♫Party in the city where the heat is on
All night, on the beach ’til the break of dawn
“Welcome to Miami”
“Bienvenidos a Miami”♫
Have you ever wondered why there are scores of catchy beats with lyrics showering praises on the city of Miami? We solved the mystery when we paid the famous paradise destination a visit. We can, without a doubt, categorically state that Miami is one of the most vibrant cities known to man! We were there for four glorious days that were chock-full of fun-filled activities; however, we barely scratched the surface of what the city has to offer.
In case you missed it, be sure to check out the first half of our Miami experience. We reviewed the hotel that hosted us here.
Warning: The City in the Sun is guaranteed to cause an unending endorphin release summer party, resulting in merrymaking and overall good vibes.
A few weeks ago, we embarked on a journey to escape the arctic blast; we focused our compass in the general direction of the sun belt. We landed in the sunshine state to a warm embrace from solar rays, that for months, had been fleeting in our part of the universe.
Warning: Major FOMO moments are imminent. If you prefer not to be bombarded by imagery and commentary depicting tons of fun in the sun, and award-worthy sights, turn off your screen now. Lol, I’m kidding, you better stay on and read the entire post!
As previously stated, our hotel was strategically positioned in the heart of the iconic South Beach. We quickly learned why South Beach is often referred to as the hub of Miami. It is a melting pot of free-spirited energy that we found quite endearing. On a side note, let it be known that I would not be able to get any work done if I lived in Miami. How can I be tethered to a desk indoors, when excitement awaits me outside?
Back to the matter at hand…
In my humble opinion, a visit to Miami is not complete until you patronize Gianni’s restaurant within the Versace Mansion. Versace as in the late, great Gianni Versace. Yes, we did that! *pageant wave* But, I digress… Gianni’s former residence was renovated, and now includes an exceptional restaurant within. We made dinner reservations weeks in advance, acutely aware of the fact that if we waited until the last minute, the restaurant would possibly be booked to capacity. Fast forward to our second night in Miami, and the highly anticipated dinner date at Gianni’s was upon us. From the moment we arrived at the Mansion, we were awed by the meticulous attention to detail as illustrated in the décor, and the absolute regality of the ambiance. The architecture style was very European, complete with a courtyard worthy of an Architectural Digest feature.
The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining; we chose the former for a more intimate setting. We nibbled on our delectable meal, savoring every delicious morsel we consumed in the luxurious setting. The menu pricing is moderate to high priced, depending on what you order; however, it is all well worth it After dinner, we proceeded to explore the rest of the mansion, and unearthed additional spectacular furnishing gems. There were delicate crystals, ornate sculptures, one of a kind ceiling art and visually stimulating artifacts. It was obvious to us that time and thought had been invested in creating a palatial locale worthy of royalty. The mansion boasts an observatory dome that is nothing short of futuristic. Can you imagine having an unobstructed view of the galaxy from your home? Can you say goals! We ended our evening at the mansion on a great note, grateful for the opportunity to explore what has become one of Miami’s landmarks.
Tidbit: An additional restaurant we highly recommend is the Grill Fish Restaurant. It is a semi-upscale eatery that specializes in- you guessed it- fish! We had the salmon and whole yellowtail snapper, which were both oh, so delectable.
Besides eating, we had a ton of fun taking in all the unique sights and sounds Miami has to offer. We embarked on a combination bus and boat tour of the city and the surrounding Atlantic Ocean. We highly recommend combining a boat and bus tour as it ends up being more bang for your buck. We bought our tour tickets from Miami Double Decker at the affordable price of $39.95 per person. Some of the popular attractions and landmarks we caught sight of while on the open top, double-decker bus were the Art Deco District in Miami Beach, Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, Little Havana, Downtown Miami and Bayside Marketplace.
Tidbit: We have not had a chance to visit Cuba yet; however, it is high on our must-visit list. In the meantime, we experienced a snippet of it while in Little Havana. We were completely enamored by the Cuban-infused vibe and overall rich culture.
A tour of Miami by land, and now by sea! Shortly after our bus tour drew to a close, we embarked on a fully narrated boat experience known as the ‘Celebrity Homes Tour.’ The adventure commenced in Biscayne Bay and we went on to Star Island, Hibiscus Island, Monument Island and the Venetian Islands. We traversed the ocean and took in architectural masterpieces from a distance. There were rows upon rows of multi-million dollar celebrity homes including those of Shakira and Ricky Martin. We were intrigued by the vastness of it all–they were amazing sights to behold!
Further exploration of Miami included venturing into the Wynwood Arts District. We were drawn to it mainly due to our love of murals. If you are a die-hard fan of street art, then Wynwood is definitely the place to be. Think of it as the Disneyland of wall art, showcasing everything from abstract art to portraits, and everything in between, each piece telling a unique story. Being surrounded by unquestionable talent immortalized in the art was an unforgettable experience. Besides murals, Wynwood is also home to art galleries, restaurants, bars, and retail stores. We spent a few hours exploring this magical place but barely covered any ground. There is just so much to see! Next time, we will have to allocate more time to the experience.
What is a vacation in Miami without a visit to the beach, right? We definitely partook in beach activities and merrymaking, soaked in the sun and basked in the glory of it all. We talked about our beach experience in the previous Miami post. You can read about it here.
As they say, “All good things must come to an end.’ Faster than the speed of light, our Miami adventure had come to a close, and it was time for us to leave what we had called home for several days. Saying goodbye to the paradise destination was akin to bidding adieu to an old friend we had only recently been reunited with. Fortunately, we were armed with delightful memories, that would keep us going until our next visit. Yes, Miami is one of those destinations that we will return to several more times until kingdom come. Thank you for a great time, oh ye city in the sun! Continuará…
- Miami is a melting point of cultures and an overall fun, laidback place to be.
- Book your flight to Miami in advance, as ticket prices from most places can be exorbitant if you purchase within a short time frame of departure.
- Parking is incredibly expensive; therefore, we do not recommend getting a rental car. We made our way around the city via Uber.
- Check to see if the hotel where you will be staying offers a shuttle service to and from the airport. We paid approximately $23 for Uber from and back to the airport. It’s a reasonable price, but if you can save some money by using the hotel’s shuttle, why not?
- Use sites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and Travelzoo to purchase highly discounted tickets to attractions, boat and bus tours etc.
- Make restaurant reservations in advance. As previously stated, we highly recommend Gianni’s and The Grill Fish Restuarant.
- The weather in Miami is warm; however, the temperature dips at night. Carry a light sweater or jacket.
I hope that we have inspired you to visit Miami. Feel free to share your experience here if you have been to Miami, or plan to in the foreseeable future. Happy travels, friends!