Fauna: By preserving threatened and endangered ecosystems, the Deering Estate provides habitat for 89 species of flora and fauna deemed endangered or threatened by state and federal authorities. Eight native ecosystems include globally endangered pine Rockland habitat, a tropical hardwood hammock, mangrove forests, salt marshes, Chicken Key, and submerged seagrasses.”

Coral Gables

Coral Gables Miami best-kept secrets

One of Miami’s most attractive neighbourhoods is Coral Gables and is a location that should under no circumstances be avoided just to spend another day at the beach (no matter how tempting it might be!). Coral Gables is known as ‘The City Beautiful’ and upon visiting it’s not at all difficult to see why with its picturesque natural features and tree-lined streets. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, the lush vegetation that greets visitors to Coral Gables will be a true delight, and with the distinctly European flavour of its historic plazas, fountains, and architecture, Coral Gables only further sets itself apart.

A representative of the community described the excitement that visitors can expect to enjoy in Coral Gables: “Hundreds of visitors have re-discovered Downtown Coral Gables, thanks to the summer sensation of the Umbrella Sky exhibit at Giralda Plaza. These colourful umbrellas will be on exhibit only until the weekend of September 15-16 but don't worry, the City plans on showcasing additional awe-inspiring installations later on Giralda Plaza to continue the momentum created by Umbrella Sky. Stay tuned for more details soon.

Venetian Pool Miami hidden gems

“While visiting Giralda Plaza, you can stay for lunch or dinner at any of the top-rated restaurant choices, grab coffee at any of our new local gathering spots, watch an independent flick at the Gables Art Cinema, or watch a live play at Actors Playhouse at the Miracle Theater.”

Coral Gables also made sure to recommend to us a hidden gem that visitors can’t leave without seeing: “Definitely visit the coolest pool in the nation, the Venetian Pool. You’ll feel like you’re somewhere in Italy. The pool was created in 1923 from a coral rock quarry and is fed with spring water daily in the spring/summer months from an underground aquifer, which makes it really cool and perfect for the hot days of summer. There are two waterfalls that provide the perfect spot for photos, as well as cave-like grottos offering a fun experience for swimmers.”

Rubell Family Collection Museum

Rubell Family Collection Museum Miami hidden gem

Image credit: Rubell Family Collection

Established in 1964 in New York, the Rubell Family Collection has been in Miami, Florida since 1993 and is a museum housed within a whopping 45,000-square-foot space that was interestingly once a facility for the Drug Enforcement Agency. This contemporary art museum from Mera and Don Rubell boasts a fascinating collection of both internationally recognised artists while also championing exhibits and work from impressive emerging contemporary artists. Such is the allure and quality of the exhibits at the museum, that they often travel around the world to be presented to lovers of contemporary art. Being one of the largest privately owned and most accessible contemporary collections for the public, the Rubell Family Collection Museum is certainly worth shouting about and is unquestionably one of Miami’s hidden gems. For those looking to expand their horizons at a truly unique Florida attraction, this Wynwood-set marvel is the place to be.

Art and culture in Wynwood

Wynwood Walls Miami hidden gems

Image credit: Mary Beth Koeth/Wynwood BID

Speaking of Wynwood, which is one of Miami’s most exciting districts, this is an area of the city that is not only replete with hidden gems but for the outsider, is one of Miami’s best-kept secrets in its own right. Known as Miami’s art district, this fun and colourful neighbourhood is an essential place to stop by for visitors that not only love art but want nothing more from their trip than to be immersed in Miami’s vibrant culture. Apart from the aforementioned Rubell Family Collection Museum, visitors to Wynwood can also look forward to some truly impressive street art that leaps out upon arrival, setting this neighbourhood apart from all others. A true highlight of the Wynwood experience has to be the Second Saturday Art Walk, where thousands of visitors come in search of culture, food, and just some darn good fun. People crowd the streets from 6pm and enjoy the festivities all throughout the night, with art galleries, restaurants, and retail businesses all taking part. If you then add the many wonderful antique shops, bars, and eateries that populate the district, Wynwood proves to be an essential stop during any Miami adventure.

