24 Hours In Miami: A Local’s Guide To Beaches, Bars And Everything In Between
With South Beach’s iconic art deco buildings, a vibrant culture shaped by a Hispanic and American population, and a 56km-stretch of white sand beaches, no wonder people love Miami.
There are very few cities in the world with entire songs written about them. Miami, however, has several. And understandably so. With South Beach’s iconic art deco buildings, a vibrant culture shaped by a Hispanic and American population, and a 56km-stretch of white sand beaches, the city has much fodder for lyrics.
It’s because of the overwhelming nature of it though that Miami can be difficult for visitors to navigate – especially with limited time. So, rather than wasting any of it figuring out where to go and what to see yourself, use this handy 24-hour guide instead. From swimming in a rock quarry-turned-pool to dining at a seaside institution with an uninterrupted skyline view, we’ve put together exactly what to do.
9am: Breakfast at Amour de Miami
To kick off, begin your day with breakfast at local favourite Amour de Miami. Located on busy Brickell Avenue, the French restaurant is known for its authentic Parisian café atmosphere and excellent Eggs Benedict. Dine on one of the six variations of the dish or, if you’re after something more indulgent, go for a Nutella-filled crepe. Pick a table inside its painting-lined walls or outside under a canopy of palm trees.
11am: Relax in Key Biscayne
After fuelling up, head to Key Biscayne. A 15-minute drive away from Miami via scenic Rickenbacker Causeway, the tiny island can be reached by public transport, but is easiest by car, particularly as the $8 per vehicle entrance fee includes parking. With most of the beaches designated parkland, they’re worlds apart from what you’d find in South Beach. Spend your time here wading into the calm, clear water or renting a bike to ride down a 2.4km-long winding trail.
1pm: Lunch at the Rusty Pelican
By now you’re likely ready to eat again. Luckily, you won’t need to travel far for lunch because just off the Causeway is Key Biscayne restaurant the Rusty Pelican. Order from a menu of Modern American and local seafood dishes while appreciating direct views of the area’s turquoise waters and the Miami skyline beyond. Keep your eyes peeled because you may even spot a dolphin.
3pm: Swim at the Venetian Pool
After watching the refreshing-looking sea all lunch-long, you’ll be dying for a swim. A short drive away from Key Biscayne in the largely residential suburb of Coral Gables, you’ll discover the historic Venetian Pool. Named after the city of Venice, the lagoon was built into an abandoned old coral rock quarry and designed in Mediterranean Revival style with a Venetian-style bridge and classic mooring posts. It’s also got a waterfall and cave so get your camera ready.
5pm: Shop in Coconut Grove
When you’ve snapped enough photos and have dried off in Miami’s sweltering heat, make your way to the nearby bayside village of Coconut Grove for some shopping. Here you’ll find retail and dining areas Cocowalk and Mayfair in the Grove, along with charming boutique-lined streets. Pop into Aesop for quality skin and hair products, The Gap for classic clothing staples, and The Bookstore in the Grove for a new read.
7pm: Dinner at Cipriani Downtown Miami
Dinnertime! Returning to Miami’s Brickell area, you’re in for a treat at Italian chain eatery Cipriani Downtown Miami. The nautical-themed, ritzy restaurant features a menu of homemade pastas like potato gnocchi al pomodoro and spinach-and-ricotta ravioli alongside hearty meat dishes like veal Milanese and calves liver. Enjoy the stunning waterfront scenery from its floor-to-ceiling windows as you take in what’s said to be the best fine dining experience in town.
9pm: Drinks at Sugar Miami
On the 40th floor of the year-old EAST hotel in Brickell, you’ll find swanky rooftop bar Sugar. With sweeping views of downtown Miami’s high-rises and waterways and an offering of inventive Asian-influenced tapas and drinks, it’s easy to see why this hideaway heaves with a well-dressed crowd most nights of the week. If you’re craving a sweet drink, opt for a Sesame Sling gin-and-mango cocktail or if you’re up for trying something different, go for beer-based From India With Love.
11pm: Stay at 1 Hotel South Beach
After a jam-packed day, it’s finally time to hit the hay. From Brickell, it’s about a 20-minute drive to 1 Hotel South Beach. The oceanfront property, formerly Gansevoort Miami Beach, was voted one of the top 10 hotels in the US by Conde Nast Traveller and it’s easy to see why. All its mattresses are custom hemp-blend; it has Tesla electric vehicles to rent for free; and, best of all, it’s got an adults-only, ocean-overlooking rooftop pool. In short, it’s exactly where you want to wake up the following morning.
Published 29 November, 2017