In the late 1800s, Miami was born on the riverbank where some of Miami’s most stunning high-rises stand today. Julia Tuttle, a business savvy widow from Ohio, owned land along the river’s swampy shores and had a vision for a great city. Tuttle was responsible, in part, for convincing railroad magnate Henry Flagler to extend the tracks down from Palm Beach to a miltary settlement called Fort Dallas.
Miami would grow from these humble beginnings and downtown would remain a core urban center until after World War II, when city-dwellers migrated to expanding suburbs out west.
Today, downtown is making a comeback as the ideal place to live, work and play. Condominiums, office buildings, restaurants, lounges, clubs, a bayside park, plus a convenient electrical rail system — all make up a neighborhood boosted by world-class sports and entertainment venues. The American Airlines Arena is home to the Miami Heat and stage to many top pop music performers. The Arsht Center, a performing arts complex, features intimate black box theater plus magnificent ballet and opera houses.
Downtown also boasts plenty of retail — from mom and pop shops, to name brands at Bayside Marketplace to the historic ten-story Seybold Building — the second largest jewelry center in the country, selling fine pieces in gold, silver as well as diamonds and gems.
Culture abounds in downtown Miami.
Numerous sculptures are part of downtown’s Art in Public Spaces program. The paved walk at the mouth of the river features sculptures and sketches by Miami-based Latin and Caribbean artists. The walk leads to Bayfront Park, which hosts outdoor music concerts in a amphitheater flanked by a spacious lawn.
On Flagler Street, Gusman Center (formerly known as the Olympia Theater) is a 1920′s restored architectural gem in the Moorish style and features performances from lyric opera to independent movies.
Museum Park, currently under construction, will be the future home for the Miami Science Museum, which is currently located near Brickell. The Miami Museum of Art, located in downtown’s Cultural Center Plaza, will also move to Museum Park.
The Cultural Center Plaza is home to the main branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library and HistoryMiami – a museum, an education, archives and research center as well as a South Florida folklife center. The premier institution offers many programs, including children’s summer camps, a monthly wine happy hour for local professionals and the distinguished Miami International Map Fair, which attracts antiquarian map collectors from around the world.
Downtown Miami is also headquarters for the Miami-Dade College, considered one of the best in the country. The Wolfson Campus features myriad undergraduate and continuing education courses, a fine arts school for high school and college students, as well as art gallery and performances events.
The streets adjacent to the campus close off every November for the Miami Book Fair International, one of the most prestigious book fairs in the country.
With Brickell just across the river and South Beach a stone’s throw away, downtown Miami offers the best of three vibrant worlds on Miami’s eastern corridor for those who love an urban lifestyle.
ONE | Sotheby’s listings are at the heart of downtown Miami.
Designed by Ugo Colombo, the EPIC stands close to the mouth of the Miami River and pays tribute to maritime culture with a symbolic boat sail that sweeps on its façade. Residents at the EPIC enjoy the property’s hotel services, which include Exhale Spa and Fitness and Area 31, one of Miami’s finest seafood restaurants.
The Ivy, not far up river, is one of three landmark towers along the newly revitalized Miami Riverwalk. The 450-unit condominium features a state-of-the-art tennis center.
The Marina Blue boast spectacular views of bayfront Miami with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and open living spaces. Although soaring above Biscayne Boulevard at 60 stories, the building features a professional volleyball court and a simulated sandy beach boardwalk.
Designed by Arquitectonica, the façade of the Marquis is the framework for “Biscayne Beacon,” a 16-story light sculpture Miami landmark sculpture. A 14th floor infinity-edge pool, adjacent to a gym and 8,000 square foot spa, affords residents glorious sunrise swims. Residents also enjoy amenities at the property’s boutique hotel, Casa Moderna, which include a fine dining restaurant and lounge with bay views.
The Met One is on the corner of downtown Miami’s central thoroughfare, Biscayne Boulevard, across the street from the Miami Riverwalk’s most scenic stroll. The luxury boutique condominium features studio and loft apartments with sweeping views as well as a spacious mezzanine. Manny’s Steakhouse at ground retail level is a local’s favorite.
The Mint at Riverfront Miami features 900 feet of riverfront footage for condo dwellers who enjoy the outdoors. Common areas in the property include Zen gardens, sports area for soccer, boat docks, BBQ picnic spots and a children’s playground.
To learn more about ONE | Sotheby’s condo listings in Downtown and surrounding areas, visit the Downtown Miami listings page.
– Maria de los Angeles is a freelance wordsmith based in Miami.