I have recently returned from an amazing trip to Miami and it was everything that the Will Smith Miami video depicts - hello hot mamacitas, 100 thousand dollar cars, Latin vibes and the Miami heat! I love this song so much I had to include it below, which is a first for my blog!
Now as there's already a million 'Miami' trip guides all over the internet, I am going to keep mine short and sweet and talk more about the different areas of the city, in terms of their vibe, things to see and do and cool places to eat and hang out. So sit back, press play below and enjoy this Miami guide.
The South Beach area is the place to be! In my opinion, it is the most touristy part of the city but it is amazing nevertheless!!! It's all about Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue, which have a range of shops, restaurants and bars. Ocean Drive is all about the art-deco architecture, featuring amazing hotels and restaurants. The famous Versace mansion is located on Ocean Drive, but is now a fancy restaurant called Gianni's. If you're into your cars, you'll never get tired of hearing the supercars whizzing past, most likely with Drake on full blast - only in Miami!
The actual South Beach itself is beautiful and is full of every type of person, from Latino locals to families and tourists. Miami South Beach is the famous location of perfect Instagram shots - so don't be surprised if you see people shamelessly posing, it's all for the 'gram. Expect to pay up to $50 dollars for two sun loungers and an umbrella - which is very much needed for the Miami heat!!! The summer humidity in the city is something else - much on par with Dubai. I would say Miami South Beach seems generally more expensive in comparison to other areas - from the hotels to eating out and nightlife, likely as it's the touristy part. South Pointe Beach is also another good beach to check out, which is located at the most southern point of South Beach.
I found the most easiest and fun way to explore South Beach is by hiring a Segway. We hired one through Miami Tours for two hours and it was by far the best way to see everything. We also managed to stop off at Miami Beach Botanical Gardens for just the right amount of time, as well as the Miami Beach Marina. The Segway tours were so much fun, we opted to do it twice!
In terms of places to eat in South Beach, it is literally full of bars and restaurants, so you will not find it hard to find places at all. Rosa Mexicano is a great restaurant right at the top of Lincoln Road which does the best guacamole, made right infront of you.
I found the nightlife a little commercial and most bars/clubs were full of tourists, as well as some locals. Personally, I prefer to be out with the locals, which is why I wouldn't really opt to go out in South Beach. Nevertheless, we tried the famous Mango's on Ocean Drive, which was an experience involving a mix of music, a live band, karaoke, dancers on the bar and a fantastic salsa routine.
Wynwood is a very cool neighbourhood of Miami, known for its urban street art and the famous Wynwood Walls. A really good morning or afternoon out and it's free to get in, with lots of Instagram worthy backdrops. Even once you're finished in Wynwood Walls, just generally walking about the streets is interesting, as there's loads more free street art scattered about. In my opinion, Wynwood can be somewhat compared to Shoreditch in London (minus the amazing weather of course!). It's a little more hipster and a little more arty compared to other neighbourhoods in Miami. In addition to the art, there are lots of cool cafes, restaurants and bars/clubs to visit. Coyo Taco is a cool Mexican street food place, with a secret hidden bar at night. Other good Latin clubs include El Patio and The Dirty Rabbit. Remember your I.D as these clubs have a strict 21+ entry.
Brickell is very business orientated and is located alongside Downtown. It is full of sky scraper buildings and super luxurious condos. The vibe in Brickell is very different in comparison to South Beach or Wynwood. There are alot more young professionals around and even more supercars in the busy traffic. The Brickell Avenue Bridge is located within Brickell/Downtown and overlooks the Miami River (to help you get your bearings).
Wholefoods is located in Brickell/Downtown and it's the most amazing high end supermarket, ever. Sorry M&S, but Wholefoods is next level. They offer the best buffet style food, from simple take out pizza to a mix of Latin food - all ready to box up and take away (not to forget their massive range of desserts!).
Brickell City Centre is a luxurious shopping centre, which is a fun way to pass a few hours. Everything from Sephora and Saks Fifth Avenue to Zara is housed in this lavish shopping centre.
