When Valentine's Day comes, your thoughts may turn to romance. Whether you've already found the love of your life or you're still looking, the right location can make any Miami experience more romantic.
My first date with my sweetie was at a coffee shop on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach. While that place is no more, you could do worse than spend an evening with someone you love dining, strolling and people watching on Lincoln Road.
In Miami, long walks on the beach are more than the copy for a personals ad. There are numerous spots where you can enjoy that experience, from the elevated boardwalk on Miami Beach to Crandon Park in the far end of Key Biscayne. If you're with the right person, the beach is always romantic, day or night, and walking and talking is a wonderful way to get to know someone better.
Just moved to Miami and looking for Valentine's Day ideas? Here are eight romantic things to do with your sweetheart in Miami.
1. Take a walk on the beach.
Yes, it's a cliché, but that's because it's true, and Miami has miles of beaches to share with your love. If you don't want to dip your toes in the sand, you can walk along the boardwalk in Miami Beach or the concrete Broadwalk (BROAD is correct) in Hollywood.
For romantic Miami sunsets, check out the west side of Key Biscayne. If you're looking for scenery, it's hard to beat South Pointe Park. The tip of Miami Beach has the most breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, downtown Miami and the cruise ships at the Port of Miami. The park closes at 10 p.m. but the walkway is open until 2 a.m.
2. Visit Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.
Fairchild is an 83-acre tropical paradise, fecund and lush with tropical plants and flowers from all over the world, including numerous varieties of palm trees and tropical fruit trees. You can visit during one of the many weekend festivals or come early in the morning when the world is just waking up, and it's just the two of you with the birds. Fairchild also hosts occasional musical events, and there is a café for romantic dining. If things go well, you can hold your wedding there.
3. Marvel at the Coral Castle.
This incredible stone sculpture garden was built by hand by Edward Leedskalnin, from 1921 to 1951. The Latvian immigrant, a small man who weighed about 100 pounds, carved the monument from more than 1,100 tons of coral rock. He did his work under the cover of night and, to this day, no one knows how he did it. All he would say was that he knew "the secrets of the Pyramids."
The Coral Castle was a monument to Leedskalnin's lost love. His fiancée, Agnes Scuffs, canceled their wedding the day before the two were to wed, when he was 26 and she was 16. Billy Idol's song "Sweet Sixteen," is about Leedskalnin and the Coral Castle, and the video was shot there.
4. Visit the Soundscape amphitheater.
The Soundscape amphitheater shows free movies every Wednesday night during the fall, winter and spring, and the symphony provides a free broadcast of its performances to the outdoor audience. The perfect Valentine's Day date spot, feel free to bring a blanket, your own bubbly and a picnic basket and share an evening under the stars.
5. Dance in the street in Calle Ocho.
The last Friday of every month, Miami's Calle Ocho (Southwest Eighth Street) is filled with Latin sounds and smells as bands perform on several stages, galleries stay open late and Latin American cuisine is offered for sale during Viernes Culturales (Cultural Friday).
Dancing in the street is not only allowed but expected. If you don't salsa, take a few lessons at one of Miami's Latin clubs with your beloved so you'll be ready.
6. Share the swings outside the Perez Art Museum Miami.
The new PAMM has a beautiful exterior area (dare we call it romantic?) complete with modern-art swings for adults. Culture-loving couples can also enjoy art, movies, music and other events inside the museum or stroll together in the surrounding Museum Park.
7. Visit an Italian Villa for a Moonlight Tour.
Villa Vizcaya, the winter home of James Deering, an International Harvester executive, was built from 1910 to 1922 in the style of an 18th-century Italian country villa. It is full of imported materials, art and antiques. The Moonlight Tour focuses on the formal gardens, which cover 10 acres. The setting on Biscayne Bay adds to the romance, and Vizcaya is a frequent location for weddings. There also are occasional concerts on the grounds.
8. Plan a romantic dinner at a waterfront restaurant.
For its location, Miami has surprisingly few waterfront restaurants. Nevertheless, you can find several restaurants on the water in settings that exude romance. Among the perennial favorites are the Red Fish Grill at Matheson Hammock, the Rusty Pelican in Key Biscayne and Shucker's in North Bay Village.