All across America are wealthy suburbs, where the houses are big and new and designed to resemble European abodes. But Coral Gables, called the City Beautiful, was the first. For in the posh neighborhood, you’ll see Italianate villas, Mediterranean mansion, mini-Alhambras, and cookie-cutter Cordobas, shaded and lovely under lving walls of banyan grove and ficus copse.
After you’ve spent some time driving around looking at all the beautiful homes, head up Granada Boulevard to Anastasia Avenue to marvel at the palatial landmark Biltmore Hotel. Then zip up the diagonal Desoto Boulevard, past the gurgling stone fountain of DeSoto Plaza to the perfectly sculpted landscaping, waterfalls, palm groves, and shaded pavilions of Venetian Pool. For a little respite, head east past wedding-cake houses and an organic pavilion of banyan branches to Miracle Mile, a sparkling stretch of the Gables’ finest shopping outlets.
To the south is the University of Miami, where the gorgeous grounds and its student body inject a nice dose of punky youth into this aristocratic neighborhood. Art lovers should stop at the Lowe Art Museum to see the stunning collection of pre-Columbia and Mesoamerican art. The museum also has a lovely collection of Renaissance and Baroque art.