Friday, March 12, 2010

The 'Hood- Downtown Miami

The ‘Hood – Downtown Miami This post has been entered into the GranTourismo-Home Away Writing competition. and The word “Miami” conjures up images of Art Deco buildings, pink flamingos, white beaches with bikini clad beauties, suntanned people on roller blades ‘walking’ their pet dogs along Ocean Drive and jumping night clubs. All true, but a different side where you really meet and mingle with Miamians lies in my own ‘hood which is downtown Miami. For starters, that’s where the Miami River flows and enters into Biscayne Bay. Ask any tourist and most of them don’t even know that Miami has a river. It’s an important and very busy waterway and nothing better than to go on a boat trip with Dr. George. These trips can only be booked through the Historical Museum of Southern Florida ( and Dr. George is a true Miamian and historian who, like nobody else, explains the marvelous sites along the river. From the sacred Tequesta burial site, the Miami Circle close to Biscayne Bay to old inns and mansions, the river is steeped in history. Miami’s founding fathers and mothers, like William Brickell and Julia Tuttle all owned properties along the river and Dr. George doesn’t miss out on stories like the one about Gertie Walsh’s famous brothel and, on a more serious note, about Tent City where in 1980 many Cuban refugees camped out after they came across. Big yachts and small sailboats are docked everywhere and you can get a glimpse of the E.G. Sewell Park and its royal palms. The tour starts and ends in the Marina of Bayside Market Place. Head back along Flagler street, walk over the drawbridge of 1st Avenue and point your feet towards Mary Brickell Village. This picturesque mixture of shops, restaurants, art galleries, green zones, fountains and cafes nestles comfortably in the shadow of the towering high rises of the Financial District. And that’s where the Miami business men, office workers and residents hang out. Mingle with them at lunchtime or celebrate and relax in the evening. Best of all is however Tobacco Road, Miami’s oldest pub located nearby. Once upon a time, tobacco ships from Cuba used to dock and unload there and the sailors and stevedores needed hearty sustenance. That tradition is kept on at the pub/restaurant which offers specials of steak or seafood on alternating days. At night, it gets even better. Live music makes the place hop. Bikers show off their incredible rides, Miamians come to eat, drink, dance and simply have a good time until 2am. On weekends, the parking lot is converted into an outdoor market with stalls selling clothes, jewelry and paintings. A clairvoyant will tell you your future and you will go home having made a few new friends and heard some outrageous tales.


  1. Interesting post! Good luck!

  2. Nice post!

    Can you please link to from your message saying "this post has been entered into..." etc.

    That way it shows up as a "trackback" on our post, so we have a nice list of entries, and it makes it easier for the judges to find the posts and do their job.

    Also, Terry and I just tried joining Google Connect and it was easy, took seconds - what you need to do is join from the main page, not from the actual Competition post page. Give it a shot and let us know how you go.

    Thanks for entering!

  3. Interesting - I know a couple of Cubans who actually were part of Tent City. I have been invited to Miami often by these friends - that boat ride would be something I would love to do if I ever make it there.

  4. My apologies. I have provided you with the incorrect advice above - in order for your post to appear in the list of 'trackbacks' with the other entries, we need you to link to our competition post:

    Sorry about that! Thanks & Good luck!

  5. Inka,
    Another great post with booze and food !
    I'll follow the directions and see if they let foreigners vote for ya !


  6. April Romo de VivarMarch 17, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    When I was visiting Miami with my daughter, we hung out around the Hood that you mention.

    It was lovely and colorful and varied enough to keep us constantly moving forward exclaiming over some new found this or that.

    Your story reminded me of that time. Lovely capture of a lovely Hood. And, I like that you don't just do One Kind of reporting, but visit many places which might offer interest to different people. Thanks,

  7. Wow, Inka, I knew none of this. I've never been to Miami before either, though. Thanks for writing this!


  8. I LOVE Miami!!! Awesome post. :)

  9. You know a lot about Miami and it shows.

  10. Well done, well written article. You opened my eyes on Miami, I was much more of the opinion of your opening paragraph. Good luck in the comp

  11. i'll need to head there and check this out - enticing!

  12. Just thought I should let you know that this month Grantourismo is running a new competition with the theme 'Food and Travel', so if you have a memorable food experience from your travels please feel free to share it with us. We'd love to hear from you again!

  13. We went to the Tobacco Road on my trip to Miami last week and it was incredible. Loved the atmosphere and their St. Patrick's party rocked. There is a great restaurant just a couple doors down called the River and I highly recommend it.