Coconut Grove- Hosts Miami’s best Neighborhood Business District

Coconut Grove, also known as the Grove, is the oldest continuously inhabited neighborhood of Miami. The first hotel on the South Florida mainland was built here in 1882 called the  Bay View Inn Hotel and is located at  present-day Peacock Park. Coconut Grove was annexed into Miami in 1925.  In the 1960s, Coconut Grove served as the center of South Florida’s youth countercultural movement. The Village Center, three blocks radiating from the intersection of Main, McFarland, and Grand Avenues, is home to the majority of Coconut Grove retail and restaurant businesses. Like the rest of the neighborhood, this appears to have always been a pretty stable area. Coconut Grove experienced significant growth in the 1970s & 1980s with the construction of many new office and residential towers just east of the Village Center near the waterfront. 

Urban areas where coconut could improve upon include better sidewalk and ADA infrastructure. There are few residential streets with curb cuts. This is also need for better public transit in SW Coconut Grove, affordable housing, and more retail amenities outside of the Central Village Center. Residents living in NE and SW Coconut Grove cannot walk to most Coconut Grove amenities.

Click here to view my Coconut Grove Album on Flickr


* Great racial diversity. Also decent economic and generational diversity too.
* Good access to Dwtn and decent public transit access.
* This is a very safe part of Miami.
* Very well rated schools, esp. private schools. Public school are good too but not a ton of them. Given how large the district is, schools are not always highly walkable to residents.
* Some affordable housing in Coconut Grove.
* Good array of parks type pretty well spread throughout the neighborhood.
* Excellent tree canopy.
* Culturally an excellent array of restaurants, bars, and cafes but all concentrated in the business district at Grand & McFarlane Rd. Decent # of museums and art galleries better spread through Coconut Grove. Also a cineplex and community theater here.
* Good array of retail options but the walkable ones are again concentrated at Grand & McFarlane. These include: many boutiques, clothing stores, a bookstore, several banks, desserts shops, gyms, and drug stores, a local post office, and many churches. the Mercy Hospital complex is also located here. Coconut Grove also hosts several supermarkets, many grocerias, a home depot but often in more auto centric locations.
* Pretty good modern in-fill. Some of it is bland and auto centric.
* Good amount of Office space in central Coconut Grove.
* Great urban form and streetscaping at Grand and McFarlane, decent form in the office area east of here. Grand St going west looses its form gradually with many vacant lots mixed in.  27th St is pretty auto centric. 


* Density isn’t great.
* ADA and sidewalk infrastructure not the greatest in Coconut Grove. Its great in the biz district but about 40% of residential streets have no sidewalks (esp. SW Coconut Grove), and over half have no curb cuts. Obviously ADA compliant curbs are rare.
* Good access to Dwtn and decent public transit (except in the SW Coconut Grove area).  Decent dedicated bike infrastructure.
* Due to a good number of gated communities and many dead end streets Coconut Grive doesn’t have the best connectivity.
* Rentals are rather expensive with studios and 1 beds leasing btwn 1.5K and the low 3Ks, most 2-beds btwn 2K-4K although some product leasing for even more, and 3 beds for 4K+
* For sale product is also expensive but plenty of affordable/moderately priced studios and 1-beds condos selling btwn 200K-500K, wide variety of price with 2-beds with a decent # of condos and SF selling btwn 250K-500K but plenty selling btwn 500K-1.5M, similar situation with 3 & 4  beds but even more expensive.
* Commercial uses are pretty concentrated to central Coconut Grove. Residents living in NE and SW Coconut Grove cannot walk to many retail amenities.
* Some nice historic mansions but most older architecture is blander mid-century design.
* Great pedestrian activity at Grand & McFarlane. Pretty limited outside of here.

The Miami Design District and the Buena Vista East Historic District

In this evaluation I included the Design District and Buena Vista East Historic District. This includes the area between I-195 to 48th Street and Miami Avenue to the railroad tracks.

