Ready to book your next trip? Miami is one of the most popular destinations in the United States and also one of my favorites! I just recently went back there for the second time (after five years) during memorial day weekend.
It was very different from what I remembered for the first couple of days. Apparently, there’s a music festival that takes place every year during memorial day weekend that leads to road closures to perform random checks, which in turn leads to heavy traffic. According to our Uber driver, a lot of locals leave town due to this. Lesson: Avoid Miami during this holiday in the future. However, we still had an amazing time overall since it is Miami!
Flights, Hotel & Transportation
We planned our trip a couple of months before the trip and booked our flights through Expedia along with our hotel at a decent price. We flew Delta on the way to Miami and American on the return flight to Washington DC. The hotel we stayed at was the Westover Arms Hotel located in mid beach. We literally just had to walk across the street to get to the beach. The hotel exceeded my expectations when we walked on as it was nicer than I expected and had all the necessities in the kitchen to prepare food along with a pretty big refrigerator. There was a Walgreens within walking distance where we stocked up on things that we would need everyday like water, milk (for cereal), and snacks. This is a good location if you want to save some money, want to spend most of your time at the beach, and prefer a quieter area than South Beach. We had to Uber if we wanted to go to South Beach or Downtown, which was pretty cheap and even cheaper when the cost is divided among a few people.
Things to Do
There’s obviously the beach, which has some of the most prettiest blue water I’ve seen. One of my favorite things to do is going to the beach to watch the sunset. It’s such a beautiful and relaxing experience because most of the crowd is gone by this team and it’s very quiet and peaceful. You can hear the sound of the waves more clearly. The view is gorgeous and the lighting is perfect for a photoshoot 😉
Another great to place to spend time at in Miami is the Bayside Marketplace. It’s a farmers market with a ton of other stuff going on. There are little shops where you can buy souvenirs. There are actual stores where you can go shopping. There are a bunch of restaurants, bars, ice cream shops, coconut water and juice bars. You can take boat tours from here of the city. We braved the Thriller speed boat ride, which was an extremely fun experience despite all the salt water that went all over my face and into my eyes at full force. The view and the ride was definitely worth it. We also had some delicious coconut water, Cuban food and enjoyed a performance by a local singer. American Airlines arena and the Freedom tower are also within walking distance from Bayside Marketplace.
We tossed in some more adventure and went parasailing. This was my first time and I’m so glad I chose to do in Miami. It was one of the most amazing experiences being up there and looking at the vast blue ocean. The water was so clear that we could see sea turtles swimming down below us. I was a bit nervous prior to actually doing it but it was very smooth and not bumpy at all like I had expected. Definitely an experience that everyone should have in my opinion.
Wynwood Walls is another place to visit if you’re an art lover (or at least appreciate art). It’s a series of beautiful street murals located outdoors and is free of cost. There’s a cafe inside as well if you want to grab a bite or cool down with a drink. Wonderful place for a stroll.
Another cool place to spend a few hours at is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This is probably not a destination that you think of of when you think of Miami but it’s very picturesque and interesting. This is an estate located in the Coconut Grove neighborhood and formerly owned by a businessman named James Deering. Do an image search and you won’t need any more reasons to visit! This place also had a cafe where we ended up grabbing lunch. They have a pretty good veggie burger too (for the vegetarians out there). I do want to warn you: there are A LOT of lizards roaming around and even iguanas!
If you’re looking for a great brunch place, Cafe Roval has great food and a very pretty outdoors setting.
Another good place for brunch or lunch is Verde at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. I can’t say the food was amazing but the view is definitely worth it. Ask for outdoor seating and look out at the bay and palm trees while enjoying your food.
For a great lunch or dinner spot, head over to Versailles for some delicious Cuban food.
In the mood for tacos? Naked Taco in South Beach has some amazing shrimp tacos along with some unique margaritas. They have other items on the menu as well if you’re not a taco person.
Fan of seafood and want a nice view of the city? Ask for outdoor seating at Area 31 in downtown. It’s a rooftop restaurant/lounge. It’s a bit on the expensive side and the portions are small but their dessert was to die for. It’s a good spot for a date as the ambience is very romantic with dim lighting and beautiful view.
I’m not that big on clubbing but something I learned while in Miami is that you need connections to get into the nicer/big clubs rather than just paying a cover charge. So if you’re planning on getting into Story, The Wall, or LIV (supposed to be the best nightclub in Miami), make sure you ask anyone and everyone if they have connections in Miami before heading down there. Google is very helpful when trying to figure out these things. One place where you don’t need any connections to get into is Mango’s Tropical Cafe in South Beach. This is a very fun place with a pretty cheap cover charge. We paid $20 one night and $10 the next (second was a Monday). They had great 90’s/2000’s music playing upstairs and Latin music on the first floor. FYI: Most clubs in Miami are open until 5am.
As you can see after reading this post, Miami is a city with something for everyone. If you’re into the beach, great food, art, adventure, culture, history, palm trees or crazy nightlife, you can surely find something to do here. And you will be planning your next trip as you leave!
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