Cold temperatures have us dreaming of a warm weather getaway, and what spot is more perfect than the sunny streets of Miami? Though Miami Beach and Miami proper are technically two different cities, we’ve put together the best and most essential spots to visit in both areas. If you’re stuck in the snow and dreaming of a getaway, let us guide you through this diverse, culturally vibrant, and playful Florida city.
Here’s how we’ve broken it down for you…
WHERE TO STAY:
Budget Hotels (less than $150/night)
Mid-range Hotels ($150-300 night)
Treat Yo’self Hotels ($300-500 night)
WHAT TO DO:
Relax and Indulge
WHERE TO EAT:
Best Eats Under $10
Best Dinner and Brunch Spots
Drinks with the Girls
Where to Stay
Budget stays: Under $150/night
Like its sister property in Chicago, the Freehand Hotel is a stylish yet very budget-friendly option if you’re planning a trip on the cheap. There are both private and shared rooms, and despite the typical hostel stereotypes one conjures up upon the idea of a shared room, these suites are beautifully decorated, airy, and welcoming. Complimentary breakfast is included in your stay and there’s also a lush pool and bar area to relax.
Source: 1818 Meridian House
We’ve talked about 1818 Meridian House once before, and for good reason. This property touts a great location, beautiful rooms, and a great value to boot. Each of the sunny rooms contains a kitchen so you can plan to cook in for a meal or two. It’s smaller than some of the large glitzy hotels in the city, and it offers a more intimate stay.
Source: Inside Miami Beach
It’s hard to believe that this property falls under $150 per night, but because they provide significant discounts to those who book 30 or more days in advance, you can manage a stylish suite here even on a small budget. The hotel’s pool will have you feeling like you’re staying at a much pricier spot—rooms are comfortable and spacious. The beach and several shopping options are nearby as well.
Mid-range stays: Under $150-$300/night
Located a stone’s throw from the water, The Redbury feels luxurious and welcoming all at once. A favorite feature of the property is its rooftop pool, which boasts beautiful views of the Miami skyline. The rooms have fun touches like eclectic art and records players, and just downstairs, you can enjoy a fabulous meal at Cleo.
Vintro Hotel and Kitchen oozes style from the moment you walk into the lobby. The rooms have fun, mid-century modern touches, and quirky artwork throughout. There is, of course, a wonderful pool area and free bike rentals you’ll be thankful for to avoid Miami’s notoriously bad traffic. Best of all, it’s only a five-minute walk to be right at the beach.
Source: The Standard Hotels
The Standard Hotel and Spa thinks of itself more as a spa that happens to have guestrooms than a hotel that houses a spa. If your goal is lots of relaxation while on your trip, look no further. The rooms are seriously comfortable and the property’s focus on wellness and relaxation is incredibly impressive. While staying here, be sure to book at least one spa treatment and head to the on-site juice cafe and terrace afterwards to fuel up.
Splurge stays: $300-500/night
Source: Epic Hotels
Situated in downtown Miami, Epic is all about luxury. There are two swimming pools (with private cabanas available) as well as solid dining options and an onsite spa. Many rooms feature some seriously stunning bay views, which are definitely worth the extra splurge.
Source: Kelly Wearstler
The Viceroy houses impressive touches and details at every turn, just what you’d expect from a property designed by none other than design guru Kelly Wearstler. The rooms are some of the most beautiful ones out there, outfitted with marble bathrooms and East Asian inspired decor. Anchoring the property is its expansive infinity pool (the longest one in Florida!). Daily fitness classes are offered for guests interested in staying active while on vacation.
Source: Want Tickets
The iconic Delano embodies everything about Miami grandeur and elegance. The suites are nothing short of incredible featuring a tranquil, calming white-on-white design scheme. Downstairs, the Delano Beach Club is absolute perfection with direct beach access and a glittering pool complete with stylish cabanas. The glamorous Rose Bar in the lobby further adds to the grandeur of this property.
Source: Ollie Neglerio
Chances are that if you’ve seen photos of Miami, you’ve caught a glimpse of the famed art deco buildings that the city is so well known for. Take a walking tour through this area for a closer look at this historic part of Miami. It’s an especially great spot to visit for architecture buffs. Head to the Art Deco Welcome Center where you’ll have the option to take a guided or self-guided tour of these colorful buildings.
