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Beyond South Beach: 4 neighborhoods to explore in Miami

A trip to Miami inevitably includes a stop in South Beach.

But if the trendy neighborhood just isn't your scene, you're in luck. Off-the-beaten-path areas beyond the Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue drags offer their own vibrant arts and culture, food and entertainment.

For your next weekend getaway, here are a few cool neighborhoods to see beyond SoBe.

WYNWOOD

With its grand graffiti murals, art galleries and
Photo Credit: Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

With its grand graffiti murals, art galleries and trendy cafes, the Wynwood Arts District is Miami's hipster haven. The crown jewel of this creative hub just north of downtown Miami, is the Wynwood Walls (2520 NW Second Ave., thewynwoodwalls.com), a rotating "museum of the streets" created in 2009 by late developer Tony Goldman and co-curator Jeffrey Deitch. The provocative murals made by acclaimed street artists like Shepard Fairey, Futura and Swoon are free and open to the public.

For a taste of Wynwood, take the Wynwood Food & Art Tour ($69; miamiculinarytours.com), a 21/2-hour walking tour with stops at several foodie favorites including Wynwood Kitchen and Bar (2550 NW Second Ave., 305-722-8959, wynwoodkitchenandbar.com), Made In Italy Gourmet (10 NE 27th St., 786-360-5671, madeinitalygourmet.com) and Fireman Derek's World Famous Pies (2818 N. Miami Ave., 786-449-2517, firemanderekspies.com). For more innovative art, designer shops and fashionable restaurants and lounges, visit the neighboring Miami Design District, which, like Wynwood, hosts monthly art walks.

SUNNY ISLES BEACH

Affectionately called
Photo Credit: Sunny Isles Beach Tourism and Ma

Affectionately called "Florida's Riviera," Sunny Isles Beach is a family-friendly resort community about 25 minutes north of South Beach. At one time, the town's 2-mile stretch of white sand beach was lined with quaint motels. Now, there's an assortment of luxury beachfront hotels and restaurants, including the scenic Beach Bar at Newport Pier (16501 Collins Ave., 305-957-1110, beachbarnewportpier.com).

Beyond the beach, you can hike, bike, fish and kayak at the nearby Oleta River State Park (3400 NE 163rd St., floridastateparks.org/park/Oleta-River) or get your retail therapy fix at the upscale Aventura Mall (19501 Biscayne Blvd., 305-935-1110 aventuramall.com) and Bal Harbour Shops (9700 Collins Ave., 305-866-0311, balharbourshops.com), both a short drive away.

COCONUT GROVE

Just 20 minutes from South Beach by car
Photo Credit: Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Just 20 minutes from South Beach by car or taxi, Coconut Grove is Miami's oldest and perhaps most laid-back neighborhood. Visit this bohemian bayside village for its museums, parks and gardens, and the popular open-air CocoWalk mall (3015 Grand Ave., 305-444-0777, cocowalk.net) for a mix of restaurants, chain retail stores and independent shops. Or step back in time at Vizcaya Museums & Gardens ($18 adults, $12 seniors, $10 students, $6 children 6-12, free children five and under; 3251 S. Miami Ave., 305-250-9133, vizcaya.org), a lavish European-inspired estate built in 1910 by millionaire industrialist James Deering.

LITTLE HAVANA

Step into Miami's lively Cuban and Latin American
Photo Credit: Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Step into Miami's lively Cuban and Latin American community in Little Havana (SW 12th Avenue to SW 17th Avenue), just west of downtown Miami. Along Calle Ocho (SW Eighth Street), the neighborhood's main strip, you'll find Cuban coffee and cigar shops, fruit stands and botanicas. You can also watch spirited domino games in Maximo Gomez Park (801 SW 15th Ave.), aka Domino Park, and stroll the Walkway of the Stars, which celebrates the achievements of famous Latin Americans like Celia Cruz and Gloria Estefan.

Sample authentic Cuban cuisine on The Little Havana Food Tour ($59; miamiculinarytours.com), including the local favorite Cuban sandwich, picadillo-stuffed empanadas, fresh-squeezed Guarapo juice and guava pastry.

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