I got withdrawal symptoms the moment I left Miami at the end of last year. I visited again in early April and felt EXACTLY the same, and after reading these next few paragraphs through, I think it makes sense…
The spiritual home of art deco and actual home of the former Versace Mansion, Ocean Drive is the place that makes Miami Beach the icon that it is. It’s full of gorgeous photo opportunities and is just a really beautiful place to experience.
Cuban influences are everywhere in Miami, and nowhere is it more apparent than in the food, whether it’s a classic Cuban sandwich, or a punchy chicken with rice, beans & plenty of plantain. I highly recommend everything from the menu of Havana 1957, particularly their tres leches dessert.
I love the American attitude to meeting new people, and my experience of the states so far has only made we want to return more and more. But Miami is on another level for me. The service, the ViBeZ, and the laidback but forever helpful mentality blew me off my little British feet when I first arrived, and I’ve still yet to find any place that compares when it comes to the shiny happy people factor.
I mean, do I need to explain?
Like any big city, there is a lot going on in Miami, at pretty much any time of the day or night. However, there aren’t many other places where you can walk down the street past a Michelin star restaurant, a dive bar, a jungle themed mojito spot and an open-air jazz gig outside what looks like the back of a warehouse. And then you have the clubs and bars for those who want to get dressed up and go ‘out-out’. It’s the most bizarrely beautiful mix of things, all of which you learn to love & appreciate.
There’s something incredible about the mix of huge skyline with sprawling beaches, and even the bridges and roads connecting the city to the beach have the most beautiful views across the water.
In particular, the street art, found in the Wynwood area of the city, a lively and up and coming place filled with craft beers, independent stores and the famous Wynwood Walls. The Walls represent a new era of art gallery, showcasing stunning and expressive pieces in an outdoor space accessible by all, and giving street artists a place to show their talents to the world. It’s definitely one of those places you have to actually visit to fully appreciate – no photo would ever do some of the work justice.
Annnnd, a few other Miami based shout outs while I still have you:
W South Beach Hotel, 2201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
This place quite literally incorporates all of the things I’ve mentioned above. Just stay here. It’s mindblowingly good and there’s no beating that sea view…
BACON/DRUNK BITCH, 860 Collins Ave, Miami Beach
Bacon on one side, cocktails on the other, all with a serious amount of personality. If you’re a fan of coconut, I’d recommend trying the ‘Fame’ frozen daiquiri.
Love Hate Tattoo Studio, 1360 Washington Ave, Miami Beach
The home of Miami Ink, and more recently, the birthplace of my latest tattoo. The fact that I went in and left a few hours later with a beautiful custom-designed tattoo says everything about this place.
Mac’s Club Deuce, 222 14th St, Miami Beach
The oldest bar in Miami and the longest happy hour of any bar I’ve ever come entered and the ultimate Miami dive bar. Make sure you keep one of the chips as a memento, it’ll bring back a LOT of memories when you find it in your bag a few weeks later.
Alter, 223 NW 23rd St, Miami
Chef Bradley Kilgore takes you on an insane and incredible dining adventure through local Florida staples, all with a twist. If you go, do the full seven courses and add the drinks pairing.
Havana 1957, 405 Española Way, Miami Beach
Mentioned above but worth repeating. I’ve eaten at this branch of the Cuban change three times, had three different meals and loved EVERYTHING, and their Ultimate Mojito is a thing of beauty. If you’re looking for more of a view, there’s also a branch down on Ocean Drive.