Recently my friend Bettina visited me from Germany for a 10-day vacation. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t much better in South Carolina than in Germany, so we decided to fly to Miami to catch some sun. We had a lot of fun and tried to see as much as possible of Miami within the three days of our stay. Here read about our trip “Two girls in Miami with one carry-on bag” respectively read about the 6 best things To Do and NOT TO DO in Miami.
We flew with Allegiance from Concord, North Carolina to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for 129 $. This is a very cheap airfare but of course they charge for almost everything else. You are allowed one free handbag but you have to pay for a carry-on bag. So we decided we don’t really need a lot of clothes and one bag is enough for both of us. Well, we made it (and we packed 4 pairs of shoes) but we had to be pretty strategic about what to bring. The weather was nice in Miami so we were fine with a couple of cute dresses and shirts. We paid 40 $ for the carry-on bag.
We drove from Fort Lauderdale to Miami (which is a 40 minute drive) with our rental from Thrifty. The little car was 68 $ for three days, which is a pretty good deal.
Here are the best things what to do while you are in Miami:
Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Bus
If you have never been to Miami, book a Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off tour. They cost around 40 $ and bring you everywhere of interest and give you information about all the different areas. This is a great way to get a first overall impression and to be able to sort out, where you would like to spend more time on another day. Plus you either have an audio guide or a tour guide, who gives you information about the places you are visiting. The bus stops at about 20 locations and you have the perfect view from the roof of the double decker bus to take pictures. And you don’t have to drive and look for parking spots, so annoying. https://www.bigbustours.com/en/miami/miami-bus-tours/
Wynwood used to be a warehouse district and got completely transformed in 2009. Since then, artists from all over the world come here to show their art. It is absolutely stunning. Go to Wynwood Walls and plan to stay there for a couple of hours minimum. (You can easily spend a whole day there). There is so much to see and you are going to be sooo impressed about all the wall murals, galleries, museums, art shows. Book a tour to get background information of the amazing artists. Wynwood is the world’s largest outdoor art museum and the graffiti Mecca of the world. And you can go there every time you visit Miami, because the murals change all the time, as anyone can come along and paint over it. If you plan to go on a tour book in advance. They are normally booked the same day, so check this out before you go there if you are interested in a tour: https://wynwoodartwalk.com/wynwood-tours/
While you are in Wynwood go to the Brooklyn Street Art Beergarden for lunch or a drink. Nice backyard hangout and good food.
Little Havanna is a good place to explore. A lot of Cuban and Mexican restaurants, definitely a good place to eat and drink. If you want to see and hear interesting stories about Little Havanna, book a tour. Or just go and eat and drink there and imagine being in Cuba.
Española Way in South Beach is a much better hang out for food and drinks than Ocean Drive. Nice and relaxed and good reasonably priced food, not as overpriced as on Ocean Drive. Espanola Way is a charming little pedestrian street in South Beach with a lot of atmosphere. You find Cuban, Italian and Spanish restaurants there, have some tapas and a glass of sangria, listen to the music and watch the people walking by.
Art Deco Walking Tour
Book an Art Deco Walking Tour (Miami Design Preservation League). They offer a 90-minute walking tour where they explain the history and the architecture of the Art Deco and Miami Modern styles of the buildings on Ocean Drive.
If you had enough sun and you want to do something inside to cool off, visit the art museum (Perez Art Museum Miami) https://www.pamm.org and science museum (Frost Science Museum) at the Museum Park Downtown Miami. https://www.frostscience.org.
Use the trolley while you are in Miami. It is free of charge and brings you from North Beach 88th Street all the way down to 17th Street. There is a North Beach Loop, a Collins Express, a Middle Beach Loop and two South Beach Loops. No need to take a taxi or an uber while you stay in Miami Beach. Take a walk on Lincoln Road to check out Restaurants and Bars and of course a lot of shops.
Here are the things you SHOULD NOT do while in Miami:
Do NOT book a bike tour without any information about your tour guide. Our guide didn’t know anything about Miami.
We booked a South Beach Bike tour straight away after arrival in Miami. It lasted about 2 hours and we paid 39 $ each but it really wasn’t worth the money. Our tour guide didn’t know anything about the architecture of the Ocean Beach Hotels, the 1920 to 1930’s Art Deco Buildings, the in places to go to, he actually didn’t know anything we were hoping for. He showed us Star Island (where a lot of celebrities own a nice house), the yacht harbor and the Holocaust Memorial. Not really what we had expected from a two hour tour through South Beach.
2. Happy Hour drink on Ocean Drive
After the bike tour we took a stroll down Ocean Drive and relaxed on the beach for a little while. We thought we needed a Happy Hour Drink on Ocean Drive which was our second mistake. They charge 35 $ for a watery pot of some kind of a cocktail. We left pretty disappointed and went off Ocean Drive, where we had more fun.
3. If you see a special price for anything, ask questions before you order.
We went to a Mexican restaurant because it was Taco Tuesday and of course ordered Tacos. The sign in front of the restaurant said Tacos 3 $, sounds like a pretty good deal. Well, unfortunately not for the Tacos we ordered, they were full price. So before you order, ask the waiter what the special actually is. Also, check your bill afterwards. A tip of 18-20 % is automatically included, which is a lot for the service you get at most places. Therefore there is no need to add another tip on top of it.
4. Stay in a hotel on Ocean Drive
All of the hotels on Ocean Drive are very expensive. You will find much better hotel choices and deals if you stay around the Mid beach area or on North beach. We got a pretty good deal in the Hilton Garden Hotel (Midbeach) for 120 $ for a Kingsize Bed. Unfortunately parking is a big problem. Valet parking costs almost everywhere 50 $ per night, so consider if you really need a car while you stay in Miami.
We found a Municipal Parking Lot on Lincoln Avenue where we parked our car. They charge 20 $ per night.
5. Coconut Grove
Coconut Grove used to be an in-place when I was there about 20 years ago, but now there is not much left over of its vibe. We haven’t seen a lot of shops, restaurants and bars, so spend your time at more interesting places.
We stayed in Miami for 3 days and had a really good time. If you go with a friend find out first what he/she expects from the vacation. It is important that you have the same kind of interests so you can plan in advance what to see and do. Have fun in Miami – what a great place for a vacation. And now with spring break coming up, check out availabilities for hotels and tours as soon as possible.
Also read about: https://colorfuldesigner.com/best-tips-if-you-travel-to-san-diego/
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