Miami City Guide

Miami City Guide

If the thought of Miami conjures up images of beautiful people partying into the early hours of the morning, you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. But beyond that, Miami is a city with a thriving art scene, endless water activities, fine dining, and obviously divine beaches. We asked our local experts and came up with the best way to spend a three-day weekend in this “loco” city.

 

Day 1 // Friday // Testing the Waters

Starting the day with tacos is never a bad idea so head to Coyo Taco for lunch (the Wynwood location gets our vote). Fresh guacamole, a salsa bar featuring six different sauces, and handmade tortillas—what’s not to like? Everything is good but try for something a little different, try the Elote de Calle (corn on the cob ala streets of Mexico, dipped in chipotle aioli and generously sprinkled with cheese).

 

Spend your afternoon wandering through the PAMM (Pérez Art Museum Miami). Not only does this modern art museum host incredible exhibits from all over the world, but its own architecture appears to be a work of art (the hanging gardens at the museum’s entrance can’t be missed). Insider tip: check in advance if your trip collides with one of the museum’s free entry days.

 

Just outside the PAMM is Museum Park, which conveniently hosts outdoor yoga classes on Fridays (full schedule here). If you’re a yogi (or even an aspiring yogi), make sure you have your mat and grab a spot in advance for this popular class. If yoga isn’t your thing, just take a stroll through the 30-acre park while admiring Biscayne Bay (along with the multi-million dollar yachts). Plus, on the south border of the park is American Airlines Arena. Don’t forget to check the schedule in advance to see if any events coincide with your trip (we’ve been eyeing that Enrique Iglesias & Pitbull concert in June…).

Yoga at Museum Park - photo via @mvkayy

Yoga at Museum Park – photo via @mvkayy

While a picnic at Museum Park would be great, you have limited time in Miami so we suggest you dig into the local food scene instead (there’s always next time!)—which you know means some bomb bites with Latin influences. One of the city’s best is Peruvian food. So jump in an Uber and head down to Suviche in Brickell for an early happy hour (3pm – 7pm). Suviche mixes Peruvian cuisine with Japanese sushi resulting in an awesome explosion of flavors. While there, definitely try one of their seven ceviches (it’s their namesake for a reason) but also keep an eye out for the chef’s special—he knows what he’s doing.

 

But don’t take too long at happy hour because one of the best ways to take in the sunset is a twilight cruise with Playtime Watersports. Walk 10 minutes over to the Four Ambassadors Hotel dock for a 6:30pm departure (definitely make reservations in advance).  Once onboard the 50’ catamaran you’ll sail the Bay for two hours, taking in views of famous Miami landmarks snacking on hors d’oeuvres, and sipping on complimentary beer and wine. Before too long, you’ll feel like you fit right in among the mansions of Millionaires Row.

Sunset on the Bay

Sunset on the Bay – photo via @heyemir

 

Day 2 // Saturday // Fun in the Sun

Start right with an early morning pick-me-up from Panther Coffee on Purdy Ave. Panther takes coffee roasting seriously so if you really want to get the full flavor experience, we recommend trying one of their espressos or a nitro cold-brew. But if strong coffee isn’t your thing, you can never go wrong with a latte or cortado from Panther.

 

The empanadas at Panther might look tempting, but just around the block is Paradigm Kitchen, where you can get a full breakfast. And what a breakfast it is! Fresh, healthy, & delicious (don’t worry—we’ll get a traditional Southern-style brunch tomorrow). The Calentado Two Step (quinoa, greens, & avocado topped with an egg and some amazing sauces) is our go-to. Check their IG for some serious food inspo.

 

Grab your swimsuit, towel, & some SPF (!) and head on down to Key Biscayne for the day. This is a small island just a 15-minute drive from downtown that has a couple of state parks as well as pristine beaches. There’s a ton you can do here and a lot to see so we recommend renting a bike for an hour or two to get the full lay of the land. If you can, make it down to the south side of the island (Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park) to check out the Cape Florida Lighthouse—free guided tours start at 10am and 1pm. In addition to biking, you can rent a SUP (stand up paddleboard) and check out the Miami skyline from the water—it’s both a great workout and super relaxing. SoSUP offers SUP rentals for $25/hr (and they also have bike rentals).

Key Biscayne

Key Biscayne – photo via @c_paineeee

By now, you’re probably a bit tired and hungry so head back into the city. If you’ve rented your own car, stop by the Saturday-only Coconut Grove Farmer’s Market for a quick snack. While there’s tons of fresh produce to ogle at, there are also a lot of delicious vegan foods already prepared (try the raw vegan cashew vanilla nut milkshake).

 

With this morning’s health kick over, it’s time to indulge in some tacos. You can never go wrong with Bodega in South Beach. While this looks like a simple joint with a trendy grunge atmosphere, it doubles as a speakeasy bar (hint: the porta potty in the back is not what it seems…). The tacos themselves are worth coming alone, but you might be tempted to return during happy hour (6-8pm) for $2 tacos or even later as the back-bar morphs into a club (DJ & everything).

