Thundering thoroughbreds galloping towards the finish line – no question that this is the first image that comes to mind when the word Hialeah is mentioned. Hialeah Park racetrack, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is noted worldwide for its beauty, innovative architectural designs with native rock and tropical plantings, and the enormous colony of pink flamingoes who have made the park’s lake their home since 1930. Although Hialeah’s last race meet was held at Gulfstream Park in allandale, as an alternate location, Hialeah Park s a local landmark, and is open to visitors yearround. Contact the park for the current schedule; 305-885-8000, www.hialeahpark.com.
Hialeah is also known for excellent, budget-priced Latin dining, and for shopping at Westland Mall, which is anchored by JCPenney, Sears and Burdine’s, plus 100 specialty shops.
An area of middle-class homes, Opa-Locka is characterized by the Arabian Nights theme imposed by its creators, Glenn Curtis and James Bright in the late 1920s. There are Moorish designs for the downtown buildings, with street names to match, and an absolutely incredible City Hall complete with minarets and elaborately painted domes – a kind of psychedelic Taj Mahal in tropical colors. Not depending on magic carpets, Opa-Locka has its own airport, which was a major aviation center in World War II, and is now used for private planes.
A mixed community of homes, apartments and businesses in a garden-like setting, Miami Lakes was designed as a self-contained community with a little bit of everything. There are superb golf links at its country club, some excellent hotels, and fine dining and shopping on Main Street, a pedestrian mall with a small-town feeling where festivals and events are held throughout the year.
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