As rush hour hits Friday afternoon, many of us brave the infamous Miami traffic to make our way to the rental communities and not-so-moderately priced homes of Kendall. Away from the bustle of Brickell and Miami Beach, this suburb has evolved over the past few years, nurturing a growing culinary scene while retaining many neighborhood treasures that have entertained residents for generations. When you're in el sau-wes, check out the best things to do in Kendall.
10. Love Lock Bridge at the Palms at Town & Country
Just off the Turnpike at the Palms at Town & Country outdoor mall, a bit of Paris hides away in the heart of Kendall. The idea for the Love Lock Bridge was conceived by Joy Medlock, VP of the Palms at Town & Country, after a visit to the famous Pont des Arts, where couples attached personalized locks symbolizing their never-ending love. Although Paris removed the locks from its bridge in 2015, Kendallites are still enjoying their own version, which remains the site of numerous marriage proposals and romantic moments.
8268 Mills Dr., Miami; thepalmsshops.com.
9. Barley: An American Brasserie
Kendall was not spared the pork-house trend, and locals are glad for it. Barley, the Little Engine That Could of gastropubs, first opened its doors in Dadeland as Barley & Swine in January 2015 and faced a series of hardships from the beginning. Luckily, you just can’t keep a good chef down, and the family-owned hot spot reopened this past September to continue serving cold brews and large and small bites such as Korean pig ears, Serrano ham croquetas, and its signature mac n’ cheese rotation.
8945 SW 72nd Pl., Miami; barleymia.com.
8. Kendall Indian Hammocks Park
The largest green space in Kendall proper, Kendall Indian Hammocks is a natural haven nestled amid townhouse complexes and strip malls. Locals can walk, run, or bike the path that winds along the park's length or participate in a number of sports for which the park was specially designed. You can play a challenging game of Frisbee golf or hit the skate park, which is well lit for night sessions. From skateboards and BMX bikes to trikes, this spot has everyone covered.
11395 SW 79th St., Miami; miamidade.gov/parks.
7. Tacos & Tattoos
Nestled in a small strip mall near the Crossings are hands down some of Miami-Dade's best tacos. Boasting Southwest and Caribbean influences, these bites are packed with flavor and expertly paired with local craft brews. Walking into Tacos & Tattoos is an experience beyond the food. The eatery has a Cheers-esque neighborhood-bar feeling with some Miami Ink thrown in.
10720 SW 113th Pl., Miami; tacosandtattoos.com.
6. Rockdale Pineland Preserve
Here’s a little secret: The Rockdale Pineland Preserve is a strip of preserved forest that, although native to South Florida, is facing extinction due to overdevelopment. If you’re a Kendall resident, you might drive by it every day without even knowing it. To preserve this ecosystem and the species that call it home, the Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) volunteer program offers citizens a chance to get involved and make a difference in their backyard. The preserve is open only to staff and volunteers, so lending a hand gives you an exclusive look at this protected land.
SW 152nd St., Miami; miamidade.gov.
5. Sharp Shooters
A regular gathering spot for avid pool players and the occasional shark, Sharp Shooters is an institution tucked away on the second floor of a shopping center on Sunset Drive and SW 117th Avenue. Don't expect to find an arcade section or garnished drinks. Do expect decent hourly rates, a smoky atmosphere, and a sideways glance from other players the minute you reach for the bridge.
7200 SW 117th Ave., Miami; sharpshootersbilliards.net.
4. Norman Brothers Produce
To imagine what Whole Foods was like before it took over the world, simply visit Norman Brothers Produce on Galloway Road. Still family-owned and operated, this supermarket has been serving the Kendall area with locally-sourced, organic products for more than 40 years. Every piece of seasonal Florida fruit on their shelves is ripe and fresh, and the proof is in the milkshakes.
7621 Galloway Rd., Miami; normanbrothers.com.
3. Cao Chocolates
Ricardo Trillos, Miami’s foremost chocolate expert, opened his first Cao Chocolates storefront in a warehouse-lined corner of SW 77th Avenue and SW 98th Street in 2012. The Venezuelan-born artisan is an evangelist of chocolate, pioneering the bean-to-bar concept in South Florida while educating the community about the art form with his intimate tasting workshops. Sampling one of Trillo’s pistachio, passionfruit, or chai tea truffles will change the way you see chocolate forever.
9800 SW 77th Ave., Miami; caochocolates.com.
2. Arcade Odyssey
If you’re a Miami gamer, there’s no doubt you’ve spent a small fortune’s worth of quarters at Arcade Odyssey. Owner Rick Medina’s truly epic collection of collectibles has become a black-lit mecca for gaming and anime culture fanatics. This totally retro space holds more than 100 classics (from the 1982 Tron to an AC/DC pinball machine), as well as the hearts of local fanboys and -girls.
12045 SW 117th Ave., Miami; arcadeodyssey.com.
1. Kendall Ice Arena
All right, so the Kendall Ice Arena is not in Kendall proper. It’s technically in the Hammocks, but it’s such a staple of Kendall life that not only does it deserve to be included here, but it also sits at the top of the list. The ability to go ice skating year-round in a persistently overheated place like Miami is enough to make any birthday party or family outing magical.
10355 Hammocks Blvd, Miami; kendallicearena.com.