One part Medici, one part Howard Hearst and one part Scarface, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a lavish escapist fantasy on the shores of Biscayne Bay in the heart of the city. Completed in 1921, the house and gardens were the work of Chicago industrialist James Deering. Like many of the American super-rich of the time, Deering took inspiration from the grand houses of Europe… then bought all their art and furniture. Unlike many of America’s super-rich, however, Deering built a home that was sensitive to the subtropical Miami climate and encouraged the use of indigenous plants. The result is a home that is now a National Historic Landmark with some of the most beautiful gardens in America. Crammed with Italian art and furniture, the collections of Vizcaya are worth a look but it’s the gardens that are the real knockout. A walk through the newly restored orchidarium is a botanical fairytale that will leave you happy ever after.
Coconut Grove lies just south of Downtown Miami on the Biscane Bay seafront. It’s got a bit of a bohemian vibe and is more laid-back than South Beach, but is still bustling with cafes, boutiques and college bars.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami | + 1 305 250 9133
Images: Bill Summer