by Katie Hendrick | November 21, 2016
There’s Something For Everyone at Gulfstream Park
Restaurants, shops, clubs and a casino have joined a storied racetrack at this can’t-miss South Florida destination.
If you’ve driven past Hallandale Beach on U.S. 1 recently, you’ve no doubt noticed a towering bronze Pegasus stomping on a dragon. At 110 feet tall, the design is second only to the Statue of Liberty in terms of stature. And it incorporates fire and water to boot.
The splashy sculpture, completed last winter, stands guard at the Northwest entrance of Gulfstream Park, home to one of the nation’s premier thoroughbred racetracks. The impressive grounds have morphed from an equestrian playground into a luxury entertainment hub delighting foodies, fashionistas, families, music lovers and racing revelers.
“Over the years, Gulfstream Park has become one of the most popular destinations in South Florida for locals and tourists alike,” says Marketing Manager Corin Angel. “Some people pop in for an hour or two, while others spend a whole day exploring. There’s something for everyone.”
Despite the massive growth, Gulfstream Park’s equestrian heritage remains at the forefront. “This place has a lot of history,” Angel says of the 77-year-old track that many entertainment icons have enjoyed throughout the decades, including Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason and Jimi Hendrix. Gulfstream Park hosts races year-round, most notably the Florida Derby just weeks before the first leg of The Triple Crown and, new in January 2017, The Pegasus World Cup Invitational. With a $12 million purse prize, it’s the world’s richest thoroughbred race.
In addition to watching the thrilling action around the track, guests can sign up for special tours of the stables and training facilities. “There’s practically an entire city behind the scenes,” says Marketing Director Michael Nyman. “Our jockeys and trainers love discussing the sport with fans, introducing them to horses and giving them a glimpse of what happens backstage.”
Gulfstream Park offers myriad attractions aside from horse races including a two-story casino with more than 800 Vegas-style slot games and a dedicated poker room, a bowling alley with a pool hall and arcade, sports bars and nightclubs. Multiple nights a week, bands fill an open-air plaza with music.
Food lovers have more than 15 dining options at their disposal, ranging from an upscale steakhouse known for its farm-raised, grass-fed beef and vast wine cellar to fast casual establishments serving Italian and Southern comfort dishes. A number of eateries feature alfresco seating so visitors can soak up the beautiful South Florida sun.
Independent boutiques such as Blu Ice, Back2Back and Roxtar Couture are stocked with designer threads for those in search of a trendy ensemble. Meanwhile, seven décor stores (among them: Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma) and a trio of art galleries make it easy for shoppers to create a carefully curated look for their homes.
Gulfstream Park also does holidays with panache. November 25 will kick off its annual Symphony of Lights, during which bulbs synchronized to Christmas music illuminate a 50-foot tree. A few weeks later, more than 20,000 people will ring in 2017 in a celebration filled with giveaways, live music and ample food and drink selections.
“Gulfstream Park has truly evolved,” Angel says. “We’re known as a racetrack—and we still have those roots—but now we’re really a community gathering place.”
TREAT YOUR TASTEBUDS
Whether you prefer fine dining or something fast and casual, you’ll find a restaurant to satisfy your cravings at Gulfstream Park. Below are a few fan favorites.
Adena Grill & Wine Bar
Adena Grill & Wine Bar, an upscale steakhouse featuring farm-raised, grass-fed beef, organic chicken from a 95,000-acre ranch in Ocala and freshly caught seafood. It also boasts an extensive wine cellar. adenagrill.com
Christine Lee’s turns out sushi, noodle bowls and various other Asian-inspired dishes along with continental options, such as sirloin steaks and broiled chicken. Located next to Gulfstream Park’s racetrack, Christine Lee’s features floor to ceiling windows for guests to watch the competition while they feast. christinelees.com
Mijana Lebanese Cuisine
Mijana Lebanese Cuisine treats guests to the spices and flavors of the Middle East with iconic dishes such as shawarma, falafel and baba ghanouj. Hookah pipes and belly dancers enhance the dining experience. mijana.us
Yard House offers a dizzying number of beers on tap, including imported, craft and specialty ales and lagers. You’ll also find upscale bar food, such as street tacos, crispy Brussels sprouts, a black truffle cheeseburger and lobster garlic noodles. yardhouse.com