Miami. South Florida. Two names that conjure up many images in the mind when mentioned. This place is many things to many people, but for me, Miami was truly epic.
Regarded as the nightlife capital of the world, Miami didn’t disappoint when I visited mid August. You will find some amazing clubs here from Liv, Mansion, Story, Nikki Beach, the Clevelander and Fat Tuesday just to name a few. Going out here can be super expensive – expect covers starting from $25-30 just to get in and once you get in you’ll pay between $8-$15 for a beer. Lucky for me, I stayed at the South Beach Hostel who offered nightly outings to various clubs around town for $30 which also included a power hour of drinking in the hostel bar – very generous.
I visited Mansion, Nikki Beach and the Clevelander during my visit and enjoyed all three. Though all different they offer a great night out. I wasn’t in Miami to just sample the nightlife though. There is a lot more than just the clubs to visit. Pack your suntan lotion because we’re going to the beach!!!
In South Beach – or SoBe – as it’s known, you have an amazing beach a few blocks away, and it is a great way to cool off from the high humidity that happens in these parts. The water is generally warmer but still enjoyable and a great place to people watch. If you prefer more people then head up to Miami Beach which is around a 20 minute walk up Ocean Drive. You could even take a beer or lunch at one of the many bars, cafes and restaurants along the way.
There really is an abundance of quality in Miami, from the food, accommodation, culture and the people. Miami is fast becoming the go to destination for people wanting to be seen. I noticed a very visible gym culture here, which is great, cafes making protein shakes and also the beachside outdoor gyms make looking good on the beach a high priority for many.
There is a high Hispanic population in South Florida and as a result around 70% of Floridians speak Spanish. So while not necessary it may be a good idea to know a few words or phrases. With that comes the cuisine, you can get Cuban, Mexican, Caribbean and South American food very easily in Miami and all of it really tasty.
I visited the Everglades National Park during my visit too, which was an overpromised, under delivered tourist trap in my opinion but I still enjoyed seeing some Gators out at Gator Park. A transported tour with pick up/drop off from your accommodation and a boat trip of the Everglades should cost around $50 and take around 4 hours door to door.
Floridians love their sports and depending on the time of year you’re visiting, getting to a game is a great idea. There is the Miami Heat (NBA), Miami Dolphins (NFL), Miami Marlins (MLB) or if you prefer college sport the University of Florida’s teams are very strong and well supported. Nicknamed the Gators, it was at UF where Gatorade was first developed. Handy bit of pub trivia for you there.
Another attraction that you must see is the Art Deco district which is apparently the biggest collection of 1920s and 1930s architecture anywhere in the world. It’s a big area starting at 6th street and it contains no less than 960 buildings. See them by day and then later on at night, many have neon lights attached which is a lovely sight.
From South Beach it is quick and easy to go to downtown Miami by bus or taxi if you feel the need. There isn’t a great deal there but you could visit the neighbourhood Little Havana which runs along “Calle Ocho” – 8th Street and check out a few cigar shops or Domino Park. There is a free sky train downtown called the Metromover which is really good and efficient and did I mention FREE?! When it is time to head home you can take the Airport Flyer bus that stops all along South Beach and takes you to MIA International for $2.70 in 45 minutes.
Miami. Hot, intense, beautiful, exciting with loads of flavour and culture. Get there. Now. Yes you.
– Roaming Kangaroo