Your first semester at UM? Try this spring semester bucket list

Row of stores at Shops of Merrick Park Photo credit: Cecelia Runner

Have you ever seen an alligator up close? Gone paddling boarding with your friends? Some UM students can answer yes, but if you’re new to UM this semester, you might feel overwhelmed with everything to explore in South Florida.

Coming from a fall semester freshman, here are the can’t-miss activities for students looking to elevate their Miami experience.

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Brunch in Coconut Grove

With many cute restaurants, shops and small businesses, Coconut Grove is a lovely area to spend your morning.

If you’re looking for a fresh, high-quality brunch, stop at Lulu for a delicious eggs benedict. Greenstreet Cafe is another notable option with a large omelet selection. If you’re looking for a good avocado toast or fruit bowl, check out Berries in the Grove for the best fixings and pleasant outdoor seating option. After brunch, walk around the bustling town and be sure to stop in the Books & Books bookstore for the most Instagrammable moving ladder.

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Trip to the Everglades

Turtles, alligators and birds, oh my! Take a trip to the Everglades National Park to see wildlife and some of Florida’s most majestic nature. The landscape in Florida is incomparable to other U.S. national parks. With beautiful mangrove trees and lilypads along the water, UM students are close to a national treasure.

Take full advantage of hiking trails and consider paying for an airboat tour to learn from the extremely knowledgeable park rangers. Be sure to visit sooner rather than later and take advantage of the cooler temperatures and fewer mosquitos.

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Wynwood Art Walls

Think about putting the most vibrant colors and images you can imagine on a building. When you visit the Wynwood Art Walls, you become fully immersed in the abstract, symbolic minds of the artists who constructed their designs.

The art district is an experience unique to Miami and is sure to spark your imagination. Not only will you leave feeling more connected to Miami culture, but your camera roll will have something to show for your time in the city. Student admission is $5 with a valid student ID.

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Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

This former estate is now an incredible museum and garden. The museum exhibits extravagant European architecture and overlooks the breathtaking waters surrounding the city. With pristine landscaping and beautiful flowers and greenery, this property is nothing short of outstanding.

Grab a few friends on the weekend to take pictures at this terrific landmark. Tickets are $22 for individuals 13 years and older. Student discounts are available for onsite purchases only.

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Venetian Pool

In the heart of Coral Gables, Fla. lies the turquoise waters of the Venetian Pool. What was constructed out of limestone in 1923, is refilled with spring water each day. With waterfalls and grottos, this is definitely a fun experience to offset the hot Miami sun. Escape the UM pool and enjoy one of Miami locals’ favorite attractions. Tickets are $16 for non-residents and $5.50 for residents.

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Paddleboard in Key Biscayne

Rent a paddleboard from Outdoor Adventures in Lakeside Village and get out on the water of Key Biscayne. I recommend paddleboarding in Key Biscayne because the water is calm and less crowded than South Beach.

This is a fun activity to try with friends and will make for a great story. See how long you can stay up for and test your navigation skills on the water. It is sure to be a great arm workout and you can relax on the beach when you’ve had enough fun.

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Dinner in Brickell

Downtown Brickell is a hot spot for night dining and for good reason. With modern high rises and waterfront views, you must plan a night here. LPM Restaurant and Bar has some of the best French cuisine of all time. With a fresh baguette served as soon as you sit down, you know it’s going to be a great experience. Splurge for the escargot or duck, that both melt in your mouth.

Sushi lovers should be sure to check out Paperfish for high-quality sashimi and nigiri. The ambiance is lively and speaks to the electric energy of the city.

Athleta at Shops of Merrick Park
Athleta at Shops of Merrick Park. Photo credit: Cecelia Runner

Shop in Merrick Park

If you had an upscale shopping center that you loved to frequent back home, this is the place for you. Go on a shopping spree at name brands like Nordstrom, Lululemon and Banana Republic. You don’t even have to buy anything to enjoy the outdoor concept, as this wide open mall beats the congested indoor malls anytime.

After you’re done shopping, grab a bite at Eléctico for phenomenal Latin-fusion, Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille for a fine steak diner or Yard House for some casual, yet tasty bar food.

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Morgan Fry
Morgan Fry is a sophomore from La Grange, IL majoring in management and marketing with a minor in journalism. She began writing for The Hurricane in the first semester of her freshman year and is excited to take on a new role as Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor. Her love of Miami restaurants, site seeing and pop culture translates into her writing, which she is excited grow and share with the A&E section. Outside of the paper, Fry is a team leader for the Management 100 program in the business school and is involved with her sorority, Pi Beta Phi.