Are you playing Pokémon Go? Chances are you answered yes. The app, which shot to the top of the App Store charts upon its release, has taken over social media feeds, media coverage, and, if you're among the 7.5 million U.S. players, possibly even your social life.
To play, you simply open the app and wander the streets in search of PokéStops, gyms, and randomly appearing creatures scattered across the city. But to play like a pro? Head to these Miami locales that have become hotbeds of Pokémon activity. Here are the ten best spots in the Magic City to become a real Pokémon master.
Books & Books in Coral Gables
How do you catch Pokémon while supporting local business? Grab some friends and a seat at the Books & Books on Aragon Avenue, buy some food or drinks at the café, and let the Pokémon roll in. There’s a PokéStop right inside the store, so you’ll constantly be able to refresh, and setting a lure brings the Pokémon right to you. Other shops, very smartly, have begun placing lures as part of deals to draw customers. Best of all, if you’re with a group, you can walk to either corner of the block and get any number of stops on the way there (at least three next to the Coral Gables Museum and more on the opposite end). If you get bored, there’s a multitude of other spots in the area, especially the long walk down Miracle Mile to raise those eggs.
The Fountain at Florida International University
If you’ve been on the FIU campus in the past few days, you've probably seen the beautiful fountain area outside the Graham Center. Not one or two, but four PokéStops are at this location, and if you sit in just the right spot, you can hit all four without having to move an inch. Plus, there’s typically anywhere from one to four lure modules going at once, so you’re set if you’re willing to sit in the heat during the daytime or lounge around at night. The Pokémon that
University of Miami
Wander around the whole campus. Yes, that sounds ridiculous, and UM is a well of wonders. As with FIU, a large population of students means a lot of lures at a lot of stops, and UM is no exception. But while the variety of Pokémon you’ll find at FIU is limited, UM is different. One of the lakes holds a Dratini and a Dragonair; about five Magikarp appeared at once while crossing a bridge; and other players have spotted Ponyta, Snorlax, Oddish, Slowpoke, and Jigglypuff. Basically, you’ve got options. Maybe stop by the library to see if you can get a Ghastly while you’re there.
Town & Country
Players in Kendall, far from where all the good stuff in Miami typically happens, need some love too. They’ve got it at the Palms at Town & Country. You know that beautiful bridge over the lake there? PokéStops galore! People drop lures like crazy in that area and hover together for the sake of collecting more. Head over during happy hour to pair your Pokémon playing with an evening buzz — just don't get too trashed to swipe those PokéBalls successfully.
If you want to get in touch with nature while you’re playing Pokémon, there’s nowhere like Tropical Park. If you think this place is busy during the holidays when Santa’s Enchanted Forest is open, you haven’t seen the groups of people walking and driving around here looking for Pokémon. The park is practically crawling with creatures, with all kinds of availability: Dratini, Dragonair, Meowth, Pikachu, Bulbasaur, Arbok, and all the usual suspects.
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Part natural wonder and part touristy manmade hellhole, Bayfront Park is one of your best bets for playing downtown, with Tentacool, Doduo, Dotrio, Staryu, Pinsir, Scyther, and others available. But the best part about this place is the fact that Bayside Marketplace and Bayfront Park both have a ton of lovely art and shops to offer folks who are visiting. Listen to some music, get some of that bay breeze, and do some more walking.
What better place to check out all the art that Miami has to offer than Wynwood? If you’re looking for a place to explore the city and be surrounded by all kinds of buildings and shops, old and new, Wynwood is the spot to go, and it abounds with PokéStops. There’s not really anywhere comfortable to lounge around, but if you have eggs to incubate, the area offers a trove of street art while you walk around. Most of the art, amusingly enough, is completely different from what the game says is supposed to be there, a cool testament to the ever-changing nature of Miami’s street-art scene.
Find a stretch of shoreline — any shoreline. Wherever you go on the beach, you’re bound to find an abundance of options. South Beach? Find Voltorb, Omanyte, and Magnemite. North Beach? You've got Horsea, Kadabra, and Cubone. Haulover? Discover Magikarp, Pikachu, Dratinis. Those are just a few of the many choice options you’ll see at any of these spots. But perhaps South Beach is the ultimate locale: When you're done wandering by the waves, nothing is as amazing as the long stretch of Lincoln Road and the adjacent SoundScape Park, where you can either walk to your heart's content along the strip of shops, or simply lounge in the grass while your battery drains.
The Palms at Town & Country is Kendall's brightest Pokémon beacon, but any shopping center in Miami-Dade will score
Anywhere Else Your Heart Desires
Pokémon Go is a game that can take you anywhere your two feet (or a slow-moving vehicle) can carry you, so take full advantage of that. But be smart and safe. So far, the scary news about armed robberies and dead bodies related to Pokémon Go has happened in other places, but remember that South Florida is a weird and oftentimes dangerous place too. Play with groups of friends, or join meetups at popular locations. Since the creation of the link cable to trade Pokémon 20 years ago, Nintendo has been trying to persuade people to explore the world and interact with others, and now we have augmented reality to take things to a whole new level. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and catch 'em all.