Best Mile of Miami Miami 2008 - Collins Avenue at North Beach
The best mile of Miami, contrary to what you learned as a kid from 2 Live Crew, is not to be found on Ocean Drive. No, North Beach is where it's at. The undervalued neighborhood has all the life and lazy, sandy bliss of South Beach without all the silliness. It's the very best of Miami minus the very worst, all compacted into one happy mile. The fun starts at 69th Street, on whose corner sits the Sandbar, one of the last places a body can have a cheap beer, a good conversation, and a fun game of pool without getting all fancy about it. Microbrews — try the Longhammer I.P.A. — are only $3.50 a pint, so bottoms up! A whole slew of good pizza places and low-key cafeterias line the street going north to 71st Street. Cross that, and you're in Argentine bakery territory: The Buenos Aires Café is a particularly nice place to get a hot cup of coffee, a fresh pastry, and a heart-thawing smile from one (or more, if you're lucky) of the many friendly and pretty waitresses who work there. Take your food outside and watch the unobnoxiously busy nightlife pass by. If it's recreation you're looking for, head north only a few more blocks to the North Shore Open Space Park, a verifiable refuge from the concrete labyrinth of Miami and a helluva place for a weekend barbecue. And remember, the beach — and a lifeguard, for the kids — is right there!