In the 1890s, Buena Vista was a small village with many pineapple farms whose founding and growth paralleled Miami’s. During the Land Boom of the 1920s, the area was developed. Like most inner -city Miami the area fell into hard times during the 70s & 80s. Formally the Miami Design was a subdistrict for furniture and interior designers to showcase their work and was mostly a warehouse area. Miami native Craig Robins recognized the potential of the Miami Design District, and started acquiring buildings. His goal was to transform a forgotten part of Miami into a unique creative community through exceptional architecture, design and experiences.  Redevelopment began in the early 2000s. Throughout the 2000s, major public and private investments went into the Design District and by the 2010s high-end brands moved in. The district is now also home to many high end restaurants, cafes. bars, night clubs, the Institute of Contemporary Art and many art galleries. Its amazing how quickly this transformation was realized and achieved such a quality sense of place,

The Buena Vista East Historic District north to 48th street has benefited from the Design District’s revitalization with homes now selling btwn 500K-1M. Urban form has also improved along 2nd Ave. Sadly Miami Ave is still a very auto centric and a desolate Avenue. The main lack here is affordable housing. Even before the pandemic, rentals were severely limited but post pandemic single family home prices jumped 50-75% and now homes start at 500K. There is also a lack of recreational space, density needs to be improved (aka allowing residential within the design district), and some crucial neighborhood amenities are missing.

Click here to view my Flickr album on the Miami Design District


* Overall very good ADA infrastructure, except for several blocks on the east edge that don’t have sidewalks.
* Great access to dwtn, good connectivity, and solid public transit access.
* A pair of north-south dedicated bike lanes but only one dedicated bike station.
* Great economic and racial diversity. Also solid generational diversity here with a high pct of family households.
* Decent schools amenities include a couple well rates high schools and elementary schools.
* Strong dense of place in the Design District. So  in the Buena Vista Historic District.
* Good historic architecture in the Buena Vista East Historic District. Even better modern in-fill especially in the Design District.
* Great urban form within the Design District (esp. with all the pedestrian walkways), decent urban form along 2nd Ave, poor urban form along Miami Ave.
* Cultural amenities include lots of restaurants, bars, & cafes, plenty of art galleries and art museums (including the Institute of Contemporary Art), a handful of night clubs, and a community theater.
* Tons of clothing and home good retail options in the Design District but very high end. More down to earther retail include plenty of dessert joints & bakeries, several gyms, a bookstore, a publixs, a couple drug stores,  local hospital, and still walkable access to the shops at Midtown Miami.


* Density is so so.
* Some nice plazas and pedestrians streets in the Design District but not much else parkwide here.
* No community library or post office. Limited # of churches and banks.
* For sale housing is expensive and limited 2-bedrooms (sell btwn 500K-900K. No 1 bed condos available. 3 & 4 beds sell anywhere btwn 500K to the low 1Ms. Princes appear to have increase 50%-75% from pre-pandemic to post.
* Rentals (except whole house rentals) appear to have been zoned out of existence here. Only whose homes seem to rent and they are very expensive.

Wynwood- Miami’s Ultimate Art District

Wynwood historically was known as Little San Juan or El Barrio, because of its historically large Puerto Rican population. Wynwood has recently come into the national consciousness due to the spectacular amount of mural and graffiti art located between Miami and 5th Avenue and 21st & 29th streets. This has only been a “thing” since 2009 when a local developer used art murals as a way to help revitalize the neighborhood. Apparently the murals are mostly replaced after only a couple years of standing. Wynwood walls (now an outdoor art gallery) was where this also started). Taking advantage of this buzz there is now a plethora of food & beverage options, nightlife, museums, and new development rising up in Wynwood. Along the district’s northern edge is the extensive lifestyle center of Shops at Midtown Mall. There is also the Wynwood Technology District, home to various technology based companies and the co-working space, LAB Miami.

Wynwood has certainly improved from an urban standpoint since 2010. But there is still room for much improvement as many vacant and underutilized land remains, lack of bike lane infrastructure, limited park amenities, and generally expensive housing. Wynwood also lacks a real center, something that could be rectified with a new centrally located urban plaza.

