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48 Hours in Miami City Guide

Gelato-shaded apartment blocks dominate the streets of Miami by day, whilst taqueria, neon-lit bars and vibrant visitors line the streets come sundown. Drawing in a diverse crowd, Miami boasts a culture of its own - a destination that doesn’t feel entirely like an American city but equally doesn’t feel like South America. Known for its eclectic art scene, buzzing nightlife and art-deco architecture, Miami has created a unique eccentricity. The city is positioned as an ideal spot for arts, business and partying, attracting a diverse pool of travellers looking to immerse themselves in the food scene, art district or Latin flare.

Where to Stay 

The Edition: If the decor doesn’t pull you into this place, the scent might. Le Labo’s oudy perfume threads through the entrance hall like freshly cut grass on a summer’s day. The entrance is lined with potted plants injecting earthy elements into the hotel, whilst the rooms are calm and relaxing. If you don’t fancy wandering off into the city for a bite to eat, the hotel’s Spanish restaurant, The Matador, revels in classic Spanish cuisine and culture featuring images of bullfighters. 

Kayak Miami Beach: This art-deco boutique hotel creates a calm hideaway in the heart of Miami Beach. The boho decor married with techy additional touches make this place an ideal home from home. Bathrooms feature rain showers to cool off after an afternoon on the beach, whilst their calm rooftop bar makes for the perfect sundowner location. Head to the restaurant, Layla, for a canal-side Middle Eastern bite to eat. 

Delano: For a clear fuss-free aesthetic Delano is your spot. The all-white walls bring a freshness to the city here, whilst its eclectic furniture gives the lobby a buzz the moment you walk in. Located in South Beach you’re right in the middle of the city’s hotspot.

Where to Eat 

LAYLA - Miami Beach: Located inside hotel KAYAK, Layla’s romantic beach-cum-Middle Eastern decor feels inviting and homely the moment you walk in. Expected to be greeted by expert waiters reeling favourite dishes and cocktails off the menu. 

Orange Blossom - Miami Beach: Ideal for brunch and early evening drinks, Orange Blossom feels like a tranquil utopia away from the Miami Heat, until dusk, when evening entertainment livens the atmosphere. Enjoy fresh salads, tacos or sweet waffles accompanied with juices or fruity cocktails whilst soaking up the live music around you. 

Tayo Taco – Wynwood: When locals tell you this is one of the best taco spots in the city, they aren’t lying. The go-to venue makes for a great spot when passing through the artsy district of Wynwood. There is often a long queue outside, but don’t let that put you off, the mouth-watering tacos presented on trays are more than worth the wait. 

Pura Vida - South Beach: If you’re after a health kick during your stay in Miami, this aesthetically pleasing spot has curbside seating to people-watch, as well as take-away options. Their rainbow-coloured bowls and fresh smoothies pack a punch with wholesome and tasty ingredients, whilst their cookies are quite the treat for those with a sweet tooth. 

Pane e Vino - Miami Beach: A small Italian hotspot on the bustling Espanola Way attracts travellers from all over, however, once you’re inside, you can see why! The nonna-style decor evokes scenes of family home-cooking, and the food certainly lives up to the expectation too. You may want to ensure you get a reservation at this spot beforehand if you don’t want to be waiting two hours for a table.

Where to Drink

Oasis – Wynwood: This place lives up to its namesake as a small hidden oasis in the heart of vibrant Wynwood. If you’re looking for food, drinks and music with a crowd that all have different appetites, this will be your spot. The venue hosts numerous food trucks from tacos to pizza, to fried chicken. Pull up a table to enjoy the live music or hop inside the main bar and enjoy cocktails together. 

Terras at Life House - Little Havana: A tropical rooftop oasis, Terras at Life House takes you away from the concrete down below with its earthy aesthetic. Terras was taken from the Latin word “terr”, its name pays homage to the natural earth around us and draws influence on wholesome vegetables and plants in our diet. The menu features Latin, Caribbean and South American sharing dishes and drinks made with high-quality ingredients all from the property’s own garden. Top tip: this spot is ideal if you are vegetarian or vegan. 

The Lost Boy: Step inside and you’ll feel as though you’ve walked into a saloon in a classic American movie. The setting is casual but the inventive cocktail menu uses rare spirits and you’ll find lesser-known beers here too. Enjoy a refreshing drink over a game of darts or pool and soak in the vintage backdrop.

What to See 

Little Havana: Once you leave closeby neighbourhoods and step foot into Little Havana, you’ll feel as though you just took off for Cuba. Cigar shops line the streets and iced lattes are a no-no here unless you want to pay through the roof for it. Join the locals for a cafecito and a puff of a hand-rolled cigar or watch the men play dominoes in domino park. 

Wynwood: What once was a run-down neighbourhood, is now the place to be. Street art dominates every empty wall or door, whilst music can be heard pumping from parked cars outside and passing motorcycles. As a centre for art and culture, experience the Museum of Graffiti or the famed Wynwood Walls. Stop off at one of their lively bars or grab a bite at Bakan, a popular Mexican eatery. 

South Beach: South Beach, also known as SoBe, is a lively beachfront neighbourhood of Miami that is home to the famed art-deco hotels, the Versace mansion and a plethora of colourful bar entrances. Home to scandal-a-many, take a walk around some of the wealthy homes of the neighbourhood to learn about its history amongst Hollywood names. If you’re in for some much-needed R&R, relax on the soft white sandy stretch of beach and enjoy the sea breeze. Miami’s climate makes the city swimmable almost all year round. Or head to the famed Ocean Drive to Lincoln Road Mall which is home to boutiques and up-scale restaurants.

Rakelle Maurici

With a thirst for exploration and over 10 years of writing experience, Rakelle is a keen fashion, travel and culture storyteller. Her work, from city guides to short stories, has been featured in both global print and digital media.

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