Feeling cooped up? You’ve loved the series on best Miami scenic drives and walks, so I’ve expanded the series with a part 4 on places ripe for exploring and welcome eye candy. The recommendations come from realtors who are in the know. Here’s a hidden gem, El Portal. And if you missed the other parts of the series, look at the links at the end.
By Alexandra Peters
How many times have you read a real estate description that refers to a so called “Hidden Gem” or “up and coming neighborhood?” It often sounds so clichéd, but El Portal truly fits both terms perfectly. Somehow the stars have aligned in El Portal to create the ideal blend of history, exotic wildlife and fauna, an evolving infrastructure with new businesses and subsequent new demographic, topped off by a growing culinary scene.
Officially established in 1937, El Portal borders to the North on Miami Shores at NE 91th Street, and to the South along the Little River along NE 85th Street. It spans East to West from Biscayne Blvd (US1) to NW 5th Ave. To best discover what lies beyond the gates of El Portal, simply head West down El Portal’s main Street on 87th Street off of Biscayne Boulevard and meander through the beautiful streets that are filled with homes from the 1920’s dripping in charm.
The lush neighborhood is home to a beautiful park named Sherwood Park located on the South side of El Portal shouldered by a nature trail that runs along the river and presents a daily enchanting concert of birds. It is no surprise that El Portal was officially designated as being a Bird Sanctuary.
When strolling further along 85th Street by the Little River, one will stumble across an area that is known as “The Mound.” Not only is this known to be the highest point in the county, it is a sacred area that dates back to the year 600 when ancient Tequesta Indians migrated and settled there while passing by on the Little River.
It you are not so much into the nature trails and rather do some shopping, stop by the Antiques & Design Miami located right outside El Portal on 8690 Biscayne Blvd. It’s a great place to find a mix of art, antiques, fashion and collectables.
All this definitely makes El Portal a fun alternative for a Miami day excursion, paired with a tasty breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner at one of the many nearby culinary retreats such as Sherwood Bistro, Pinch Kitchen, Sottosale, or the food hall with sustainable market, The CITADEL. My personal favorite would be the brunch at Sherwood Bistro.
Note from Karen: A review on The Citadel and the market
Should you wish to stay the night, El Portal even has its very own boutique community of fully furnished apartments called “The Cottages of El Portal.” So whether you make it a day-trip or staycation, you are sure to walk-away having seen some beautiful historic homes and sites, met some interesting locals, had an encounter with a peacock, and a memorable meal.
This charming little neighborhood has evolved into a true gem and will continue to evolve. I hope you come and visit. See you in El Portal!
Note from Karen: For more best Miami scenic drives and walks: