MIM Ineffable Miami: Aventura by Alexandra Rodriguez

Photo by Audri Rodriguez, CC by 4.0

Biography

Alexandra is a current junior in the Honors College at Florida International University. She plans to pursue a degree in Accounting and earn her certifications and licenses to become a CPA. She is an active member of Beta Alpha Psi, a national honor society for Accounting and Finance majors. She enjoys traveling, sports, and fashion. Alexandra has explored over twelve different countries and appreciates the culture and lifestyle in each; she believes each country has something special to offer. With plans to travel abroad this summer, she is excited to embark on a whole new journey. 

Geography

Map of Aventura from Google Maps

Stretching as long as 3.2 square miles, Aventura is an Intracoastal Waterway in northeast Miami-Dade. Offering residents a quiet suburban lifestyle, this area is home to many shops and restaurants. It is about 19.4 away from the heart of downtown Miami and 15.3 miles from Fort Lauderdale. Some cities that surround Aventura include North Miami Beach, Sunny Isles Beach and Hallandale. Although the area is home to the famous Aventura Mall, it’s mainly a residential space with many eateries and buildings. There are approximately 13,484 persons per square mile, making Aventura a large space with many residents. Although Aventura is Intracoastal, there are still some green areas and access to beaches. This gives visitors and residents views of both the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean.

History

Judaism, Photo courtesy of cottonbro on Pexels.com

Funny enough, Aventura’s original blueprints were drawn on a cocktail napkin by Donald Soffer. He purchased 785 acres of land with hopes of eventually building the city of Aventura. At the time, Aventura was nothing but undeveloped swamp (Turnberry). His goal was to turn this marshland into an area with luxury condos, hotels and residential homes. The city was eventually developed during the 1970s and became incorporated in 1995 (Wikipedia). The city of Aventura is fairly new, compared to other areas in the county.

The Jewish history in Aventura dates back early in its development. The Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center’s history began after the Six Day War in 1967. This is when Donald Soffer’s company purchased the land in Aventura and developed the suburban neighborhood (Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center). The area is so important to the city of Aventura that Former President Bill Clinton gave a speech shortly after leaving the White House at this very Jewish center.

Demographics

With a population that totals about 39,000 people, Aventura is home to many Miami-Dade County residents. The median age in the area is approximately 43 years old, however there is a large population of residents over 65 years old. More than half of the residents have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, which is a big accomplishment compared to many other neighborhoods in Miami. The most common jobs within the area are occupations within the sales field and office and administrative support. While the median household income is over $64,000, a very large amount of the population earns over $100,000 (Miami-Dade Beacon Council). Again, this goes hand-in-hand with more than half of the population earning a higher-level education.

interview with resident, yina cabrera

Photo courtesy of Yina Cabrera

How long have you lived in Aventura?

I’ve lived in Aventura for eighteen years. I attended elementary through high school here and moved into a dorm in Sweetwater when I started college at Florida International University.

What’s your favorite aspect about living in Aventura?

I think what I enjoy most about Aventura is the people I have met here. We all grew up in this neighborhood and have gone to school together since we were ten. Our families are also extremely close, and we often include them in all our family events.

What’s your favorite local restaurant?

One of my favorite food spots is Power Smoothie. It’s authentic to Aventura and all the locals know about it. My friends and I would always go there in high school, and everyone was friends with the workers. The place was so popular that they printed coupons in our high school newspaper every week!

Yina’s Power Smoothie recommendation: chipotle chicken wrap

Do you plan on living in Aventura in the future?

Although I’ve loved growing up in Aventura, I don’t see myself living here in the future. I currently work in Brickell, and the commute is extremely difficult on a day-to-day basis. After I finish college, I plan on moving to downtown Miami.

Landmarks

Aventura Mall, Photo courtesy of Ashley Diaz

Aventura Mall: Being the third largest mall in the United States, Aventura is home to this famous tourist spot. Built in 1984, the mall has been around for thirty-six years already and brings a major source of income for Aventura. There are numerous luxury shops like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany and Co. and eateries like CREAM and Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen. It’s also a great place for children, as they have the Aventura Slide Tower and an interactive playground. It’s free of charge for anyone to play!

Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center: Home to a large Jewish community, Aventura has many centers and offer numerous services. The Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center has Shabbat morning prayers on Saturdays and many other community events for its residents. Located in the heart of Aventura, it’s a beautiful location to visit and learn more about the growing Jewish community in this part of Miami-Dade.

Aventura Circle: This is a great spot for someone looking to do a bit of exercise. While you walk along the scenic path, you will come across the Turnberry Country Club and Spa, golf courses and condo buildings. It’s a spot in Aventura always crowded with people getting some fresh air; people here often enjoy rollerblading, bike riding and jogging. The route is a 2.76 mile walk and is located adjacent to Aventura Mall on NE 192nd Street.

Green

Founders Park, Photo courtesy of Ashley Diaz

Although Aventura is located along the Intracoastal Waterway, there are still plenty of green areas to enjoy nature. One spot that is especially great for families is Founders Park. This wide green space features athletic fields, fitness trails, play areas, picnic shelters, tennis courts and a water playground. I think green spaces like these are extremely important, especially in residential areas. It encourages exercise and an escape for many people, without having to travel too far. Being a 12-acre park, there is plenty of room to play a soccer game or even just picnic, while enjoying the fresh Aventura air (City of Aventura).

Another green space in Aventura is the Turnberry Gold Course. Golfing is a common activity in Aventura. On the weekends, you will find this spot full of people. Located on the property of the JW Marriott Resort and Spa, this golf course offers rentals and lessons, golf programs for juniors and a driving range and putting green. Although Aventura may lack several green spaces, they make do with the few that they do have. Every park and green space are always busy with residents and tourists. I think the area of Aventura would benefit from opening up more green areas to the public, but due to the number of condos and homes, this would be extremely difficult.

Transportation

Bus Services, Photo courtesy of Benjamin Suter on Pexels.com

Car: This is the most obvious and common of the modes of transportation. In an area like Aventura with many residential spots, most people travel by car to their destinations. Many of the people living here travel to different parts of Miami for work, school, etc. It’s also a common occurrence to find Ubers and Lyfts in the streets of Aventura. Since the mall is such a large tourist attraction, people are constantly ordering car services to bring them from and to their destinations.

Aventura Express Shuttle Bus: Boarding the Aventura Express Shuttle Bus to get to your destination is a more efficient and eco-friendly manner for transportation; it’s a great alternative to always using your vehicle. The shuttle has six different routes that go through Northern, Central and Southern Aventura. It’s a great option, as it can get you to Miami-Dade or Broward transfers, routes around and near Aventura Mall, and many other spots. Luckily, the service is free of cost, allowing residents and tourists to take advantage of this offer.

Although Aventura offers the shuttle bus, I think the area lacks a better transportation system. In South Miami through downtown Miami, the Metrorail and Metromover help alleviate much of the morning and evening traffic. Unfortunately, the Metrorail line ends around the Hialeah area, leaving out many parts of northern Miami. Building a metro system in Aventura would be extremely beneficial, as people could use this transportation system to get to work in Broward or South Miami; it would help reduce the heavy amounts of traffic in the area.

Food

Left: Juice and Java, Top Right: CREAM ice cream sandwich, Bottom Right: Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen, Photos courtesy of Yina Cabrera

Food is an extremely important aspect of Aventura. In 2011, the last Burger King in Aventura closed, and that was the history of fast-food in the area. If you walk around Aventura, there is not a McDonald’s, Taco Bell or Wendy’s in sight. Instead they take pride in their authentic restaurants like the following:

Zuuk Mediterranean Kitchen: The owner of this casual restaurant was born in Colombia, but his heritage stems from Middle Eastern descent. All items on their menu are made in-house every day. They take pride in serving their visitors fresh and authentic Mediterranean food. With the option to cater, eat in or dine out, Zuuk’s has a wide range of food options. First, you start with a base of rice, salad or pita and then proceed to add all the toppings and sauces you desire! $$

