South Florida’s iconic Aventura Slide Tower has reopened for the season, exciting locals and visitors just in time for the holidays.
Created by world-renowned artist Carsten Höller, the landmark is both a striking art piece and a thrilling experience anchoring Aventura Mall’s Outdoor Courtyard, a multicultural dining mecca comprised of chef-driven restaurants, immersive art pieces and lush landscaping.
An ideal destination to enjoy South Florida’s idyllic fall and winter weather, the Outdoor Courtyard is the perfect space for an al fresco family dinner under the stars, happy hour drinks with friends, weekend brunches, holiday gatherings and celebratory occasions, as well as viewing Aventura Mall’s growing collection of contemporary art – an extension of Miami’s innovative art scene.
Here’s our guide for making the most of your visit to the Outdoor Courtyard:
1. Ride the Slide and Experience Immersive, World-Class Art
Aventura Slide Tower
Trust us when we say this isn’t your average slide: even adults plunge and race down the two spirals that make up the soaring, 93-foot-tall Aventura Slide Tower, which is free to ride.
Known for his large-scale artworks that draw upon amusement parks, playgrounds and zoos, artist Carsten Höller seeks ways to transform common expectations of social spaces by altering perceptions and creating unexpected sensations – both physical and psychological. He applies his training as a scientist to his work as an artist, concentrating particularly on the nature of human relationships.
Höller wanted his Aventura Slide Tower to bring a sense of joy and feeling “somewhere between delight and madness” – to which we say, mission accomplished! Aventura Slide Tower can be gazed upon from below or experienced as a rider, which Höller deems as “different, but both powerful experiences.”
Simply climb the steps to the top, hop on a rug, and enjoy the ride. Open Friday – Sunday, 12PM – 8PM.
Gorilas in the Mist
Created by twins Nikolai and Simon Haas (The Haas Brothers), Gorillas in the Mist is a unique public work designed expressly for Aventura Mall. The whimsical fountain is comprised of three large-scale bronze gorillas, four massive bronze trees and five hand-carved marble benches. The piece functionally circulates water, creating a space that is both peaceful and evocative.
The Haas brothers’ art explores aesthetic and formal themes based upon nature, science fiction, color theory, and even psychedelia. Their curiosity, visual perception, and clever use of multiple mediums set their works apart from the everyday. “Gorillas in the Mist is a portrait of the people we most care about,” say the brothers. “Less specifically in terms of actual people, but more of the roles that certain people can play: a partner, a good friend, and a child. It’s a fountain and a playground, built specifically with children in mind.”
Pro Tip: Watch our interview with the Hass Brothers to hear about their artistry first-hand!
Conceived in 1966 and executed in 1998, LOVE Sculpture by Robert Indiana is a red, blue, and green pop art piece, with the artist’s signature tilted O. A prominent figure in the American art of the 1960s, Indiana contributed to the vibrant Pop Art movement and is one of the most renowned Pop artists, though he distinguished himself from others by injecting his work with political messages and addressing social issues.
Indiana said, “the LOVE sculpture is the culmination of ten years of work based on the original premise that the word is an appropriated and usable element of art, just as Picasso and the Cubists made use of it at the beginning of the century.”
From Philadelphia to Singapore to Aventura, there are 50 renditions of the LOVE sculpture around the world.
Takeaway 2022 by Tom Friedman
The most recent addition to the Arts Aventura Mall collection, Takeaway 2022 by Tom Friedman, is a 13-foot-tall, stainless-steel sculpture crafted with crushed aluminum foil roasting pans, tin foil take-out containers and pie pans.
Situated near the Apple store, the sculpture, which is the second in a series of three pieces, depicts a modern Hermes – the speedy Greek god of communication, humor, trickery, and travel – running with the tall tower of containers and pans balanced precariously on his head.
With pieces being showcased around the world, Friedman is known for his extraordinary work that explores ideas of perception, logic, and possibility.
Pro Tip: Learn more by embarking on our self-guided Art Walk audio tour. Scan the QR codes located throughout the mall and listen on your phone.
2. Eat and Drink Around the World
Representing South Florida’s vibrant melting pot, the Outdoor Courtyard dining options are an excellent opportunity to travel the globe by your taste buds. From decadent brunches to a candle-lit date night dinner, you can curate a perfect al fresco dining experience.
· Dreaming of a Mediterranean escape? Enjoy authentic and creative Greek dishes at Estiatorio Ornos (known for having South Florida’s first fish sommelier!) or the Kosher-friendly Israeli-Mediterranean cuisine at Motek – a beloved establishment among Miami locals.
· For a taste of la dolce vita, visit New York’s famous Serafina (on the Upper Level adjacent to the Outdoor Courtyard) for delicious Italian fare and wine. Pro tip: Sit in the lush outdoor pergola for a European touch.
· If Latin-Asian fusion is right up your flavor alley, search no further than Chef Jose Mendín’s Pubbelly Sushi, where eclectic dishes and cocktails await. And, for a taste of South America, Chef Juan Chipoco’s CVI.CHE 105 and Pollos & Jarras offer a range of traditional and unique dishes.
· Also located in the Outdoor Courtyard is Pani – a whimsical, go-to brunch spot founded by Argentinian Eliana “Pani” Trotta that’s known for its sweets, drinks, tea parties and healthy dishes – and Tap 42 Craft Kitchen + Bar (located on the Upper Level), the popular South Florida staple offering a global range of beers, mouthwatering dishes and towering desserts.
3. Take All The Pics
Whether you’re looking to secure your next pin-worthy Instagram photo or film content for Reels and TikToks, the Outdoor Courtyard has plenty of backdrops to enhance your social feed’s aesthetic.
· Seeking Miami tropic vibes? Gorillas in the Mist offers serene greenery and water fountains, juxtaposed with its playful bronze gorillas (ideal if you’re looking for more of a fun vibe – kids and pets love it, too).
· Snap a ‘fit pic in front of Aventura Slide Tower for a backdrop that will truly level up your look.
· Gather your family, friends or significant other and capture a sweet moment in front of the LOVE Sculpture – a great idea for holiday photos!
· Get dressed to impress, grab your girls, and take beautiful photos while you’re dining in Pani’s dreamy restaurant. Whether you’re inside or just outdoors, the overall design aesthetic is enthusiast approved.
The weather is wonderful this time of year in Miami, so you know where we’ll be…meet us at the Outdoor Courtyard!
For more information, call 305-935-1110.