Miami is one of those places I fall more in love with each time I visit. With tropical weather year-round, and a melting pot of cultures and languages, it’s easy to feel as though you’ve transported to a foreign country upon arrival. And that is precisely what I love about it. There’s an endless list of places to eat, see and explore (a pursuit I happily welcome over the course of my life), but in the meantime, I’ve narrowed my list of favorites down to the following:
WHAT TO DO:
- Shop on Lincoln Road Mall – An open-air, pedestrian-friendly road, lined with a mix of affordable and high-end shops, outdoor restaurants, galleries, and street performers.
- Peruse the Bal Harbour Shops – An upscale open-air shopping mall known for its luxury retail, making it the most profitable shopping mall per square foot in the United States. Since it’s way out of my retail budget, I reserve it for window shopping and people watching while sipping an espresso in their outdoor cafe.
- Visit Zoological Wildlife Foundation – If you’re an animal lover, then I highly recommend a visit to the Zoological Wildlife Foundation. The staff are visibly passionate about what they do, and you’ll get up close and personal moments with exotic animals from all over the world.
- Walk through the Wynwood Art District – Wynwood is home to over 70 art galleries, retail stores, antique shops, and one of the largest open-air street-art installations in the world, including blocks and blocks of Instagram-worthy graffiti and murals.
- Relax in South Beach and walk along Ocean Drive – There are plenty of beautiful boardwalks in Miami, but there’s no better place to people watch than Ocean Drive. Think quintessential Miami – fancy cars, art deco buildings, and lots of beautiful people.
- Walk along the boardwalk in South Beach (and make sure to stop for a fresh coconut from one of the many vendors!).
WHERE TO EAT:
- Fratelli La Bufala – A casual spot with authentic Italian dishes. This is a well-known restaurant in Rome, so you’ll see many Italian expats dining here. Even the complimentary bread is dangerously tasty, but be sure to save room for their Neapolitan pizzas and delicious pastas.
- Yardbird Southern Table & Bar – A sophisticated take on Southern comfort food, where everything from the service to the decor are on par. I’m still salivating over their perfectly made fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and classic buttermilk biscuits. Their bourbon cocktails are also supposed to be amazing.
- Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill – You really can’t go wrong with this menu, but the roasted beets & arugula salad, duck & waffle, and torrejas with maple caramel apples are a few items that should not be missed.
- Joe’s Stone Crab – If you like seafood, then you can’t leave Miami without a visit to Joe’s Stone Crab, a classic Miami staple that’s been around for over a century. They’re best known for their stone crab, but I’m almost more impressed with their indulgent side dishes and key lime pie.
- Havana 1957 – My first introduction to Cuban food was dining at Havana 1957, and I make sure to visit one of their four locations each time I’m in the city. The cuisine is extremely authentic and you can’t go wrong with their “Havana 1957 Special” and a classic mojito.
*If there’s anything you love about Miami that I missed, please share in the comments below!