Miami is much bigger than I expected. A shiny port city with lots of shiny expensive cars and beautiful people.
I was pleasantly surprised – arriving without really any expectations. It’s beautiful, but
also expensive. There is a lot of traffic too, but we enjoyed our six days and explored as much as we could.
I’m pretty sure I couldn’t afford to live here – but apparently a lot of people can. The city is growing, with construction of both sky scrapers and roads all around.
We stayed in a cute little cottage Airbnb in Coconut Grove – one of my favorite neighborhoods we discovered during our visit. Here’s our list;
The Grove has a nice neighborhood feel, although mega mansions are hidden behind high walls and in immaculately landscaped gated communities. But still it felt like a
family place, although we never saw a public school – we did count six fancy private schools within the neighborhood we were staying. Coconut Grove reminded me of Pasadena, with similar street shopping and restaurants and sidewalk cafe’s. But it also has a beautiful harbor with hundreds of sailboats and yachts moored. Coconut Grove also has a “low rent” district, but as a visitor you are likely to spend your time in the historic old town. Favorite Spot – Jaguar Restaurant for delicious Peruvian ceviche and other specialities.
Historic and quit small Little Havana is easy to explore – pretty much all on one street,
Calle Ocho (8th Street). Here you must try the amazing Cuban Coffee (similar to Turkish Coffee – sweet and strong) as well as delicious Cuban Food. We ate lunch at Old’s Havana Cuban Bar and Cocina where we had a giant Cuban Sandwich and a delicious mango mojito. There are some small shops and some kitschy Cuban souvenirs. Stop to watch the old men playing Dominoes at Dominoes Park. Favorite Spot – Cuba Tobacco Cigar Company, family owned and operated by the Bellos Family for 100 years. Here you can watch the art of hand rolling cigars. Of course you can also buy cigars (many kinds and prices) if you are in to that.
South Beach is every thing you imagined.
White sand, blue water, tropical pink lifeguard station and lots of sunbathers glistening in oil. We spent several hours enjoying the sun and the warm waters of the Atlantic. Quit the contrast to the Atlantic we watched a few weeks ago in Spain. South Beach is home to a lot of celebrities, as well as high-end shopping, hotels, bars and restaurants. Choose a street cafe and sip on one of the fishbowl sized tropical drinks and watch the people go by. Favorite spot – South Beach’s famous Art Deco Architecture is worth a visit. You can take a guided tour ($25) or just walk around on your own to see the wonderful collection, most very well-preserved, from the 1920’s era of glitz and glam.
Wynwood Art District
This reincarnated neighborhood is really cool. You don’t need a lot of time here, or you can
make it a full day because there are lots of restaurants, shops, art galleries and a couple of breweries. This old industrial neighborhood used to be no mans land. Until a few artists started opening up art space. It grew. Someone painted a mural. Then another. Today nearly every paintable space in the small neighborhood is covered with art – more than 70 murals as well as sidewalk art and more. It’s definitely unique, fun and colorful! Favorite spot – the Wynwood Walls, an enclosed area of spectacular murals you can view for free.
There is certainly more to Miami than these four neighborhoods – in fact a lot more. We will need to visit again, to enjoy the beautiful weather, history, water and restaurant scene. Miami nice. Yes it is. Fabulous!
Please share our blog!