Manny Gonzalez, executive director of Wynwood Business Improvement District, spoke to us about what makes the neighbourhood one of Miami’s best-kept secrets: “In recent years, Wynwood has transformed from a largely-forgotten industrial warehouse district into a global arts and culture destination. Named a top hipster destination in the U.S. by Trip Advisor, Wynwood is now known for its trademark street art murals, as well as its award-winning breweries, restaurants and retailers. Each year, more than a million visitors from across the U.S. and around the globe venture beyond typical Miami tourist destinations to experience the urban arts district, which boasts the highest concentration of street art in the U.S.”

And the vice chair of Wynwood Business Improvement District Board, Albert Garcia, told us about the hidden gems located within Wynwood that he would recommend for visitors: “Home to more than 400 businesses, Wynwood caters to art lovers, foodies, fashion trendsetters and beer aficionados, alike. When in Wynwood, visitors should experience one of the five award-winning craft breweries and beer markets in the district, such as J. Wakefield Brewing. The Wynwood Walls, though not exactly a hidden gem, is a must-see on a trip to the neighbourhood. The open-air urban art exhibit, located in the heart of the neigbourhood, showcases artwork by internationally-renowned artists. Curated by Goldman Properties, the Walls debut a new exhibit of murals each year for Art Basel, assuring that each visit to the Walls is a unique experience.”

Blue Collar

Blue Collar restaurant Miami best-kept secrets

Delighting its guests for years, Blue Collar is a delightful little restaurant just 10-minutes from Wynwood that will be the perfect low-key venue for any Miami meal. Offering up delicious American comfort food in an environment without a hint of pretension, Blue Collar is a spot to relax and enjoy great food with great company. This place really deserves a lot of love. What can diners expect upon visiting Blue Collar? Well, chef and owner Daniel Serfer has helped paint the picture:

“Blue Collar is a great place because the setting is casual, the food is approachable and comforting as well as affordable. We use only the best and freshest ingredients which have led to a large local following as well as recognition by many visitors. We are a small intimate restaurant which allows us to provide exceptionally friendly service. We have a vast menu that appeals to meat eaters, vegetarians, and seafood lovers, as well as homemade desserts by our talented pastry chef.

“The cornerstone of our menu is our rotating ‘dailies’ which is a different type of braised item, ribs, or parmesan, as well as our extensive vegetable side menu which includes over 20 selections. Some days you may find veal part, spicy oxtail, or lamb ribs, and others could be eggplant farm, baby backs, or pork cheek Marsala. These have all proven to keep guests coming back frequently. We also have a fantastic shrimp and grits preparation using Anson Mills grits and wild Florida shrimp. My favourite is the pork n beans which is a rich bean stew made from smoked bacon, sausage, San Marzano tomatoes and is served with a runny fried egg and toast to sop up all the goodness.”

Gold Coast Railroad Museum

Gold Coast Railroad Museum Miami hidden gem

One of Miami’s very best-kept secrets is the Gold Coast Railroad Museum. This non-profit organisation is dedicated to promoting railroad history via restoration, preservation, and education and has proven to be an absolute highlight when it comes to family-friendly attractions in the city. Located in southwestern Miami, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum is home to over 40 historic railcars, perhaps most notably of all, the train car known as the Ferdinand Magellan.

The Ferdinand Magellan was the Presidential railcar built in 1928 that was used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Ronald Reagan. This important and historically significant vessel is also the only passenger railcar ever to be given the designation of a National Historic Landmark by the US government. The Ferdinand Magellan is the museum’s prized asset and is available to see during guided tours along with the attraction’s other fascinating exhibits.

