Virginia Gardens, Florida: Neighborhood Guide
Virginia Gardens is the perfect place to stop by for a quick visit. Its close proximity to the Miami International Airport make it a great place to stop on a layover or when flying into Miami. You can explore the city in less than an hour because the entire city is only .6 square miles. You can grab a bite to eat at one of the great ethnic restaurants and even check out the Boeing Training and Flight Services gift shop. Or venture over to neighboring Miami Springs to explore restaurants, parks, and night life. Virginia Gardens has a small town feel while still being close to the convenience of the big city, only 10 miles from greater Miami.
Dining Near Virginia Gardens
Virginia Gardens may be a small town but that doesn’t mean limited dining options. You can practically travel the world by eating in Virginia Gardens. From Caribbean to Italian to Thai to Cuban to Dominican, you will find delicious, authentic dishes. Dining options range from casual take out to sit down formal dining. Neighboring Miami Springs also has a variety of dining choices to choose from.
- Basilico Ristorante: If you’re visiting Virginia Gardens and want a fine dining experience with delicious food, the obvious choice is Basilico Ristorante. For over twenty years Basilico Ristorante has a favorite for locals. Even if you aren’t from Virginia Gardens, you will be treated like family. Basilico Ristorante is best known for their traditional Italian dishes. Each dish is expertly paired with one of the over 60 fine wines on their wine list. You can’t go wrong with the seafood, homemade pasta, or risotto. Don’t forget their signature tiramisu for dessert. If you want a great sit-down restaurant with unparalleled service, Basilico Ristorante is your best bet.
- A Little Bit A Philly: If you’ve got a hankering for some Philly cheesesteak, check out A Little Bit A Philly. The cheesesteak is pretty authentic, even Philly transplants says it rivals the greats in downtown Philadelphia. Honestly, it is so good that you might forget that you are in 1,200 miles away from Philadelphia in Virginia Gardens, Florida. If you feel like getting some of the flavor of New York, A Little Bit A Philly also offer a delicious New York style pizza. $3 drafts provide the perfect complement to your meal. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get some of the seafood paella or other chef’s special that locals rave about. A Little Bit A Philly is a casual eatery with limited tables and a counter.
- Cilantro’s Cafeteria and Juice Bar: When you want to experience delicious, authentic Cuban food, heard to Cilantro’s Cafeteria and Juice Bar. They offer traditional Cuban food like pork chops, sandwiches, steak and more. A customer favorite is the fried yucca. Try out the fresh juice bar for sugar cane juice, papaya juice, mango juice, and more. Or if you really want to indulge make the juices into a refreshing shake. Please note, there are no tables, just counter service.
- Yuka Deli: Yuka Deli offers authentic Dominican and Caribbean food including mangu golpes (mashed green plantains), shrimp, palomilla steak, fried pork chops, and mofongos (mashed fried plantains). If you want a side, definitely go for the fried plantains slices that look like little gold medallions. You can even order yucca in a patty or ball stuffed with meat. Their daily specials are popular and include a drink and a salad. Daily lunch specials are offered between 11 and 3 Monday to Friday. If you’re still hungry after your meal, you can try their famous tres leches. The Yuka Deli is a casual eatery with counter service and a spacious dining area.
- Suvi Thai and Sushi: Whether you’re craving Pad Thai, curry, or some yummy sushi rolls, check out Suvi Thai and Sushi. Located just over the border from Virginia Gardens in Miami Springs, Suvi Thai and Sushi offers a variety of Thai and Japanese dishes. From the dragon roll to the traditional Philadelphia roll they have an extensive selection of fresh, rolled sushi. Other Japanese dishes include teriyaki, katsu, and tempura. Thai dishes include a variety of curries including the classic Massaman Curry. They also offer a variety of meat options including duck, chicken, beef, and pork. There are numerous noodle dishes as well as chef specials which include regional dishes with shrimp and seafood. Suvi Thai and Sushi is a sit-down restaurant with a reputation for excellent service and a huge menu with a lot of variety.
Attractions in and Around Virginia Gardens
The area surrounding Virginia Gardens has numerous attractions including beautiful parks, historic sites, a water sports park, a horse racetrack, and even a small, local theater. Within Virginia Gardens one of the most popular attractions is the Boeing Training and Flight Services. The gift shop is open to the public making it is a great stop for flight enthusiasts to pick up Boeing items.
- Boeing Training and Flight Services: Virginia Gardens is home to Boeing Training and Flight Services where Boeing employees go to train and experience flight stimulators. Although the flight training area is not open to the public, you can check out the Boeing Gift Shop for unique souvenirs. The lobby has a detailed Boeing 787 model hanging from the ceiling.
