Posted September 26, 2014
By MELISSA OSTROFF
On a typical Saturday afternoon in downtown Miami, it is commonplace to see tourists scurrying around, parents clutching the hands of their children and college students with their digital cameras snapping photos at everything in sight.
However, just past this melting pot of people and buildings stands an oasis of calm: Bayfront Park. Although the park is known for wild events such as Ultra Music Festival, most of the time the park can be a great escape from the hectic streets of downtown Miami.
Stepping onto the clean path at the entrance of the park is like entering a different world. There is hardly anyone walking around, except for a few lone walkers enjoying the peace and quiet. The park has perfectly manicured lawns and bright, white sidewalks.
In the center, there is a vibrant, old-fashioned ice-cream truck that is playing a catchy song, attracting a few of the park-goers. In a playground within the park, parents and children fly up and down on seesaws and go down the slide, which is still wet from a recent rain.
A little boy laughs as his mom awkwardly tries to sit on one of the rocking animals. Another boy, who is about 10, skateboards down the sidewalk. Already an experienced skateboarder, the boy says that he enjoys coming to the park every weekend to practice his skills.
Although the playground and the ice cream truck are enticing, most of the park goers said that their biggest reason for coming to the park was the stunning views. Although the water is choppy and grey with a gloomy, overcast sky, it is still absolutely beautiful in a haunting sort of way. Small boats zoom through every now and then, the only reminder that the picturesque scene is not actually a photograph.
Park-goers can pretend they are at the beach by sitting in rocking chairs among palm trees and sand. The only difference between this and an actual beach is the rocky edge, creating a stark distance between the land and the sea. Everyone there seems to be in their own little world, forgetting that they are in the middle of a major metropolitan city.
Bayside Marketplace is the exact opposite of the park; there are people everywhere and lots of vendors selling handmade hats, jewelry and boat tours. There are lots of outdoor restaurants and bars, however most of them are still empty because of the bad weather.
The mall has brand name stores, such as Toms and Guess, and touristy shops. There is also an amphitheater for monthly concerts and theater-type productions. Although there isn’t anyone playing today, a woman is dancing by herself for fun, even though nobody is paying attention to her. The main attraction for children in the mall is the carousel. The parents stand behind the bars, taking pictures and videos as their children whiz by, laughing and singing along to the music.
There is a food court on the second floor of the mall with restaurants that sell lots of meat entrees and bakery items such as ice cream. However, there are also many cafes and restaurants in the neighborhood, and many are just across the street from the park and marketplace. Rain or shine, Bayfront Park, Bayside Marketplace and the surrounding area is a place where tourists and locals come together, representing the melting pot that is Miami.
If You Go
- Tours: various boat rides (some are for sightseeing and others are novelty, such as a cigar boat or a pirate ship), there are also water taxis that go to South Beach, as well Segway and bus tours.
- Food: A good café to check out is D’oro Café, which has fresh and authentic Italian food (17 NE 3rd Ave., Miami, Fla. 33131)
- Parking: limited and paid, there is a parking attendant station on Biscayne Bay that will direct you. Public transportation is a better option.
- Parking fees: 1 hour ($7), 2 hours ($9), 3 hours ($10), 8 hours ($12), 10 hours ($15), Daily max ($20)
- Facilities: There are outdoor restrooms in the park and indoor restrooms in the mall.
- Other Events: Free yoga in the park every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday, The Flying Trapeze School, See www.bayfrontparkmiami.com/pages/events.html for a full list of events.
- Park address: 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Fla. 33132.
- Mall Info: 401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Fla. 33132-1924, www.baysidemarketplace.com.
- Metro Mover/Metro Rail: Find stops and accurate train arrival times at www.miamidade.gov/transit.