Hello! My name is Brittney Sanchez. I am a junior at Florida International University, in the beautiful city of Miami. I have an Associate in Arts degree in Pre-Recreational Therapy and I am currently in the Honors College pursuing a bachelors degree in Physical Education: Sports and Fitness. I love to explore, travel, and learn new things. For this reason, I knew that John W. Bailly’s Miami in Miami class was the right fit for me. Being homeschooled gave me the opportunity to travel to many places, but this class has shown me that I do not have to travel far to learn about unique cultures, see fascinating landmarks, and immerse myself into adventurous experiences. For my Ineffable Miami project I chose to explore a beautiful area in downtown Coral Gables called Miracle Mile. Learn more about this sought-after destination below!
Miracle Mile is at the heart of Coral Gables, Florida, United States. It is a relatively small area that spans about 0.5 miles. Miracle Mile is bordered by two main streets to the west and east sides. Lejeune Road (SW 42nd Ave.) lies to the west of Miracle Mile, and Douglas Road (SW 37th Ave.) lies to the east of Miracle Mile. Unlike these streets, many street names surrounding Miracle Mile do not have numerical values, they are simply known by their Spaniard names. For example, Andalucia Avenue, which is south of Miracle Mile and Aragon Avenue which is north of Miracle Mile. The halfway point of Miracle Mile is another famous street known as, Ponce de Leon Boulevard. Although this four block strip only takes up a small portion of Coral Gables, it fits in perfectly with the upscale element that Coral Gables is known for.
According to the Coral Gables Museum’s website, “The story of Coral Gables’ signature street, Miracle Mile, is one of leadership, resilience, and adaptation.” It all began in the 1920s when George Merrick, the well-known real estate developer, established Coral Gables. After the Great Depression, many more individuals and groups helped establish the Mile. Two of these visionaries were George K. and this wife Rebyl Zain. George is known as the “Father of Miracle Mile” because he began purchasing land in 1937 and put his plan into action to create an outdoor mall in the heart of Coral Gables. This brand new idea of an outdoor shopping mall was quickly spreading throughout the nation, and many young developers and business owners took advantage of this opportunity. In 1944, Albert Friedman and his wife Rose Freidman, also known as “Mr. and Mrs. Miracle Mile,” opened their business on Coral Way along with J. Baldi, Sam Weissel, and Caroll Seghers. They all formed the Miracle Mile Merchants Association and they turned the wide open streets of Coral Gables and help renamed it to the now-famous, Miracle Mile in 1955.
I N T E R V I E W:
Although there is no demographic data for Miracle Mile, I interviewed Nick Portu, a nearby resident and frequent visitor of Miracle Mile.
Brittney: What is your favorite aspect of Miracle Mile?
Nick: “My favorite aspect is the ability to walk around and see a diverse culture.”
Brittney: How would you describe Miracle Mile?
Nick: “I love Miracle Mile because it has rich historical roots and there are many things to do. There are many elite restaurants and stores due to high rent. Miracle mile draws people in from all over, from the city of Coral Gables, city of Miami, and even tourists from all over the world.”
Brittney: Where is your favorite place to eat?
Nick: “Hillstone. They have the best burgers, steaks, and mashed potatoes in Miami.”
Brittney: If someone you knew were coming to Miracle Mile, where would u take them?
Nick: “I would take them to eat at Hillstone, then we would go get ice cream at Häagen-Dazs, then we would shop at the Men’s Wear House, and we would end at Doc B’s for dinner.”
Brittney: What is your favorite thing to do at Miracle Mile?
Nick: “Before the pandemic, my favorite place to go was the Millers Ale House. I would get beers and watch sports with my friends, but unfortunately this restaurant has been shut down due to the current pandemic.”
Brittney: What is your least favorite aspect of Miracle Mile?
Nick: “Definitely the parking.”
Brittney: How do you wish to see Miracle Mile in 5 years?
Nick: “In 5 years, I hope Miracle Mile will continue being as successful as it is now and add more restaurants that can add more reputation to the Mile.”
Coral Gables City Hall (405 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables, FL 33134)
Although there are no major landmarks in Miracle Mile due to its small surface area, there are many historical landmarks surrounding it. Among these historic sites is the Coral Gables City Hall located on 405 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables. This huge 3 story building is at the beginning of Miracle Mile. It is truly majestic, and some may even say it looks like a castle. Its architectural style is a mix of Mediterranean with vegetation from Miami. Standing in front of the building is a tall bronze statue of George Merrick. He can be seen standing in contraposto, holding a scroll with his left hand, and carrying a jacket over his right shoulder.
