Thank you, Lexus for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.
Last week, I got the chance to visit Miami for the first time since 2002. In my teens and early 20s, I spent quite a lot of time in South Florida between spring breaks, winter breaks, family trips, and lots of road trips to escape the cold Wisconsin weather. I think I’d been to Florida nearly 20 times by the age of 22. I liked it there so much, I was inches away from moving for Fort Lauderdale after I graduated from college. Life took a different turn, and I ended up in Arizona, but I always had a fondness for Florida. ”
I mean, what’s not to love? The weather is fantastic, there are gorgeous beaches, you can get really delicious sea food, and it’s just a fun place to be. In the 15 years since I’d last been to Miami, I forgot just how much I liked it there.
The day I arrived in Miami and drove to my downtown hotel, I was flooded with fond memories of all my previous trips. I felt that great energy and excitement when you’re visiting a place you love.
6 Things to Do in Miami
1. Roam Around the Wynwood Walls
If you’ve read any of my past travel stories or follow me on Instagram, you know I love me some street art and murals (see stories about street art in Paris, New York, and Germany). When I arrived in Miami and had dinner at the hotel the first night, I met a girl from Wisconsin. She spent a lot of time chatting with me about the things I should do while I was in Miami, and visiting the Wynwood Walls was at the top of her list.
I’m so glad I ran into her because wandering around looking at all the different street art was definitely one of the main highlights from the trip for me. There are literally block and blocks of buildings that are painted gorgeous, vibrant colors, with really intricate murals. I probably could have spent an entire day wandering around the streets because the ground also had a lot of really interesting art. Even the fire hydrants were painted. I visited during the day and also went back at night to have drinks with a friend, which I’d highly encourage. The vibe at night was definitely cool, so you should check it out. One of the places I liked best was called Wood Tavern, if you’re in the neighborhood.
2. Rent a Fast Car
The trip was made even better because I got to cruise around in the Lexus IS F Sport for the week. Florida has a lot of massive freeways, so if you’re going to cruise up and down the coast to check out Fort Lauderdale, the Keys or West Palm Beach, you’ll have a lot more fun if you get to drive a cool car.
The Lexus IS is really fast, really smooth and really good-looking. I was very impressed with just how smoothly it rode. I also loved that it had all the bells and whistles – leather seats, a sunroom, and a fantastically booming stereo. Honestly, I was very sad to have to give it back.
3. Try the Local Fare
When you’re in south Florida, there are a couple things you must eat. Namely, you should try alligator, flounder, shrimp and mahi-mahi. As you might expect, they do seafood really well. If you’re afraid to try alligator, don’t be. It’s really good, at least at the place I went to. If you’re in Miami, definitely check out Lokal. Their alligator was fantastic. It was super moist and flavorful. I almost ordered a second serving. Most restaurants you visit will also offer seafood choices. Nearly everywhere I went offered mahi-mahi and flounder. I’m a huge fish fan, so I was happy to eat it for nearly every meal anyway.
4. Stay at a Hotel with a View
I left this headline pretty vague because it really depends on what you’re trying to get out of your trip. If you want to be by the beach, I’ve heard really good things about Hotel Victor in South Beach. It has a fantastic location on Ocean Drive and you can view the beach right from the hotel. I wanted to stay downtown, so I chose to stay at the JW Marriott. I was very happy with my choice for a couple reasons. First, I like being close to everything, and I personally found South Beach kind of annoying to get in and out of. Being in downtown meant I was only a few miles away from all the major neighborhoods I wanted to visit and since I had a car, it was easy to get around. The hotel also had a fantastic outdoor pool on the 19th floor with a really cool view of the water and the downtown buildings.
5. Visit the Local Beaches
Of course, there’s South Beach, but I’d also suggest you take a short ride up to Fort Lauderdale. I really love it up there, and then you have an excuse to go to Coconuts, which is a restaurant on the water that had really yummy seafood. I spent some time at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park before my meeting. It was really nice for a couple reasons. First, there was ample parking only a block or two away. Also, there was a very nice walkway right next to the beach with a really nice view. I didn’t actually spend time in the sand or in the water, but it was really gorgeous and looked very inviting if I had more time.
6. Have Cuban in Little Havana
When you’re in Miami, you have to try Cuban food. I don’t have any recommendations for the best restaurants because it was one of the first times I ever had Cuban food. I just don’t know enough about Cuban food and haven’t had it enough to know what’s good. However, I still think you should check out Little Havana not only for the food and mojitos, but because it just feels like how I envision Cuba would be – at least a little bit.
These are just a few of the things to do in Miami that I loved. If you get to visit soon, I hope you’ll check out some of my favorite places and things to do in Miami.