Cully Waggoner, Gold Coast Railroad Museum’s chief of training, shared with us his thoughts on what makes this museum such a unique and underappreciated Miami attraction: “The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is indeed one of Miami’s hidden treasures, despite being in South Florida since 1957. Although it is right next to ZooMiami and has signage along Zoo Drive, many people seem to miss it. Those that do find it are amazed and commonly say they never knew that it was here.”

Gold Coast Railroad Museum Miami

Upon arriving, Cully explains, “The mood is set with ‘In The Mood’ by Glenn Miller (and other period swing and jazz music from the big bands, bandleaders and singers that were popular during the '30s and '40s) that is played under the train shed and in the plaza. In our train shed our guests are first introduced to our FEC No. 153 along with streamlined cars that served on ‘The Champion’, ‘Silver Meteor’ and ‘California Zephyr’.  

“You get the feeling of the Greatest Generation as you walk around and tour inside the rail cars that were used both before and after The Great Depression and were used in the post-war period as Americans travelled all over the nation. Before The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, it was the railroads that provided transcontinental travel. The Jet Age started in 1958 and the Boeing 707 revolutionized air travel and the Golden Age of passenger railroads started to wane. The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is one of the few places you can relive and experience the Golden Age of railroads.

“To me, the Gold Coast is a place to come and relax as you stroll among history, even ride on it as we are an active museum. I call it ‘Trainscendental Meditation’, put away your cell phone and leave your problems at the gate and enjoy a simpler, less hectic pace of life during your visit.”

Robert is Here: Miami’s best fresh fruit

Robert is Here in Miami

Image credit: Robert Is Here

There is no better way to immerse oneself in the Miami lifestyle than by enjoying a truly authentic local experience and picking up some delicious fresh fruit at Robert is Here – an attraction that is wholly beloved by the community. Once a humble roadside fruit stand, Robert is Here has immerged as a wonderful tourist destination, where there is far more than the mouth-watering fresh fruit on offer, including live music and picnic tables. They even spend hours every morning hand-cutting fruit for their delicious smoothies and milkshakes! Perfect for cooling down under the hot Miami sun. Robert is Here is a family-run business that has become integral to the community, donating to local schools and helping passers-by should they get stuck near their store. The produce available varies throughout the year and there is always plenty on display, so why not stop by to see if your favourite fruits are in season! If you want to live life like a Miami citizen during your trip, popping into Robert is Here will be a great start.

The team at Robert is Here spoke to us about what they believe makes them one of Miami’s best-kept secrets: “What makes us a hidden gem is the fact that we're out of the way for pretty much anyone who isn't headed to the Everglades National park. We have people drive hours to come to our store. And the reason they come back is that we aren't just a stop on the way to somewhere. We're a destination. People can come to have lunch here, they can speak with the man himself, and they can bring the kids to play around in our play area or see the animals. We have birthday parties here, we do community events, and we've even had a wedding here. As for the produce, our selection is pretty special. I can't tell you any other place in South Florida that has Guanabana available every day, or Mangosteen, or even five different types of Mangoes at any given point during the season. It really is unique. It feels good to walk in and know that we have the absolute best products available to our customers.”

Bodega Taqueria y Tequila

Bodega Taqueria y Tequila restaurant in Miami

You’re bound to work up a great appetite when exploring all of Miami’s best-kept secrets so luckily another one of these is a great spot to grab a bite to eat. Bodega Taqueria y Tequila is a Mexican street food haven, serving up some of the best burritos and tacos anywhere in Miami. Describing why visitors should make sure to pay them a visit, the team at Bodega told us: “Bodega offers a little something for everyone, no matter the time of day or the day of the week that you visit. Hit up the funky taco truck parked inside for some of the best taqueria-inspired munchies you’ll find in Miami for lunch, dinner, late-night indulgences or even Sunday brunch. In the mood for a wild night out in Miami Beach? Bodega’s exclusive speakeasy back bar is the place to be. Proceed beyond the porta-potty doors marked ‘banos’ and prepare to be amazed by one of Miami’s hottest nightlife destinations!

