Miami is blessed with sunshine and beaches, but when it comes to terrain, Miami is flat. I always say ‘when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.’ So, I found us an Indoor Rock Climbing Gym in our very own backyard as an alternative! And, to be honest, if you had to rock climb in the South Florida heat, would you? Take a day and enjoy an indoor adrenaline-filled adventure; and stop off at some New York-inspired venues along the way.
9 a.m. / Roasters’N Toasters New York Deli and Bagels
9465 South Dixie Highway, Pinecrest, FL 33156
Yes, even with my huge obsession with Miami, I sometimes still need a little New York in my life. Especially a New York Deli that has become a staple in Miami. Maybe it’s true what they say: Miami really is the New York of the South! Either way, stop here and enjoy coffee and a bite of whatever your taste buds desire - which, if your taste buds know New York, is probably a bagel. The staff is super friendly, and it’s a great place to meet with friends so you can carpool (Miami is a paradise; let’s keep it that way; reduce your carbon footprint).
11 a.m. / X-treme Rock Climbing
13972 SW 139 Court, Miami, FL 33186
Cost: $43 (including equipment rental)
X-treme Rock Climing Gym is to rock climbing gyms as The Standard Spa is to spas. In addition to over 14,000 square feet of climbing with roofs and overhangs (for those super athletes) set by USA Climbing Certified route setters, it also offers free yoga classes, a fitness center, wi-fi connection, party rooms, and a stellar pro-shop for all your shopping needs.
If this is your first rock climbing experience, you’ll need to take the Introduction Class that covers safety, belaying, basic knot tying and basic climbing movement (I recommend the 11 a.m. class, so you have enough time to enjoy all that you’ve learned). I was lucky enough to go with some belaying pros, but you really need to know the basics of belaying to ensure your whole group has a good time. Even though it’s hard to pull yourself away when the climbing is so much more fun, your arms will appreciate the breather of your belay assignment (and, I know your mother taught you how to share). You can also look into the Private Intro to Indoor Rock Climbing, which ensures you’ll be the center of attention; if you prefer that type of setting.
If you think you’ll want to stay for the whole day, I recommend packing a lunch (we also saw someone have pizza delivered). You will definitely get hungry pretty fast. This workout is no joke. Except that the shoes you have to wear almost make it feel that way. But you’ll get over it after your first trip up the wall. And then you’ll realize the name of your trail was ‘Fart Man.’ Awesome.
Indoor rock climbing is ridiculously fun. It is a really exciting, natural-high, adrenelaine-rush, type of experience. We were planning our next visit before we even walked out the door. It almost looks impossible to do when you get your first view of the vertical mazes from afar. But once you start, you just keep going. The sky is the limit!
3 p.m. / Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
10205 S. Dixie Highway, Pinecrest, FL 33156
Whether you stayed the whole day, or a half, are eating lunch, or dinner, this pizza will hit the spot. Another New York idea brought to Miami, the founder of Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza wanted to ensure Miamians could get a little taste of Brooklyn. Another reason why this is a great spot? The oven maintains a temperature of 800 degrees, fueled by burning anthracite coal, which cooks each pizza in just four minutes. Thank you, Brooklyn. And even in four minutes, the result is a really good pizza. As Anthony would say: “You’re only as good as your last pizza.” I’ll take it. And a plus? The coal they use (anthracite) is one of the world’s cleanest burning fossil fuels – cleaner than wood fires or gas grills. Well done.
4:30 p.m. / Misha’s Cupcakes
1548 S. Dixie Highway, Coral Gables
(Okay, we know this isn't located in Kendall, but it's on the way home, so we had to throw it in.) One of the main reasons I like to work out is because then I get to eat dessert and not feel bad about it. Okay, even if I don’t work out, I still don’t feel bad about it; especially if the dessert is one of Misha’s Cupcakes. It just tastes too good to ruin the moment with bad feelings after. It’s just not right. So, I hope you stop by here and enjoy some good old fashioned yumminess (and yumminess here comes in 15 different flavors). Because, you deserve it. You’re an official rock climber now. And if someone isn’t going to give you a ribbon, you can at least buy yourself a cupcake. Honestly. They even have mini ones. Splurge! And a great thanks, again, to good ol’ New York, New York for making cupcakes the craze. New York, you rock, and I thank you for your inspirations. But for the record, Miami still does it better.