Miami Itinerary: How to spend Spring Break without going wild
Miami, possibly the most popular destination in Florida after Orlando, is an excellent winter-spring getaway for those in search of sun, sand and fun. We spend three sunny days in Miami in March for our own spring break and had a great time without getting into trouble or doing anything deemed too crazy for 30 somethings. In this Miami itinerary, I’ve tried to include a little something something for everyone in this things to do in Miami post. Read this mini guide if you are planning a spring break trip to Miami and are looking for ideas to inspire or want to know about the top Miami attractions. Besides spending a long weekend in Miami, if you are into long drives, then do read this article on 5 fabulous Southeast USA road trip ideas and another amazing Miami to Key West road trip.
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Where to stay in Miami
We stayed at the historic Clay hotel in the heart of the art-deco district of South Beach. This historic hotel built in 1920 was the epicenter of Miami’s rhumba craze and also the gambling ring of the notorious American gangster Al Capone. Although pricey with rooms which were nothing to rave about, you are pretty much paying for the location cause its located right on Espanola way, the liveliest, hippest street east of Ocean drive (the street that leads to the famous South Beach) and is a short distance away from South Beach. It’s flanked with restaurants resonating with live music on weekends and the party goes on till the wee hours of the morning. So if your idea of going to sleep is when the clock strikes 10 whence peace and tranquility takes over the land, then avoid this hotel like the bubonic plague and opt for many of the other Miami hotels close by. You can easily stroll through the neighborhood, take in the beautiful sights of the distinct architecture and sample local cuisine (Latin american, Cuban, Mesoamerican) at local spots nestled all around.
Note: Clay Hotel is temporarily closed (as per TripAdvisor as of May 2019) for renovations and will reopen later in the year (please check with hotel website for dates). Here is a link to other nearby hotels in Miami.
Miami attractions: Beaches
Miami, tucked away in the southern corner of the sunny state of Florida, is a city known for its beaches, vibrant nightlife,art-deco style of architecture and sprawling street art (murals). It is also extremely hot and humid during most of the year (barring the winter months of Nov-March when it is quite pleasant with more than half the country frozen like chicken wings in a freezer) with occasional tropical storms/hurricanes thrown in to knock your socks off. Being nestled along the south eastern coast of the country, Miami is flanked by water on almost all sides (at least the south beach section is) and therefore has a beautiful waterfront to boast of along with pristine beaches (one of Miami’s top attractions) along the never-ending shore line, with South Beach being the most popular one. If you are a beach bunny and plan to spend plenty of time frolicking, resting or sunbathing at the beach or going for a swim or surf, pack appropriate beach wear and gear. Beach essentials should include sunscreen, wide brimmed hat, beach towels, a bathing suit, sunnies and a cute beach tote bag to pack it all in. There was still a nip in the air in March when we visited, so do not forget to pack a light sweater if you visit during spring. Even if water scares the living daylights out of you as it does to me, all that is mentioned above is still applicable. Reading a book/doing nothing/people watching/bird watching/ watching grown ups indulge in a stupid sand fight/building sand castles like a 5 year old are all activities you can enjoy.
Things to do in Miami: Museums
Like any other big city, Miami too has its share of art, culture and architecture. If you need your culture fix, do not forget to visit the Bass museum of art or the beautiful European style Vizcaya Museum (Biscayne blvd) or the Pérez Art Museum Miami. We found a shady looking World Erotic Art Museum too, but its sketchiness overshadowed our overwhelming desire to venture further and find out the cause of its notoriety, i.e., step inside the dinky looking building and discover a world of hidden treasures.
Miami itinerary: Visiting Little Havana
Little Havana, that famous Cuban neighborhood that everyone talks about, turned out to be a bit of a damp squib for us. A solitary street, Calle Ocho (literally translating to 8th street) is all that is there flanked with businesses and places to eat (mainly Cuban food, with a famous bakery named Versailles and a Nicaraguan place named Yambo thrown in the mix. We ate yummy Nicaraguan Tacos at the latter. Also, no one speaks a word of English there, so do have a translator handy!
What to do in Miami: Key Biscayne
For the quintessential nature lover, there is Key Biscayne, a small island 20 min to the south. It has a beautiful beach, national park and a lighthouse (closed for renovation during our visit). There are free tours of the light house on certain days of the week so make sure you land on one of those. If alligators and swamp are what you seek, then definitely make a dash for the everglades with this tour (We could not squeeze this into our Miami itinerary). If you have more time, plan another road trip from Miami to Key West.
Miami attractions: All the good food that you must eat
We made the best decision ever and went on a food tour in Miami (read about our past tours here), where we sampled local Cuban, Peruvian and Brazilian cuisine in a span of 4 hours in and around the art-deco district. We went with the Sobe (south beach) Tour des Forks tour option of “Miami Food tours” based on Trip Advisor reviews for a tour of the south beach food spots and absolutely loved our experience thanks to a super knowledgeable foodie guide and several stops where we could sample such a variety of food. I highly recommend this tour for foodies out there since this is a great way to sample the variety of food that immigrant rich Miami has to offer! There are many other equally popular food tours you can choose from such as this Little Havana food tour or this food tasting and art Deco district walking.
Besides our food tour, we also had breakfast at La Folie, a charming French cafe tucked away in one end of the boisterous Espanola way as well as in Charlotte Bakery, which by the way has yummy Venezuelan breakfast. We missed some good old Haitian food (Tap Tap Haitian restaurant) because we were running short on time.
Miami sightseeing: The murals of Wynwood
Signing off with my favorite part-the murals at Wynwood, the art district of Miami, a visit to which should be at the very top of your Miami itinerary list (here is a Wynwood mural tour to check out). Abound in beautiful, jaw dropping murals/street art strewn in careless abandon, there was plenty to be marveled by lovers of art and mildly curious passersby alike. The best part about street art is that it is bohemian, challenges the status-quo, uninhibited and free for all! There is none of the confinement of museum walls and it does not cater to a theme or populist expression. The downside is that it is also ephemeral, so click a few photos whilst you are there to capture the art forever cause they will definitely be gone by your next visit!
I hope you enjoyed these suggestions to plan your own Miami itinerary. I urge you to explore Miami beyond its wild and boisterous party scene and stay clear off the cruel sea aquarium (sister franchise to the Sea World kills chain of entertainment) to enjoy the art, culture and food facet of this lively city. Do let me know about your Miami experience and thank you so much for stopping by!
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