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 email@example.com.
OUR “BEST OF” BOARD OF ADVISORS:
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 Golf Course
The Biltmore Golf Course
1210 Anastasia Ave.
With its recent renovations, the Biltmore is more magnificent than ever and welcoming for beginners as well as advanced players. Stunning views, and an ambiance that only a hundred years of history can provide. Plus, it’s home to the world-class Jim McLean Golf School.
Best Golf Bargain
Granada Golf Course
2001 Granada Blvd.
This public golf course is also the de-facto Central Park of Coral Gables. It’s also in great shape for a public course, and a great place to start your golfing career. And it’s within walking distance of downtown Coral Gables. Add to that discounts for residents and you have a winner.
Best Outdoor Adventure
Canoeing the Coral Gables Waterway
Miami Eco Adventures
Taking a canoe up the Coral Gables Waterway opens a secret world, one filled with manatees, alligators, ospreys, cormorants, kingfishers, and Egyptian geese, all surviving – and thriving– in the midst of the city. Instructors offer instruction to novices but paddling a two-person canoe in a protected waterway is easier than you think.
Best Dog Walking
Equipaws Pet Services
The philsophy here is that “a tired dog is a happy, well-behaved dog.” Not only will Equipaws take poochie for a daily walk, they’ll take him (or her) for a daily run. So, get your pet fit for the next 5K, or just break the tedium, while you’re putting in a long day.
Best Place to Walk Your Dog on a Leash
2001 Granada Blvd.
While you shouldn’t walk across the fairways, especially during the day when players are smacking balls from the tees to the greens, even then a walk around the perimeter of the course is a refreshing exercise in a vast, open space. This is the Central Park of the Gables, after all.
Best Live Sporting Event to Watch
UM Baseball Games
Mark Light Stadium
6201 San Amaro Drive
There is nothing quite as much fun as watching a UM baseball game at home. The crowd alone is worth it. Overheard at the game: “Hey Umpire! Are you blind? You must be, because I saw your wife!” And everyone knows that the world’s best milk shakes are on tap here.
Equinox Coral Gables
370 San Lorenzo (The Shops)
Does luxury help you workout? We think so. Equinox is the in-style place for all things fitness: A cycling studio, a Pilates studio, a yoga studio, filtered water, saunas, and steam rooms. Plus, they offer classes in high-intensity boxing and martial arts, so you can work out your frustrations. Or just work out.
Best Place to Bicycle
Old Cutler Road
It’s all about the shade and trees and having a dedicated bike lane. Riding down Old Cutler is like biking through a forest with a tarmac floor.
Best Place to Windsurf
Matheson Hammock Park
9610 Old Cutler Rd.
You’re never going to be able to surf in the Gables, but on most days, there is enough of a Bay breeze at Matheson Hammock Park to send you flying. They call it kite surfing here, and the folks at Coral Gables Adventure Sports will show you how it’s done.
Best Yoga Studio
247 Malaga Ave.
Prana is the Sanskrit word for breath, or the life force, and it is through the control of breathing that stress is released. That is the philosophy here, that manipulation of breath can release the negative and create positive energy. It’s also a beautiful space, of wooden floors and bamboo walls, with a lovely vibration.
Best Tennis Courts
Biltmore Tennis Courts
1150 Anastasia Ave.
The ten hard courts here are well maintained, lit at night, with shaded spots for changeovers and brief breaks. What makes it glamorous is the historic backdrop. You play in the shadow of history.
Best Summer Cool Off
2701 De Soto Blvd.
Everyone knows that the water for the Venetian Pool is ice cold, drained each night and then refilled from the aquifer. But in the summer, it gets crazy with kids. The secret is to wait until after 4 pm, when the camp kids leave for the day. Then, bliss.