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The Magic City boasts an array of different activities for any style of vacation. Whether you’re a luxury or frugal traveler, the 3-0-5 has plenty to keep you entertained (and relaxed). Here’s our guide to spending two weeks in Miami the right way.
Grab a striped umbrella, a towel and mark your territory on the beautiful sands of South Beach. The hot weather of the tropics promises summer heat for most of the year, so you can count on a ubiquitous tan. Just remember not to skip out on the sunscreen! Umbrellas and loungers are available for rent onsite, and watersports are nearby. Ride the waves on a Jet Ski, hang on a banana boat, or go parasailing.
The popular Nikki Beach lounge is practically a rite-of-passage in this city. The decadent white cabanas perched along the sands entice visitors of all ages to sprawl about on the white beds, sip frozen cocktails, and enjoy the daily and nightly spectacle. But parties in Miami Beach abound. There’s The Shelborne, The Delano, The Raleigh, the list goes on of hotel pools to hang out at.
Cross over onto Ocean Drive for a walking tour of the Art Deco buildings dating back to the 1930s. The busy street buzzing with vintage cars and hotels is home to many historic buildings reminiscent of the glamorous style of the Golden Age. Reserve a table at the iconic Avalon restaurant for a seafood dinner, or grab drinks at the scandalous Mango’s Tropical Café.
Lincoln Road Mall stretches for 10 blocks and is dotted with a plethora of stores ranging from luxury to furniture to tourist shops. It’s even home to the Colony Theatre, the restored Art Deco cinema dating back to 1935. Crowds are heavy on the weekends, which may be too busy for those looking for a placid shopping experience. For a wider selection of luxury brands in a more tranquil environment, head north to Bal Harbour Shops.
Miami has earned its reputation as being a party town for its glittering nightclub scene. Major venues like LIV at the Fontainbleau Hotel, Story, and E11EVEN can compete with the likes of mega clubs in Las Vegas. Dress to impress, and spend the night pulsing to the sounds spun by celebrity DJs, with exotic dancers in an extravagant setting. Miami may fall short on some things, but it knows how to throw a party.
Experience the #MiamiLife from the vantage point of a boat. You can rent one pretty much anywhere, or go on a party boat docked at Bayside Marketplace, which will take you on a tour of the lavish Star Island.
When an influx of Cubans arrived in Miami in the 60s, the newcomers had their papers processed at the Freedom Tower. Known as the “Ellis Island of the South,” the colonial-style building, dating back to the 1920s, is now a contemporary arts museum. Most of the building is closed off to tourists, but the museum is open to the public, and you can always admire its architecture from the outside.
Downtown Miami is easily accessible by public transportation via the Miami Metrorail and free Metromover. Its historic buildings like the Gesu Church and Ingraham Building are worth a visit for its architectural importance. Downtown is walkable (like a mini Manhattan), and is also a few minutes from major cultural centers like the Perez Art Museum and the Frost Museum of Science.
Wining and dining in a fancy restaurant with waterfront views is not a bad idea. The business district of Brickell is just adjacent to Downtown (also accessible via Metromover or Trolley), and sits along the scenic Biscayne Bay. Options are plenty for restaurants, but a few popular ones are the Edge Steak & Bar, Naoe, and Bazaar Mar by Jose Andres at the SLS Brickell.
When the sun sets on the horizon, the Miami skies are painted with pastel pink and jaunty orange hues that are a stunning spectacle to watch. See the sunset while sipping a tropical cocktail at a rooftop bar like Sugar at East Miami, Area 31 at the Epic Hotel, or the Pawn Broker at the Langford Hotel.
When the Cubans migrated to Florida, they settled along 8th Street (or Calle Ocho) in what is now known as the neighborhood of Little Havana. Cuban culture is prevalent in the restaurants, shops and parks that make up the neighborhood. Try a plate of congri and lechon (beans, rice and pork) at Versailles Restaurant, and watch a game of dominoes at Maximo Gomez Park. You can even practice your Spanish with the very friendly locals.
Bring your camera because Wynwood is one of the most Instagrammable places in Miami. The arts neighborhood is clad in graffiti murals and there are warehouses with plenty of photo opportunities. Grab coffee at Vice City Bean, shop for art, and grab food at the Mexican food restaurant, Coyo Tacos.
Care for a little history with a side of scenic views? Go on a tour of the lighthouse on the barrier island of Key Biscayne. The lighthouse, built in 1825 in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, was one of the first buildings in South Florida and tours are offered on a daily basis.
The suburbs of Miami are home to many historic landmarks, and once such property is the villa of Vizcaya. It once belonged to the millionaire James Deering, and is now a museum open for guests to tour the lavish property decorated in the Spanish and French style, along with a sprawling garden with marble statues and views of Biscayne Bay.