Baby got track: explore Miami via Metrorail

 

You could spend your retirement fund on a tank of gas, or you could hop on the Metrorail for some weekend fun. Here's what to hit.

Metrorail2
Photo: Nuri Vallbona
 

By Te-Erika Patterson

Cruise over the warehouse district, zip by the flat-roof homes and hi-rise condominiums, be mesmerized by the city's breathtaking skyline or sit back and witness the diversity of the different neighborhoods from a commuter perspective.

See Miami on the Miami Metrorail, where a nominal fee of $1.50 will whisk you through a 22-mile tour of our magic city.

Here are just a few of places you won't want to miss.

Stop: Northside
Visit: Northside Shopping Plaza and Flea Market USA
See a part of Miami you've probably never seen by strolling through the urban shopping centers, where you can choose from a variety of food and wares - everything from jewelry to bootleg DVDs. Mingle with the local community and take home a cultural treat... Miami style.
Flea Market USA, 3015 NW 79th St.; 305-836-3677
Northside Shopping Plaza, 7900 NW 27th Ave.

Stop: Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre
Visit: Overtown's Historical Lyric Theatre and the American Airlines Arena
Plan your trip around a concert or Heat game at the American Airlines Arena, or take a peek at The Lyric Theater, a once-thriving social hotspot in Overtown, Miami's oldest African-American community. While you're in the area, be sure to fuel up at notorious BBQ joint People's.

Stop: Government Center
Visit: Miami Art Museum, Historical Museum and the Main Library
Stroll through the Miami Art Museum, which showcases both local and national artists; then get lost in the stacks at The Main Library, which prides itself on being the city's most expansive collection of literary and resource treasures; and finally head to the Historical Museum and brush up on your Southern Florida history. The best part: they're all housed in the same Spanish fort-style building in the heart of downtown.

Stop: Vizcaya
Visit: The Space Transit Planetarium and Miami Museum of Science
Unleash your inner nerd and check out the Museum of Sceince's Planetarium, which puts on starry showcases during the day and trippy laser light feats set to a Pink Floyd soundtrack at night. Or, take in the museum itself, full of interactive exhibits and a Wildlife Center.

Stop: Coconut Grove
Visit: Cocowalk and the Streets of Mayfair
Enjoy a stroll through outdoor malls Cocowalk and the Streets of Mayfair. Be sure, though, to wander off the beaten path and onto the sidestreets, where you'll find lots of hidden shopping and dining gems, like IOS boutique and Basil Cafe. If you've got the energy, walk down to Kennedy Park, buy a frozen lemonade and chill waterside.

Stop: University
Visit: The University of Miami
Home of the Miami Hurricanes, UM is located in beautiful Coral Gables. Catch a baseball or basketball game (depending on the season), or just take a walk through the impressive 260-acre campus. After working up an appetite, slide into an outdoor booth at the campus' bar/restaurant, The Rathskeller, order a pitcher and reminisce about the days when all you had to worry about was making it to your first class on time - at 2 p.m.

Stop: Dadeland
Visit: Dadeland Mall
You want shopping? Dadeland's got shopping, including Florida's largest Macy's, Nordstrom and Sak's Fifth Avenue. Or, head to Dadeland Station to make Target run, get geeky at Best Buy and craft it up at Michael's. Try to squeeze in a bit at Asian café Lan, too. Just don't buy more than you can carry - you are, after all, riding the rails.

For Metrorail schedules, maps, routes and other info, click here.

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