Posted Sept. 24, 2012
By MALEANA DAVIS
MIAMI, Fla. — Making a trip to Miami with no set plans or a schedule can still be fun and enjoyable. Maybe visitors don’t want to head to crowded beaches or sit in traffic on their way there, but instead want to experience a fun, outdoor experience without all the extra hassle.
They can visit Bayside Marketplace and soak in all the food, shops, and attractions that it has to over.
Whether visitors want to shop, eat, or take a boat ride, Bayside Marketplace has everything a visitor is looking for to be entertained.
With more than 100 shops and numerous eateries, visitors will find something the whole family will enjoy. Instead of heading all the way to South Beach or travel to Dadeland and Aventura Mall, tourists can experience all Miami has to offer, such as the shopping, food, and amazing water views, in one beautiful and convenient location.
Before tourists can even step foot inside Bayside, they can see the name spelled out in giant light blue letters outside of the parking garage to let them know they are headed in the right direction. While it doesn’t have tall skylines like the rest of the buildings downtown, the signs are definitely visible to walkers and drivers so they know they are in the correct area.
Walking into Bayside, there is another sign above with its name, but it’s not quite as large as the one outside, yet it’s still in the bright blue color. One of the first thing visitors notice is the huge mangrove tree to their right. More than 100 years old, this tree sets the theme for Bayside Marketplace, as it is very tropical using an open air design with more trees throughout. Bayside designers incorporated the trees within the mall as everything is built around them.
After taking pictures with the beautiful mangrove tree, visitors spot three to four colorful birds that could possibly be parrots perched on a ledge at a vendor cart. Before they can even realize that those are living, breathing parrots, a friendly face will most likely come up to them and ask if they want to hold the parrot.
Hopefully they are quick to respond because, before they know it, someone will be bringing the parrot close to them so they can convince them to just hold one. This is popular with young kids, as a mother was showing anyone that would look at a photo of her smiling son with one of the color birds. Not only are there parrots at this stand, but also a very large yellow snake and a giant lizard. Yet, don’t pull out the camera quite yet, as you have to pay for a photo of or with one of these animals.
As visitors keep walking they are greeted with an amazing view of Biscayne Bay directly in front of them. Bayside has a marina that is home to numerous boats and yachts and makes for a beautiful background to any photo.
This certain part of the bay is also where visitors spot their first opportunity for cruises and boat rides. This location is home to the Island Queen cruises, including the Bayside Blaster, which Consuelo Correa, a tour adviser at Bayside who has been working there for 18 years, swears is the most popular attraction.
The Bayside Blaster is a 90-minute cruise, which takes visitors to see amazing coastal sites, including Millionaire’s Row, the beautiful mansions of the rich and the famous.
If visitors aren’t too excited about a trip on the water, there is still plenty more to do. To the right of Island Queen’s ticket booth is Bayside’s stage, which offers live music everyday. From 2 to 6 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m., visitors can enjoy the sounds of a live performer or band while they enjoy a drink or nice a meal.
During the day, when a performer isn’t on stage, visitors are still relaxing nearby. With many tables and umbrellas, visitors are usually eating, talking or just enjoying the weather and the view. There was even a group of people playing with a deck of cards at one of the tables. As anyone visiting can see, Bayside isn’t just a tourist destination, but also a place for the locals to just hang out.
“Everyday is different,” Correa said.
As visitors continue to explore Bayside, they will see all the shops and restaurants. The first shops visitors will see on the first floor are targeted towards tourists, as every piece of clothing, magnet or shot glass has Miami written all over it.
Whether you’re looking for a pair of shoes or a bright pink wig, Bayside has everything you could want or need. As Miami is known for their rich and flashy lifestyle, the store Art by God offers numerous, but very expensive pieces to decorate any home. The store offers huge items such as a life-sized stuffed bear that costs more than $11,000. Bayside has something for everyone. The second floor offers a food court and more well known shops such as Champs Sporting Goods and GNC. Bayside is continuing to expand as new store is preparing to open soon upstairs.
If visitors arrive hungry, there are about 25 restaurants, outdoor cafes, and bars from which to choose, including chains and small local eateries. Some can enjoy the disco lights and dance floor at the Mambo Café at night, or head over to Off the Hookah that has different drink specials on different nights with outdoor seating to enjoy the spectacular view. With many different bars throughout, there isn’t a shortage of places to watch the Miami Heat game or any other sport, if the game is sold out. Yet, on Miami Heat home game days, Correa said Bayside is a little less crowded.
“When they’re playing, everyone is over there,” she said, pointing in the direction of the American Airlines Arena, home of the team, next door.
Young children can enjoy Bayside as well, besides just taking a picture with the animals. It offers a Disney Store, which would be any kids dream, as well as the Hard Rock Café, which asks everyone walking in to take a rock star styled picture including drum sticks and a guitar as props.
Bubba Gump, which is located at the front of Bayside, is a fun restaurant as you flip two license plates if you want the waiter to stop or keep going if you don’t need anything. They also have a gift shop for visitors to pick of souvenirs.
Bayside is a good time for anyone, young or old, local or visiting. It offers so many things to do; anyone could spend their whole day there.
IF YOU GO
- Bayside is open Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays – Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Address: 401 Biscayne Blvd., R106, Miami, Fla., 33132.
- Website: https://www.baysidemarketplace.com.
- Parking: Bayside Parking Garage as well as meter parking across the street.
- Other services include ATMs, lost and found, taxi services, weekend valet parking, bike rental, and wheelchair rental.
- Visiting by car: Coming from Coral Gables, take U.S. 1 north and exit toward Brickell Avenue, then turn right onto Biscayne Boulevard Way and Bayside Marketplace will be on the right.
- Visiting by main transit: Take the Metro north to the Government Center Station and walk 0.5 miles to Bayside Marketplace.