After the flights from Durban to Doha, and Doha to Miami, our adventure in the U.S.A. began. (If you’d like real-time snippets, please follow us here!)
Miami is America’s absolutely loony, dripping in jewels, alcoholic, hip-swinging, cray-cray aunt. Combine Kris and Kaitlyn Jenner, and you’ll be most of the way there. It’s a sunshine, fast-car, skin-baring, salsa dancing, Spanish-speaking, rum drinking city that’s furiously determined for a good time, and never seems to slow down. Pastel-painted Art Deco buildings festooned with multi-colored neon signs line the streets of South Beach, sweet and bright with the smell of tropical flowers.
We loved it.
Here are our highlights:
Wynwood Walls & Area:
This awesome area is full of street art, and is centred around Wynwood Walls itself, a large yard of beautiful artworks and Insta-worthy paintings. Wynwood Yard, a few blocks away, is a square of food trucks (only from lunch time), so we ate at Coyo Taco (best wholesome, fresh Mexican food ever!) and Panther Coffee.
Miami & South Beach:
Miami and South Beach (the one merges into the other, and a wooden walkway combines the two) are beautiful. White sands, blue ocean, picturesque lifeguard huts and cocktail stands fill the beach, which is clean and safe.
We enjoyed cocktails and snacks at 1Hotel’s rooftop bar, before heading to a (touristy and expensive, but no less fun) dinner on Ocean Drive.
One of our favorite things about the city is its Art Deco architecture (if you’re interested, they have a whole welcome center and plenty of tours) and the retro combination of the architecture with neon lights at dusk.
Our favorite dinner was the unbookable, unmissable Pane & Vino, where you can see your pasta being made (I clearly enjoyed my meal far too much to take photos). While we waited for our table we enjoyed some amazing cocktails across the road at Campton Yard in a relaxed and stylish outdoor space complete with plenty of games and cool installations.
Española Way & Lincoln Road:
We could have spent forever on these pedestrianized streets a few blocks away from each other in Miami Beach. While Lincoln Road is an outdoor mall (we needed an Apple store – check – a Garmin store – check – and an H&M – check), with plenty of central restaurants, Española Way is a Spanish-style street lined with outdoor restaurants and bars.
Our favorite bar (with possibly the best mojitos we’ve ever tried – and we’ve tried a lot!) was at Mercato Della Pescheria (no website).
I’ve wanted to visit Little Havana since I first heard about it, and it is fascinating. We started at Domino Park (the beginning of Calle Ocho, or 8th Street, which is the area’s main drag), and then walked across the road to Ball & Chain, the famous jazz club at which Chet Baker, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, and other notables have performed. (If you want ice cream, next door Azucar is a place we’re mad we never tried!) Later, we ate dinner at the famous Versailles – pronounced the Spanish way: ver – say – ya).
We stayed at the Hotel Croydon and the Hotel Astor, both of which we found on Hotwire, and both of which were reasonable, comfortable and very central. Hotel Astor is budget, but beautifully styled in retro Art Deco. Bell man Eddie runs the place, and made our stay! Hotel Croydon was great – until I found a dirty pair of socks in my bed on the second night of our stay… Unfortunately, although the front staff were helpful, shocked and took my details, I never heard from the hotel again.
We also visited 1Hotel, the historic (and slightly dated, not-in-a-good-way) Raleigh Hotel and the Delano – perhaps Miami’s most iconic (but by-passed on the bar’s $20.00 cocktails in favor of dinner).
If you’re as obsessed with hotel pools as I am, Miami is a good place to visit!
Miami is vivid, exhausting and exhilarating – a wild ride of spice, movement and visual inspiration. We’ll need some time to recover, but we can’t wait to return!
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