Running on a few hours of sleep and a perfect spring day, we headed out to find the Hard Rock Cafe (we all collect things from them). The HRC is located in the Bayside Marketplace - you'll know you're there when you see the brand new huge America Airlines Arena (home of the Miami Heat) nearby. It's a gorgeous arena, surrounded by the water and marketplace. We parked in the 1200-car parking garage (~$6/hour) behind the HRC, in the center of the marketplace. There are also boat docks on the waterfront side of Bayside, if you happen to be arriving by boat.
Located near downtown Miami, Bayside is a waterfront, two-level, open air mall, with retail stores such as Gap, Bath&Body Works, Victoria's Secret, Guess, Bubba Gump Shrimp, and many other specialty shops; lots of restaurants, and tons of kiosks and souvenir stands. There are fountains and interesting trees (see my picture of the tree) built into the walls and doors. It's really cool! Out one side of the marketplace is a park-type area with more of these unique trees and a grassy area to hang out in.
The Hard Rock Cafe is accessible by a bridge. Since the weather was gorgeous, we sat outside. Outside, there are a few umbrella-covered tables and a bar. Our waiter/the bartender was a friendly young guy who chatted with us while we ordered and ate. The restaurant was pretty empty for a Sunday afternoon. We overlooked the marina and the water, and looking across we could see the AA Arena.
After lunch, we wandered around to the other side of the HRC, where there was a nice view of the Biscayne Bay and we could watch all the boats and giant cruise ships.
For shopping, or just a lunchtime stop, I highly recommend you try the Bayside Marketplace. Many local sightseeing cruises leave from ports nearby.
For more information visit http://www.baysidemarketplace.com/