Miami was never on top of my travel bucket list. But when G had to be there for work, we saw an opportunity to discover a new city and maybe get surprised a little bit. Which we did! There are lots of things to do in Miami, you'd be surprised...
Palm trees, street art, beach vibes, art, party... There are only so many things that will make you love Miami! But when you first get there, you can easily get lost -where should you start, how to plan your days, how big is the city, what to do in Miami, where to eat? Sometimes a little bit of organization can change your whole trip... Here's your 5 days guide to exploring Miami!
Itinerary of a 5 days trip in Miami
First of all, forget about exploring the city by foot, you're in the US : be ready for long distances. Miami city is really spread out, so going from a neighborhood to another can take time, especially during rush hour.
I would recommend to use the public transport if you're keen (there aren't many buses, and it's not always good frequentations, but it can be very convenient depending on where you're going). If you want to rent a car, think about Miami's parking situation before (often full + super expensive).
The best option is probably to go with Uber or Lyft (Uber's little brother, only cheaper and, according to locals, often nicer).
city guide : how to spend 5 days in miami?
Day 1: turquoise waters, lifeguard stands, cocktails & art deco in miami beach
I don't know about you, but when I get to a new city, I like to start with the clichés. The one you've seen over and over on magazine and movies, you know. You can start your trip in Miami Beach, get up early to see the lifeguard stands before the crowds, explore South Point Park and the Marina, go for a run on the boardwalk, enjoy a nice day with a few cocktails by the beach, go on an art deco hotels hunt, do some people watching on Ocean Drive (be ready for a SHOOOW!) and party all night on Miami beach's famous clubs -or, you know, if like us, you have a baby... escape early from the drunk crowd and try to get some sleep.
>> WHERE TO EAT IN MIAMI BEACH - our favorites discoveries
Spiga : good Italian pasta + great people watching spot. Excellent service. -1228 Collins Ave
La Ventana : excellent Colombian food, cheap, good service - 710 Washington Ave
Ventanita : deliiicious homemade ice cream - 1433 Collins Ave
Pizzeria The Alley : very good pizzas, beautiful place, although a bit fancy - 1433 Collins Ave
11th Street Diner : American dinner in an awesome old school air stream, great burgers - 1065 Washington Ave
Day 2: street art, history & good coffee in wynwood
If you ask me what's THE best thing to do in Miami, I will, without any hesitation, answer Wynwood! I LOVED exploring that district, getting lost in its colorful streets, wandering around its arty shops and discovering its incredible street art anecdotes...
>>> Discover my favorite places to eat and shop on my complete guide to Wynwood.
>> WHERE TO EAT IN WYNWOOD - our favorites discoveries
Zak the Baker : INCREDIBLE French pastries, INCREDIBLE atmosphere, COUP DE CŒUR - 295/405 NW 26th St
The Salty Donut : So many flavors, so delicious -although for me, the best donuts are in New York - 50 NW 23rd St #112
The Wynwood Yard : Lively hangout space with food, drinks, music and great people - 56 NW 29th St
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - > More places to discover in our Wynwood Guide !
Day 3: madness in Design District & live music in little havana
Instead of building a mall full of luxurious designer shops, Miami has been smart and created the Design District. Imagine a district where architects have carte blanche to express their creativity, as crazy as the result can be. It gives you a graphic corridor on an unreal fluorescent orange, an incredibly edgy parking, a giant piece of street art that immerse you in a jungle and sooo much more. It's like walking on an open air museum! We didn't come for the shopping, but if you're interested, you'll also find all the big designers there, from Prada to Gucci.
Once you're explored and enjoyed Design District, head to Little Havana for a more down-to-earth experience of Miami. Although we expected something bigger, Little Havana has a lot to offer. Many art galleries to explore, street art, cigars shops but the most important: a bunch of really awesome bars with live Cuban music!
>> WHERE TO EAT IN LITTLE HAVANA - our favorites discoveries
Guayaba y Chocolate : Excellent organic chocolate products and Cuban coffee in an art gallery - 1637 SW 8th St
- - - > We tried the famous Cuban restaurant La Caretta and didn't like it at all. Bad service, bad food. Maybe Versailles is better (3501 SW 8th St) ?
Day 4: Caribbean vibes in Coconut Grove & swim in gorgeous Venetian pool
Coconut Grove... You don't need to know what's there to know you gonna love it, with such a name! The Barnacle Historic State Park offers an opportunity to relax in a serene atmosphere. Also, there are a few beautiful boutiques (The Showroom, First Flight Out, Nikki's Beachouse Boutique) on Commodore Plaza -beach style clothes, cosy decoration, design accessories. Fringed by trees and cafés with terraces, this district has a cool Caribbean vibe going on.
>> WHERE TO EAT IN COCONUT GROVE - our favorites discoveries
Farinelli : Ready for an Italian feast? Farinelli's sandwiches made of pizza dough are amazing. Especially the one with pesto. Oh, my! Great terrace that makes you feel you're in the Caribbeans ! - 3197 Commodore Plaza
Vicky's House Milkshake Bar : For a good old American milkshake - 3190 Commodore Plaza
Bianco Gelato : Good and healthy ice cream, many flavors - 3137 Commodore Plaza
The Venetian Pool is known as a must do in Miami, and local people couldn't stop recommending it, but unfortunately it's forbidden to child under 3. So I can't really say anything about it, as we couldn't get in. It's supposed to be magnificent!
Day 5: exotic gardens & bold architecture in bayside
Finish your trip with a relaxing day in Bayside. With its colorful garden, its colonial architecture and its history, Villa Vizcaya is beautiful and really worth the trip. You can easily spend half a day there. Try and spot the multicolored giant lizards outside. They are so beautiful they look fake! And so big!
Not far from that is the superb Pérez Art Museum. I highly recommend the guided architecture tour. It's free, it takes about half and hour, and it gives you a great explanation of the architects' work. It's stunning, a beautiful mix between green and concrete. The café and the boutique Pamm are really cool too, so plan enough time to explore it all. If sunny, the Museum Park is perfect for a nap under a palm tree.
>> WHERE TO EAT IN BAYSIDE - our favorites discoveries
10 Fruits : Healthy salads and sandwiches, delicious juices. - 143 NE 3rd Ave
Verde : Waterfront restaurant and bar with great coffee - Pérez Art Museum
Traveling in Miami with a baby
Florida is hot in Summer, but there's a nice breeze at the end of the afternoon and the temperatures are also fine in the morning. The usual 11am-3pm is when you go indoors. Apart from that, the weather is ideal.
There are large, stroller-friendly sidewalks. Lots of beautiful parks -big, quiet and clean... Perfect for picnics and naps!
We found all the baby essentials we needed in Walgreens in Miami Beach (1011 Alton Rd). We struggled to find a family friendly hotel in Miami though. Ended up with people partying still next room while we were waking up to start our day. From 7pm we felt like bad parents being in Miami Beach with a baby, as most people were already either drunk, on drugs or half naked. Most often, the three in the same time.