When one of your friends asks you if you want to use some of her airline points and stay in their room for two days in Miami, you don’t say no, you just don’t. My friends Sara and Michelle had planned to go to Miami for a girls trip for awhile, but with all of the PTO we’ve been taking for weddings & wedding activities, I didn’t think I’d be able to go due to having zero PTO (is it July yet??). BUT, a week before Sara said I should just come for the weekend last minute. Needing a relaxing vacation, we took a look at the flights, saw I could go Friday night-Monday, booked and never looked back! The last time I had been to Miami was when I was about 15, so I was definitely overdue for a visit. So here it is, my two (and a half) day guide to Miami.
Where to Fly Into
Since we were staying on Miami Beach, we had about two options of where to fly into since both airports are about 40 minutes away from the beach. I flew into Ft. Lauderdale -Hollywood International Airport and randomly (and luckily!) saw a friend/former co-worker of mine on the plane with her boyfriend! When we landed, we decided to all Uber together since they’re hotel was about five minutes away from ours. It gave us a chance to catch up on some gossip (which her bf loved ;)) and saved us all a few bucks! If flying into Miami, I highly recommend taking an Uber or Lyft since they’re available there and can save you some cash money – considering the drinks in Miami are $$$.
Where to Stay
So, I can’t really speak for any of the hotels aside from where we stayed, but I’d give ours about a 3/5. We stayed at The Confidante Miami, which was actually quite beautiful.
The pros: It had the whole art deco/Miami vice sort of a feeling, multiple bars, two separate pool areas – one for adults only and one for kids, free exercise classes and a gym, ocean views, beach access with lounge chairs and umbrellas, a restaurant with a breakfast buffet that had the best, crispiest all you can eat bacon. The morning yoga class was pretty amazing. It was raining the Sunday I was there, so they moved yoga from the beach to a covered outdoor area at the hotel. The instructor was really great and spent a lot of time trying to teach the beginners about really complex things that most who pratice don’t know about and that I only do from teacher training, such as the different types of breath, using bandhas, and lots of Sanskrit words. As a teacher trainee, I appreciated seeing the way he integrated these more complex yoga terms and ways of practicing into a beginner class. He also helped me kick up into forearm stand which was super fun! 🙂
The cons: It rained for an entire day. OK, I get that’s not the hotel’s fault, but they didn’t even have a hot tub or any rainy day activities to partake in. Also, the room walls are so thin, I could hear a man in the room next to us snoring which woke me up at 4 am one night, as well as their baby crying. Then on the second night, room service knocked on our door repeatedly at 3 am to deliver a crib that we obviously didn’t order. I will say that they offered us free breakfast in their restaurant, but lost sleep can’t be replaced in my mind.
What to Do
If you’re lucky enough to have good weather, I highly suggest sitting on the beach basically all day. Bring a good book, a good friend and grab a couple cocktails (or 5) and just prepare to lounge for the day. They have a cabana boy that sets up your chair and towel, and then servers that bring around drinks. What more could you want? Being from the Gulf Coast, I always forget what beaches on the east coast are like – the waves are bigger, the sand is rougher and darker – but all in all, a beach is kind of like pizza – I’ve never met one I won’t partake in ;).
We also did a nice walk on the beach on the last night, but it was more on the strip vs. being on the beach, and I MUCH prefer the sand to the sidewalk, but when we were there, there wasn’t much a sand shelf to walk on like I’m used to on the west coast and we had to settle for either the sidewalk or the boardwalk.
If you get stuck with crappy weather like we did on Sunday, I suggest you wander back to the mainland and hit up some of Miami’s neighborhoods such as…
Wynwood Art District
Being a blogger, I’ve seen tons of posts and photos of the Wynwood Walls, but the photos don’t do it justice. First of all, the neighborhood itself is so adorable with a bunch of fun boutiques, galleries, bars and restaurants. Lots of the storefronts near the Walls have really cool designs on them as well, providing a super hip and eclectic feel. Once you step into the actual open-air art installation area, you’re surrounded by a variety of giant walls painted in graffiti/street-style art and gardens.
At the end of the walls is an indoor gallery that has paintings, photos and sculptures that are just as bright and lively as the painted walls. Honestly, I could not get enough of all of the bright colors both in Wynwood, and in Miami in general! It’s definitely rubbed off on me since then and I have been wearing bright colors just to try and liven up the moody weather we’ve been having in Chicago. I would definitely say Wynwood was a highlight of our trip – so much so that we went twice!
What to Eat
ALL OF THE CUBAN FOOD. I’m not even joking. One of my main reasons for going to Miami was to eat the Cuban food! We don’t have much of it in Chicago, so I’m always missing it and have it every chance I get when I go home to Florida. I’d say the Cuban food was probably the food highlight, as well as guac anywhere because avocados are life. Here’s a list of some of the best restaurants we went to (IMO) and tasty dishes we had:
Puerto Sagua – Cuban sandwich and plantains – need I say more?
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar – This cute restaurant has outdoor seating so you can see the walls while you eat. Get the guac and ropa vieja empanadas – you won’t be sorry.
Wynwood Diner – Contrary to the name, this isn’t really a diner, but more of a cocktail lounge with food. I had my first ever frose here, and I’m already hooked! Also, if it’s nice out and not pouring rain like when we were there, they have a nice looking patio.
Bird & Bone at The Confidante – I’m not typically into hotel restaurants, but I really liked their avocado toast (minus the sprouts), the homemade breads, muffins and croissants, and the unlimited crispy bacon. Having their buffet felt like being at an all inclusive resort while I munched on pineapple and bacon near the pool.
What to Skip
The clubs. Any and all of them. Granted, I’m old now, and I won’t get into it, but after I flew in, my friends were ready for a night on the town, and let’s just say all I wanted to do was be home eating pizza instead of the loud club with $17 vodka sodas. To protect the innocent, I won’t get into it, but Miami definitely won that battle by a landslide.
The other thing I’d skip (and this may just be me since I’m not into flashy and loud) is the strip on Ocean Drive. It was basically filled with loud music, drunk people, sugary expensive drinks, a menu with Pitbull on it, and lots of loud cars cruising back and forth trying to be seen. Totally not my scene, and I would def recommend checking out other neighborhoods instead that I didn’t get to like Little Havana.
And there you have it – my 2.5 days in Miami! Anything I missed? Anything else you want to know? Leave me a comment!
PS- Thanks to Sara and Michelle for sharing all of their photos with me since I lost most of mine. Also, I’m super glad we learned how to properly say things like Art Basel!