“Expect explosive flavours in multiple combinations worth every bite. The menu is the brainchild of Chef Bernie Matz, a self-proclaimed ‘connoisseur of the taco,’ created after having travelled extensively in the Yucatan and Monterrey, Mexico. With this inspiration, Matz crafted an amped up, modern take on the fare he enjoyed, with menu highlights including the Phili Burrito (shaved rib eye, rice, Oaxaca, rajas, black bean refrito, potato sticks and red chili crema), Aguacate con Frijoles Taco (avocado, black bean refrito, cotija, lettuce and red chili crema) and Miami Rice Bowl (Mexican rice, black beans, maduros, pickled onions, tomato, cilantro, lime and avocado crema + add-ons including roasted chicken, roasted pork, avocado, short rib and vegan ‘pollo asado’). Be sure not to miss Bodega’s Sunday party brunch, where music, dancing and drink specials collide with hangover-proof entrees like Nachos con Huevos (bacon, scrambled eggs, queso, tomato, cilantro and guacamole), Breakfast Torta (bacon, scrambled eggs, guacamole, Oaxaca cheese, pickled onion, potato sticks and chili crema) and Churros French Toast (strawberries, powdered sugar and spicy truffle maple).”

Jai-alai at Magic City Casino 

Jai-alai at Magic City Casino in Miami

For sports fans looking for something fast-paced to enjoy during their Miami adventure, why not try something truly unique and catch a game of jai-alai. Never heard of it? Well, jai-alai involves bouncing a ball of a walled space (fronton) by accelerating it to ferocious speeds by using a hand-held curved wicker basket called a cesta. Jai-alai is popular in a number of global locations, with Florida being one of them. The game is incredibly quick (even more so when doubles are in action) and further excitement is added by placing bets on the outcome. If you fancy checking out the action yourself, the world’s fastest game can be viewed at Magic City Casino, which showcases the sport on a state-of-the-art court where home-grown athletes compete at the highest level.

The team at Magic Casino spoke to us about the incredible fun that can be had watching jai-alai with them: “Magic City Jai-Alai packs a whole lot of the ‘Magic City’ in one spot. While the sport of jai-alai got its start in Miami in the 1920’s, the game came to Magic City Casino this summer, showcasing a new generation of jai-alai players from diverse athletic backgrounds, many being former University of Miami athletes. The season runs through November 30th. (Performances, as the games are called, take place Wednesdays to Sundays at 3pm and 7pm).

Magic City Jai-Alai Miami sport

Describing why those unfamiliar with jai-alai should make sure to catch a performance, the casino said: “There are so many reasons to love jai-alai:

  • Jai-alai is considered the fastest sport in the world with ball speeds often reaching more than 150 miles per hour, making the game fast-paced and exciting.

  • The lively announcer helps fans (new and old) quickly get right in the zone, so they understand the rules of the game.

  • In addition to being fun to watch, jai-alai is one of the few sports where opportunities for betting are offered.

  • The games also take place in a new state-of-the-art court featuring glass walls, making those speedy balls hitting the wall even more thrilling.

“Basic rules of the game: Two players compete against each other on the jai-alai court where players must use a cesta to catch and launch a ball against a wall. The players are trying to get their opponent to miss the return while avoiding being hit with ball themselves.”


KYU a hidden gem Miami restaurant

Image credit: Daniel Villa

KYU is another excellent dining destination and without a doubt one of Miami’s hidden gems. This Wynwood-set restaurant offers a diverse menu of Asian themed food in a relaxing setting. Championing sustainable methods and flawless tasting cuisine, this is one Miami spot not to miss. Telling us more about KYU, the team said: “There is no other restaurant like KYU in Miami. Located in the heart of Miami’s artsy Wynwood neighbourhood, guests can check out the area’s famous art installations before or after their reservation, including the graffiti-style installation outside of KYU’s own front doors. The restaurant was nominated for a James Beard award in its first year of service. KYU is also committed to sustainable restaurant practices, employing programs including a zero-waste citrus bar initiative and a promise to plant one tree for each consumed.

