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 teeming 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 during the course of the last few 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.
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.