A Local Guide to Coral Gables
prepared by Hal Feldman - IN PROGRESS
If you want to find out what is going on in and around Palmetto Bay for its approximate 25,000 residents, you’ll want to check out:
The official Village website (palmettobay-fl.gov/)
The official Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/Village-of-Palmetto-Bay/80499470744)
The official Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/PalmettoBayVlg)
Since becoming its own municipality in 2002, Palmetto Bay has groomed itself to be a “Village of Parks” and a family-friendly place to live. Palmetto Bay is nicknamed the “Village of Parks” as a result of the 6 park facilities offering recreation activities and preservation of the natural environment. It has excellent schools and family-friendly streets.
Palmetto Bay has two large parks, two specialty park areas and a dog park. Coral Reef Park is located adjacent to Coral Reef Elementary School along SW 152nd Street. It contains over 50 acres. There is a jog/walk/bike path, football field, baseball field, soccer fields, tennis courts, volleyball and a great playground. The Village even has a space for a food vendor near the ball fields. Coral Reef Park is the place where the Village holds their annual Incorporation Celebration Picnic. It is a blast to see about 5000 people show up for this wonderful and free event. The park also has free movie nights a few times a year, often in conjunction with Earth Week and holiday celebrations.
Palmetto Bay Park is located at the southern end of the Village and is about a block from Village Hall. It was expanded to 25 acres in 2006. Filled with beautiful playground, six softball fields and a skate park, the park serves as a main destination for league baseball/softball games. More regular community events are happening here all the time.
Ludovici Park is located adjacent to the Palmetto Bay branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library and is just north of the Palmetto Bay Village Center (formerly served as Burger King HQ) on Old Cutler Road and approximately 177th Street. Ludovici Park is home to smaller Village events and is well suited for music concerts with its bandshell. The Annual Summer Concert, started in 2013, has its home here and the Village does an annual tree giveaway from this location during Earth Week.
Thalatta Park is an event space and quiet walking park on an expansive piece of manicured lawn providing views of Biscayne Bay. This gated park is open at limited times and is located on Old Cutler Road at approximately 173rd Street. It is a perfect spot for weddings, parties, graduations, bar/bat mitzvahs. Along with its two historical buildings, you can rent out the grounds for the perfect indoor/outdoor event. When open for the public, there is a wonderful winding path that takes you right to a panoramic vista of Biscayne Bay. Take a book and relax at one of the many benches...
If you are a dog lover, you’ll enjoy taking Fido out to Perrine Wayside Dog Park, located at 164th Street on South Dixie Highway (US-1). This 3-acre spot has a center lake and lots of fun things for dogs and humans alike. You can converse with your fellow dog lovers on the park’s own Facebook page.
One of the reasons Palmetto Bay is known as one of the best bedroom communities in South Florida is because of its educational resources and focus.
Palmetto Bay gained the 5000-square foot Palmetto Bay branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library in 2008. On the second floor is a rentable event space. You can find out more by calling 305-232-1771 or click here for Library Events.
Howard Drive Elementary is located at the northern end of Palmetto Bay (7700 block of SW 136th Street) and for more than 50 years has been a staple of great Pre- K through 5th grade education.
Coral Reef Elementary is adjacent to Coral Reef Park (7900 block of SW 152nd Street) and services the middle portion of Palmetto Bay households. The school is a K-5 facility.
Perrine Elementary (8800 block of SW 168th Street) is a magnet school serving K-5th grade students. Dr. Henry E. Perrine Academy of the Arts School is committed to educating and preparing students for the challenges of tomorrow. Through the use of multiple intelligences, expressive arts and technology, all stakeholders will facilitate the cognitive development, as well as emotional, physical and social skills of the students while strengthening their pride, respect, integrity and commitment to excellence.
Southwood Middle School is an arts magnet school that endeavors to be a warm, creative learning environment where students will develop the strengths to overcome academic and social challenges. The school has large soccer/football fields and also has several basketball courts. Located in the Southern half of Palmetto Bay (16301 SW 80th Avenue), most households south of 152nd Street are assigned here.
There are several private or charter schools that call Palmetto Bay home. The larger schools are Palmer Trinity, Westminster Christian and Alexander Montessori (one of the oldest Montessori schools in the country!). You can also explore classroom settings within the many religious centers in Palmetto Bay.
Howard Drive Elementary 7750 SW 136th Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33158 / 305-235-1412
Coral Reef Elementary 7955 SW 152nd Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157 / 305-234-1464
Perrine Elementary 8851 SW 168th Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157 / 305-235-2442
Southwood Middle 16301 SW 80th Ave, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157 / 305-251-5361
Westminster Christian 6855 SW 152nd Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157 / 305-233-2030
Palmer Trinity School 7900 SW 176th Street, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157 / 305-251-2230
Old Cutler Presbyterian 14401 Old Cutler Road, Palmetto Bay, FL 33158 / 786-573-7019
Alexander Montessori 17800 Old Cutler Road, Palmetto Bay, FL 33158 / 305-969-1814
MEDICAL AND EMERGENCY
Should your child need emergency medical care, Palmetto Bay has a branch of the Miami’s (Nicklaus) Children’s Hospital to provide outpatient services. There are also many highly respected pediatricians throughout Palmetto Bay. The original offices of Kings Bay Pediatrics has moved to Pinecrest, but it is where my kids went and got great care.
