Welcome to Miami!
After a whirlwind 5 weeks in Central America and Mexico (all posts can be found here), I was excited to finally make it here. Ever since I heard Will Smith’s song, I had been keen to go and be bougie in Miami (although young Jess didn’t know of this term at the time!).
We travelled from Cancun on the 6th of May with American Airlines. Then I experienced my first American wonder with a lyft ride to our Airbnb for $12 in a shared ride. We don’t have Lyft in the UK but my American cousins told me about it once so I decided to try it. I couldn’t believe the prices and I actually prefer it overall to Uber (hoping it comes to London one day!)
Our Airbnb was the cutest flat and we genuinely had the best host. It was important for us to cook some meals for variety and cost which you’ll appreciate here! My second American wonder was Target which I shopped at for the first time for groceries…again a London version would be great!
So this is what we got up to in our 6 days here:
The edgy and upcoming neighbourhood where we stayed. The buildings and pavements here are full of graffiti and there are so many cool places to eat, drink and enjoy art.
Wynwood Walls is a free modern art gallery right in the middle of Wynwood. Make sure you check out both buildings as well as the outdoor areas for the full experience.
Arepa Bar – This restaurant do the tastiest burgers (mine had plantain in, I mean!) Check out their insta page for mouthwatering food pics!
Freshii – this is a great place for veggies/vegans and has fresh, healthy food. I had the detox juice with the baja burrito (quinoa, avocado) and Albert had teriyaki rice bowl. The periodic table of fruit and veg is quality!
Cielito – for the coolest ice cream in Wynwood. There’s plenty of scope (pun unintended) to mix and match to create your perfect ice cream.
Wynwood Marketplace – this open area has food and drink on Thursdays – Sunday’s with market and food stalls in the day and finishes with the bar and dancing late into the night.
Cayo Taco – they serve tacos which looked amazing but I was all taco’d out from Mexico the week before. However we came here for Murk Monday’s which is a free event. There’s a “secret” door through the restaurant which opens up into a cosy club. It was good fun with house music and live drummers!
Wood, Wynwood – lively bar with really good music. It seemed to be open most days, but was the livest on the weekend. It’s free to enter but you have to get in quick to avoid the huge queues.
Of course no visit to Miami is complete without its famous beach! The Miami Beach area is actually like its own island with connections to the mainland. The main attraction is its beautiful sandy white beaches but we also tried to see other parts of it too.
Lincoln Road – a beautiful street to walk around full of shops and restaurants. Bonus being that it leads straight to the beach! Money saving tip: if you want to hire beach chairs and equipment then go to the beach in the afternoon as they have cheaper rates then.
Collins Park – It’s a cute spot to sit in and people watch. It has these colourful rocks which I thought looked similar to the ones near Las Vegas!
The park also has statues of various important Latin American men and the story behind them (interestingly each statue had been gifted to Miami by a different Latin American country).
Finally you can visit The Bass here which is an art museum open Wed-Sunday’s (entrance fees apply).
The Museum of Ice Cream was on whilst we were there so we paid it a visit! $38 pp for entry to various floors with different ice cream flavours and styles, testers and fun facts. A fun place to go if it pops up in your city!
Bella Cuba – the first of a few different Cuban restaurants that we went to. We had a light lunch here of chicken empañadas, yuca fries, chicken noodle soup and sweet potato fries..no your mouth is watering! Really good prices and plesasant service.
Tropical Cafe, South Beach. It is SO cheap and their Cuban sandwiches are very filling.
Caffé Di Mauro – a delicious Italian restaurant for those who want a varied food experience. A great place to come for a romantic or group dinner.
Mondrian South Beach Hotel – Come here for happy hour from 5-7pm. I had the love hate cocktail ($9) which has a good kick to it! Enjoy your drinks outside either on the sofas or hammocks for a great view of Miami during sunset. This hotel is fancy af so I felt my best bougie self here!
Havana 1957 -this restaurant is on the corner of Española Way. We shared the special for $20: chicken, rice, beans, salad and plantain and it was the best meal we had in Miami, hands down!
True to its name, Española Way is a street full of Spanish and Latin American restaurants. Everything here gets really busy so eat at a quieter time of day for the best experience (e.g. late lunch or early dinner).
Ocean Drive is in the South Beach area and another place you have to visit! The key is to find a rooftop bar during happy hour and people watch – we chose Voodoo Rooftop Lounge for this. You will not be ready for the wild vehicles that we saw being driven!
This neighbourhood is Cuba in the 21st century. Many Cubans came to live here through the years and have brought their culture with them. Their famous street Calle Ocho (8th Street) has a Latin Hollywood star walk which leads you to the Dominoes Park. Here you will see old Cuban men playing dominoes and smoking cigars. There are also plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy nearby.
Old’s Havana – This is a busy restaurant in the area but the service copes well with it. We had the ham, chorizo and potato dish with rice and beans and salad. Plus a cafecito (baby coffee) on the side. Everything was delicious!
Azucar – the infamous ice cream shop with the most beautiful tiled floors. I had the Abuela Maria (guava and vanilla) flavour which is one of their top seller flavours.
Ball and Chain – You should come here for the free live jazz if nothing else! They also have live salsa before 6pm. We had happy hour drinks here and the pastelito daiquiri was so good (and it came with a guava pastelito).
You may have noticed that I like the guava flavour! This all started when I visited Cuba so it was poetic to enjoy the flavours again in Little Havana.
Cuba Ocho – for salsa! It’s free to enter this bar and their rum and cokes are strong. Everyone else seemed to be a pro at salsa but it was fun to get involved!
Marlins Park – for a live Baseball game. We payed $13 each for front row seats (bought on Stubhub). It was a really cool experience and definitely worth a visit when in Miami!
Tip – It’s only a 20 minute walk from Little Havana so you can combine the two to save travel costs.
Vizcaya House and Gardens – an old stately home with beautiful rooms and an even more impressive garden. It’s so scenic that people get married here. We saw a few engagement shoots, prom shoots and a potential wedding (the woman came out of the toilet in her white dress and women who appeared to be family members started crying!). It’s $18 per adult entry and is open everyday except Tuesdays.
There is so much to see and do in Miami that it’s easy to get carried away! However here are a few more tips to make it affordable:
Get your money’s worth in your accommodation! If you have a friend who lives out there then lucky you! Otherwise Airbnb is ideal so you can cook a few meals and have drinks before nights out. If you’re travelling alone, check out hostels in Miami Beach to cut transport costs to the main areas!
Make use of the free trolley in Miami Beach. There are 3 lines to take you around either North Beach, Middle Beach or South Beach and they intersect at various stops.
Buses are okay if travelling short distances but aren’t that cheap or efficient if your route requires a change. So check and compare the cost with lyft as you can car share to make it cheaper.
HAPPY HOUR! Almost every bar and many restaurants offer it so it would be rude not to! Also keep an eye out online for the events happening during your stay.
You can take in so much culture and beauty just by walking the streets of Miami. Little Havana and Wynwood are great examples of places for this but also Little Haiti which we unfortunately didn’t have time to go to.
A final shoutout to Rose (Wonder Where I Wander) whose great piece on Miami helped me plan our trip!
I hope you enjoyed this post! Do let me know your thoughts/previous experiences in Miami or more in the comments below…