“Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.”
Clearly, this is very true!! I’m now working on being better at the helm during rougher seas. I’ll keep you posted!
I really think there isn’t a better place in this country besides Miami, FL!! As the northern states are getting chilly this time of year, everything is still balmy and sexy down on the tip of Florida. What an amazing place full of life, culture, color, flavor, and a sensuality you don’t find anywhere else. I have been known to say that New York and Las Vegas created a love child down south called Miami. It really is the perfect combination of big city life, clubs, restaurants, and music paired with miles of sunny beaches. I don’t know about you, but that is heaven to me! I really could gush for hours on the intricacies of my love affair with Miami, but I’m sure you’d rather experience it for yourself!! I’m going to tell you exactly where to go when you’ve only got a few days and you wanna “get it in”. It can be overwhelming when the stimulation of the senses takes over so that’s why I’m here to help. You’re welcome!
Quick and Dirty City Guide to Miami:
Boutique Hotels: For the “Baller on a Budget”
- South Beach Group- ADORABLE boutique hotels sprinkled throughout SoBe. Prices ranging from $20/night for a shared room hostel to around $500/night for a 1 bedroom penthouse. Average price: $150/night. **November Specials** running right now!! South Beach Group also has great little bars & restaurants in the lobbies for you to check out!
Riviera South Beach
- South Beach Luxury Hotels- EXQUISITE hotels strewn along the beachfront. From the Ritz to the W, the Fontainebleau to the Delano, you’ll experience nothing but the best in services, amenities, and decor! Click the link and contact the hotel for rates.
W Hotel South Beach
- STKhouse- STK artfully blends two concepts into one—the modern steakhouse and a chic lounge. ”This is not your daddy’s steak house”. Nestled at the bottom of the Perry Hotel, this modern, yet elegant steak house provides culinary pleasure and then cranks up the music in the later hours of the evening to continue the party after dinner.
- Joe’s Stone Crab – A Miami original, Joe’s was one of the first restaurants in South Beach. At the time it began in 1913 it was only a lunch stand. Once they discovered that these funny crustaceans in the bay were edible that’s what put them on the map! Stone crabs are seasonal so check the website to make sure they are open before heading over for a basket of claws. They just opened again for season in October!
- Rosa Mexicano – On the corner of Alton and Lincoln this spot offers contemporary Mexican cuisine utilizing socially responsible ingredients. While dining here you must order the table side guacamole!! Delish!
- Doraku Sushi - Great sushi spot located on Lincoln Road. They have a detailed menu including a great sushi selection, ceviche and tartar. Everything is in line with the Japanese Izakaya style of dining. Doraku provides a casual yet sophisticated atmosphere. What sets these guys apart is their happy hour! This is the best place for sushi happy hour in all of SoBe!
- News Cafe – Located right on Ocean Dr. since 1988, News Cafe is a Miami must! They are open 24 hours, need I say more?! With menu offerings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and varieties of middle eastern dishes, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, soups and salads there is something for everyone at any time of day… or night!
Doraku Sushi – Lincoln Road
- Pizza Rustica – Absolutely delicious pizza for dining on the patio or to grab and go. This is an international chain with locations throughout the US, France, and the Middle East. Although they provide multiple locations around the Miami area, I prefer the one on Lincoln Road. Pizza Rustica isn’t your typical pizza joint. They use fresh produce brought in daily, they use only fresh herbs, they never freeze any ingredients because they don’t even have freezers in their pizzerias, and they use 100% Grade A cheese that has exceeded the government’s highest standards, uncompromising quality and of course no additives, fillers or preservatives. With many topping combinations it’s easy to spend a lot of time deciding which to get. Check out the menu here before heading in to save you some time. Don’t forget dessert!
- Cafe Charlotte – Saving the best for last, I have to include Cafe Charlotte. This place is so local it doesn’t even have a website. Find the Yelp reviews here. A fairly small, cafe style, storefront restaurant right on Washington Ave. and 15th St, this place does not disappoint! Family run, it offers Latin American, Argentinian, and Italian cuisine. Without a doubt you must order the Snapper with Lime Sauce. It comes with a choice of side and I recommend either the house salad or the mashed potatoes. I would eat this 3 times a week if I could! Very reasonably priced too, the Snapper dish is under $12. Once you order your meal you receive complementary bread with a tomato, onion, garlic chutney. My mouth is watering as I write this!!
Pizza Rustica – Lincoln Road
So, the term “weekend” is used very loosely in Miami. Sure the week-end makes sense to people up north who are juggling work, school, kids, fitness, and social schedules. In Miami, however, it doesn’t need to be the “weekend” to find a good place to cut loose, get down, and party it up! There are offerings every night of the week for such debauchery! Here are a few of my faves!
- Tantra Lounge - Everything, from the softly-lit marble water wall, to the fresh cut grass beneath your feet, the sleek ultra-sued banquettes, the frolic-friendly cargo net in the infamous VIP room, the pressed copper and mahogany bars, the steamy DJ booth where sensual tunes spin till dawn, the Egyptian hookah pipes with flavored tobacco, and the authentic tantric sculptures, has been designed to awaken each of your five senses. The food also dazzles, reflecting both owner Tim Hogle’s dedication to aphrodisiac cuisine and Chef Jeffrey Beauchamp’s own signature culinary style, featuring a creative blend of flavors from the Orient, Europe, and the Caribbean.
- Wall - A very intimate venue located in the W Hotel. Fantastic music from headlining DJs and an attentive bottle service staff makes this place a must for Tuesday nights. They allow dancing on the tables and usually hand out swag throughout the night. As with many clubs in Miami, you’ll notice anytime someone orders a bottle it arrives with a lit sparkler.
- LIV- For my taste, this is by far the sexiest club in Miami. Located in the Fontainebleau Hotel and with over 18,000 square feet of striking architectural design and lavish decor, LIV sets the stage for the ultimate nightlife experience. A voyeuristic design throughout the nightclub gives guests a bird’s eye view of the entire club from almost any place you may be.
- Nikki Beach – Come for Sunday brunch and stay through the night. Located at One Ocean Drive it is in the heart of South Beach. Nikki Beach is comprised of a large oceanfront complex featuring an outdoor beach club, an award winning restaurant and a sexy South Beach nightclub favorite. Enjoy full food and VIP bottle service in their fabulous cabanas and lounge beds during the day while soaking up the South Beach sun.
Nikki Beach Miami
So there you have it, your Quick and Dirty City Guide to Miami! Please let me know if you’ve been somewhere in Miami that should be included in this guide. I’d love to hear your feedback!
Lei Lei Island Views
My mom recently took a trip to Bali. Her sister lives there, and has for about 35 years now. My mom met up with her sister, Atta, and some of Atta’s island friends. Their journey: to snorkel and boat around the LeiLei islands in the Guraici Archipelago. She returned with amazing photos and even better stories of this scarcely inhabited island.
My mom (right) and her sister, Atta
One of the travelers in their 7 member posse published a guest post on another travel blog called “We Said Go Travel“. I am linking his post here to share this fun story of a place travelers seldom visit.
Click Discovering Lei Lei to read the whole story!
By Dov Frazer, founder of Hammock Bliss