How to Spend a Celebratory Weekend in Miami


For any special occasion, there are plenty of breathtaking Miami settings to gather the group in style—just follow  these tips from Vicky Reyes, chief concierge at SLS South Beach.


Venetian Pool in Coral Gables

(Photo by
(Photo by

Built in 1923, the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables—drained and refilled daily in the spring and summer with 820,000 gallons of freshwater from artesian wells—is a great place for groups, especially with children, to cool off or splash around. “A grand waterfall, bridge and water-filled caves … are a few of the many features that make this pool an attractive destination,” Reyes says. Palm trees, elegant loggias and porticos add to the beautiful surroundings. Patios or shady beach areas can be rented for parties, with tables, chairs and food included; a nearby concession stand also sells snacks. (2701 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables; 305-460-5306;


Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

(Photo by Susan Collins)
(Photo by Susan Collins)

Another outdoor daytime option Reyes recommends is Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, which offers a lush paradise for strolling and taking in the scenery. Families have plenty of space to spread out and explore the grounds together. Groups of 20 or more also have the option to sign up two weeks in advance for a tram tour or guided walking tour with a buffet-style or boxed lunch. (10901 Old Cutler Rd., Coral Gables; 305-667-1651;


The Barnacle Historic State Park

Set on the shore of Biscayne Bay, The Barnacle Historic State Park’s scenic grounds, including a landscaped lawn and many large trees, make a great picnic setting; a covered outdoor pavilion with picnic tables may be rented for private events. After the meal, visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the historic home. Additionally, the park hosts concert and movie series, old-time dances, yoga classes and other activities that are sure to keep visitors busy. (3485 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove; 305-442-6866;


The Ancient Spanish Monastery

Another must-see is The Ancient Spanish Monastery, where groups can listen to a concert featuring the impressive church pipe organ, or admire the historic architecture and gardens, including more than 20 acres of rare palms, Spanish oaks and banyans. Originally built in northern Spain in the 12th century, the monastery was seized and sold after a social revolution in the 1830s. The cloisters and outbuildings were dismantled stone by stone, shipped to the U.S. and later reassembled over 19 months; the monastery now hosts regular visiting hours Monday through Saturday until 4:30 p.m. (16711 W. Dixie Hwy., Miami Beach; 305-945-1461;


Pérez Art Museum Miami

(Courtesy of the museum; photo by Patrick Farrell)
(Courtesy of the museum; photo by Patrick Farrell)

The last stop Reyes suggests is Pérez Art Museum Miami, which collects and exhibits modern and contemporary art from around the world. It appeals to a wide range of visitors, making it a good choice for groups. To make the experience interactive, go to the visitor services desk to request a Family Pack filled with activity sheets, pencil kits for sketching, and a scavenger hunt to encourage exploration of the galleries. Then step outside of this impressive building—designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron—for sweeping views of Biscayne Bay and an outdoor sculpture garden. (1103 Biscayne Blvd.; 305-375-3000;


—Written by Sharon Stello