The mercury has begun to dip in South Florida (well, slightly), meaning all your Northern friends and family will soon come swooping into town for some sea breezes and sunshine.
The same snowbirds have been coming down for years though, and they're over standing in line for overpriced South Beach clubs where drinks cost as much as a cab ride from the airport.
Blow their minds with the following off-the-beaten path attractions and restaurants. These hidden gems will show them the Miami beyond the thongs of South Beach: the mangroves of North Miami Beach, the sweetness of Little Havana, the salty dogs of Coconut Grove.
Here's where to REALLY take out-of-towners visiting Miami:
This Buena Vista restaurant
has a gorgeous patio and delicious Mediterranean food. Try the Turkish sampler of dips as well as the Rose Sangria.
Who has the time for the long waits at Joe's Stone Crabs, a Miami culinary institution that also doesn't taken reservations? Instead head to Joe's Take Away
right next door for the same coveted shellfish sans the annoying wait.
Visit the Homestead farm
for u-pick strawberries and gooey, delicious, addictive cinnamon rolls. (Open November through April.)
We loved it when was the Indian Creek Hotel and we love it as The Freehand, where Broken Shaker
holds cocktail court in the alfresco bar sprinkled with string lights and vintage chairs.
Built in 1924 from an old coral rock quarry abandoned in 1921, the lagoon-style pool
in Banyan-lined Coral Gables is as classic-Miami beautiful as it gets. The Venetian Pool's water temperature is kept at a refreshing 77 degrees.
Every Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m., mermaids fill the tank windows at the The Wreck Bar
for happy hour at The Sheraton Fort Lauderdale. The kitschy hotel used to be the Yankee Clipper in the 1950s and 60s and was known for aquatic performances.
Sit atop the park's
many hills, watch the cruise ships come in, and gawk at the parade of tiny dogs out for a walk. Then hit up the gelato place on the corner on your way out.
Head up to Hallandale Beach for a day at the racetrack
, where even losing money is fun.
Take your guests to Panther Coffee
's original location in Wynwood for insanely good coffee and a peek at Miami's art/warehouse district.
Calle Ocho's Azucar Ice Cream
has innovative Miami-themed flavors like abuela maria (guava, cookies, and cream cheese), flan, and avocado.
While airboating inside Everglades National Park is prohibited, check out tour companies just outside of the park's boundaries and pick one that treats the wildlife with care.
Impress your guests by navigating under and around a marina and revealing this waterside seafood restaurant
very popular with locals. Go soon, though; Scotty's lease is up and may be replaced by a mega chain restaurant.
Rather than take visitors to Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens, head to Pinecrest Gardens
, the former, lushly landscaped site of the Parrot Jungle. Each Sunday morning, one of the best farmer's markets
in Miami takes over the parking lot. So grab some fresh homemade bread, ceviche, and rugalah, and head inside the tropical park for a picnic.
Take visitors yearning for the beach to Key Biscayne's Crandon Park,
where cabanas are availble and affordable for day rentals, and there are other attractions like bike rentals, tiny trains, and historic lighthouses.