In April, Bayside Marketplace, Miami’s most visited tourist destination, will celebrate its 30th anniversary.
When it opened its doors in 1987, the explosive NBC TV series “Miami Vice” put the Miami in the national spotlight, but not necessarily a positive one. Battling the influx of drugs, crime and corruption, as well as a neglected downtown core—Bayside Marketplace was lauded for ushering the city’s revitalization efforts.
Today, downtown Miami is a vibrant place for locals and visitors. The area is steeped in history and cultural offerings including the Freedom Tower, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the PérezArt Museum Miami; first-rate hotels J.W. Marriott Marquis and Hotel Beaux Arts, Kimpton EPIC and InterContinental Miami; and award-winning dining hotspots—Chef Deme Lomas from NIU Kitchen was nominated this year as Best Chef South by the prestigious James Beard Foundation.
Located between the AmericanAirlines Arena and Bayfront Park, Bayside Marketplace, designed on the former Pier 5 and the Miamarina, features more than 130 shops and restaurants, from Brookstone, the Disney Store and Victoria’s Secret to Bubba Gump Shrimp, The Knife and the Hard Rock Café. The marketplace also houses a food court that serves fast-casual options including Cuban and Caribbean, pizza and Chinese food.
Not only a gathering place for locals, the bustling open-air attraction is popular with the cruise-goers from PortMiami too, who before or after cruising end up at Bayside to sip tropical cocktails, shop for souvenirs or hop on sightseeing boat tours. And there are plenty of boat outings to choose from. Bayside Blaster, El Loro pirate ship, Thriller Speed Boat, Island Queen Cruises and Water Taxis depart from the marina.
What makes Bayside most appealing to travelers, though, besides the eating and sightseeing cruises, is its free concerts offered daily. During the week, a variety of musicians playing Latin, classic, rock or jazz take the Marina stage, from 2 pm-6 pm and 6-10 pm. On Saturdays and Sundays, catch the shows from 1-5 pm and encore performances between 6-11 pm (Sat.) and 5-9 pm (Sun.).
March 11-12 and April 3
Capital One Banking Re-Imagined Tour: Capital One hits the road with a hands-on digital experience to spark new ideas about money and create excitement about saving money. 10 am-6 pm. Free admission.
Locales Festival by Chef James: This family-friendly Latin American celebration hosted by James Tahhan, Telemundo TV network's official chef, will feature a celebrity cooking competition, arts and sports interactive activities, concert and fireworks display. 10:30 am-8:30 pm. Adults $50; children 12 and under free; others $25.
Miami Nice Independence Day All-White Yacht Party: Hop aboard the luxurious South Beach Lady yacht to celebrate the Fourth of July in style. Enjoy DJ music, bayside vistas, eight flat-screen TVs and more. 11:30 pm-4 am. Early bird tickets: $75.