For those of us old enough to remember, Homestead is the town that was decimated by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. For the rest, it’s one of the few places left in the 305 with affordable housing (if you’re willing to add an hour or longer to your morning commute). It doesn't have the posh nightclubs of South Beach or the shiny skyscrapers of Brickell, but locals know there’s plenty to do in this oft-overlooked South Dade city. If you’re looking for a break from bar-hopping in Wynwood and sunbathing on SoBe, take the Turnpike south and open up this guide to the best things to do in Homestead.
10. Check Out a Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Race fans know there’s usually something going on down at the speedway on weekends. There’s legal drag racing on the occasional Friday night, weekend motorcycle races, and the NASCAR season finale that happens every November. But what many folks don’t know is these events are usually cheap or even free, they often feature food trucks and kid zones, and you can bring a soft cooler with your six-pack of choice free of charge.
1 Ralph Sanchez Speedway Blvd., Homestead; 305-230-5000; homesteadmiamispeedway.com
9. Hang With the Wildlife at Everglades Outpost
Located just down the road from Robert Is Here, this little-known animal sanctuary is home to a wide variety of creatures, including lemurs, panthers, camels, zebras, and parrots. The animals here have all been rescued and are undergoing rehabilitation, and many are eventually released back into the wild once they’re able to fend for themselves. Spend an afternoon strolling around the sanctuary, honing your inner Ron Magill by the tiger area, and channeling your inner Stark near the wolves.
35601 SW 192nd Ave., Homestead; 305-247-8000; evergladesoutpost.org
8. Eat Authentic Mexican Food All Over the Place
Every local knows that Homestead is the place to go to score real-deal Mexican comida, and many drive down Krome Avenue to hit Tex-Mex joints such as El Toro Taco and Casita Tejas. But if you want flavors that are more authentic, explore further and find places like the exceptionally colorful and friendly La Cruzada, serving a mean plate of chilaquiles and wonderfully strong margaritas. Find the best burrito al pastor in town (and the best salsa bar) at Taqueria Morelia. And for something sweet, you can’t beat the cash-only La Michoacana, just a block east of Krome, where paletas come in flavors like coconut, yellow cherry, and even tequila.
La Cruzada, 331 Park Pl., Homestead; 305-242-6240; lacruzadarestaurant.com
Taqueria Morelia, 1875 NE Eighth St., Homestead; 305-247-0877; taqueriamorelia.com
La Michoacana, 344 Washington Ave., Homestead; 786-243-1139
7. Catch a Live Performance at the Seminole Theatre
Renovated in 2015, the Seminole Theatre is breathing new life into downtown Homestead. The venue began with a notable concert series featuring the Wailers, Jon Secada, and legendary bluesman Charlie Musselwhite. More recently, the theater has partnered with WLRN for live radio-show plays of Plan 9 From Outer Space and War of the Worlds. Coming up next are the Rocky Horror Picture Show and a solo performance by Art Garfunkel, plus comedy shows, plays, and plenty of other events you won't want to miss.
18 N. Krome Ave., Homestead; 786-650-2073; seminoletheatre.org
6. Enjoy Some Brews and Barbecue at Homestead Bayfront Park
You could live in Miami your whole life and never know there’s a beach in Homestead. But those who live in South Dade know all about this secret sandy spot. Sure, it’s got a vibe reminiscent of The Simpsons' Springfield, with the nuclear power plant in the distance, but hey, it still beats braving the parking fees in South Beach. Bring some burgers (or tofu) for the grills and make a day of it. Then end the afternoon at the onsite La Playa Grill, offering cheap beer and live bands.
9698 N. Canal Dr., Homestead; 305-230-3033; miamidade.gov/parks/homestead-bayfront.asp
5. Drink Milkshakes and Pet Livestock at Robert Is Here
Much like Knaus Berry Farm, Robert Is Here is an authentically Homestead experience. This ever-popular roadside market features plenty of fresh produce, including plentiful mangoes, sweet carambola, and enormous jackfruit, but most folks are here to make the line for the shakes. Pick up a key lime shake, and then mosey over to the free petting zoo. And on hot days (which is always), bring the kids along to play on the splash pad out back. (Robert Is Here is undergoing renovations and plans to reopen November 4.)
19200 SW 344th St., Homestead; 305-246-1592; robertishere.com
4. Take a Self-Guided Tour of Historic Downtown Homestead
Homestead was developed in the early 1900s as a small railroad town, and many of its original structures still stand today — a rarity in Miami-Dade’s constantly evolving landscape. A self-guided tour, with plenty of info provided by the City of Homestead via this online map, will take you from Historic Town Hall in the heart of downtown Homestead to a number of historic churches, hotels, schools, and residences. Or if you’d prefer to have a guide explain things to you, the city provides a free trolley complete with a tour guide from late November through mid-April.
3. Picnic and Kayak at Biscayne National Park
Whenever they’re feeling too far removed from the Magic City, Homesteaders venture to Biscayne National Park and stroll the boardwalk, where they can easily make out the Miami skyline. This quiet national park is free and offers folks ample room to fish, grill, and learn about marine life. There guided boat tours on certain weekends, plus a small marina for docking. And if you’re lucky enough to have a boat, you can scuba-dive the rest of the park, most of which is under water and features coral reefs, mangroves, and plenty of shipwrecks.
9700 SW 328th St., Homestead; 305-230-1144; nps.gov/bisc/index.htm
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2. Drink Up at Schnebly Redland’s Winery and Miami Brewing Company
Homestead is lacking when it comes to the bar scene. Fortunately, there's a one-stop shop where locals and visitors can grab a chilled glass of wine and a frosty brew: Schnebly Redland's Winery and Miami Brewing Company. Take the winery tour and receive a complimentary wine glass from which to sample each of Schnebly's tropical fruit-based wines, or enjoy a beer flight and take home a signature MBC glass. The venue also hosts events, including weekend concerts, yoga sessions, beer days, and even private events like birthdays and weddings.
30205 SW 217th Ave, Homestead; 305-242-1224; schneblywinery.com
1. Explore the Everglades via the Ernest Coe Visitor Center
No trip to Homestead is complete without venturing into Everglades National Park, but first you’ll need to pass through the Ernest Coe Visitor Center. This is your last stop before going into the park, perfect for stretching your legs, checking out some local artwork, watching films about the River of Grass, reading about the wildlife you’re about to encounter, and applying copious amounts of bug spray. Once you enter the park, check out the two best tours in the area: the Nike Missile Site and the Slough Slog, which gets about as messy and up-close as it sounds. Check the website for tour availability.
400001 State Road 9336, Homestead; 305-242-7700; nps.gov/ever/planyourvisit/coedirections.htm