Click here to view my Wynwood Album on Flickr


  • Overall ADA infrastructure is quite good in Wynwood.
  • Very good access to dwtn via all modes of transit.
  • Decent diversity esp. family diversity.
  • Culturally a wonderful array of art galleries, restaurants, bars, cafes, lots of interesting modern and pop art museums, plenty of night clubs, a couple of community theaters, and a wonderful array of art murals on countless buildings in the neighborhood.
  • Very good retail amenities too including two full sized supermarkets, many small grocerias, a couple drug stores, a target, a Marshall’s, a Nordstrom Rack, a Dick’s and several other brand name retailers at the Shops at Midtown Mall. There are also lots of boutiques, creative stores, lots of salons, tons of desserts shops & gyms, and a local post office.
  • Good array of walkable schools but some public options are rated poorly.
  • Lots of hype and buzz in Wynwood now on a national level.
  • Great urban in-fill with good form and often mixed-use.
  • Very good mix of uses throughout the district.


* Limited bike lanes throughout but good array of dedicated bike stations.
* A decent amount of rental product but expensive. Studios lease in the mid to high 2Ks, 1 beds rent btwn 2K-3Ks. 2-bed product leases btwn 2-4K. 3-beds 4-6K. Some affordable hsg in Wynwood but not a ton.
* For sale options tend expensive but not too bad. Studios and 1-beds condos sell btwn 250K-500K, 2-beds generally sell btwn 350K-800K, 3 & 4 beds are generally SF homes selling btwn 350K-650K.
* Park amenities are limited to a handful of medium sized parks.
* Still some dodgy areas but Wynwood is generally pretty safe.
* Some decent but plain mid-century architecture with the basic commer. bldgs and historic homes in the NW section of the district. But much of the historic fabric has been wiped away..
* No real center in Wynwood. There are two development clusters: Midtown Mall Mixed-use Lifestyle node and the mural art and retail node in the center of the district.
* Urban form is generally good where bldgs stand (esp. the newer infill) but plenty of surface parking and vacant lots that disrupt the urban continuity of the neighborhood. This fortunately will get better as things fill in.

Edgewater- A rapidly urbanizing district just north of Downtown Miami

While Edgewater filled in between the 1920s-1950, the district has experienced rapid urbanization over the past decades. This has lead to the replacement of much of the historic fabric with new high-rise residential towers, mixed-use construction, and new retail. To put this in perspective the neighborhood had 15K residents in 2000 and now is approaching 25K.

Some may lament the loss of the neighborhood’s historic fabric but I generally feel it was an urban improvement. The historic homes weren’t terrible architecturally significant and the neighborhood lacked good density and had rather auto centric business districts. What we are seeking with the transformation and densification of Edgewater is more vibrancy & walkability, better urban form, and more and more cultural and retail amenities. Even with these positive urban changes there are still may vacant lots and auto centric buildings to fill in. Edgewater also lacks bike lane infrastructure, and more affordable housing options. There really needs to be a push to construct more affordable housing here, but unfortunately I don’t see any signs of it.

Click here to view my Edgewater Album on Flickr


  • Great density.
  • Being just north of Dwtn, very convenient access. Public transit options are also of a high quality and plenty of dedicated bike stations.
  • Overall very good racial and economic diversity.
  • A good # of walkable schools generally with solid ratings.
  • generally a safe district.
  • Margaret Pace Park is an excellent one at Edgewater’s southern edge. A couple other decent parks around here but not much else further north.
  • While there is certainly a fair amount of bland auto centric arch. (esp. along 2nd Ave) urban in-fill is generally pretty solid.
  • Culturally Edgewater has a diverse array of restaurants & bars, plenty of cafes, several art galleries, several local museums, a drive in movie theater, and the expansive Arsht Performing Arts Center & Carnival Studio Theater and Perez Art Museum are just south of the neighborhoods boundaries. Many Dwtn and Wynwood cultural amenities are also nearby.
  • Retail amenities include several Supermarkets & drug stores, a good # of boutiques and creative stores, plenty of gyms, banks and dessert shops, several churches, an Ace Hardware, and Target is walkable to many residents just over the neighborhood line in Wynwood.”