Coral Gables Museum (285 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134)
Slightly North of Miracle Mile lies the small Coral Gables museum. It was built in 1939 but it re-opened in 2010. Many people do not know that this museum is actually located in the old Police and Fire Station of Coral Gables. There used to be a courtroom, jail cells, offices, living quarters for the firefighters, etc. Today, it’s unique LEED certification plays a big part in the green city initiative. Visitors are invited to explore this museum and much of its original building design which include Cuban tile floors and walls, concrete flooring, and coral rock walls.
First Church of Christ, Scientist (410 Andalusia Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134)
Slightly West of Miracle Mile lies the First Church of Christ, Scientist on Andalucia Avenue. It is a Christian church that hosts services on Sunday and Wednesday. It also has a reading room that is open Monday- Saturday, 11am – 3 pm and Sundays from 11 am- 12 noon.
Much like many other areas in Miami, Miracle Mile does not have many green spaces. The layout of the street leaves no room for green spaces, and plenty of room for buildings and paved roads. However, palm trees line every road, and there are many large trees that provide shade and a nice breeze for people walking through the outdoor mall.
Merrick Park (405 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables, FL 33134) and Coral Gables City Hall (405 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables, FL 33134)
The only two notable spaces of grass are in front of the Coral Gables City Hall and a small park called Merrick park between Andalucia Avenue and Biltmore way. Although this area simply serves as a meager green space throughout most of the year, during the holidays, it is transformed into a small Christmas themed park with a looming Santa structure facing Miracle Mile.
There are many modes of transportation that can be used in Miracle Mile. These include using a car, motorcycle, trolley, shuttle, bike, scooter, and obviously, by walking.
Car / Motorcycle- There are always many cars and motorcycles trying to park or drive down Miracle Mile. Miami is known for its chaotic traffic, and Miracle Mile definitely lives up to this fact. If you plan on going to Miracle Mile, make sure you know how to parallel park and you have plenty of time to find parking. Although there are parking spaces on the Mile, they are usually full, and visitors may have to find parking in the nearby streets. All of these parking spaces are metered and end up being very costly, if you plan on staying for the entire day.
Coral Gables Trolley – According to Miami Dade’s Metrobus Route website, “The City of Coral Gables provides this service. Douglas Road Metrorail Station, Merrick Park, Miracle Mile, Ponce de Leon Blvd, Flagler Street.”
Freebee shuttle – This free shuttle runs everyday from 10 am to 10 pm. If you’d like a ride, you simple download the Freebee app that is accessible through the App store or Google play store and order a ride through there. This green on-demand shuttle service runs through all of Coral Gables and it is a great way to ride around Miracle Mile.
Bike/Walking – Miracle Mile has enlarged sidewalks that allow many people to stroll down the street with ease. Although there is plenty of space to walk, bike, or hop on a scooter, it wasn’t always like this. About a few years ago, they remodeled the street, and expanded the sidewalks and reduced the amount of parking space. With the new parallel parking, Miracle Mile has a much wider and ample space for avid shoppers to peruse many boutiques.
Scooters – Bird electric scooters are available to rent all over Miracle Mile. To rent the scooter, you need to find one, download the free app, and register as a new rider. According to the Coral Gables website, “Cost is $1 to unlock a new ride, plus $0.15 per minute. Bird requires all riders be over the age of 18, and encourages everyone to wear a helmet while riding. They will send any rider who requests one a free helmet.” They are fairly easy to ride, but you must watch out for people walking, as it can be easy to crash if there are many people on the sidewalk.
K.A.O. Sushi and Grill (127 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134)
K.A.O. is an Asian inspired restaurant in Miracle Mile. It is known for its meats, fish, and most importantly, sushi. I have eaten at this restaurant many times, and my favorite dish is the Teriyaki Pork Medallions. These medallions will melt in your mouth. Their menu has many different options and to start off, everyone is served a miso soup shot when they’re seated at their table. K.A.O. offers many different discounts, such as ladies night specials, happy hour specials, and more. They’re relaxing and elegant ambience fits in perfectly with the Miracle Mile atmosphere. Although it might seem like a relatively small area at first, this restaurant expands further back to allow room for a large maximum capacity. This space allows them to host many events such as monthly salsa and bachata dance nights.
