It is predominantly a residential neighborhood, with historic single-family homes dating primarily from the 1920s adorning the landscape. It is located in the Buena Vista East Historic District, which has some of the neighborhood's oldest residences and is a National Register Historic District.
When Buena Vista was founded and grew in the 1890s, it was a little community whose establishment and expansion paralleled that of Miami. It was during the 1920s Land Boom that the land was developed into the Biltmore and Shadowlawn subdivisions, which are still in use today. Originally populated by a large number of Florida cracker immigrants from Georgia and North Carolina, the neighborhood quickly gained popularity among the proprietors of local establishments. The architecture of the houses reflects the rising socioeconomic standing of their original owners, and they contain fine examples of Mediterranean Revival, Mission, Craftsman, and Art Deco style mansions, among other architectural styles.
Buena Vista, Lemon City, and Little River were all established around the beginning of the nineteenth century and are considered to be among the earliest communities in Miami-Dade County today. In the past, the region known as Buena Vista was a small village that was next to, but not within the corporate lines of, the city of Miami. Despite being predated in time by pioneer Lemon City, a hamlet located a little further north, the small community of Buena Vista dates its inception, development, and expansion at the same time as the city of Miami itself.
In the days before the development of Buena Vista, the huge rock ridge that stretched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Florida Everglades was covered with a dense pine forest. An early survey done by government surveyors documents the earliest history of the town, and the locations of the village's land parcels are still based on this early document to this day.
New regions went northward along the old Dixie Highway (N.E. 2nd Avenue) and Avenue D (N. Miami Avenue), which was extended northward from N.E. 36th Street during the period between the late 1910s and the beginning of the Boom era in the early 1920s, when the population of Miami increased. The northern city limit of Miami was relocated to N.E. 38th Street, which included a portion of Buena Vista in the process. Last but not least, the new town of Buena Vista was officially established on August 4, 1924; the following year, it was annexed to the City of Miami alongside its neighboring towns of Coconut Grove and Silver Bluff, which had previously been incorporated.