Do you have vacation time coming up and plan on staying in the Miami area? If you’re looking for a few staycation ideas, consider visiting Coral Gables, nicknamed “The City Beautiful.” You’ve probably driven through or stopped by, but have you really taken the time to be a tourist in this resplendent hamlet?
Start your staycation by checking into the Westin Colonnade, which will serve as your luxe, plush home base for a few days of locally sourced exploration. Be sure to stop at the hotel’s very own branch of the hip hot spot SushiSamba. On Monday through Friday between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. you can wash down $7 caipirinhas with $7 robata, house and sushi specials including yellowtail taquitos and Japanese A5 Wagyu beef gyoza. The sea bass anticuchos, which are stewed, marinated, skewered a la kebabs and served with miso and Peruvian corn, is a patron favorite.
Head to Coral Gables’ downtown shopping district, the Miracle Mile, a great place to entertain a few staycation ideas on your list. A marvelous mashup of old, new, hip and deliciousness, the mile is a fusion of fabulous and funky retail, galleries, couture and theater, and offers everything from mom-and-pop bridal shops to modern furniture stores in addition to an international roster of restaurants ready to rock your palates. Take a break from shopping at the avant-garde Eating House and order the Elvis Tartine, a wonderful combination of nut and seed butter, bananas, pepitas and vanilla bean salt on whole wheat bread. Cap it all off with a handcrafted cocktail, craft beer or glass of wine at The Local or Cibo Wine Bar.
Surrounded by exotic flora and fauna, the city’s landmark Venetian Pool, 820,000 gallons of water that’s emptied and refilled every night, is a stellar place for an energetic swim, doggy paddle or leisurely dip, another one of the fun Coral Gables staycation ideas. This pool isn’t just gigantic; as the only swimming pool listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it’s also historic. And there’s no need to worry about breaking anything either. Literally carved out of coral, this grotto is rock solid.
After working up an appetite at the Venetian Pool, hit up BrickTop’s for a Prickly Pear Margarita. Grab your drink and warm up by the fire pit, which conveys a sense of coziness even if it’s 99 degrees outside. Pair the delicious goat cheese, fig and prosciutto flatbreads with a glass of Whispering Angel Rosé. But before heading back to your hotel room, be sure to follow up dinner with a leisurely stroll through the city.