Like on most vacations, one of the best experiences to take from a holiday in Miami is the discovery of the city’s culture. The Magic City has a colorful quilt of different languages, ideas, and, of course, fashion. Here are the best places to take in Miami’s scenery.
Pulsating to the beat of live salsa music and an eclectic mix of visitors, Bayside’s open-air marketplace is ideal for experiencing the city’s international vibe. The waterfront marketplace sits along Biscayne Bay where party boats and yachts are docked, and it is home to various restaurants, popular stores, and souvenir shops. You’ll have plenty of vantage points from which to catch people in action, but the party boat is probably the most fun.
Nestled in the historic Coconut Grove neighborhood, CocoWalk caters to local families in the area. The shopping center is home to a cinema and a few bars where you can observe the regulars. It’s also a place to take a pleasant stroll during the day as the area is dotted with vintage shops, art galleries, a French restaurant, and a burger joint, all under the shade of the Banyan trees.
There’s no better place to catch Miami’s wild side than a night out on the sizzling beachfront street. Ocean Drive has everything from luxe sports cars to Art Deco buildings to funky sex shops and a serious party scene. Just stop for a drink at any restaurant or bar to sit out on the terrace and catch the wild things happening under the moonlit sky.
A notch less risque than Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road is a pedestrian thoroughfare with plenty of shopping and dining options. The open-air mall stretches for about 10 blocks and features major stores and international cuisine that caters to both locals and tourists.
Good old Monty’s. The restaurant with a tiki hut bar and happy hour specials has front-row views of beautiful Miami sunsets you can’t un-see. A diverse crowd from local 9-to-5ers looking to unwind to mature-looking folks scouting out their next partner visit this spot. The best part? When the Miami heat gets sweating, you can jump into the pool, beer and all.
For a glance at life in the Miami suburbs, head south to Coral Gables. Miracle Mile, the trendy street that stretches along Coral Way, gives you an inside look at life in the ‘burbs. You’ll see businessmen and businesswomen in suits dropping by for cocktails and romance at Hillstone, families with kids who come out to eat along the mile, and regulars who drop by at JohnMartin’s Irish Pub for a beer and live music. During the day, you’ll see joggers and people walking their pups, and a local indies film cinema is perched just on the street in back.
The artsy neighborhood in Miami always draws a busy crowd, even when they don’t have one of their art or beer festivals or thrift markets taking place. It’s generally busy during the day and night, full of locals and tourists who come to explore the food scene that’s imploded over the past few years. It doesn’t matter where you go here; whether it’s KYU for drinks and Korean food, the popular Panther Coffee or The Salty Donut, anywhere you walk is packed with local Miamian culture.