Source: Gabriel Franceschi
Miami residents are pretty passionate about sports so if you visit during basketball season, checking out a Heat game is always a good idea. The team plays at the American Airlines Arena right in downtown Miami so if you’re staying in the area, you won’t have to travel very far to catch a game.
Source: The Architects Newspaper
The New World Symphony is an orchestral academy that is home to some seriously talented young musicians. There are frequent concerts, and if you’re a student, you’ll be able to score discounted rush tickets. In addition to concerts, you can plan a visit to tour this beautiful Frank Gehry building or participate in one of their monthly free yoga mornings.
Actor’s Playhouse is a fantastic theatre company in the Coral Gables area. There’s always a great show running (like West Side Story and Jungle Book just to name a few) so it’s a fun option if you want to plan a low-key dinner-and-a-show type of evening. If you’re on a budget, the Actor’s Playhouse also has an ongoing free movie series. They typically show cult classics like Grease or The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
Source: Wynwood Miami
The Wynwood Arts District is one of the most fun ways to spend an afternoon in Miami. Home to plenty of art galleries, shops, bars, and some really amazing street art, this area will please even the pickiest travelers. On the second Saturday of every month, the area hosts art walks, but there are lots of other events going on regularly even if your trip doesn’t coincide with one of these walks. We recommend downloading the district’s map, and seeing where the day takes you. There are even food tours of the area if you prefer to snack while you take in art (because who doesn’t?).
Head to North Miami to view the galleries at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Admission is just $5, and a glimpse at the beautiful collection is more than worth it. The museum is known for its boundary pushing, innovative exhibits in addition to approximately 600 pieces in its permanent collection.
Source: Smart Growth
It would be a huge mistake to visit Miami without a trip to the city’s famed Cuban neighborhood, Little Havana. The main street, Calle Ocho, is a great starting point where you’ll find cigar shops, galleries, some fantastic Cuban food and of course, Cuban coffee (you can’t leave Miami without having some). Stop by Domino Park to watch locals play dominoes, and if you visit on the last Friday of the month, be sure to head over for Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays), a monthly event showcasing the vibrant culture of the area.
Source: Bill Sumner
Vizcaya feels like an entire world away from the rest of Miami, and once you visit this National Historic Landmark, you’ll know why. The property is reminiscent of an Italian villa, and it’s a tranquil spot amongst all of the action of the city. There are tours available through the museum and garden areas, and a cafe if you work up an appetite. It’s a relaxing way to walk around, take in some beautiful sights, and spend a few hours.
There are a few different tour operators that take visitors out to visit the Florida Everglades from Miami. The most popular option for tours is taking a tour on an airboat. You’ll get a chance to see some of the most scenic spots of this 1.5 million acre National Park, and potentially see some of the wildlife local to the area. There’s also hiking, canoeing, and camping options if you have more time to spare. Private boats and yachts are also available if you’re feeling fancy!
When you’re in downtown Miami, it’s easy to forget all of the natural beauty that surrounds this area, but Oleta River State Park is a good reminder. Spend a couple of hours kayaking this region to see some of it. After you’re done, there are a few good spots to picnic!
Source: David Kirsch
Channel your inner D.J. Khaled, and zip across the water on one of Miami’s thousands of jet skis. There are a countless number of rental companies to choose from so you have your pick, but American WaterSports is a solid choice. Most rental companies will require you to take a short safety course before you head out on the water, but after that you’ll be free to explore. Just make sure they are fully licensed and insured before you head out on the water!
Sometimes you want a taste of nature without having to step outside the city. A.D. Barnes Park offers you a great location to experience Florida foliage without having to trek outside the city. Parts of the park are completely covered with plant life, and you’ll quickly forget you’re in the center of Miami. There are a few hiking trails there as well as a public pool. It’s a great spot to take a morning walk before beginning your day.
It’s not a trip to the Miami Beach area without getting at least a bit of time on the sand! There are several different options depending on what you’re into whether it’s a relaxing time, a party, good waves, or a mix of it all. For a good guide, check out your options here. If you’re lucky enough to be staying at a hotel on the beach, you may have access to a private beach so be sure to check that option first.
