Introduction to Coral Gables, Florida
The Florida city of Coral Gables, situated just a few miles southwest of Miami, is part of Miami-Dade County. Incorporated in 1925, Coral Gables was created as a fully-planned community by George Merrick, who envisioned an upscale Miami suburb with large elements of Mediterranean-style architecture to highlight the region's Spanish influence. Since that time, Coral Gables has thrived, experiencing continuous growth over the past several decades to become an affluent present-day city well known for its unique shops, art galleries, restaurants, and live theater performances.
Coral Gables is home to the University of Miami, one of the nation's top academic and athletic institutions. The city is served by Miami International Airport, located only four miles away.
Places of Interest in Coral Gables
Only a short drive from downtown Miami, Coral Gables offers plenty to do. Fans of Mediterranean architecture should make it a point to visit Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a National Historic Landmark built by agricultural industrialist James Deering in the early 1900s. The European-inspired estate includes a Main House looking much as it did when it was built, ten acres of gardens, and an historic village. The Biltmore Hotel, a monument to the architectural style envisioned by the city's founder, is also unchanged from when it was built in the early 1900s. Coral Gables City Hall is another impressive building, with a distinctive portico and beautiful wall murals. Other cultural sites include the Coral Gables Merrick House, Casa Bacardi, and the Lowe Art Museum.
The Venetian Pool, a popular local attraction built in 1923 from a coral rock quarry and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is spring-fed and surrounded by waterfalls, grottos, and coral caves. The Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden features tropical plants, flowers, and trails, as well as educational programs and shows. Other attractions include the Coral Way scenic drive, the DeSoto Fountain, the John C. Gifford Arboretum, Matheson Hammock Park, and the Jerry Herman Ring Theatre. Shopping and dining in Coral Gables are first-rate. The Miracle Mile and the Village of Merrick Park both offer world-class boutiques, galleries, antique shopping, and world-class dining options.
Sports fans in Coral Gables have the choice of watching first-rate collegiate athletics right in their own backyard, or traveling the very short distance to Miami to witness some major league professional action. The University of Miami is known for its highly successful athletic programs, its Hurricanes having won the College Baseball World Series four times (1982, 1985, 1999 and 2001) and the NCAA national football championship five times (1983, 1987, 1989, 1991 and 2001). Two of college football's Heisman Trophy winners have graduated from the University of Miami, and three of its former players are now enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
If it's pro sports you like, then Miami fills the bill nicely. The National Basketball Association's Miami Heat play there, as do the National Football League's Dolphins. Major League Baseball fans can cheer on the Florida Marlins and hockey aficionados can watch the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League. Horseracing fans can visit two well-known tracks: Calder Race Course and Gulfstream Park.
Last but not least, if there is one sport predominantly associated with Coral Gables, it would be golf. The Biltmore Golf Course, one of many is the city, is world known and home to several Professional Golfers Association (PGA) Tour events.