 

Freshen up at your hotel (maybe even enjoy a dip at the pool?) and then drive out to Wynwood, a neighborhood known for its art, fashion, and hipsters. Every second Saturday of the month between 6pm-10pm, Wynwood hosts an Art Walk, where many galleries host opening night exhibitions and people crowd the streets to watch performers & musicians. While you’re there, be sure to check out Wynwood Walls—a complex of six separate buildings with rotating displays of graffiti from the world’s greatest street artists.

 

If you’re ready to take in the sunset while noshing & sipping, then head to one of three restaurants, all with killer views and crazy-good drinks. Sugar, on the 40th floor of the East Hotel, has a great ambience (think lush, perfectly-lit garden) and a 360 degree view of the city. Pawn Broker is also a rooftop downtown and its drinks are what steals the show (but yea, it too has awesome views). Be sure to get the Giggle Water (a bubbly G&T with lavender foam served in a mini bathtub). And lastly, Lido Bayside Grill is right on the water and serves up fresh Mediterranean food with a side of heaven (that view…).

 

Finally, if you’re not completely exhausted, you can dance the night away at Ball & Chain on Calle Ocho. Ball & Chain’s amazing atmosphere draws people from all walks of life just looking to have a good time. With live Latin music and artfully mixed tropical drinks, you’ll feel exactly as if you were at a club in Havana (trust us—we’ve been!). Plus, no cover.

 

Alternatively, you could end your night at Lagniappe, a wine bar where live bands perform most nights in the back garden. Grab a bottle of wine and some friends and head out back to take in  the music.

South Beach Miami

South Beach – photo via @salomon__a

 

Day 3 // Sunday // A Journey in Food

No long weekend is complete without brunch so hightail it to Yardbird for some of the finest southern food you can imagine—worth the wait. If you’re having trouble deciding, might we suggest the Chicken n’ Watermelon n’ Waffles?

 

As everyone knows, Miami has a large Cuban population. And if you haven’t yet experienced Cuba, the Little Havana neighborhood might just be the next best thing. So, once brunched out, return to Calle Ocho. With the light of day, you’ll see that this popular street is lined with salsa clubs, cafes, food markets, botanicas (the Afro-Caribbean religion of Santeria has many practitioners here), and more. It’s worth strolling the area just to soak in the atmosphere. If you do get hungry, locals tell us that any family store will serve you amazing Cuban food, but Versailles seems to be the universal winner (mmm…those fried plantains).

 

Miami Beach Lifeguard Hut

Miami Beach Lifeguard Hut – photo via @lovin__yk

Before the weekend ends, be sure to get in some final beach time. And this is Miami so we’d suggest hitting up South Beach (hear us out for a minute). While South Beach does attract the stereotypical Spring Break crowd, its white sandy beach and glamorous old Art Deco buildings are still a sight to be seen. Get a 90-minute tour at the Art Deco Welcome Center (full of facts and photo ops), check out Lummus Park, and then grab a spot on the beach for some sun (and really good people watching). For a much more relaxed vibe, head north to Haulover Beach Park (check your map first because part of it is “clothing optional”) or south to South Pointe Park (a huge grassy park with winding walking paths and awesome views).

 

Finally, if you’re feeling a bit unorthodox, close out the weekend with dinner at Ms Cheezious. Sit on the back patio while you enjoy gooey gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches that are everything but boring (they even have a S’mores Melt). That BBQ Pulled Pork Melt is calling your name.

 

Where to Stay

If you’re looking for a great deal & awesome location (who isn’t?), check these three neighborhoods on Hotwire: Brickell-Financial District, Downtown-Port of Miami & Mid-Beach.

 

But if you want to book a specific place, check out these great options:

  • East Miami – Great location in Downtown Miami with the previously mentioned rooftop bar, Sugar. Plus, rooms with views!
  • SLS Brickell – A beautifully & uniquely designed hotel with nice restaurants & a great pool.
  • The Confidante – This beachfront property has an awesome pool and is on an uncrowded section of the beach (midpoint between Wynwood/Midtown and South Beach).
  • EPIC – A pet-friendly & posh hotel with lots to do in the center of Downtown
  • The Hilton Bentley – For when you want the beach but maybe something a bit more low-key.

 

South Beach Hotel

Photo via @salomon__a

 

Other Considerations

Getting around:

Using Uber or Lyft will be your best bet for transportation (parking is a hit or miss and parking fees can quickly add up). But if you’re downtown, use the Metromover—it’s free (!) and does three loops of the downtown area. And if in Miami Beach, try the Alton Road Trolley—also free and runs 8am-12am.

 

Best time to visit:

Winter or slightly chillier months (March, April, October) are usually the best times to visit because of the humidity. But really, you can visit all year round.

 

 

Quick Take Version

Activities

 

Food

 

Coffee

 

Bars/Music

 

Art Deco

Photo via @bitsofbanter

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