Relax and Indulge
Source: Kiwi Collection
The Biltmore Spa is one of the most luxurious and well-appointed spa facilities in Miami. There are a number of different treatments available including a variety of amazing sounding facials and massages. Be sure to arrive early to take advantage of the other spa amenities like their steam room and fitness center.
Source: Portfolio Salon
Portfolio Salon is a great stop to add to your list if you’re looking for a quick manicure or pedicure. The salon is bright and airy in true Miami fashion. They also offer hair treatments and waxes if you’re looking for something more.
There aren’t a lot of places that offer oceanfront manicures, but the Cowshed in Miami is one of them. Go for a manicure, a blowout, or splurge on one of their spa packages. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful or relaxing spa in the city.
Source: CN Traveler
The Standard’s commitment to creating a relaxing, tranquil atmosphere is second to none. There is a hammam (Turkish steam bath), a saltwater infinity pool, hot tub, and a bevy of instructor led fitness classes—so this is most certainly not your run of the mill spa. If you’ll be in Miami for a longer period of time and want to get in on some serious relaxation, they offer spa retreats as well.
Where to Shop
Sweat Records is a neat little music store in Miami that sells vinyls at a very reasonable price. Music lovers should head here for a great deal on records, and though the emphasis is on vinyls, the space also hosts events so be sure to check the schedule in advanced. The best part is the cafe located in the store that sells coffee and a variety of baked goods ready for you to snack on while you shop.
Source: Wynwood Letterpress
This shop is home to an incredibly beautiful selection of stationery and paper products. Everything is beautifully designed and curated, and there are a plethora of custom options as well. In addition, smaller products and gifts like acrylic pencil cups and brass paper clips are available if you’re looking for a bauble or two to spruce up your office.
Source: Time Out
Located in North Miami, this is one of the best spots in the city for vintage and used clothing. Unlike other vintage clothing stores that tend to be cluttered and overrun, the Rabbit Hole is well curated and welcoming. They’ve done a great job of selecting the best of the best so you’ll be sure to find a treasure or two here.
Source: Alyvelji Designs
Interior design lovers will love making a stop here on a trip to Miami. Housing some seriously glamorous furnishings and housewares, it’s a fun place to do a bit of window shopping. Even if you don’t go home with something of your own, you’ll definitely leave with a lot of inspiration for your own home decor.
Source: Independent Publisher
Most Miami trips include a few hours of lazing around by the pool or on the beach with a book. If you’ve forgotten yours at home, head to Books and Books for a great selection to choose from. This locally owned store has a few locations around the city so you’ll be able to stop in regardless of the area you’re staying in.
If you’re in Miami on Sunday morning, head over to this market for a fresh smoothie or just for a morning stroll. Every two weeks, the farmers market expands to include antiques as well. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting while the antique market is on, be sure to step in for some one-of-a-kind trinkets. You can review the antique market schedule here prior to your trip.
Where to Eat
5 Best Eats Under $10
While it’s not the fanciest or largest spot, you can’t go wrong with El Mago de las Fritas for some delicious, authentic Cuban food. They’re known for their fritas, a Cuban take on a hamburger. If you have a bit of room left after indulging in fritas, be sure to get a cortadito as well. Just be ready to wait if you go during peak times as things to get a bit packed.
Source: The Quintessential Concierge
Who is going to say no to a restaurant dedicated to cheese? What originally started as a food truck is now a wonderful brick and mortar restaurant on Biscayne Boulevard serving up cheesy favorites like grilled cheese and mac and cheese at affordable prices. The restaurant puts a fun spin on these classics so don’t go in expecting your grandmother’s grilled cheese! Where else in the world are you going to find a s’mores grilled cheese?
Mr. and Mrs. Bun is a laid back joint serving up Peruvian sandwiches. Their buns are all freshly baked daily and they are committed to using fresh ingredients. There are also other options like empanadas and sweet potato fries. Though its location is unassuming, and a bit off the beaten path, it’s worth the travels for mouthwatering Peruvian food at a fantastic price.
