Miami is a dreamer’s paradise. It’s one of the most popular and beautiful travel destinations in the world. There are a ton of exciting things to do and see. From the ravishing art district, trendy nightclubs, beaches, and dining experiences, the city’s overflowing with entertainment. Here is everything You Need To Know When Visiting Miami for the first time.
Where To Stay
Location matters and the best way to maximize your experience is by staying at a hotel or Airbnb that is in the center of everything. If you’re visiting Miami for the first time, you should stay on South Beach or somewhere that’s walking distance to most things such as Brickell or Midtown. However, South Beach is the best option because it’s in the heart of Miami. It’s close to shops, restaurants, bars, beaches, and parks.
A lot of people think South Beach is extremely expensive, but not all parts are. If you plan and do your research, you can find an affordable hotel in a great location. If you’re a young adult or traveling alone, there are tons of cute, affordable, hostels a block away from the beach.
Driving and Parking
Let me start by saying, Miami has the worst drivers in the country. And we also have a towing problem. Unless you’re a local, I do not recommend driving around. If you don’t have to drive, don’t. Uber and Lyft are always 2 minutes away at most. Plus parking is very tricky and nearly impossible. You’ll end up paying a ridiculous amount to park for only an hour, or you’ll probably park wrong and get your car towed (happens all the time).
Shopping & Dining
Aventura Mall, Brickell City Center, and Lincoln Road are great for shopping. Lincoln road is where most people go to walk around, shop and dine. It’s an outside promenade, so make sure to go on a beautiful day. There’s a movie theater, hundreds of restaurants, hookah bars, boutiques, and tons of shopping. If you go around lunchtime or 5:00-7pm, I guarantee you will find some great happy-hour deals.
If you’re in the mood to drop a lot of cash, then head to Bal Harbour Shops which is a luxurious-designer shopping mall. Here you will find Chanel, Neiman Marcus, Louie Vuitton, and more. There’s also a great beach two blocks away.
‘Dos and Donts’ of Eating on South Beach
Unless you want to get robbed for your money, do NOT eat on ocean drive. As tempting as it might be when the pretty hostess tries to lure you in as you walk by, don’t give in. Even though they filmed scarface here, and it’s where Versace died, don’t do it!
Don’t be fooled by the candid location these casual restaurants are nothing special. The prices are ridiculous. For example, a lunch for two people who order burgers and fries with water will be at least $80. I’m not exaggerating. This place is known for scamming tourists, locals never step foot here. Instead, take a 5-minute uber ride to lincoln road, where you can enjoy high-quality food and better service for half the price.
(Noisy and Touristy) This is probably the most popular beach for tourists. It’s right off Ocean Drive, which is where all the over-priced restaurants reside. It’s not the best place for children and families, as its usually filled with loud music, booze, and large crowds. If you’re looking for a peaceful, clean and quiet beach–this is not the place for you.
In between Coral Gables and Brickell. It’s a beautiful and clean beach great for families. It’s quiet, serene, and offers a beautiful view of the city. If you’re staying in downtown, Brickell, or Coral Gables, this is the beach for you! From Brickell, it’s only about a 5-7 minute Uber ride away. It’s a great place to spend the day. I recommend parking the car, renting a bike for the day and explore the island. It’s stunning.
Sunny Isles Beach
This beach is also nice a little more crowded and further away from the rest. It’s right in the heart of Little Russia. Walking distance to everything. It lies right along the Trump Towers, Porch Building, and Miami’s tallest and incredible skyscrapers. The only downside is that it’s on the other side of town, far from (Downtown, South Beach and Brickell.) However, it’s close to Aventura Mall, which is the main mall in Miami. So you might as well check out both if you decide to go there.
Nightlife, Entertainment, and Trendy Areas
Wynwood Miami’s Art District is home to over dozens of galleries, museums, and collections. All the galleries are free admission. It’s a great place to go during the day, to stroll around, take pictures, eat, and shop. Although after 1-2 hours, you’ll probably get bored.
Almost every venue in Miami has a different theme for every day of the week. So be sure to look up which days meet your personal preferences. Most lounges will offer free drinks for ladies, half-off prices, and other amazing specials, depending on the day.
Wynwood at Night
As soon as the sun comes down, everything becomes 21+ strictly. It’s known for its lengthy artistic blocks filled with trendy bars, lounges, and food trucks.
Some trendy places: SHOTS, Wood Tavern, Coyo, Raket, Brickhouse and The Dirty Rabbit. You can quickly go to every bar in one night since their located right next to each other.
EVERYTHING STARTS AND ENDS LATE.
Unlike LA and other major cities, Miami’s party scene starts around midnight or 1 AM. You will not be at the club any earlier than 12:30 am. There’s a reason its party capital of the world, after Vegas and Ibiza.
Oleta National State Park: A great place for Sunday-fun day. The park offers many outdoor activities such as kayaking, canoeing, camping, dirt biking, and more. They even have a beach where you can pull your kayak into, and relax.