Bayfront Park

Top choice


in Downtown Miami

Fountain at Bayfront Park in the downtown area of Miami, FL with Biscayne Bay in the distance.

©Gregory Olsen/Getty Images

Few American parks can claim to front such a lovely stretch of turquoise as Biscayne Bay, but Miamians are lucky like that. Noted artist and landscape architect Isamu Noguchi redesigned much of Bayfront Park in the 1980s and dotted the grounds with three sculptures.

In the southwest corner is the Challenger Memorial, a monument designed for the astronauts killed in the 1986 space-shuttle explosion, built to resemble both the twisting helix of a human DNA chain and the shuttle itself. The Light Tower is a 40ft, somewhat abstract allusion to Japanese lanterns and moonlight over Miami. Our favorite is the Slide Mantra, a twisting spiral of marble that doubles as a playground piece for the kids.

Notable park features are two performance venues: the Klipsch Amphitheater, which boasts excellent views over the bay and is a good spot for live-music shows, and the smaller 200-seat (lawn seating can accommodate 800 more) Tina Hills Pavilion, which hosts free springtime performances.

Look north for the JFK Torch of Friendship, and a fountain recognizing the accomplishments of longtime US congressman Claude Pepper. There are a huge variety of activities here, including flying trapeze classes and free yoga classes, plus a great playground for the kids.