“The menu, designed for sharing, features a variety of grill specialities, seasonal locally sourced produce and new-style sashimi. Cocktails are carefully curated variations of the classics with Asian twists. Notable dishes include Duck Breast ‘Burnt Ends’ (served with yuzu pickles), Wagyu Beef Brisket (made with black shichimi pepper), Thai Rice Stone Pot (with fried egg and optional add-ins including king crab and pork sausage), Roasted Cauliflower (in goat cheese and shishito-herb vinaigrette), Crispy Spicy Snapper Tartare and Mom’s Coconut Cake. KYU’s extensive bar program cannot be missed, with a wide range of Japanese whiskies available and seasonally-inspired cocktails.”

Bayfront Park

Bayfront Park in Miami

Image credit: Bayfront Park Management Trust

Bayfront Park is an absolute gem nestled away on Biscayne Bay, right in the centre of downtown Miami. A wonderful location for friends and family to relax in, this spot is often overlooked by visitors but those who know about it are well aware of its many virtues. Bayfront Park is not only bounded on its north side by Bayside Marketplace, which is an open-air festival style mall that amazingly attracts 23 million people per year, but with its lush greenery, beautiful bay views, and myriad features, there’s no question the park is a unique spot to visit in its own right.

Telling us about what visitors can expect to see and enjoy at the park itself, the team at Bayfront Park Management Trust said: “Bayfront Park’s 32 acres of lush greenery includes a small sand beach, tropical rock garden, playground, fountain, Light Tower, and many different monuments. Special event facilities within the park include the Amphitheatre and the Tina Hills Pavilion. The park has been known to host concerts, receptions, corporate events, press conferences, charity walks and more. Free, thrice weekly yoga classes are offered at Bayfront Park. Monday’s and Wednesday’s at 6 p.m. are sponsored by Baptist Health South Florida and Saturday’s at 9 am are sponsored by TeamFootworks.”

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Miami

Image credit: Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Created by a group of young Japanese farmers to bring about an agriculture revolution in Florida, Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens now have an aim to engage and inspire visitors with a dynamic cultural experience. Opening back in 1977, Morikami has since become a central hub for Japanese arts and culture and features beautiful gardens and a fascinating museum. The team at Morikami spoke to us about the experience awaiting visitors to this hidden Miami marvel:

“Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens feature six vibrant gardens, created by the designer Hoichu Kurisu, each reflecting a style from a different epoch, beginning in the 9th century. The intention is for visitors to lay aside the chaos of a troubled world. This is accomplished with the use of small lakes and paths that wind among pine forests, bamboo groves and rock arrangements throughout the gardens. With its two landscaped islands joined by a bridge, Morikami’s Shinden Garden was inspired by the gardens that were adapted for the estates of Japanese nobles from Chinese garden design. The Shinden style was popular from the 9th to the 12th century.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Image credit: Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

“The park’s Paradise Garden has paths for strolling the perimeters of its two small lakes in a style that appealed to the new Samurai class of the 13th century. In Morikami’s Early Rock Garden, rocks are set vertically and spaced to suggest a waterfall — an arrangement that reflects the rise of Zen and its asceticism. Karesansui Late Garden features rocks that are artfully placed on expanses of gravel. That style — karesansui means dry landscape — was meant to serve as an aid to meditation from within a temple.  

“Colourful koi (carp) and an array of turtles gather near the rippling waters of the Allen S. Austin Memorial Waterfall for public feeding (fish food available for purchase). The ornamental, collectable fish — symbols of good luck in Japan — are prized for their distinct red, orange and white colouring. Morikami’s koi have all been generously donated by museum members and local koi enthusiasts. Just off the bank of Yamato Island is Kameshima (Turtle Island), which is a favourite basking spot for the many turtles, who call Morikami home.”