Juice and Java: Since opening in 2002, this local eatery promotes healthy living and eating to their customers. They offer breakfast, juices, wraps and bowls, all of which are made fresh. With the option of delivering and catering, this café believes, “You are what you eat…” They believe food should make you feel strong and energized (Juice and Java). $$

CREAM: If you’re searching for a dessert place to visit in Aventura, CREAM is the place to be. This ice cream shop is known for their insane ice cream sandwiches. You have the option to customize your sandwich and chose your type of cookie, ice cream flavor and a topping. Some popular combinations are chocolate chip cookies with vanilla ice cream and Oreo crumbs and sugar cookies and fruity pebbles on the outside. It’s a great location for families, and they are sure to have something for everyone’s tasting. $$

P.S. Find these food spots on Instagram by clicking their names!

Businesses

Artisan, Photo courtesy of Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

There are many small businesses around Aventura that are locally owned. Listed below are a few that many locals and tourists would visit:

The Aventura Market: Hosted every Saturday and Sunday, this event is packed with vendors from all varieties. Whether you are searching for new hand-made jewelry or looking to try homemade baked treats, this market covers all the bases (Aventura Mall). It’s a great method of allowing local vendors in Aventura to attract new buyers in an extremely busy location like Aventura Mall.

Jessie Boutique: Aventura is known for luxury shopping. Although the mall is home to hundreds of stores, boutiques like Jessie Boutique offer unique pieces you can’t find in Macy’s or Nordstrom. At a small clothing store like this one, you will receive a personalized shopping experiences and meet friendly staff. Purchasing clothes from here also supports locals like Jessie, the owner.

A Step Above Shoes: Back in 1988, Jerry and Rhonda Milo opened A Step Above Shoes in Aventura. Both Jerry and Rhonda had a passion for shoes. Their small shoe boutique has attracted many shoppers and has become a staple store for many locals. Their personalized touches in their store keep their customers always coming back for more.  

P.S. Find these businesses on Instagram by clicking their names!

Summary

No one can argue Aventura’s beauty. Being an Intracoastal Waterway in Miami means you have the luxury of enjoying not only the beaches but also the canals and bays. Aventura is a unique spot in Miami and doesn’t really compare to the other parts, in my opinion. When we think of Miami, we always revert to South Beach and the downtown Brickell area. Hardly ever do people think about Aventura, unless they are planning on visiting the mall. I also think the city of Aventura is an incredible place to learn about the Jewish culture, since the community is so large; there are several centers and synagogues to visit and thousands of residents to speak to.

One major downfall of Aventura is their lack of transportation. Their shuttle bus is a great, free service but does not help much with the substantial amount of traffic in the area. Not only does the traffic cause delays, but it hurts the environment and exposes the air to toxins. Heavy amounts of car fumes can eventually lead to noncancerous health effects, which would put all residents at risk.

Being a small area, Aventura is an ideal family neighborhood. Most adults in the area have two-three children, and there are exceptional private and public schools. Although tourists may not spend weeks in Aventura, the area is definitely worth a visit. As a family-friendly, shopping-filled neighborhood, Aventura is sure to be fun for visitors of all ages.

Works cited

Aventura Market. “Local Farmer’s Market at Aventura Mall in Miami – Ft. Lauderdale, FL.” Aventura Mall, aventuramall.com/programs/aventura-market-farmers-artisans/.

Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center. “Clergy.” ATJC, http://www.atjchome.org/clergy.

City of Aventura. “Founders Park.” Aventura, FL, http://www.cityofaventura.com/Facilities/Facility/Details/Founders-Park-4.

Juice and Java. “Home.” Juice&JavaOfficial, http://www.juiceandjava.com/.

Miami-Dade Beacon Council. “Aventura.” The Beacon Council, http://www.beaconcouncil.com/why-miami-dade/cities/aventura/.

Turnberry. “TURNBERRY’S HISTORY.” TURNBERRY, http://www.turnberry.com/history/.

Wikipedia. “Aventura, Florida.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Apr. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aventura,_Florida.

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