The first thing that comes to mind when you think about Florida is Disney World. If you are a regular on this blog, you would have already read that there is much more to see in Florida. One of the essential cities to add to your trip would be the city of Miami located in the south of the state. Read about what to see in Miami in this article.
Although it may not seem like it, the city of palm trees has a lot to offer to tourists. It is one of the capitals of fashion and design in the United States and its mixture of culture gives it a special charm. Whether you’re on vacation or just passing through, I’m going to tell you what you should visit in Miami.
What to see in Miami
I visited Miami when I was living near Orlando. If the starting point of your trip is from Orlando, you can drive to Miami in about 3 hours. If you plan to spend a night or more in the city, I recommend you take a look at the hotels in Miami. My first stay in Miami was at the Leamington Hotel in the Bayfront Park area. The hotel was at a great location but was very cheap, lacked a lot of facilities and required a pretty large renovation. I would not recommend this hotel to anyone.
Miami Beach is a small island that is linked to the city of Miami by various bridges. It is where most of the city’s life and tourists who decide to visit Miami are concentrated. Ocean Drive, the best-known avenue in the city and one of its longest beaches is located in this area.
Ocean Drive is where you can find most of the American stereotypes. It certainly feels like you’ve gotten into the GTA video game in the blink of an eye. From girls in bikini and skates, Mustangs, Ferraris and a lot of character.
It is a long row of colourful houses in the Art Deco style. These date from the 20th century and are one of the emblems of the city of Miami. No matter what time you choose, it is one of the points to check out during your visit to Miami.
South Beach, Miami’s 10km long beach is located right in front of Ocean Drive. This is where you will be able to find the well-known coloured lifeguard towers. Tons of people pose in each and every one of them to take a photo of their trip.
You can eat in one of the many restaurants on Ocean Drive and continue your day strolling along this beach. The area was very well maintained, as was the beach promenade.
Bayside and Bayfront Park
Bayside is in the heart of Miami and is where my hotel was located. You can find tall skyscrapers and office buildings in this area, but you will find Bayside Marketplace if you approach the sea. It is a semi-covered complex of restaurants and shops, where you may take cover from the rain.
You will find many souvenir shops and even a Hard Rock Café here. It is a pleasant area to walk around, go shopping and have good views of one of the city’s ports. If you continue walking towards the south, you will find Bayfront Park, a fairly quiet park with beautiful views where you can sit down to rest. It is a good place to experience the routine of the locals with the many free activities such as yoga.
You find the Little Havana neighbourhood to the west of downtown Miami. As the name suggests, it will lead us to the authentic culture of Cuba. I recommend you eat in this neighbourhood and let yourself be carried away by its people to feel like an authentic Cuban since the local businesses in this area are run by people from the country.
The most popular street is called SW 8th Street (eighth street) which is crowded with people visiting restaurants, cigar houses, shops, hairdressers, etc. There is also a walk of fame with the names of several famous Latin Americans.
Urban art in Wynwood
One of the neighbourhoods that has gained more fame in recent years and attracting the attention of tourists is Wynwood. This is north of downtown Miami, so you should take a bus to get to it or walk in the heat for about an hour.
Wynwood is an open-air art gallery. It is the bohemian and artistic neighbourhood of Miami. The area that attracts the most attention is Wynwood Walls, a small outdoor area full of walls with all kinds of urban art decorating them. If you are one of those who like urban art and graffiti, I recommend adding this to your list of things to see in Miami.
Just north of Wynwood, you will find the Design District. This is the area in Miami where you find haute couture brands such as Versace, Gucci, Bulgari, etc. The area of the Design District was formerly called Buena Vista which was a run-down, bad-looking neighbourhood. Finally, an urban plan was made to give life to this area again.
Today it is full of great brands, architects, antique galleries and showrooms. It has been growing over the last few years and it has more than 100 high-end stores today. Even if you’re not in the mood to splurge your money shopping, it is a good area to walk through. The buildings and sculptures that are found are very peculiar.
You can eat in places like St. Roch Market, a kind of courtyard where there are several food stalls to choose from. Don’t forget you’re in an expensive neighbourhood. The cheapest option is probably to eat at La Pollita, a restaurant that specialises in tacos.
It is perhaps one of the areas that you will like the most to see in Miami. It is located south of Downtown Miami and is known as The Grove. This area of Miami is located at the foot of the sea and is where the city hall is also located. You can find a lot of city life, shops, cinemas as well as the Vizcaya village, a mansion dating from 1914 converted into a museum garden.
I recommend ending your day at CocoWalk, an area full of restaurants where locals like to meet for a drink and a meal.
One of the reasons for visiting Miami was to watch the football game between the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Buccaneers. I think it is a great American experience that is worth fulfilling if you travel to the United States.
The game was taking place at the Sun Life Stadium located about a 20-minute drive from downtown Miami. After passing the great security control that they had prepared, I could begin to enjoy the atmosphere. The hours passed between tents, outdoor barbecues, lots of beer, cheerleaders, and football.
If you plan to add attending a football game during your trip to the United States, I recommend you read this article in which I tell you how to get cheap tickets for the games.
I was able to park my car in a covered parking lot for just $5 during the weekend. There are several car parks in the city that are owned by the city council and have these reduced rates.
I really didn’t plan on seeing Miami and I didn’t have high expectations. Two days are more than enough to visit the city. Although it is not my favourite city in the United States, it has several things to see and it can be a fun experience.