I went to Miami for the first time about seven years ago and absolutely fell in love. Since then I try my hardest to get back as often as possible. I’ve had every type of experience in Miami, from raging on the beach with 15 other friends and hitting up classic hotspots like LIV & Space to a five day, minimal alcohol, relaxing trip with the boyfriend. I’ve even gone during Ultra Fest and let my days blur together. Just recently I had the chance to experience Miami with three of my oldest girlfriends and we have since vowed to make a yearly girls trip a priority-no matter how busy our lives get. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite things to do in Miami, the best places I’ve found to eat or drink and even where I like to stay.
The Royal Palm
This hotel is the perfect place to stay for a girls trip or with any large group, there are huge rooms or great suite options (2 bdrm, 2 bath with almost panoramic views-yes please!) The pool was great, nicely positioned steps from beach access or a buzzing hotel bar. Plus there were tons of pool chairs and a large soaking tub.
Tip: When booking an uber walk up to the neighbor hotel, the Shorecrest, or the street because for some reason they have a really hard time finding the driveway to the hotel and your ride will get canceled.
Clean & White. Those are the first words that pop into my head when I think of my room at Townhouse & that’s a great thing for a blogger. The room was filled with natural light that just bounced off the white surfaces, making it the ideal space for taking photos of everything. There was also the cutest rooftop bar with the best bird’s eye view of South Beach and daily complimentary drinks from 5-6pm in the lobby bar.
Metropole South Beach
This boutique hotel is just adorable and only steps away from some of my favorite hangouts in South Beach. One of the coolest perks about staying here is the hidden, tropical feeling pool. There’s no beach access but you’re only blocks away. There’s also a daily hour of complimentary drinks between 7-8pm that goes on in a sister property called Whitelaw Hotel.
Tip: I had a huge issue with the outdated ATM in the hotel lobby and so did a friend of mine. Save yourself the hassle and use your bank ATM
Twice when I’ve gone to Miami we’ve used AirBNB and I have mixed feelings about it. Once our condo had no AC, yeah in Miami-the most humid place on earth. There was really nothing done by the owner and it left a very bad taste in my mouth. Secondly, you’re on the beach which means tons of sand all over you and then your room; with a hotel your room is cleaned daily. For me, a hotel room is the way to go.
Tip: AirBNB can be a great option but read through the reviews, good and bad.
Miami has this really cool event during the month of August called SPICE and it includes a couple hundred participating restaurants offering a 3-course menu at a reduced price, recently $39 per person for dinner. During this event you’re able to try some of the most amazing restaurants the city has to offer at a fraction of the price. So why not try something absolutely new or out of your usual element, what do you have to lose right?
That was my train of thought when trying Byblos for the first time. The menu is a combination of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine with influences from both traditional and local ingredients. The Labneh was absolutely mouth watering and it was just the first of many flavorful, unique dishes.
Maxine’s Bistro and Bar
So funny story, I think, I’ve actually never eaten at Maxines. I have however, ordered food to-go on three different occasions and had cocktails at the bar while waiting. They serve the absolute best Lasagna, delicious ravioli, even great quesadillas and are open 24/7. The prices aren’t outrageous but pretty comparable to other South Beach hotel restaurants. The drinks are stiff and the service is fast. This spot will always have my late night business.
The Front Porch Cafe
Located right across the street from beach access, the covered patio here has taken me in from the storm on two occasions now and the food that followed was a pleasant surprise. Large portions, I mean plates large enough to share and even though there’s usually a wait the food is worth is. Plus breakfast is served all day! Grab a seat at the bar and meet some new friends if you don’t mind eating there, there’s usually a few free seats!
Tip: Try the French Toast: Made with Orange Zest on Fresh Baked Challah and Topped w/ Cinnamon and Powdered Sugar
The Local House
Delicious and quaint spot with eclectic vibes near the southernmost tip of South Beach. Blue chic booths and elegant touches make this the perfect spot for breakfast or lunch with your ladies.
Tip: Try the Crab Cake Benedict
The most beautiful curation of murals I’ve ever seen. This is truly an art lovers must see. Just when you think you’ve seen the last of it you turn a corner and the art continues from store front to alley way. And it’s not just murals, there are a variety of sculptures and unique installations everywhere. Artists worldwide have contributed so the styles are as diverse as the people looking at them.
You have Art Deco buildings, old school cars, very expensive cars, a multitude of languages being spoken, beautiful beaches, sidewalk restaurants and music playing. South Beach is brimming with energy and tons of photo opts. The beach itself is filled with an ever-changing mix of people. You can live it up in a cabana with a waiter or go more casual with your beach towels and cooler.
During your stay in Miami you are bound to wander over to Lincoln Rd. at one point or another, with a mixture of boutiques, salons, and al fresco dining options you could easily lose an afternoon here. I haven’t had the be best luck with food here, usually pretty bland and the drinks aren’t the strongest but this is a mall and the people watching is unbeatable.
Um, hello! Versace lived there!
There are a multitude of museums throughout Miami and they are a great alternative to outdoor activities once you’ve had your fill or during those random downpours.
Tip: The Perez Art Museum is free on Thursdays from 6-9pm & the Frost Art Museum also has free entry.
My FAVORITE Sunday hangout, I go e-v-e-r-y time I’m in town. There’s brunch, there’s bottle service, there are cabanas, large beach beds, a DJ, beautiful people, food and beach access…Need I go on? It’s also a really cool spot to check out at night or just to grab brunch if the party scene isn’t your thang.
The wine tasting is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. You put money on a card and then go into multiple rooms that have walls lined with every vintage listed in the extensive wine menu. In there you have the option to a taste, half glass or full pour of wine allowing you to taste at your leisure and get a glass when you choose.
Mangos Tropical Cafe
OK, I’ll admit that this place is a complete tourist attraction but for good reason. There’s dancing, there’s music, fun costumes and yummy drinks. This is always a choice spot for a night that I want to go out but take it pretty easy. You can grab a table on the balcony and watch the performances or go downstairs and dance to the live music.
I could go on and on about the different clubs so I’ll just keep this short and sweet-if you’re going to Miami you NEED to get in contact with a promoter, they are going to be able to get you the best deals and even let you know about places you’d never find on your own. Like, did you know that in Miami there is always a preparty club and then around 12am or 1am you move to the real nightclub? Don’t know how to find a promoter? On Instagram or Twitter start using hashtags. Hashtags will make it easy for them to find you, they get a kick back from clubs for bringing people out and can usually get your entrance fee waived, get you in without waiting in line and typically have a table with a bottle for you to get a complimentary drink or two from. Don’t have social media? Get it together first of all! It’s 2017 y’all! But in all seriousness walk down the beach or Ocean Dr. to find a promoter or you could even just look up in the sky and you’ll find a promotion about a club event.
Faves: ORA, Story, LIV (obviously), SLS at Hyde (preparty), Wall Lounge and Nikki Beach
What are your favorite spots in Miami?