Upper Buena Vista is a thing.
Now we know you’re skeptical. Commercial developments come and go in Miami. But with its huge, shady trees and bamboo-and-wooden fan vibe, this tiny urban oasis between the Design District and the Buena Vista neighborhood offers an alternative to your basic Miami mall.
And with summer melting all the tourists away, now’s your time to get to know it.
Upper Buena Vista’s developers David Lahmy and Michal Aviv had several inspirations for shaping the property on the border of Little Haiti, including Tulum and Tel Aviv. But the most inspirational aspect were the trees, which they incorporated into the development’s design.
At first, other than the trees, there wasn’t much here, Aviv says. That was OK: “We got to create something out of nothing.”
The idea is that people will come to Upper Buena Vista not for a quick, one- stop trip but to spend some time. You can have lunch or a drink, browse the shops, find a quiet spot and catch up on work or email, and, when vista restaurant opens, enjoy a view of the city from the rooftop bar with a craft cocktail or a glass of wine.
There’s free WiFi and plenty of spaces to sit in the shade (or sun, if you’re so inclined). Aviv says the hours will generally be from noon until 9 p.m., with special events on Thursday night and later hours for vista.
The shops are micro boutiques, curated with an eye for the unique and the eclectic. You can find handmade scarfs. Expensive sneakers. Vintage apparel. It’s a good place to shop for gifts (though some will end up in your own house whether you want to admit it or not.)
One space will be designated for pop-ups that want to come in for a week or two. Expect that space to be busy once the season begins.
Here are a few of the things you can do in Upper Buena Vista. But remember: it’s perfectly OK to order a cortadito, sit in the shade and just relax.
vista: The soon-to-open restaurant from husband-and-wife team Roberto Bearzi and Fiorella Blanco of Fratelli Milano will serve Italian cuisine with nods to Miami fusion and culture. It will also have a rooftop bar. Opening date: July.
Kraken Lab: This spinoff of Miami’s Kraken Crudo is a small but creative raw bar.
Amazonica: Get Colombian-inspired fresh fruit juices and shaved ice here. Did we mention it’s summer?
Cafe Creme: Order coffee, pastries, sandwiches, salads and more at this cafe by Claude Postel and Corentin Finot of Buena Vista Deli fame.
You can find clothing, jewelry, accessories, artwork, sunglasses, rugs, fragrances and household items. And more. Your best bet is to roam through the tiny boutiques and search for treasures. You’ll most likely find some.
Shops: Carolus Studio, Hibiscus-Creation Doree, The House of Findings, Inviva, Pure Soul, Sangre de mi Sangre, Selfish Too, True Joy, Wynwood Shades, I Cube, V Rugs & Home, Soul Plug.
Get a tattoo
Get inked at Oriana Tattoo, which will also host a tattoo academy. We aren’t sure what that is, but it sounds super informative.
Get beautiful, part 1
Get your hair done at Italian-brand Contesta Rock Hair, then top it off with a manicure at Epoch Nail Bar & Beauty Lounge. There. You look marvelous.
Get beautiful, part 2
We’re deeply intrigued by KOV, which offers cryotherapy (cold therapy). KOV says its process can help you burn calories, reduce inflammation and pain, induce better sleep and fight aging, speed healing, tighten skin, smooth cellulite, reduce lines, eliminate fat cells and allow you to fly like Superman. OK, we made up that last one, but wouldn’t that be fun? We can’t attest to its effectiveness because we haven’t tried it yet, but freezing for a few minutes in the middle of Miami summer sounds like a good plan whatever the result.