Google’s Review: 4.6 Stars
Brittney’s Review: 5 Stars
Salumeria 104 (117 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134)
If you are looking for authentic Italian food, Salumeria 104 is the right place to go. This restaurant on Miracle Mile is always packed with hungry customers throughout the entire day. According to Salumeria 104’s website, “Salumeria 104 is a rustic, trattoria-style restaurant serving signature salumi dishes, and traditional home-made Italian classics.” They have great service and even better food. Their plates are expensive, but they are also very abundant. My favorite dish is the Tagliolini. This dish consists of shrimp and pasta with a hint of lemon zest and pistachios. It is absolutely mouth-watering!
Google’s review: 4.6 Stars
Brittney’s review: 4.8 Stars
P. Pole Pizza (279 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134)
P.Pole pizza offers an endless variety of options. This personalized pizza place is similar to Subways. You choose your favorite dough, then you choose your sauce as the base, and then the toppings. They prepare and bake the pizza right in front of your eyes! Their unique approach to pizza makes it a great addition to Miracle Mile. It is affordable, unique, and delicious.
Google’s Review: 4.7 Stars
Brittney’s Review: 4.8 Stars
Miracle Theatre (280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134)
The Actors’ playhouse at the Miracle Theatre was established in 1988 by Dr. Lawrence E. Stein. According to the Actors’ Playhouse website, it”…is the largest self-producer of critically acclaimed dramatic and musical theatre for adults and children in South Florida. The private nonprofit organization presents a full season of Mainstage and Children’s programs and extensive educational outreach and community service.” They are known for showing contemporary and classic live theater productions and offering educational and outreach programs for both adults and children of all ages. They have also won many awards and other distinguished honors throughout the years.
Gables Coin and Stamp Shop (82 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134)
This small department store in the middle of Miracle Mile surely stands out among the many high-end boutiques. It was founded in 1967 by Mr. John Albright and still serves many costumers today. They sell coins and bills from the U.S. as well as many distinct coins from other countries, such as Asia, Australia, Africa, Middle East, South America, North and Central America, and Europe. They also buy or sell jewelry, watches, and diamonds.
Spy World (96 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134)
The Spy World shop is another store that stands out in Miracle Mile. This store is packed with technology for safety and security. They have 27 years of experience and their mission is to help protect customers’ homes, family, and businesses with their safety technology. They offer a wide variety of products such as hidden cameras, bug detectors, recorders, GPS trackers, and more. They even have unique items that people usually only see in Crime TV shows or movies.
Miracle Mile is well known for attracting visitors from all over the world to its prestigious boutiques, high-end restaurants, and quality shops. There is something to do for all ages. Its relaxed and leisure environment is perfect for a day full of shopping and dining with your family, while its bustling nightlife ambiance is perfect for a night out with friends or a romantic date with your significant other. There are also many events that take place on the Mile such as weekly farmer markets, the Eggstreme Egg Hunt in March, the Pumpkin Patch in October, and the Holiday Tree Lighting in December.
I have been to Miracle Mile many times, whether it be to study at Barnes and Nobles with friends, or simply passing by the busy streets of Miracle Mile on my way back from work, but creating this Ineffable Miami project has given me the opportunity to truly appreciate this part of Coral Gables. Much like many things in life, I easily take for granted the beauty of Miracle Mile. It amazes me that many people pay hundreds of dollars to simply travel to this prestigious outdoor shopping mall, and I have the opportunity to drive through Miracle Mile almost every single day. I hope that Miracle Mile continues to thrive so that I am able to show my future kids the history that lies in such a beautiful place like Miracle Mile.
C I T A T I O N S:
Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre. About Us. Retrieved from https://www.actorsplayhouse.org/about-us/
Coral Gables. Bird Launches Scooter Option in Coral Gables. Retrieved from https://www.coralgables.com/news/bird-launches-scooter-option-in-coral-gables
Coral Gables. (2015, September 29). Retrieved from http://christianscienceflorida.org/about/coral-gables/
Gables Coin and Stamp Shop Since 1967. Retrieved from http://www.gablescoin.com
Metrobus Route. Coral Gables Trolley. Retrieved from https://www.miamidade.gov/transit/mobile/metrobus_routes.asp?routeID=9011&routeName=Coral+Gables+Trolley
Miracle mile: The evolution of a street. (2018, December 19). Retrieved from https://coralgablesmuseum.org/portfolio-item/miracle-mile-evolution-street
Salumeria 104. Retrieved from https://www.salumeria104.com
Spy World. Spy World Miami. Retrieved from https://www.spyworldmiami.com
W., A., P., S., E., F., U., A., & V., J. (n.d.). Downtown coral GABLES & Miracle mile 220 Miracle Mile Miami, FL shopping centers & malls. Retrieved from https://www.mapquest.com/us/florida/downtown-coral-gables-miracle-mile-277649875