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A Guide To Black Miami: Experience Black Culture & History In The 305
Life & Travel

A Guide To Black Miami: Experience Black Culture & History In The 305

Few cities beat the energy of Miami, and the city’s beaches, nightlife, and restaurants attract millions of travelers every year. But Miami also has a rich Black history and culture that’s often overlooked. Few people know that one of Miami’s oldest neighborhoods, Coconut Grove, was built by Black Bahamians, and in the 1930s, the historic neighborhood of Overtown used to be a bustling entertainment district, hosting greats like Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald, and James Brown.


For your next visit to the “Magic City,” check out the following hotels, restaurants, and attractions where you can learn about Miami’s Black history and support the city’s Black-owned businesses.

Black-Owned Miami: Where To Go

Little Haiti Cultural Complex

Courtesy of Mariette Williams

Little Haiti Cultural Complex

Located in the heart of Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, the Little Haiti Cultural Complex pays tribute to Miami’s Haitian community with a display of Haitian art and textiles. Community events include Afro-Caribbean folk dancing classes and the “Sounds of Little Haiti” outdoor concerts on Friday nights. On Saturdays, the cultural center’s Caribbean Marketplace is filled with local vendors selling food, crafts, and books. Check the center’s site for upcoming events before you go.

Tap Tap Tours

This Black-owned tour company will help you “go beyond the beach” by offering walking tours of Miami’s Black neighborhoods. The owner, Cidelca, has been providing tours since 2016, and some of his most popular tours are the “Melanin Miami” tour, a 90-minute walking tour that explores Overtown and ends with a soul food lunch. You can also take a walking tour of Little Haiti and learn more about Haiti’s contribution to South Florida and how it became the first Black nation to gain independence under colonialism.

Historic Virginia Key Beach Park

Like other Southern states, Florida has a history of harsh segregation and discrimination, and when Miami was settled in the 1890s, white residents prohibited Black residents from using public beaches. In response, Black activists claimed a beach area for themselves, and on August 1, 1945, “Virginia Beach, a Dade County Park for the exclusive use of Negroes” opened.

Though Miami’s beaches are no longer racially segregated, visitors can visit the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park to walk along the mile of white sand beach, picnic under a shaded pavilion, and pay homage to those who fought for the right to beach access.

Black-Owned Miami: Where To Dine

Rosie's Chicken Sandwich

Courtesy of Mariette Williams

Rosie’s

Founded by husband and wife duo (and chefs) Akino and Jamila West, Rosie’s is regarded as one of the best places to eat in Miami. The weekend-only restaurant is a fusion of Southern and Italian flavors, and the highlights here include the lemon ricotta pancakes, wild mushroom polenta, and juicy fried chicken sandwich. The Bib-Gourmand recognized restaurant is located on a breezy outdoor patio in the Little River neighborhood, and you can look forward to fresh food and friendly service.

Red Rooster Overtown

Helmed by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, Red Rooster Overtown has quickly become one of Miami’s best restaurants. The restaurant is a fusion of Caribbean and American soul food with dishes like Bajan salt fish cakes, fried catfish sandwiches, and Guyanese oxtail on the menu. If you’re here on the weekend, the Sunday brunch is a must. There are live gospel singers and musicians, and one of the most popular dishes, the fried yardbird and Belgian waffles, is served with warm maple syrup and sweet potato butter.

Dunkanoo Jamaican Kitchen

Nestled in the colorful Wynwood neighborhood, Dunkanoo Jamaican Kitchen has classic Caribbean dishes like crispy plantain bites, saltfish fritters, and fried whole snapper. There’s also an “Irie Hour'' from 4-7 p.m. where you can get $7 cocktails and jerk chicken sliders. Drop by the restaurant after exploring the outdoor murals and museums in Wynwood and plan on staying late - the restaurant is open until 2 a.m. on the weekends, and there’s a DJ spinning on the patio late into the night.

Black-Owned Miami: Where To Stay

The Goodtime Hotel

Courtesy of The Goodtime Hotel

The Goodtime Hotel

For a chic South Beach stay, check into The Goodtime Hotel, which is owned in part by entertainer and entrepreneur Pharrell Williams. The Art Deco-inspired hotel has stylish rooms (floral shades and quirky art adorn the walls) and one of the coolest pool decks in Miami Beach.

The 3rd-floor pool deck features green and white striped cabanas, pink chaise lounges, and a Mediterranean restaurant and bar. The hotel is a five-minute walk from the beach and steps from restaurants and shopping.

The Dunns Josephine Hotel

For a boutique hotel experience, consider The Dunns Josephine Hotel in Historic Overtown. Founded by real estate developer Kristen Kitchen, the 15-room hotel pays tribute to the Harlem Renaissance stars who once made Overtown so famous. Each room is individually decorated as a tribute to entertainers like Josephine Baker, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and Billie Holiday. The hotel also has a convenient location - Downtown Miami and the Design District are just a few minutes away.

The Gabriel Miami Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton

Downtown Miami has come a long way in recent years. The area used to be just high rises and commercial buildings, but with the addition of the Brickell Shopping Center along with a bunch of chef-driven restaurants and bars, the area is now a “can’t miss” destination in Miami. You can get close to all of the action with a stay at The Gabriel Miami Downtown, a contemporary hotel with 129 guest rooms that feature polished wood floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and sleek, comfortable furniture. Guests also have access to complimentary bikes to explore downtown Miami, and on the weekend, there’s a shuttle service to the beach.

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Featured image by DisobeyArt/Getty Images

 

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