Miami is one of the most visited cities in the USA and a destination which delights travellers all year round with its sunny white beaches, its legendary flair and its never-ending food and nightlife options. While most travellers tend to explore South Beach first and foremost, this guide strongly recommends a visit to areas further away from Miami’s bustling beach peninsula. Here are some suggestions on how to spend 2 days in Florida’s most attractive city.

Day 1: Enjoy South Beach, its famous art deco district and its buzzing nightlife

Morning: enjoy Miami’s legendary stretch of white sand beaches before getting roasted

After a relaxing night at The Hall South Beach, a stylish and well-located art-deco hotel that oozes Miami Beach flair, start your day by exploring one of Miami’s main attractions, its gorgeous Caribbean beaches.

South Beach has the advantage of offering infinite stretches of white sand beaches and these should definitely not be omitted when visiting Miami. Make sure to go early as the beaches tend to get quite packed as the day goes on in addition to the unforgiving heat and humidity that characterizes this part of Florida.

A stay in the aforementioned hotel includes free chairs and towels on a beautiful part of South Beach and this offer is very useful in order to escape the sky-high rates for chairs on South Beach.

Afternoon: visit Miami’s fabled art deco district

Downtown Miami looks like most modern cities with its impressive yet not very charming skyline. Miami’s true architectural jewel is unquestionably its art deco district. It is virtually impossible to walk around in South Beach without noticing the distinguishable 1920s houses that are known for their extravagant yet beautifully crisp and clear lines. The aforementioned hotel is located in an art deco building which enhances the stay. Miami’s famous Ocean Drive is home to a number of well-known art deco buildings which have featured in various classic films, notably Scarface.

Night: dive into Miami’s famous nightlife scene

South Beach’s nightlife scene is a controversial topic among locals. Some Miami residents love to party in South Beach, others avoid it at all costs. The nightlife in South Beach is expensive and a bit pretentious at times but still varied and exciting.

Here are some options: Mango’s (900 Ocean Drive) is one the most affluent Latino clubs on Ocean Drive and frequented mostly by tourists. The Clevelander (1020 Ocean Drive) is another institution right on Miami’s famous beach avenue which convinces patrons with its clever layout, creating a hybrid between club and beach bar.

For pub lovers, the Playwright (1265 Washington Avenue) is a great option a few blocks from Ocean Drive and serves a great variety of international beers and pub food. This guide’s favourite place to party in South Beach is however the Bodega (1220 16th Street), a Latino club which is a 5-minute taxi ride away from Ocean Drive but a lot less pretentious than the locations close to Ocean drive and an absolutely buzzing party temple.

On that basis, South Beach has a vibrant and diverse nightlife scene which is certainly worth exploring, this guide nonetheless prefers Wynwood as Miami’s new nightlife hub (read further down)

Day 2: Visit Miami’s new hotspots: Wynwood and Little Havana. 

Morning: explore Miami’s latino vibes by visiting Little Havana

Miami is a true melting pot of Latin American cultures. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants from all over Latin America have flocked into Miami in the course of the past decades which has created a unique Latin atmosphere and fosters a diverse Latin environment all over the city.

Little Havana is one of the showpiece districts for this Latin American influence and therefore a great area to visit when spending a few days in Miami. The area is populated mostly by Cubans who fled to Miami in the 80s. The area therefore hosts a large amount of Cuban restaurants, bars and cultural centres. This guide recommends El Cristo (1543 SW 8 Street), a traditional Cuban restaurant which serves well thought out, delicious and beautifully arranged Cuban plates for reasonable prices. Having lunch in a traditional Cuban restaurant will also enable you to try some of the best Cuban products if you don’t have time to visit the fabled island itself.

Afternoon: visit Wynwood, Miami’s contemporary art hotspot

After a delicious lunch in Little Havana, take a taxi/Uber to Wynwood, Miami’s new cultural hotspot. The area is full of art galleries and most importantly street art. The world’s most renowned graffiti and street art artists come here to demonstrate their craft. The Wynwood Walls (2520 NW 2nd Ave) have become one of Miami’s main attractions and this alternative type of art is indeed fabulous even if you are no fan of street art in general.

The area moreover offers stark contrasts to the imposing skyline of Downtown Miami and the unmistakeable art deco houses in South Beach.