  • No really bike lanes.
  • For sale also ends to be expensive but decent moderate options oo. Many Studio & 1 bed condos selling btwn 100K-400Ks. Luxury 1-beds sell for more. Significant diversity w/ 2 beds selling anywhere btwn 200Ks-1M depending on condition and size of condo. Similar situation with 3-beds with price point ranging from 450K- mid 1 Ms. 4 & 5 beds are more expensive with many homes selling in the Millions.
  • Lots of rental product but very expensive. Studios lease in the low to mid 2Ks, 1 & beds rent btwn 2K-3Ks. 2-bed product leases btwn 3-5K. 3-beds 4-6K but some apts are even pricier.
  • Historic architecture limited to a sprinkling of remaining homes and small apts. Nothing spectacular and no historic district here.
  • Better urban massing than the Upper East Side but certainly plenty of Vacant Lots and autocentric areas along 2nd Ave and Biscayne Blvd.
  • No walkable post office or library in the neighborhood.”

Upper East Side- Home to Miami MiMo Architecture and a Solid Urban District

The Upper East Side is primarily a residential neighborhood of single family homes from the 1920s-1960s and many high rise residential towers clustered along the bay with Biscayne Boulevard running along the center of the neighborhood. There are two unique historic styles here: Miami Modern (MiMo) architecture along Biscayne Boulevard (mid-century hotels and condos), and the 1920s-1940s Mediterranean and Art Deco styles found in the Morningside Historic District.

Like much of urban Miami, the Upper East side fell on hard times during the 60s & 70s but had a major resurgence in the 90s and 2000s starting with the Morningside subdistrict. The area is now home to a wide variety of price points and housing styles. Upper Eastside also has solid park amenities, diverse ethnic restaurants and interesting cafes, stylish boutiques and some creative stores, lots of art galleries, and great racial and economic diversity.

Very an urban perspective quality urban form and streetscaping is spotty along the main commercial thorofare of Biscayne Blvd with lots of autocentric stretches, ADA infrastructure is hit or miss, density is pretty low leading to limited pedestrian activity, bike lanes are missing, and about 1/3 of the district is within a gated community. Fortunately these are all areas that can be fixed and I anticipate will improve as the neighborhood densifies and fills in.

Click here to view my Upper East Side Album on Flickr


  • Incredible racial diversity. It doesn’t get much better than this in America.
  • Economic diversity is also near the ideal.
  • Decent family and age diversity.
  • Thee appears to be a decent amount of dedicated affordable units here. Medium rent is $1,200.
  • Several decent walkable schools within or on the western border of the Upper East Side.
  • Solid Park amenities with Morningside Park topping the list.
  • Excellent Tree Cover especially in the Morningside subdistrict.
  • Some really cool Mid-Century Hotels still line Biscayne Blvd and the gated community of Morningside has some wonderful 1920s-1930s homes but much of the neighborhood was blander 1930s-1950 architecture.
  • In-fill architecture is a mix of auto centric and pretty decent urban Apartments and Mix-use bldgs. Lots of high rise towers as well.
  • Culturally a good array of very diverse restaurants, lots of cafes and dessert spots, a couple community theaters, plenty of art galleries, a couple of local museums.
  • Generally pretty safe district with some sketchy pockets.


  • Roads are generally gridded and connected but 1/3 of all residential areas are within gated communities, providing only limited access to the public.
  • Decent dedicated bike coverage but very limited bike lane coverage.
  • Rentals are generally pretty expensive but some modest apts still available with some studios leasing around 1K. 1 & beds rent btwn 1.5K-3K. 3-bed product is pretty limited and expensive leasing anywhere btwn 3K-6K. Rentals are generally prohibited im the gated communities.
  • For sale also ends to be expensive but decent moderate options oo. Many Studio & 1 bed condos selling btwn 100K-300Ks. Luxury 1-beds sell for more. Significant diversity w/ 2 beds selling anywhere btwn 200Ks-800Ks depending if condo or SF home. Similar situation with 3-beds with price point ranging from 300K- low 1 Ms.4 & 5 beds are more expensive with many homes selling in the Millions.
  • Hit or miss with ADA current ramps but most areas have at least decent sidewalks.
  • Urban form is so . Biscayne is very much a mixed bag with clumps of decent biz clusters connected by autocentric stretches.
  • Okay retail amenities including a supermarket, a couple drug stores, a couple banks, a good # of boutiques & home good stores, . There is also a local library branch and the really cool Ironside complex but no post office.
  • Not great pedestrian activity.