Your first time in Miami you will never see it all, so don’t kill yourself trying. Every Miami vacation should be about immersion, not trying to live and die by some manic itinerary giving you five minutes at every tourist stop in town. A real Miami vacation combines the best hotspots with some unique off the beaten track local jewels. Here are several magnificent Miami travel destination ideas to help you plan multiple trips to the Cuban spiced south Florida city that never sleeps.
South Beach and the Art Deco District: Combine two of Miami’s most popular attractions and make a day … and a night … of it along the hallowed strip known as the Art Deco District. This dynamic district recalls Miami’s 1930s heyday with postcard-perfect facades reflecting glowing neon casting a party light atmosphere down on Ocean Drive, overlooking South Beach.
The fabled seaside strand known as South Beach is renowned worldwide for a reason. Summer or winter, this is the place to soak up the sun, stroll the sand, hit the beach and mingle with all the beautiful people.
Speaking of Miami Beach… South Beach may get all the press, but the rest of the municipality of Miami Beach is every bit as breathtaking. We could give you a point-by-point to-do list here, but the best advice we can give is for you to set aside a day to just cruise down A1A and immerse yourself in all the opportunities. Take time to stop. To look and see and taste, to sample all that makes A1A America’s favorite stretch of seaside blacktop.
Want some timeless Miami culture? Check out Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. From the gardens, architecture and artwork, everything about this place exemplifies class, culture, and grace. The eye-popping centerpiece is the 34-room Deering mansion, a circa-1916 Renaissance villa dominating this 28-acre estate. The main house is chock full of visual delights from European antique furniture to art from the best masters around the world. But the spectacle only begins inside the big house. The gardens are gorgeous on their own. Cascading Italian and French fountains, sculptures and a breakwater leading into Biscayne Bay at the foot of a staircase carved into the visage of enticing sirens. Find is at 3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami 33129.
For a slice of Miami’s ethnic culture, visit the incomparable Little Havana. This Cuban district is as authentic as you can get outside of the island itself. When you come here, come hungry. Give your taste buds and your waistline a workout at an outdoor café as you groove to Latin music that seems to come from everywhere. If you really want the immersion experience, this is another day trip. Cruise or stroll down Calle Ocho, but don’t be afraid to venture off the main drag and deeper into the neighborhood. While you’re here, check out the most unique fast food experience ever at El Palacio de los Jugos. Grab some fresh squeezed juice to wash down the traditional Cuban cuisine in a truly unique atmosphere.
For treasure hunting, nothing beats a trip to the Bayside Marketplace. A massive outdoor mall complex, Bayside boasts more than 200 reasons to make a day of it. Specialty shops, tourist traps, cafes and daily live entertainment make this a fun spot even for the weary traveler. Even if your wallet is light, you can enjoy strolling along the bayfront, dreaming of sailing away in one of the boats moored at the docks. Find it all at 401 Biscayne Blvd.
So, what about it? What is your favorite home base to begin a day trip in magical Miami?
Roman Temkin is a real estate developer from NYC.