Wynwood Walls

 

Night: spend a night out in Wynwood

In addition to being Miami’s art epicentre, Wynwood also offers fantastic food and nightlife options. The Wynwood Yard (56 NW 29th Street) is a great place to start thanks to its collection of food trucks which offer all kinds of local and international foods. After dinner at the Yard, it is time to go out for a drink in one of Wynwood’s many extraordinary bars. Gramps (156 NW 24th Street) is the place for good old-fashioned bar fun where you can have a large variety of craft beers in a comfortable setting. Another option is Wood Tavern (2531 NW 2nd Ave), a fantastically well thought out no nonsense bar with a beautiful patio which offers communal tables and a large variety of craft beer and cocktails.

Last but not least, El Patio (176 NW 23rd Street) is one of Wynwood coolest Latino spots and an ideal place to experience a Colombian rumba in Florida.





Useful links:

Read more city guides here

Hotel recommendation in Miami: The Hall South Beach

Check out more US destinations here 

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25 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing these tips, this will definitely help me out how to spend quality time when I visit Florida. I am bookmarking this post. Images are amazing.

  2. Wynwood walls are breathtaking ! Cant wait to see them for real. Also want to try Cuban restaurants and experience Miami night life. Great, helpful guide for a two day itinary.

  3. I am a biiiiiig latino fan and can’t wait to visit Little Havana. I had to pin your street art picture too, it looks amazing! I have never been to Florida (once my flight was cancelled due to the weather and once i tore my ligament before the flight…seem to be unlucky here) but I neeeeeed to go! I am even more motivated after reading your post. Thanks!!

  4. Cool breakdown of how to see and experience Miami in 48 hours. I’ve only been to Miami once – and really didn’t get much in my time there except the beach and our hotel. Cheers for the tips.

  5. Nice, you really did spend your 48 hours wisely, If I would visit Miami nightclubs are not my type, I’ll prefer to visit the Wynwood Walls and adore its beauty rather than clubbing. thanks for sharing your experience its a nice read for me.

  6. Hi Jack, great post – I wish I found it earlier. I went to Miami couple of years ago and I did not enjoy it. I had a feeling it was all about partying and lying on the beach which I don’t particularly like but as it was a free trip (I used to work as a tour guide) I couldn’t say no. 🙂 Maybe I should give it another chance now?

    I saw your other posts from Warsaw (my home town) – the pictures you’ve taken are so beautiful!

    1. Hi, thanks for your feedback! It is true that a large part of Miami is nightlife and beach but this is mostly if you limit Miami to South Beach which is why I decided to present Wynwood and Little Havana in this article. Thanks very much, Warsaw is a very interesting place in Poland and definitely recommendable!

  7. Thanks for this detailed article! Miami is still on my itinerary for the states, though it really gives me a headache how to manage to visit this many places on such a short time (I’m planning to visit the west coast more extensively actually). Maybe I’ll just split everything in two trips, do some hiking on the first one and have a chill holiday in Miami with lots of scuba diving on another. Also: The Wynwood Walls have been on my bucketlist for a while now, since I’m a total sucker for Murals & Streetart.

    1. Thanks very much Mario! Miami is certainly a destination in itself and difficult to include on a short trip around several areas of the US, Wynwood is indeed fantastic and probably the most interesting part of Miami, especially if you don’t want to limit your visit to lying on the beach:)

  8. I love Miami’s vibe, especially Ocean Drive. We travelled there 2 years ago and stayed at…guess…Colony Hotel. Haha, I can see you have a pic of it here too (and it’s the very typical one). I love all those crazy cocktails they serve in the bars there. Your post has brought back great memories, think I will go there again some day.

    1. Thanks! Ocean Drive is the main strip in South Beach and Colony is a beautiful hotel but there is a lot more to see.

  9. Miami is one of those cities that never sleeps! There’s so much going on and so much to see just on icon Ocean Drive. Every time I’ve been, I feel like there are a ton of people. Getting to the beach early is a great tip as it does indeed get really hot depending on when you go. Great post!

    1. Thanks, it is indeed a bustling city, especially South Beach with a lot of people from all over the world coming there.

  10. Love your Miami photos! I didn’t get a chance to explore much outside of south beach since I didn’t get a car last time I went. But now I know what to do and where to go thanks to you!

  11. Thanks for giving some insight into Miami! I’ve heard both good and bad things about it, so I was never sure about visiting – I didn’t want to spend the money for an uneventful trip. After reading your article though, I would love to visit for the sole purpose of seeing Wynwood Walls! I absolutely love street art. I’m not a nightlife/party person, but I love the arts, so this is great. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks very much! Miami is a city with a lot of advantages but also a lot of disadvantages. It is therefore quite a good idea to spend some time outside of South Beach, namely in Wynwood and Little Havana which are two very different neighbourhoods and a lot less affluent than South Beach. Miami as a whole is a great destination nonetheless.

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