- Curtiss Mansion: The Curtiss Mansion is a beautiful, historic building that is a popular location for hosting events in nearby Miami Springs. They offer guided tours on Saturdays from 10am to 11am. You can also check their website for community events throughout the year including youth camps, festivals, and senior yoga. The Curtiss Mansion was the home of Glenn Curtiss, who is considered a pioneer in aviation on the same level as the Wright Brothers. Curtiss established the first flight school and was the primary provider of plans for the US in World War I. He went on to create over 500 inventions and obtain over 400 patents. In 1925, he built the Curtiss Mansion in the pueblo style. It is a stunning building and definitely worth the drive to check out.
- Amelia Earheart Park: Amelia Earheart Park in Hialeah is a beautiful 515-acre park with five lakes and numerous trails that is a favorite with locals. The park offers something for everyone: from biking trails to volleyball courts to disc golf to playgrounds. Kids will love the petting zoo, playgrounds, and shady picnic areas. Feeding the ducks is a popular activity at the lakes. Dogs love running and playing at the 5-acre “Bark” Park dog park. Fun events are always going on so check out the calendar to see what is happening.
- Miami Watersports Complex: Miami Watersports Complex: One of the highlights of the Amelia Earheart Park is the Miami Watersports complex. It is located on the 90-acre lake and offers cable wakeboarding for both beginners and advanced. They also have boats for traditional wakeboarding as well as waterskiing. And for those who like to take things a little slower there is paddle boarding. Hourly passes are available for 2 hours, 4 hours, and all day passes with rentals available. Beginners can take advantage of lessons. Children under the age of 10 are required to take a 1-hour safety lesson prior to using the cable course.
- Miami Street Players Theater: If you want to catch live theater while you are in the Virginia Gardens area, check out the Main Street Players in Miami Springs. They produce plays that go beyond your typical musical theater repertoire. With relevant, modern productions, the Main Street Players create insightful theater. The experience is heightened by the venue. The small 90-seat theater provides an intimate theatrical experience. In the summers they offer 3-week children’s acting workshops for aspiring actors and actresses.
- Hialeah Park Racing and Casino: For gambling or a day at the races, your best bet is to head over to the Hialeah Park Racing and Casino. A small, intimate casino with slots and a poker room upstairs. The historic race track hosts regular horse races with simulcast. Another big draw is the flamingos. The flamingos were brought from Cuba in 1934 and the bird population has thrived so much that the area is now a National Audubon Sanctuary. Hialeah Park Racing was opened in 1925 on land donated by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss. With its stunning gardens, trademark flamingos, and classic architecture, Hialeah Park Racing and Casino is a popular tourist attraction.
Virginia Gardens Nightlife
If you’re looking for a night on the town or just headed out for a quick bite to eat late at night, you can check out the local bars. Bryson’s Irish Pub and Woody’s West End Tavern both offer live music and dancing on weekends. The outdoor patios provide a great place to relax and unwind.
- Bryson’s Irish Pub: With a full bar and great buffalo wings, Bryson’s Irish Pub is a great choice for a hardy meal or a night of drinking. Signature items include their big burgers, ribs, and fish and chips. Happy Hour is from 4pm to 7pm. They offer an extensive list of craft beers. Weekly events include Karaoke on Saturdays and Wednesdays as well as live music on Fridays and Saturdays. They have a patio with outdoor seating. And the most unique part about Bryson’s Irish Pub is that they have a liquor store on site. So, if you need a place to grab a drink, head to Bryson’s Irish Pub for some Irish bar food and a Guinness.
- Woody’s West End Tavern: Woody’s West End Tavern is a local bar that features live music on weekends. The dance floor is typically packed, and customers enjoy the outdoor patio for taking a break. If you want to grab a bite to eat, try out their signature dishes: Carolina pulled pork sandwich, wings, and hamburgers.
Shopping in Virginia Gardens
If you want to spend a day getting retail therapy or just need to pick up a few items, you will find what you need at the Westland Mall in Hialeah. If you’re hoping for a treasure hunt for vintage finds, check out Cherry Picked Vintage and Antique Market, also in Hialeah.
- Westland Mall: With over 80 retailers, Westland Mall in Hialeah will help you get your shopping fix. Major retailers include Macy’s, Sears, JCPenney, and H&M with a variety of other stores and restaurants. Other popular stores include Aeropostale, Charlotte Russe, Guess, New York & Company, and Victoria’s Secret. There is also a great food court with favorites like Fuddruckers, IHOP, Sbarro, and Chile’s.
- Cherry Picked Vintage and Antique Market: For a fun antique shopping experience, check out Cherry Picked Vintage and Antique Market in Hialeah. They are open weekends and are always getting new great finds. You can find anything from antique glass to vintage comics to vintage shoes to great furniture. It is like a combination of an indoor flea market and a great antique store. You never know what treasures you will take home with you.