Source: Star Chefs
Amidst the pricier options in the South Beach area, Taquiza is an outlier offering fantastic tacos at affordable prices. In addition to classics like chicken and carnitas tacos, you can also explore some more adventurous options like beef tongue or charred poblano. The location is fabulous, and we recommend sitting outside if you can. After all, you’re in Miami!
Head to Fireman Derek’s Bake Shop for some of the best pies you can find in the city. There’s also a great selection of cakes, milkshakes, and coffee. The shop was started by an actual firefighter in Miami giving it a really fun local flare. The slices are absolutely gigantic so you may want to share with a friend (or not!).
Best Dinners and Brunches
Celebrity Chef Alex Guarnaschelli is the brain behind the recently opened Driftwood Room. The restaurant boasts a beautiful mid-century interior and an expansive outdoor terrace perfect for breezy Miami nights. They serve up fresh Mediterranean fare with a really great selection of seafood options. Though we love the dinner options, the restaurant is open for breakfast as well.
Versailles is an icon of Miami, and is often lauded as the most famous Cuban restaurant in the world. The restaurant has been open for decades, and it’s one of those places you have to stop into. You can’t leave Miami without getting a taste of Cuban culture, and this is the perfect spot to do just that.
This is a fun, farm-to-table style spot that serves Southern inspired food in a beautiful, rustic environment. It’s the perfect spot for a lazy brunch filled with comfort food favorites like biscuits and chicken and waffles. For dinner, the comfort food vibe continues with each dish cooked meticulously and to perfection. This spot is an absolute must while in the city.
Source: Star Chefs
Michael’s Genuine is a great neighborhood spot that’s been around since 2007 serving dishes to locals and tourists alike. In the afternoons, there’s a great raw bar menu, but if you’re looking for dinner or brunch, there are great options as well. The menu houses a good variety of foods including pork shoulder, stone crab, and corn risotto. Located in the Design District, there’s plenty to do around the restaurant before and after your meal.
Source: Bubbles and Ink
This laid-back spot is a nice place to catch a low key dinner or breakfast. There’s a welcoming vibe, and the food speaks for itself. The menu is pretty expansive, and it includes a lot of the amazing seafood that south Florida is known so well for. Blue Collar is a great option for groups that are looking for a relaxed time.
Drinks with the Girls
Source: Chic Stylista
Cocktail fan? Look no further than the Broken Shaker. The hotel bar uses elixirs, infusions, and other mixers to create some of the best cocktails in Miami. Their punches are fantastic, and you can’t go wrong with any of their drinks. If it becomes one of those nights, indulge in their bacon cheeseburger (hey, we all need a cheeseburger sometimes).
Source: Marion Miami
Inspired by French and Mediterranean, Marion is a beautiful restaurant with a great bar perfect for a few after dinner cocktails. The bartenders are knowledgeable, and the drinks are crafted to perfection. If you’re still hungry, there’s a great raw bar with fresh Miami seafood to indulge in as well.
If you are looking to grab a glass of wine but don’t want to sit inside, make your way to the gorgeous Area 31 bar. Sip your drink of choice while enjoying gorgeous views of downtown Miami. The bar also has a great spread of food including truffle fries and ceviche. You can even take advantage of happy hour Monday through Friday to save a few bucks.
The Living Room bar is located in the lobby of the W South Beach Hotel. The sleek lounge has velvet furniture, a hip vibe, and ample space to assemble a group of your girlfriends. After enjoying a few drinks, head to the terrace for great views and that famous Miami sea breeze.
Ball and Chain is steeped in Miami history, originally masquerading as Calle Ocho Bar for several years. Head down to Little Havana, and find the green neon sign that invites you in for drinks. Grab a mojito, and peruse the fantastic menu of food including Cuban spring rolls, tacos, and conch ceviche. If you are lucky enough to be there on the last Thursday of the month you’ll catch their fantastic jazz night.
This spot is the quintessential breezy Miami establishment. Located right on the water, you can have your cocktails with the sound of waves crashing in the distance. Whether you head over in the daytime or at night, you’ll be sure to enjoy your time while taking in the beautiful outdoor seating area. If you happen to head over on a Sunday, treat yourself to their brunch complete with bottomless rosé.