On a somewhat last-minute whim, I pulled together an extended weekend stay in the magical city of Miami, FL. My initial plans were the Dominical Republic (DR) but changed my mind due to the rise of DR travel issues. Well, I was glad that we picked Miami. Arriving on a late Thursday afternoon, our first stop was to grab a bite and check out some of the local sites. As fashionistas tend to do, we ended up at an outdoor mall, Bayside, that featured several Miami boutiques mixed in with a few larger chain stores like a Zara. However, the outside location created a street fair vibe that made the shopping experience more like strolling through a corridor of community shops versus your standard strip mall. They also had some yummy treats like Dylan’s Candy.
Since when in Miami, you must do what the Miamians do, we checked out the nightlife by hitting the 1 Hotel South Beach, Watr at the 1 Rooftop. The property is an upscale chain with a modern twist. They also have one in DUMBO, Brooklyn that features that same ambiance of a scented lobby, the curated seating areas, sculptures featuring local artists, and of course, the lively rooftop lounge.
I must say, much, if not most of my Miami time, was spent beach or poolside. We stayed at the InterContinental in downtown Miami. You should note that Miami is essentially a series of islands connected by bridges. My recommendation would be to decide what you want to do in Miami and pick your hotel in that central area. Although Miami is somewhat small, so the typical Uber ride was quite reasonable. Mind you; I’m from NYC, so everything outside of New York feels cheap to me.
When I travel, I enjoy taking in the art scene. Because it was such beautiful weather, I couldn’t bring myself to be in a closed-in museum. Although I will say, I understand that Miami is the home to some fabulous museums like the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and ICA located in the incredible Design District. Note, ICA is a free museum. Love it!
To get my fill of Miami art, I took it to the streets and went to the Wynwood Walls. As a proud Miami resident explained Wynwood to me, it was an idea to bring back what once was a blighted Miami neighborhood. Through the expressive style of murals and street art, Wynwood is a public art space that is filled with pop culture, political, and worldly images. It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon in Miami. Best of all, the Wynwood Walls are a free tourist attraction that only seeks donations. There is even a few cafes in the area, so you can grab a refreshing beverage while you enjoy Miami’s art scene.
As one that loves fashion, the Design District blew me away. This area located about 2.5 miles from Downtown Miami is a convergence of top designers, unique architecture, and amazing public spaces organized with a Miami flavor – tons of color and energy. Coming from a city where zoning code limits signage and façade changes, it was refreshing to see how each retailer was encouraged to show off their brand’s style by creating a storefront that reflected their brand. Very neat! I also appreciated that the tallest building was three floors. This made the area feel more like a local neighborhood versus a commercial shopping district. Fun, fun, fun. If you are a lover of fashion, architecture, and art, you must visit the Design District.
To help you plan your trip to Miami, these are my Miami dos and don’ts.
-If you are staying in the Downtown area, take the Metromover, the Miami version of mass transit (so funny compared to NYC) to the airport. The tram is free, but you pay a mere $2.50 to ride a few stops to the airport. You avoid traffic, and it is also a wonderful way to see another side of Miami.
-While South Beach is great, visit some of the other fabulous beach concepts like the celebrity and destination hangout spot, Nikki Beach. Or, do a day pass and hit one of the private, hotel beaches. This is a link to find passes.
While we were there, we did the St. Regis. Absolutely, amazing. For about $100, we got a beachside setup of a lounge chair, umbrella, and charming servers always willing to keep the strawberry daiquiris flowing. The best part is that with the day pass, you also gain access to the St. Regis spa. This means you are able to use the steam, sauna, and relaxation rooms- St. Regis style. FABULOUS What a wonderful time!!!!
-Because it is so hot, it can rain and clear up within minutes. With this in mind, I would say don’t get caught up in the weather forecast. Channel sunny days while in Miami.
-While I am such the worst offender of this, don’t overpack. With the exception of the nightlife scene, this can be kind of FANCY, Miami is a resort-like atmosphere. The vibe is one of mellow and casual, so I say bring a few cover-ups (wore my cover-ups 90 percent of the time), a cute hat, some shades, and a few swimsuits. You will be all set.
My parting thoughts on Miami are that I had a blast. I can’t wait until the next trip back to this oasis of fun under the sun. Fashionistas, I hope to see you in Miami.