Bayside Marketplace is also good to have a wander about. It is a two-storey open air shopping centre, full of shops and restaurants. The restaurants are located so they look out on to Biscayne Bay, so you have lovely views of the boats. You can also book lots of boat tours and cruises from Bayside Marketplace.
As our long trip to Miami was broken up by Puerto Rico, we stayed in the Brickell/Downtown area on both occasions. Our first hotel was the Eurostars Langford, which had the best interiors. As we loved the area so much, we decided to stay again but at the Hyatt Regency Miami, which had the best views, breakfast and swimming pool. I would highly recommend both hotels. If you don't like too much noise at night, then I would suggest that Brickell/Downtown may not be for you, as there is a constant flow of traffic and the sound of supercars may be a bit annoying. However, I would say Miami is definitely a noisy, party city, so it's kind of what is to be expected.
After visiting Cuba and falling in love, I was really keen to visit Little Havana. The main street in Little Havana is called Calle Ocho. Here, you will find all things food and nightlife related. If you want to dance traditional salsa, then Calle Ocho is for you! Some good bars for dancing include Ball & Chain, Hoy Como Ayer and Cuba Ocho Museum, which feature live bands on certain nights. Remember the clubs don't get busy until around 10:30pm/11pm onwards. We also ate at a very nice Cuban inspired restaurant, Old's Havana.
The vibe in Little Havana is different to other areas, especially Brickell/Downtown. It feels very authentic in Little Havana, with such a great community of Cubans in the city. Everyone is friendly and you know what you're going to get.
Sadly, I didn't take that many pictures of Little Havana - as it's quite a night time neighburhood, I was mainly going to dance salsa and never took my camera out with me!
MIAMI DESIGN DISTRICT
The Miami Design District is where all the designer shops and boutiques are housed, as well as interior shops and restaurants. Location wise, it is pretty much next door to Wynwood, so you will likely drive through it in your Uber. I found it a really nice neighbourhood to be in. Despite it being super luxurious and designer high end, walking into the shops, in particular Miu Miu and Gucci, the staff make you feel very welcome and don't act snobby, which I have noticed they can be in U.K stores.
St Roch Market is a really cool food hall based in the Miami Design District. They sell different cuisines of food, which you can order from their individual counter and either eat indoors or outdoors. I had a rice based vegan Vietnamese dish, which was delicious! We also stopped of at Mad Lab Creamery which is a newly opened ice cream parlour, selling the best ice cream in Miami - I'm not even lying!
As we were in Miami for a little while, we felt it was only right to do some typical touristy things. One of which was visiting the Everglades, which was again organised by Miami Tours. It was good fun and we saw a few alligators in their natural habitat which was amazing! The only downside of the trip was the unnecessary alligator show they put on after, which I felt was purely to collect tips for the staff. The alligators were in no way harmed, but I just felt they didn't need to be put in any situation for the sake of a crowd. Our visit to the Everglades was in mid July and FYI it was boiling! Even more hotter than downtown Miami - so take a cap, cover up and wear SPF 50+ sunscreen.
After staying in Miami for around ten days, I would say it's probably one of my favourite cities. I know people tend to say that after visiting somewhere, but Miami really has so much going on which I love. I love the different areas and that they each have something different to offer. It almost doesn't even feel like I'm in the same city, which keeps it very interesting and fun.
The Miami locals are wonderful and very friendly and helpful. I love the whole supercar, party city vibe Miami has got going on. You know what you're going to get in Miami and that's what makes it so great! Also on the plus side, the Ubers are quite cheap to get across town.
The only two downsides of Miami is that it is a very expensive city. I'm not sure if we felt it more as we stayed for ten days, but I would say it was money well spent. We did alot of things whilst in Miami, so we got to experience most of the city. The other downside is merely the heavy traffic. No matter what time of the day, Miami Downtown is always super busy, with backed up traffic - much like NYC. So getting places can take a little longer.
Nevertheless, I would definitely visit Miami again as I love the city vibe and the people!
To see more photos of the wonderful city, please checkout and follow my Instagram @styleandthesagittarius - the link is also at the bottom of this page.
All statements and recommendations are purely my own opinion. I have not been paid to feature or advertise any product, brand or service in this post.