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Best Hidden Neighborhood Miami 2011 - Belle Isle

Chuck a Frisbee from the east edge of Belle Isle, and if you have a halfway decent arm, you'll hit South Beach. So how can a neighborhood this underrated, this cool, and this historic be hiding in plain sight of Miami-Dade's most famous hood? Belle Isle, the easternmost tip of the man-made Venetian Islands, was once home to retail zillionaire J.C. Penney's exclusive estate. Today, unlike its stuffy, rich-kid siblings, it marries the Venetian's quiet, exclusive vibe with a more bohemian, South Beach cool. Sure, there are million-dollar luxury lofts in the eye-popping Grand Venetian, but there are also charming, squat waterfront apartments that once housed military barracks and quiet, sandy lanes with palm-shaded one-bedroom houses. The island's center is a newly renovated park, and a footpath on the perimeter leads to clear-water views of Biscayne Bay reefs. Just to top it off, Belle Isle is home to hipster paradise the Standard, an über-chic hotel with South Beach's best spa, an Anthropologie-approved lounge, and the Lido Restaurant, a vegetarian-friendly eatery with ridiculous bayside table views. Next time you're in SoBe, take the hike across the bridge — your new favorite neighborhood has been hiding in the middle of the bay all this time.
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The best part of Miami Beach south of 25th Street.

Beautiful, great views, no trashies, all pretty buildings.

And a short walk to everything so you aren't tied to 

your car all the time.


It is always wonderful when Belle Isle gets great press. Those of us who live on it really love it.