Travel Guide: Miami
We're in for a weekend of bitter weather, so there's really no better time to plan a weekend getaway to a warmer destination. I recently did a gals' trip to Miami with some of my closest high school friends. It was a great way to celebrate years of friendship in honor of Galentines Day! We had an absolute blast. Here is what you need to know for your next trip to Pitbull's hometown:
WHERE TO STAY
Unless you hate fun, you're going to want to stay at Miami Beach. Miami Beach is actually an island east of Miami, so staying there is the best way to ensure you get real beach access (rather than being along the intercoastal). South Beach is understandably expensive, but in the age of Uber, there's really no need to waste money on an overpriced hotel room or Airbnb there. Instead, we opted to stay in North Beach - a slightly quieter area about a ten minute drive from all the action in South Beach. We rented a reasonably priced house through Miami Beach Guest House, and we couldn't have been happier. We were literally one block from the water and had plenty of space for all six gals.
WHERE TO EAT
One of the reasons to visit Miami is to enjoy the Cuban culture in the area. I, for one, was dying to get some Cuban food because food, in my opinion, is the best way to get to know a culture .... or at least the most fun way! Havana 1957 on Espanola Way was so. so. good. We obviously ordered copious mojitos and snacked on more than our fair share of plantain chips, but the food was the real treat: I ordered the Chuletas de cerdo ahumadas (pork with Cuban mojo and sweet plantains) and most of my friends opted for the Ropa Vieja. Ropa Vieja is an absolute must-have if you are trying Cuban food for the first time. This was probably our favorite meal of the whole weekend, and not just because the drinks were strong. We enjoyed the outdoor seating and the simply fantastic people-watching as people strolled down Espanola Way.
Since we had to make the most of our time outdoors, we also had one of our lunches at Le Tub in Hollywood. Le Tub is a super-casual burger joint with an awesome rum runner menu. Le Tub is, shall we say, unique with its decor: they have painted toilet seats decorating the entire restaurant along with snarky signs. There was plenty to look at! Plus, the restaurant was right on the intercoastal, giving a great view of some of the nearby parks and mangroves.
We went to the Greek restaurant Poseidon because their Yelp profile said that if we checked in, we'd get a free bottle of champagne. Done and done. The food here was our priciest meal of the week, but it was delicious. Word to the wise: bring a toothbrush. You WILL have garlic breath after this meal, but its so worth it. The waiters and the owner were super friendly - disturbingly friendly to us cold-hearted Bostonians, but we got used to it (almost) by the end.
Kayak Through the Mangroves
With all the food we were eating and all the coronas we were drinking on the beach, we had to get moving. So, we took a guided kayak tour of the mangroves at the Blue Moon Outdoor Center. It was so great to be in the sun, learning about herons, turtles, rays, and urchins. We had hoped to see a manatee, but we missed out that day. We did however have a close encounter with three overly assertive raccoons - and that was about all the wildlife we could handle for the week.
Perez Art Museum
When it rains, one must do indoor activities - but do not fear! The Perez Art Museum is amazing! It is fairly similar to Boston's ICA and displays work from some of the most interesting and promising current artists. I LOVE Kehinde Wiley's work and was thrilled to see one of his works in the collection. I also discovered a new favorite: Firelei Baez (work pictured above).
Wander through South Beach
Ok, time to check out da clubz. They truly are a scene and a half. We stopped into The Clevelander for pina coladas and people watching and we were not disappointed. The huge outdoor club is filled with guests from all over the world. The drinks are expensive (like, really expensive, like $25 expensive) but they are a lot stronger than us Boston Puritans are used to, so they were definitely worth getting. There were questionable pools and a hilarious dancefloor that made the entire experience worthwhile. Note: the "sexy pools" were closed while we were there...THANK G, cuz I can only imagine what goes on in a "sexy pool"....ohhhhhh Miami.
Even if you don't think you're a fan of street art, you will be after a quick walk around the Wynwood neighborhood. Wynwood draws famous street artists from around the world. One of the particularly awe-inspiring murals is by none other than Shepard Fairey! Worth a wander!