Best Arts and Entertainment in Coral Gables 2021

Welcome To Our Annual Best Of The Gables Issue

For our 2021 foray into the finest our city offers, we decided to search for the best in 120 categories of Food & Drink, Shopping & Retail, Arts & Entertainment, Sports & Recreation, and Architecture & Public Places. Naturally, since Coral Gables is nothing if not a moveable feast, almost half of our BEST OF choices are for Food & Drink.
To produce this monumental probe into what makes living in Coral Gables so spectacular, we enlisted the help of 38 local luminaries, in addition to what our staff could discern through diligently traversing the city at all hours of the day and night. You may agree or disagree with our determinations, but we think this is a worthy look at some of the best things Coral Gables has to offer. If you would like to offer your own take on THE BEST, please reach out to

Patrick Alexander, author & lecturer; John Allen, Coral Gables Museum; Veronica Villegas Baldwin, Kreps PR; Greg Barnes, Bill Ussery Motors; Bradley Barreto, Barreto Group; Rodney Barreto, Barreto Group; Terre Bernace, Shelton & Steward; Bill Bonn, philanthropist; Karelia Carbonell, historic preservationist; CL Conroy, Conroy Martinez; Ray Corral, The Mosaicist; Meg Daley, The Underline; Sissy DeMaria, Cultivate PR; Swanee DiMare, philanthropist; Wayne Eldred, Outlier Institute; Danny Guiteras, The Globe; Sara Hernandez, First Citizens Bank; Jill Hornick, Jae’s Jewelers; Rishi Kapoor, Location Ventures; Ben Mollere, Baptist Health; Patrick O’Connell, BHHS/EWM; John O’Rourke, First American Bank; Jose Ortega, Maven Realty; Silvia Ortiz, Americas Collection; Judy Mangasarian, Coral Gables Garden Club; Virginia Miller, Art Space; Tony Newell, Resorcity; Julian Perez, Coral Gables Economic Development Department; Kim Rodriguez, personal shopper; Patricia San Pedro, Frost School of Music; Marc Schwarzberg, Maven Realty; Don Slesnick, Slesnick & Casey, LLP; Mary Snow, Coral Gables Community Foundation; Christopher Spuches, Agentis; Venny Torre, Torre Companies; Mark Trowbridge, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce; Francesca Valdes, Retail Strategist, City of Coral Gables; Jose Valdes-Fauli, retired banker; Jeffrey Wolfe, Wolfe’s Wines.

Best Saturday Night Jazz 

The Globe

377 Alhambra Circle

Three cheers to Danny and Lorraine Guiteras for keeping this local institution going for more than two decades. Top jazz trios and quartets, curated by musical director Rodolfo Zuniga, in a Euro style café and bar with good food. And you thought there were no hip places in Coral Gables! 

Best Place For A First Date

Outside On Giralda Plaza

Seriously, at any outdoor café. Then you aren’t enclosed, staring at each other in some restau- rant booth wondering what to say. Here there are plenty of distractions from people walking by – and his or her observations about the human parade can be revelatory. Also an easy after date walk. 

Best Theater Experience 

Actor’s Playhouse

Actor’s Playhouse 

280 Miracle Mile

For live theater, the indominable Barbara Stein has taken Actors Playhouse to a new level year after year. After having gone dark for the pandemic, get ready for big stage razzle-dazzle, or for their mezzanine-floor stage, where you become immersed, and feel you’re part of, what’s taking place just yards in front of you. 

Best Karaoke 

Titanic Brewery 

5813 Ponce De Leon Blvd.

The music is finally back at this brew house on the edge of the University of Miami campus, only on Sunday nights so far. But there is nothing like belting out a soulful version of Last Dance by Donna Summer. Or was that Brick House by the Commodores? 

Best Place To Take An Out-of-Towner

Fairchild Botanic Tropical Garden

10901 Old Cutler Road

This assumes your guest is not from South Florida, but from some Northern clime, and does not understand what it means to live in a semi-tropical environment. In which case, the flora of rare palms, cycads, flowering trees, and vines – not to mention the butterfly house – will blow their minds. 

Best Flamenco 

Best Arts and Entertainment - La Taberna Giralda

La Taberna Giralda

254 Giralda Ave.

Maybe it’s because it feels like you’re in a neighborhood hangout in Salamanca, but the Flamenco at La Taberna feels as natural as a folksinger in a coffee house. It’s like part of the fabric of Thursday and Saturday nights, rather than something exceptional. Which it is. 

Best Movie House 

Coral Gables Art Cinema 

260 Aragon Ave.

Usually, it takes a massive city like New York to support a film house that shows independent or foreign films you won’t find elsewhere. Intimate, with 140 seats, they also show period films from Hollywood’s golden age and presentations from the British stage, as well as some of the current blockbusters. 

Best Place to Dance 

Calle 23

230 Miracle Mile

This is the kind of scene that was simply erased during the pandemic – a loud, noisy, fun place to crowd in together and lose yourself dancing to the sound a Cuban band. Named for the famous avenue in Havana, Calle 23 goes live every Friday and Saturday night. Salsa anyone? 

Best Place to Learn Ballroom Dancing 

Fred Astaire Dance Studio 

45 Alhambra Plaza

World Champion Ballroom Dance partners and husband/wife team Vladimir and Vera Kosarev opened Fred Astaire Coral Gables ten years ago. Since then, they’ve built a community of ballroom dancers that compete and hold monthly dance parties. They won’t even ask you who Fred Astaire was. 

Best Art Gallery 

Best Arts and Entertainment - Cernuda Arte

Cernuda Arte 

3155 Ponce De Leon Blvd.

If you are in the market for Cuban art, nothing else comes close to the two buildings that make up this amazing showcase of fine art. Even if you are not in the market, it is worth a visit here, which proprietor Ramon Cernuda also uses to showcase museum quality pieces for public viewing. 

Best Public Art 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream 

Balboa Plaza 

In Balboa Plaza, a triangular park just south of the Granada Golf Course, sits a giant 30-foot oolitic stone sofa at the base of a massive banyan tree. Named “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” it was installed – along with oversized lamps – two years ago by MG Developer. Want to feel like a child again? Sit there. 

Best Family- Oriented Event 

The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting 

City Hall 

Okay, so it’s not the lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center in New York City. But for Coral Gables, not much beats the happy faces of kids playing in Santa’s Park in front of City Hall when the large Christmas tree goes live. 

Best Grown Up Festival 


Ponce Circle Park O 

The Chamber of Commerce’s annual event in Ponce de Leon Park, where hungry adults stuff themselves with burgers and beer, creates a smokey environment roughly equivalent to one of rings in Dante’s Inferno. This year’s November event will take place on Alhambra Circle, a beef block party for the tenth year. 

Best Art Festival 

Best Arts and Entertainment - Illuminate.


Downtown Coral Gables 

It came during the pandemic, a great relief for those who had been cooped up for so long. And it was free and accessible to all. Next year’s festival of light promises to be much bigger and brighter, but it’s first round in January won the hearts of many a Gableite.