Estiatorio Milos

Estiatorio Milos Miami restaurant

A true local favourite, Estiatorio Milos is one spot that should be on every Miami visitor’s to-do list. Recognised as a premium Mediterranean seafood restaurant, Estiatorio Milos more than lives up to the hype encouraged by Miami residents. What should you expect upon visiting? The team at Estiatorio Milos pull back the curtain: “Estiatorio Milos is a classic Miami institution that played a pivotal role in the development of the South of Fifth district. Locals love Milos because the restaurant is a dependable dining destination year-round. Where other South Beach restaurants only operate seasonally, Milos’ fresh and flavourful Mediterranean fare can be enjoyed all year long.

“Estiatorio Milos is hailed as one of the world’s finest Greek restaurants, offering a selection of world-class seafood, superior wines and authentic Mediterranean cuisine. With esteemed restaurateur Costas Spiliadis at the helm, Milos creates an unparalleled dining experience, featuring only the freshest ingredients and highest quality service. Unlike your typical Greek restaurant, Milos goes above and beyond with its stunning presentations, sensational fish market and fresh, daily-flown ingredients coming directly from the Mediterranean. Fresh catches featured at the fish market can be prepared in a variety of ways, from sashimi to traditional preparations like kakavia, and include over 20 species of fish such as barbouni, gonos, maridaki and more. Additional menu highlights include the Milos Special (lightly fried zucchini, eggplant, tzatziki and kefalograviera cheese), Grilled Mediterranean Octopus (served with fava bean puree and chopped shallots), ‘The Real Greek Yogurt’ (served with honey harvested directly from the island of Kythira) and an extensive collection of hard-to-find Greek wines.”

The Kampong 

The Kampong Miami attraction

Image credit: Craig Morell

Next up on our tour of Miami’s best-kept secrets and hidden gems is what is known as The Kampong, a beautiful botanical garden that is spectacular, to say the least. Situated in Coconut Grove, The Kampong is part of the not-for-profit National Tropical Botanic Garden institution and was established by the noted horticulturist Dr David Fairchild. The name of the garden means ‘enclosed village’ in Japanese and its intimate nature is certainly indicative of this fact, populated with thousands of tropic plants that Fairchild brought in from all over the world.

Director of The Kampong, Craig Morell, spoke to us about the special nature of the attraction: "The Kampong of the National Tropical Botanical Garden is a hidden garden gem in Miami, harkening to an era long gone. The home of famed plant explorer Dr David Fairchild, the property dates back over 150 years. Dr Fairchild introduced many early varieties of the tropical fruits, grains and spices we eat today, as he travelled the world to find better food to feed America. His elegant home sits on the highest natural stone ridge in the county and overlooks Biscayne Bay and Key Biscayne. There is a scenic walk right down to the bayfront.

“The Kampong is home to over 1,000 varieties of unusual plants, trees and palms, many with history in their background. Many have medicinal properties or are commercial species used for spices, fragrances and exotic dishes. The Kampong is open only by appointment, with both self-guided tours and guided tours available. Group tours can be arranged easily with advance notice. The National Tropical Botanical Garden is based in Hawaii, and The Kampong is its mainland visage. Easily found on Douglas Road in Coconut Grove, The Kampong is a private oasis filled with rare trees, aquatic plants, magnificent ocean vistas and a rich history of how many of our most popular foods came to this country by way of Dr Fairchild."

Beaker and Gray

Beaker and Gray Miami restaurant

As you will probably be coming to understand, Miami is able to boast a sheer plethora of fantastic dining options that they are sneakily keeping secret from the outside world, and another of these gems is a spot known as Beaker and Gray. Situated in Coconut Grove, this eatery and bar is named after two instruments intrinsic to these dual components: a gray spoon to serve and plate and a beaker to mix drinks. As such, Beaker and Gray is a perfect hangout spot for those wanting to combine great food and great dink. As an example, lunch could include the likes of chicken wings, short rib, and the ‘everything bagel’, and their cocktail list has dedicated concoctions for lunch, brunch, and shaken or stirred offerings.

