Back in the 1940s, Gulfstream Park drew winter tourists to Hallandale Beach for the South Florida weather and what Miami florist and landscaping millionaire James Donn Sr., called “the most beautiful race course under the tropic sun.”
Today, locals and tourists alike flock to the famed thoroughbred racing destination to do more than just place their bets. Beyond the track, Gulfstream features shopping, dining and entertainment galore—including two casinos (with more than 800 Vegas-style slot machines), 15 restaurants and outdoor cafés, nightclubs, art galleries, fashion retailers, sports bars, a state-of-the-art bowling alley—and one of the largest collection of home stores in Broward County. All that, plus the world’s largest horse sculpture, a 110-foot bronze Pegasus, which stands 11 stories tall and weighs 715 tons, reportedly three times the weight of the Statue of Liberty.
“Gulfstream Park represents the new model in thoroughbred racing,” says Tim Ritvo, chief operating officer of Gulfstream’s parent company, The Stronach Group. “It’s a venue unlike any other that offers our visitors the opportunity to shop at Gulfstream, enjoy incredible food at one of our many restaurants, take in a variety of unique entertainment offerings and to experience the thrill and excitement of live thoroughbred racing all in one place. Whether you are an existing race fan or have never been to the races before, Gulfstream Park offers something incredible for everyone that you won’t find anywhere else.”
There easily are more than 100 offerings at Gulfstream, but here are five to get you started.
1. Out of the gutter: Go bowling and eat a giant pizza at Strike 10 Bowling and Sports Lounge, which has 11 AMF professional lanes and two small lanes to teach your youngest Lebowski the rules of the game. Finish off the family fun at La Pizzeria by Strike 10, with its signature 24-inch pie that can feed up to 20 people.
2. Picture perfect: Take a cartoon drawing class at Barker Animation Art Gallery and tap into your inner Charles Schulz. For those who appreciate more sophisticated works, there’s Sirona Fine Art Gallery, which features international art for sale and has curated exhibitions. At Sher Gallery, take home an original sculpture by Miami contemporary artist Romero Britto.
3. Kitchen musts: Snag a bargain at Williams-Sonoma’s first-ever Pop-Up Clearance Store. Sample products from local vendors at the monthly Artisan Market on the first Saturday of every month, featuring product demos and artisanal tastings.
4. Birds of a feather: Stop in to see the owner of Stuart Norman at Village Squire, who is never without his pet macaw, Ragamuffin, on his shoulder. The store is as colorful as Stuart’s parrot, with a stylish array of international clothing that he personally selects for men and women; according to Norman, you won’t find these pieces anywhere else in South Florida.
5. Raise a glass: Host a private tasting for 24 of your closest friends inside Adena Grill and Wine’s vault, which is lined with vintage wines and rare finds. Created by Gulfstream owner Frank Stronach, the wine bar’s cellar boasts more than 7,000 bottles—everything from rare vintages to new arrivals, including one of the most sought-after and elusive gems sourced by Adena’s in-house sommelier: a $3,300 bottle of Screaming Eagle 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon.