I drive by Bayfront Park all the time going down Biscayne and for awhile thought it was mostly some grassy lawns along the Bay. I was surprised to find out though that it has a small rock garden and pond inside the park and a large amphitheater for events and concerts. Around that same time I went to Ultra in the park and saw that it had some great views of downtown and the water so I decided this weekend to walk down to Bayfront and check out all it had to offer. I also had been wanting to check out more of the Miami Riverwalk that runs south of Bayfront to Brickell so I combined the two into a walking adventure.
I walked down Biscayne from my place past American Airlines Arena and Bayside Marketplace and entered near the northside of the park where there is the Klipsch Amphitheater with a stage and permanent seating that hosts the Jazz Festival in November and a Kaskade show in July according to the website. Nestled behind the amphitheater and along the Bay is the rock garden, which is a small section of the park with a number of trees, a pond, and rock bridge. It’s hard to believe this thing exists just a few hundred feet from Biscayne Blvd and that it was right there next to Ultra a couple weeks ago. There was one bench next to the pond that would be a great place to relax and take in the view of the pond and the Bay. South of the rock garden is a large fountain and a number of benches along the water, a few underneath trees that you can get some shade from the sun.
At the south end of the park a path curves along the water down around the Intercontinental Hotel and this is the start of the Miami Riverwalk. You can take in some nice views of the Port of Miami, South Beach in the distance, and Brickell Key. There also is a lot of public art along the retaining wall along the path. Once you wrap around the Intercontinental and One Miami condo building you come back to Biscayne Blvd and Biscayne Way. The trick to getting back on the Riverwalk is a small path right before the Epic Hotel’s entrance. This puts you right on the water and right next to the large yachts that are docked outside the Epic. It’s pretty cool to be right up close to them.
After you cross under the Brickell Avenue bridge you’re in a pretty removed and hidden part of downtown Miami. The Riverwalk has a number of old trees along the path lining the river. It’s pretty quiet for being surrounded by a forest of skyscrapers and city. As you keep walking you eventually reach Fort Dallas Park. The park is the location of what was Fort Dallas, a fort built during the Seminole Wars. Today it’s the site of Flagler’s Palm Cottage or Worker’s House, which was originally built as a rental house for some of Flagler’s workers in the building of the railroad. The structure was the last to survive of about 30 homes and was moved to the site from its original location.
After Flagler’s Palm Cottage the Riverwalk continues a bit farther but it’s really a basic promenade with not much there. There are two options you can take at this point to get to the Brickell side of the Riverwalk. You can exit the Riverwalk at the Flagler’s Palm Cottage and follow 4th St through the Hyatt Regency property and head across the Brickell Ave bridge to the entrance of the Icon condo building. The other option which I took was to keep following the Riverwalk to the Miami Ave bridge and take that across. You then can walk down 5th St to Brickell Ave and up to the Icon.
No matter which way you take you’ll connect to the Brickell side of the Riverwalk by walking by the front of the Icon/Viceroy Hotel. This is my favorite part of the Riverwalk because you have some really awesome views of the river, the Bay, and the Port of Miami in the distance. Right here is also the Miami Circle. The Miami Circle is a perfect circle of holes in the limestone bedrock that is believed to be evidence of a prehistoric structure cut into the bedrock by the Tequesta Indians that lived in the Miami area. It was discovered when an apartment building on the property was torn down to build a new building. The circle itself remains buried to protect it, but there is a park to commemorate with historical information.
The path then loops around the Icon and hits Brickell Park, which has a long grassy lawn between the Bay and Brickell Ave with a number of trees, artwork, and the Brickell family mausoleum (no longer occupied). The path along the water exists in someway past the park and you can take it to the bridge to Brickell Key. I walk around Brickell Key a lot and you can check out my post about Brickell Key in Best Miami Urban Escapes.
Bayfront Park was cool to explore more (than when I’m there for Ultra) and I really enjoy walking along the Miami Riverwalk. I think I’m going to make it a part of some longer weekend runs/walks down Biscayne Blvd and through the park and Riverwalk to Brickell Key. If you’re looking for a nice walk or a chance to get some great views of the water, downtown Miami, and Brickell check out Bayfront Park and the Miami Riverwalk!
Bayfront Park- 301 Biscayne Blvd Miami, FL
Miami Riverwalk- along the Miami River starting south of Bayfront Park and until the Miami Ave bridge, pus continuing on the Brickell side from the Icon building (475 Brickell Ave) to the Brickel Key bridge (at 8th Ave).
Fort Dallas Park- 4th St and 1st Ave
Miami Circle- behind the Icon building (475 Brickell Ave Miami, FL)