Travel Guide: Miami
updated Summer 2019
In the words of Will Smith: WELCOME TO MIAMI! The truth is I've been to Miami a bunch of times, mostly to visit my in-laws. Typically we hang out around their neighborhood and don't really venture to South Beach or any of the touristy areas, however, this time when I booked my trip I decided it was time to do THE THINGS! I stayed in the art deco historic district, visited Wynwood, legit did my own food tour, and more. Keep reading to see my top spots plus a list of restaurant recommendations from the EDPfam.
Miami, specifically South Beach is definitely a VIBE! I kind of put it in the same bucket as Las Vegas. 3 nights is more than enough to take in everything, have a really good time, and not feel like you need to do a mind + body cleanse afterwards haha! There's two sections in South Beach as it relates to hotels: the art deco historical area (1st - 14th street) where all the older boutique hotels are and the newer areas (20- 30+ streets) where all the big, luxe hotels and resorts are. I've stayed in both areas over the past few years and there's pros and cons with both. With Uber everything is easily accessible and/or walkable which is awesome.
I've noted my top Miami spots in the map above and here's some 411 on them plus a bunch of other recs:
EAT + DRINK
Mandolin - homespun recipes from Greek + Turkey. Not only is the food delish, the vibe is amazing. It reminds me of the most beautiful combo of Tulum and Italy restaurants.
Stiltsville - delicious seafood restaurant with a great happy hour. Get the crab cake slider and smoked fish dip.
Pane & Vino - handmade pasta that is TO DIE FOR. Make sure to make a reservation because it's tiny!
OTL - perf for coffee and avo toast. Stop in before exploring the design district.
Kiki on The River
The Big Pink
Juvia - great brunch spot with views of the city. Nestled right in Lincoln Rd Mall.
Bodega - DELISH taco spot that also has a large speakeasy bar. Great for lunch or late night!
Upland - fresh California inspired food. The squash blossoms are bomb dot com.
27 Restaurant at the Freehand
Casa Florida - the CUTEST spot by the river. Great place for pre- dinner cocktails or weekend brunch. The decor is worth stopping by just for a pic!
PLAY + STAY
Clinton Hotel - see my hotel diary here (def a good budget option)
1 Hotel South Beach - what I would consider the most beautiful hotel on South Beach. I stayed there a few years ago and it is EVERYTHING. Multiple pools, restaurants, and decor goals for days. Pricey but if you're splurging than it's a must!
The Confidante - I haven't stayed in the rooms but I did get a cabana by the pool and it was such a treat. Their striped decor screams Miami and the food is delish. I could see myself staying here on the next trip.
Versace House - while you can stay or eat there (I haven't) this is just a cool spot to walk by if you've followed the Versace story in the news or recent TV shows.
The Wharf - this could probably be under the eat/drink category but it's an open air venue right by the river that has food vendors, bars, djs, and events. Definitely a cool spot to go with friends that's more laid back and less sceney than South Beach bars.
Wynwood - a bustling area of boutiques, art, and great restaurants. I would compare it to Venice in Los Angeles. Spend a whole afternoon exploring!
Ikid Ikid - a women and kids boutique in Wynwood that I fell in love with. The owner, Natalia, is SO sweet and has great taste. Keep scrolling to see the earrings I discovered there!
JetSet Pilates - when I travel I like to try local pilates places and this one is my favorite because it has the megaformer like my LA spot. They've opened a ton of locations recently!
Other cool areas to check out are the Design District and spots by the River. The Design District is a great place to spend a morning. Grab coffee or brunch then do a little window shopping. The stores are a little luxe for my taste but they are definitely pretty to look at.
TIPS + TRICKS
Beach chairs are either for rent or connected to a hotel. Most South Beach Hotels have chairs for their guests but if you're staying elsewhere be ready to pay a pretty penny or just bring a towel and do your own thing.
If you stay in the Art Deco district wake up early and walk around. It's the best time to enjoy the beautiful architecture without tons of tourists.
I haven't done clubs there in a while, so can't really recommend spots. From past experience LIV was 100% NOT worth it.
It's hot and rainy in the summer, so be prepared for scattered showers throughout the day. Also the weather app is never right for some reason!