We visited Miami in October 2014 – combining it with a trip to Barbados and loved this vibrant, colourful and laid back city. We stayed at The Redbury, a five minute walk away from South Beach. It’s the sister hotel to The Raleigh, which means you can use their facilities (read: amazing swimming pool).
Miami is a really big city and you’ll need to either get a taxi, hire a car or use public transport to get around. We tended to stay around the South Beach area but used a taxi when we wanted to explore other areas. Here’s a great guide to Miami public transport, if you’re planning a trip.
So what’s there to do in Miami apart from lying on the beach? Here’s five fun things to do!
1. Discover art deco gems
I LOVE art deco and Miami is full of art deco buildings. In fact, it has the highest number of art deco buildings in the world! They are mostly found along Ocean Drive and in around South Beach. Apparently developers in the 1970s wanted to demolish them but thanks to some activists, this didn’t happen! Either take a leisurely walk or hire a bike and go exploring.
2. Explore Brickell Key
Brickell Key is a man-made island that’s a luxury neighbourhood. You’ll find the Mandarin Oriental hotel here (which has a fabulous Peruvian restaurant where we had lunch) and lots of luxury apartments. The Island is 1.7 kms in circumference and is a really lovely walk as you get panoramic views of the Miami skyline. In fact, Miami actually has the third tallest skyline in the U.S, with over 300 skyrise buildings!
3. Do some shopping in Lincoln Mall
Lincoln Mall is basically a really long road full of shops, bars, restaurants and even a theatre. As it’s outdoors, it’s best to go in dry weather as there’s no shelter. And for all you art deco lovers, there are some gorgeous art deco buildings here too.
Most of the restaurants have tables outside so it’s a great place to sit in the sunshine and people watch. Whilst my husband and I were having lunch at Sushi Samba, a very tan elderly gentleman rode past on his bicycle wearing just a gold speedo….
4. Jog, gym or cycle along South Beach
You only need to look at the buffed bodies to know that people who live in Miami lead an active lifestyle. So why not join them? You can hire a bicycle, jog/run or even join in with the locals at one of their free, outdoor gyms along South Beach.
The beach boardwalk stretches for about 4 miles or 40 blocks so it’s a really lovely walk, run or cycle. And of course you get to see all the fabulous lifeguard towers along the way. There are 36 of them and they’re all brightly coloured and unique. Despite being quite art deco in design, they’re actually quite new. They started being built in the 1990s after Hurricane Andrew hit.
5. Take a drive along the Florida Keys
We hired a car and drove along the Florida Keys. Once you’re out of Miami, it’s a straight road all the way down to Key West. We chose to go about a third of the way down and stayed a night at Chesapeake Beach Resort, which is in Islamorada.
It was great to take a road trip and see a bit more of Florida. Oh, and drive a Mustang convertible… except we couldn’t work out how to get the roof down!
Did you know that Key West has been a safe haven for LGBT travellers since the 70s? Here’s 5 of the best gay resorts and hotels in Key West for your next visit.
Have you been to Miami? What tips can you share for other travellers?