Just about any day in Miami is a perfect day—sunshine, beautiful people, culinary delights and beach front for miles—but choices must be made when you are on a timeline, right? Start the day South Beach, with a stroll along the beach or the Art Deco district before grabbing lunch; spend the afternoon shopping on Lincoln Road or take a relaxing cruise on Biscayne Bay. Head downtown to enjoy dinner with views over the city and bay, followed by some late-night music and fun back in South Beach. See what our brood of 13 family members chose to do before boarding our ship to the Eastern Caribbean!
Miami’s Beachfront Attraction
For a taste of the good life, head to South Beach, known for its Art Deco hotels lining Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, glittering nightlife, and see-and-be-seen vibe. The long stretch of beach, starting with the pier at the top of historic Washington Avenue, is a great place to take in the Miami of postcards and enjoy the sunset over the cityscape. This is where you’ll find some of Miami’s best shopping, top-tier nightlife, and award-winning restaurants, not to mention great people-watching and luxury-car spotting.
South Beach Strip
Ocean Drive is classic South Beach: Art Deco hotels in candy colors, buzzy restaurants, luxury cars, and of course beautiful people. It’s great any time of day, when you can walk from 1st Street to 15th Street or just sit at an outdoor café with a foamy latte. Have sunset drinks on The Betsy hotel’s rooftop by the sky-high pool or dine at Gianni’s, the restaurant in the new luxury boutique hotel Villa Casa Casuarina, which was once the mansion where Gianni Versace lived. The over-the-top interiors have been preserved, as has the mosaic pool with 24-karat gold tiles.
Art Deco Tour in Miami Beach
Miami Beach’s Art Deco Historic District is the first 20th-century neighborhood to be recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, with 800 structures of historical significance, most built between 1923 and 1943. The Miami Design Preservation League hosts tours to view some of the city’s buildings and historic outdoor spaces. The candy-colored buildings overlook the emerald waters of the Atlantic and have porthole windows, ship-like railings, sleek curves, glass blocks, shiny chrome, and gleaming terrazzo floors resembling the ocean liners of yore.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar
Looking for some down-home comfort food with an upscale twist? Head to Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, named one of Bon Appétit’s 50 Best New Restaurants and whose fried chicken was declared the best in the South by Southern Living magazine. From start to finish, and despite the hefty servings, each course leaves you wanting just a taste more as they remove your plates. Fried green tomato BLT with tomato jam and house-made pimento cheese, Mama’s Chicken Biscuits with pepper jelly, and a heavenly pasta dish served with duck meatballs are a few of the highlights. Add to it the fun, lively vibe and it’s easy to see how this could quickly become a regular dining spot if you lived in South Beach.
Even if you’re in Miami for a short amount of time, it’s important to get out on the water. Take a 90-minute sightseeing cruise departing from downtown Miami and you’ll cruise past Brickell Key, Fisher Island, and the stretch known as Millionaire’s Row on Miami Beach, as well as get a great view of the Miami skyline and the big cruise ships steaming out of the Port of Miami. The tour passes the homes of Shaquille O’Neal, Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias, and Al Capone, the house where Scarface was filmed, and more.
Eat Up the Culture
Head to the Miami Design District for 18 blocks of interior design showrooms, galleries, high-end clothing stores and design studios. It’s also a fun place to grab lunch if you’ve already developed an appetite. On the way out, be sure to pay a quick visit to the much-ballyhooed Wynwood Walls, a tribute to top international street artists. Bursting at the seams with style of a different kind is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a mansion offering a magnificent display of European splendor, nestled within 10 acres of Renaissance Italian- and French-inspired gardens. Or you can always stop by for a quick view of the Biltmore Hotel, the 1920s centerpiece of “The City Beautiful”, also known as Coral Gables. If you skipped lunch before, take a short drive to Coconut Grove for window shopping and an outdoor meal at GreenStreet Cafe. Or try or a selection of ceviches, a favorite local dish incorporating cold seafood marinated with citrus, at Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & LatAm Grill.
Capturing our Explorations