I’ve been to Miami a lot! I used to come down all the time when I was in school because my parents had work down here and I got to tag along (shame!) but as such, I’ve gotten to know my way around South Beach in particular and thought I’d share what I like to do when I come for a visit!
While heading out to Ocean Drive can be super tempting and is definitely something I recommend doing once or twice throughout your trip. I don’t wholly recommend eating on Ocean Drive. It’s a cool experience but it’s quite difficult to find really good food! HOWEVER, right off ocean drive on Collins or Washington, there are AMAZING restaurants.
Quality Meats: $$$$
If you like meat this is the restaurant for you. I would classify this as your traditional American steakhouse. Excellent steaks and fun sides like mac n’ cheese make for an all American dining experience with a stellar wine list.
CVI.CHE 105: $$$
Peruvian food, cocktails and cevhice… what more do you want? CVI.CHE 105 South Beach has become a South Beach staple for us as we tend to go every time we are in town. Not only is it good value, the food is amazing and it’s away from the craziness of Ocean Dr.
Juice & Java: $$
This health food eatery off of 14th is another go-to everytime we are down in South Beach. The variety of the menu alone is enough to make the trip anyone could find something to eat here no matter what your dietary restriction. They also have really yummy juices and smoothies that I always order!
Cafe Italia: $$
Italian home cooking on South Beach. When we were there over the weekend this cafe had just opened! Great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! We loved the paninis, croissants, pasta, fresh juice and salads…. so we liked everything. It also has the cutest decor bar far out of the restuarants that we went to!
Where to Stay:
Residence Inn by Marriott Miami Beach South Beach: $$$
This Marriott is set off of the ocean close to the top of the Lincoln Mall which makes it perfect for those looking to spend less time at the beach and more time exploring the city. Especially for those looking to rent a car and drive through Miami to Wynwood, Coral Gables etc. this hotel’s close proximity to the I-95 as well as popular South Beach destinations makes it the perfect location for those looking for an adventure. It is about a 15-minute walk to Ocean Drive and Beach which makes it MUCH quieter at night and ideal for those looking for the beach but want to avoid the crowds.
Loews Miami Beach Hotel: $$$
This Loews is great for those looking for an upscale but laidback vacation at the beach. The Loews historically was very much a family oriented hotel but as shifted towards a more adult crowd. Children are still welcome though and we did see a number of families while we were there. The perk of the Loews is that you get four beach chairs included with your room in addition to a number of different amenities. The Loews is great for those who are looking to chill on a beach in a sudo “all inclusive” vibe. The proximity to Ocean Dr. and the Lincoln Mall makes it great for walking out for meals and the car rental at the concierge makes tripping to Bal Harbour or Wynwood super easy. This hotel does get a lot of conferences, weddings, reunions etc. so be warned that on any given weekend there could be areas of the hotel closed off for private events or a lot of noise.
W Residences South Beach: $$$$
The W along with the SLS are arguably the places to be “seen” while staying on South Beach. The W is a gorgeous hotel frequented by very well-off patrons. This hotel is perfect for adults looking to relax and let’s be real… post on social media about how you are staying at the W #forthegram.
What to Do:
Bal Harbour is a mall… but it’s super cool and even if luxury shopping isn’t exactly your cup of tea it’s fun to wander around this semi-outdoor mall, window shop and have lunch and one of the many restaurants while watching the sportscars drive past. If you are about the luxe life, this mall is the place to be.
Wynwood is a part of the Miami design district and is most famous for Wynwood Walls, an outdoor museum featuring murals painted onto the building walls. Wynwood is great for those interested in street art, finding cool places to Instagram, and being trendy but hipster but basic all at the same time. It’s best to visit Wynwood in the morning before the crowds show up so you can take you ‘grams without being photobombed.
South Beach is a fun vibe for a day or two spent sprawled on the beach or floaty in the ocean. It has a vibrant nightlife and is famous for destinations such as Casa Casuarina aka the Versace Mansion and Ocean Dr.
This hotel and restaurant, the home of the late designer Gianni Versace, has become a celebrity hotspot and a must-see. Take a picture by the famous pool or eat at the swanky restaurant Gianni’s.