The team at Beaker and Gray told us: “Beaker & Gray is a restaurant and bar created by locals for both residents and visitors alike. We wanted to offer an exceptional experience for anyone seeking something unique, but also offering familiar options so everyone feels included. The menus, both cuisine and cocktails, are divided into sections that help guide the guest in the direction of the style of food they'd like to enjoy. If you want a bite or something cold, you'll order from those sections; if you want an Aperitivo or a shaken drink, you have options there as well.”

Zoological Wildlife Foundation

Zoological Wildlife Foundation Miami

Image credit: Zoological Foundation

Another exciting aspect of Miami is its wonderful wildlife, being home to all manner of fascinating creatures. There are a number of excellent locations to experience nature in Miami but one of the very best hidden gems has to be the Zoological Wildlife Foundation. This five-acre zoo is a truly enjoyable and intimate wildlife experience, offering guided tours for guests so that they can meet and greet a diverse and vibrant range of animals such as leopards, alligators, Burmese python, and adorable chimpanzees. Beyond being a tremendous Miami-set attraction, the Zoological Wildlife Foundation is also an organisation dedicated to educating the community about Miami’s endangered species and raising public awareness on the importance of preservation.

Speaking to us about what makes this Miami attraction so special, the team at Zoological Wildlife Foundation said: “Located south of Miami, ZWF Miami is home to domestic animals, leopards, big cats, primates, large predatory birds, mammals, as well as exotic wildlife, most of which are available for interactive encounters with the public. Take a walk on the wild side and have an unforgettable experience with some of the world’s most treasured wild animal species.”

At Zoological Wildlife Foundation, you can look forward to a truly ethical nature experience, with highlights that include educational commentary and the ability to feed camels and toucans! Visitors can even play for five minutes with the foundation’s beloved lion cub!

Hidden gems and best-kept secrets of Miami

As you can surely see, Miami is packed full of wonderful attractions, activities, and locations that aren’t household names but are nonetheless essential visits during your next Miami cruise holiday. From quirky restaurants to secluded state parks, from fascinating art museums to unforgettable wildlife experiences, Miami has it all when it comes to hidden gems to discover. If you feel inspired to book your Miami adventure, make sure to take a look at the options we have available. Before we leave you, here is a condensed list of all the wonderful best-kept secrets available in Miami:

  • Deering Estate

  • Coral Gables

  • Rubell Family Collection Museum

  • Art and culture in Wynwood

  • Blue Collar

  • Gold Coast Railroad Museum

  • Robert is Here: Miami’s best fresh fruit

  • Bodega Taqueria y Tequila

  • Jai-Alai at Magic City Casino

  • KYU

  • Bayfront Park

  • Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

  • Estiatorio Milos

  • The Kampong

  • Beaker and Gray

  • Zoological Wildlife Foundation

Featured Cruises

Recent Articles

Dubrovnik, Croatia at dusk

Seven Things to do in Croatia

Croatia has seen a sort of transformation recently, one that has taken it from a hidden gem of coastal delights to one of the hottest travel destinations in Europe. What makes this small Balkan nation so appealing? It could be the brilliant sapphire waters of the Adriatic and spectacular white beaches. Or maybe it’s the medieval architecture and walled towns steeped in history begging to be uncovered. Or perhaps it’s the friendly, welcoming people and unique folk culture.

aerial shoreline view

Highlights of the 2025 Azamara World Voyage

155 nights. 37 countries. Explore every corner of the globe on Azamara’s 2025 World Voyage. A leader in Destination Immersion® experiences, Azamara continues to bring guests to bucket-list destinations, providing immersive travel moments while delivering service excellence. 

shimmer background woman holding gift

2022 Holiday Gift Guide for Travel Lovers

Just like every snowflake is unique, so is every individual and their approach to travel. Some people value staying connected while they travel, while the fashionista in your life might prioritize wardrobe changes. The aspiring photographer might have a carry-on filled with camera equipment, and someone drawn to wellness may need their portable workout gear on every trip!