To some, when they think of Miami, visions of barely dressed spring breakers and crazy parties may come to mind. But there is so much more to Miami than meets the eye.
I’ve written before about how the Miami of yesterday is not the Miami of today and most certainly won’t be the Miami of tomorrow. It’s one of the most evolving cities I've ever visited and a perfect weekend destination (in my biased opinion). So don’t write off Miami; it’s a place very much worth exploring.
There’s so much one can do, see and eat in Miami. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- People watch on South Beach: I’ll admit, South Beach is not my favorite place in Miami but I do think everyone should visit at some point, whether that’s during the day or at night. Once there, you can grab something to eat or drink and people watch to your heart’s content. There’s always something interesting going on at South Beach.
- See Miami from the water: Seen all there is to see in Miami by land? Head to the water. There are a few options for doing this, like taking a banana boat ride or doing a proper boat tour that goes out onto the water for a few glorious hours. The views are great, the sun is shining and Miami is spread out in all its glory.
- Club/lounge hop: I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Miami’s nightlife because it is, after all, Miami. For those who want to experience some of what the city has to offer, hop around to different clubs and lounges in Miami Beach and South Beach, and see what appeals to you most.
- Shop on Lincoln Road: Calling all shopaholics! Head to Lincoln Road Mall. I repeat, head to Lincoln Road Mall. This stretch of shopping has all the good stuff crammed into one place – from my beloved Zara to Intermix to Fritz's Skate, Bike & Surf (I know that's the one you cared about the most), there's likely something for everyone.
- Take a free sunrise or sunset beach yoga class: I just discovered this on my last trip to Miami, and I'm so glad I did. Every day – barring hurricanes and all that – 3rd Street Beach Yoga holds free/donation-only sunrise and sunset yoga classes right on the beach. If you're an early bird like me and you can function enough to move your limbs, I highly recommend the sunrise class. It's incredibly beautiful and peaceful doing yoga on the beach while the sun slowly rises into the sky.
- Miami Beach: One cannot go to Miami and not see Miami Beach. In fact, I insist on it. This is my favorite part of Miami and the perfect place to spend a few relaxing days with the sunshine and the sea. It's also the home of South Beach, Lincoln Road Mall, the charming Española Way, tons of chic hotels and restaurants and much more.
- Vizcaya Museum and Gardens: This former villa and home of businessman James Deering is definitely #realestategoals. It also seems to be the place for photos: wedding photos, engagement photos, maternity photos. I saw it all in one day at Vizcaya. It's a place that's great for both kids and adults and will likely give you some landscaping ideas while you're there.
- Wynwood: These days, you cannot hear about Miami without hearing about Wynwood. The popular neighborhood is chock full of fun and incredible street art that is your Instagram dream come to life (assuming you have some). There are also art galleries, cute shops and trendy places to eat.
- South Pointe Park: Head all the way south in Miami Beach and you'll hit South Pointe Park. With it's 360-degree views, interesting sculptures, walking paths and more, it's an amazing alternative to the excitement of South Beach.
- Brickell: Dubbed the 'Manhattan of the South,' this neighborhood is the financial district of Miami and a growing hot spot for innovative restaurants, rooftops, boutiques and galleries. With places like Sugar and Mary Brickell Village, it's very much worth checking out.
- Cuban food: A trip to Miami is just not complete without Cuban food. It's a must, and yes, your taste buds will thank you. Whether it's food from a well-known spot like Versailles or some hole-in-the-wall place you discover, you gotta have Cuban food and when you do, you're gonna love it.
- Fried chicken and waffles at Yardbird: Ohh, Yardbird. If someone forced me to pick my absolute favorite place to eat in Miami, it would be hard to choose but Yardbird juuust might inch out the rest of the competition (see the other contenders below). So go and eat the fried chicken and waffles and tell me how you liked it.
- Mexican food at Taquiza: Taquiza is one of the newest additions to my Miami favorites list. This casual taqueria has some great Mexican street food and a chill vibe that makes it the perfect pit stop for tacos, guac and – the one thing you must get – totopos, which are blue masa chips that are sort of soft, soft of hard, warm and really, really good.
- Everything at Chalan On the Beach: If I had to pick a place that could take the No. 1 spot from Yardbird, that would be Chalan On the Beach. This Peruvian place is unpretentious, straightforward and incredibly delicious. It's also always packed, which is a testament to the quality of their food. This isn't a place to see and be seen. It's a place to eat and eat well.
- All the food on a food walking tour: During a work trip to Florida a few years ago, we had a surprise group activity that ended up being a food walking tour in South Beach. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was so good! The tour company has several options, including the South Beach tour, a Wynwood food tour, a Little Havana one and more. I definitely recommend it as a fun activity for groups.
Well, now that you have all these great recommendations, when are you going?