Travel: Welcome to Miami

Welcome to Miami

I recently spent a few days in Miami Beach with my good friend Sara. She won the trip through work, so it wasn’t somewhere we chose to go, but Miami Beach has a lot to offer if you know where to look. It’s the east coast version of Santa Monica but a little grittier, a little hotter, and a lot sweatier.

It’s hot. Super hot. The humidity is stifling and drains the energy from you. We didn’t spend too much time at the beach and instead opted to explore, eat and drink our way through the city. The beach was a little gross, honestly. It’s not the beautiful beaches you see on the pages of US Weekly. It had about three feet of seaweed you needed to climb through to even get to the water. I don’t like the ocean that much.

Miami Seaweed

Make sure you don’t leave your belongings unattended while frolicking in the ocean {if you make it through the seaweed} or they may not be there when you return. Miami is famous for the beach umbrellas and lounge chairs and they really are beautiful, but they do provide a false sense of security.  You’re still on a public beach even if you’re sitting in a pretty chair.


We got a tip that we should visit the Miami Design District and eat at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. It was amazing. The food was so good and so were the drinks. The bartender even whipped something up “off the menu.”  Basil and gin and balsamic vinegar.  A little weird and a lot good.  Everything is fresh and seasonal, so the menu changes and it’s best to make reservations. There are several high-end shops, but the area is transitional right now, with a lot of construction going on. Big things are happening there.

Miami Man Hole

We were also tipped off to an amazing restaurant called Yardbird Southern Table & Bar {there is another location in Las Vegas} which was awesome. If you haven’t had spicy watermelon you don’t know what you’re missing! This is only one of the delicious items on the Yardbird menu. Of course there’s fried chicken, but we tried the fried green tomato BLT, and an awesome cheddar cheese waffle with bourbon maple syrup. It was all so yummy! We went back twice.  Make reservations!

If you’re looking for something casual and quick to eat, hit up the Shake Shack.  Fresh burgers and fries as well as yummy shakes.  And they sell beer, so you can have a cold one with your burger.  The line gets long, so be prepared, or go early.  If you’re looking for some Cuban fare head to Espanola Way a cute area full of energy and restaurants.  We ate at Havana 1957.  I’m ashamed to say I ate a salad, but I did.  I was burnt out on heavy food and I didn’t feel adventurous that night.  The restaurant is cramped and crowded and bustling.

For some shopping head to Lincoln Road where you can buy sweets at Dylan’s Candy Bar, or clothes from your favorite retailer such as Zara, Banana Republic and H & M.


Another fun daytime activity is the Miami Botanical Gardens which are free and don’t take much time. There are some beautiful things to see and it’s worth a trip if you like to browse for free or just need a semi-relaxing activity.


While there, visit the Miami Holocaust Memorial which is next door.  It’s a haunting reminder of the atrocities of World War II.


If you want to enjoy the nightlife, head to Mango’s Tropical Cafe. Grab a mojito, there are several different varieties, {I had pineapple} and watch the show. We saw salsa and ballroom dancers, as well as Michael Jackson impersonators. We then headed to the Clevelander, which is right down the street.  It’s outdoors, making the dance floor a little toasty on a muggy Miami night.


Be sure to do a little hotel lobby hopping and check out the Delano, SLS, and the Sagamore {which has an amazing art collection and was one of my favorite parts of the trip.}


Don’t forget to check out Ocean Drive for some amazing boutique, art deco hotels and patio dining.


Of course we had to see the Versace Mansion, which is now a private club for members only.


Miami is a lot of different things. I’ll admit, there were times I didn’t feel entirely safe, that feeling you’re always looking over your shoulder. But there’s something for everyone. If your cup of tea is to hang at the beach, or explore the city you’ll have something to do.


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