|Coconut Grove, or just the Grove, as it is known to locals, is the oldest residential neighborhood in Miami. Despite this residential history, the neighborhood is a popular tourist spot, mostly due to the large number of cultural events and festivals held there every year.|
About Coconut Grove
The biggest of these festivals is the Coconut Grove Arts Festival. This three day event takes place over President’s Day Weekend and attracts about 120,000 people every year. It is South Florida’s most successful arts festival.
Other notable events include the King Mango Strut, which takes place on the last Saturday of December. This first Strut was held in 1982 when the Mango Marching Band was denied entry into the Orange Bowl Parade. The Strut now parodies local and national news, targeting everything from the Miami debt crisis to the voting debacle that took place in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.
Every April there is a food and wine festival known as the Great Taste of the Grove. Throughout the year the restaurants and open air cafes of Coconut Grove serve the best food and drinks in the area. The nightlife is fast paced and exciting, attracting students from the University of Miami and Florida International University.
Coconut Grove was originally settled by immigrants, including a large Bahamian population. This history is celebrated every June with a Caribbean Carnival. Food and music play large roles in the carnival and all aspects of Bahamian culture are celebrated.
The Grove is a popular shopping destination, with many little shops and boutiques offering unique merchandise. There are also two large open air malls, the CocoWalk and Streets of Mayfair. In addition to thirty shops, CocoWalk also includes multiple restaurants and a movie theater.
The first Saturday of every month in the Grove includes fashion, music, and art. First Saturday includes free exhibits, street shows and live music. It is a culturally packed night that is free to the public and a great way to experience all that the Grove has to offer.
There are free walking tours of the area’s most historic sites on every Saturday from January through March. The second and fourth Saturdays are walking tours hosted by Dr. Paul George, who is a professor of history. Frank Schena is an urban naturalist and leads bike tours on the first and third Saturdays. These tours are free, but participants must bring their own bikes.