There are a few urgent care facilities along US-1 for other medical related issues. In short, you won’t be wanting for excellent medical care if you live in Palmetto Bay.
Palmetto Bay has a free mini-bus service called iBus. It has several stops throughout the Village and runs during the weekdays only. For schedules and information, please see the iBus home page.
Palmetto Bay has made extensive efforts to make significant portions of the Village accessible by bicycle. In conjunction with several other municipalities, you can bike on a dedicated parallel bike path to Old Cutler Road from SW 136th Street to SW 184th Street (the entire length of Palmetto Bay). You can read about lots of area bike paths here.
For grocery shopping, it’s hard to beat Publix. Thankfully, Palmetto Bay has a huge Publix located at US-1 and SW 146th Street. It is joined with a CVS pharmacy and a Hallmark store, making this a great one-stop weekly destination. Also in this shopping plaza is Grove Bank & Trust, a great local bank.
All along the US-1 corridor you will find a myriad of great stores to shop. If you are in need of pool supplies or advice, I highly recommend the locally-owned Pinch-A- Penny franchise.
Just north of Palmetto Bay on SW 136th Street is a Home Depot. Like me, I am sure you’ll be spending plenty of time there to fix up your home just right.
The Falls Shopping Center is an open-air strolling mall with about 30 shops. Located just west of US-1 at 136th Street, you can’t miss the large monument sign. Outparcel The Fresh Market allows for alternative grocery shopping to Publix. The mall itself is host to anchors Macy*s and Bloomingdales. There is also a Regal multiplex movie theater.
The Falls Industrial area consists of warehouses, shops and restaurants and is located between 136th Street and 128th Street just west of US-1. It is best to take the 132nd Street turn off of US-1 to reach this location. Among the offerings is South Dade Electric, Bensons Lighting, several plumbing supply shops, tile and carpet stores and vendors who can provide parts for just about anything. In short, if you are looking for specialty items, you should check here first. You’ll probably find it!
Dadeland Shopping Center is a larger, more mainstream shopping mall located north of Palmetto Bay by about 10 minutes. Best way there is US-1 to the Palmetto Expressway northbound. Exit at 88th Street and you will see the mall to your right.
Opened in 2012, Fuddruckers is hard to beat for good burgers. Owned by a family from Pinecrest, this particular restaurant takes pride in their community involvement.
Starbucks is in two locations in Palmetto Bay. One is at US-1 and 148th Street. This location features a drive-thru to get you on your way. There is also one off Old Cutler Road at SW 168th Street in a little “town corner” which features two gas stations, a BB&T bank, dry cleaner and more.
At that same corner is the wonderful Alaine’s Osteria restaurant. It is a great Italian place with nearly every family member involved in the restaurant. There is a Miller’s Ale House at 136th Street and US-1. For eating in or taking out, China Gold is a favorite of my family at US-1 and SW 152nd Street. Krispy Kreme also operates at US-1 and SW 168th Street. Many other fine restaurants from inexpensive to not so cheap are waiting to take your money.
Three diner/deli type restaurants are worth noting due to their local hangout status. Within Palmetto Bay, you can try Original Lots of Lox. Just north on US-1, please check out Wagons West in the Suniland Shopping Center (US-1 at 114th Street). This has been a staple to the community since 1980 and is one of the family favorites. Still further north is Roasters ‘n Toasters in two Pinecrest locations (US-1 and SW 128th Street & US-1 and SW 94th Street), known as the best deli in Florida. A bit more expensive than the first two, but you can’t beat their food.
Deering Estate - If you are interested in the early history of Miami, Cutler and the Palmetto Bay area, look no further than the Deering Estate located off Old Cutler Road and SW 168th Street. Besides hosting events like the annual Seafood Festival, this is a great place to get some culture and stroll the grounds of a unique part of South Florida.
Zoo Miami – Located on SW 152nd Street about five miles west from US-1, this is a tremendous zoo. Zoo Miami offers discounts to families, a monorail option for getting around and hosts 40 endangered species. Since 1948, the zoo has opened its doors to kids and adults from around the world.
Fairchild Tropical Gardens – This is a treasure of South Florida. Located on Old Cutler Road north of Palmetto Bay at SW 119th Street, Fairchild Tropical Gardens has a lot more than just tropical gardens. This is a great social and cultural center as well. Dale Chihuli’s hand-blown glass art graces many areas of the grounds. Don’t miss the butterfly exhibit!
Black Point Marina – If you have a boat and want to launch to Biscayne Bay, this Cutler Bay spot is a great place to do so. Black Point Marina also has a great Ocean Grill restaurant/bar, where (if you are lucky) you’ll see one of South Florida’s great cover rock bands, Mr. Nice Guy.
Matheson Hammock – A park, beach and marina. This public park gets you close to the water activities you want. Located off Old Cutler Road at SW 96th Street, Matheson Hammock has many boat slips, launches, a restaurant (Red Ocean Grill) and a man made beach (really a lagoon-like lake).
GET GOING IN PALMETTO BAY
Beyond knowing Palmetto Bay better, you will want to use my online resource for getting started in South Florida. Everything from getting your electric and water turned on to filing for homestead exemption can be found in one place... at MiamiHal’s website.
I look forward to seeing you soon and talking more about everything Palmetto Bay has to offer!
The Village of Palmetto Bay has history going back to the Native American tribes that inhabited the area. Several historical markers dot the landscape. you can learn more here.