By Aurora Rodríguez
Aventura isn’t all Botox and Bebe, so grab your sweetie and discover there’s plenty to do — day and night — in this northern Miami city that doesn’t involve Amex overload.
Start your date at Oleta River State Park for a day of sun bathing and barbecue, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Not only does the beach have one of the best views of Biscayne Bay in the area, but it also offers an array of outdoor adventures, such as off-road bicycling trails and an array of native South Florida plants and wildlife, which are easily accessed and admired by renting a kayak or canoe on site. Hungry? Bring your own goodies and make it a picnic by renting a grill or table on site.
After working up an appetite, it’s time to relax and unwind – in the air conditioning. Aventura Mall can get crazy (avoid Sunday afternoon like the plague), but after a little window shopping (we know you can’t resist the Apple store), you can stay away from the masses by sneaking away for a chilled bottle of wine "al fresco" in the mall’s courtyard at their casual Italian eatery Trattoria Rosalia (19501 Biscayne Blvd.; 305-792-2006), where service is quick and their signature salads and calamari are legendary.
Top off the day with a stop at Aventura’s newest neighborhood lounge and club, Justin’s Bar & Lounge, where the vibe is relaxed and meant for a more grown-up crowd looking for the perfect Friday or Saturday nightcap. On Fridays, you can nibble on free sushi from 5 to 8 p.m. and two-for-one drinks from 5 to 9 p.m. while lounging on one of the lounge’s plush couches. Just try to stay awake, as nothing’s worse than falling asleep on a date – at least in public. What you do after hours, of course, is a totally different story.
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