Weekend Getaway: Miami

In Florida, they salt margaritas not sidewalks. As winter settles in, it’s only natural for north-easterners to dream about a sunny getaway. After this weekend’s massive winter storm, I’m reminiscing of a weekend trip to Miami last February.

Albeit I wasn’t in Miami for long, it was the perfect escape.

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On my trip, we stayed with a friend in Brickell. Even though we were on vacation, we woke up both mornings to watch the sun rise- over Brickell Bay one day, and then on South Beach the next morning.

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Aside from one morning in South Beach, I haven’t spent much time there. Although, I love a good night out, I wanted to check-out Wynwood Art District and Little Havana as well.

If you do find yourself in South Beach, highly recommend having migas beachside at the Front Porch Cafe. Tip: We watched the sunrise on the beach and then headed to Front Porch for breakfast as soon as they opened to avoid crowds. After breakfast, we walked down Ocean Drive and admired the Art Deco architecture.

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20 minutes from South Beach, the Wynwood Art District is an eclectic neighborhood, home to over 70 galleries, museums and collections. This part of Miami felt comparable to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, e.g., art mecca with trendy eateries and cocktail bars.

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My favorite part of Wynwood are the Wynwood Walls, created in 2009. Artists from around the world have contributed to the Wynwood Walls, making it a must-see collection.

The idea for Wynwood Walls started as a community revitalizer, taking a large stack of warehouse buildings, all with no windows, and turning them into a canvas for the greatest street art ever seen.

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If you visit Wynwood during the day, grab a refreshing, healthy juice at Jugofresh or swing by Panther Coffee for ultra-strong and ultra-delicious coffee. The outdoor, tree-shaded seating at Panther makes it a good place to rest for a few minutes if you’ve been wandering all over Wynwood. If you’re hungry while you’re in the area, stop-by Coyo Taco for a quick and tasty meal.

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Another part of Miami I’d like to explore more on a return trip is Little Havana. We only had one evening in Little Havana, so we stuck to Calle Ocho, the main street, full of shops and restaurants.

The area is called Little Havana because of its strong Cuban concentration. We’d heard parking would be a problem since the streets aren’t wide enough to accommodate current-day traffic in the area, but didn’t have a problem finding a space on a Sunday night. Walking is definitely the best way to experience this area.

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We’d heard Ball & Chain, a watering hole whose roots go back to the Depression era, was a great way to experience local music while enjoying a drink. We didn’t stay late enough to see the live acts set-up, but I’d definitely come back here on a return trip. Would recommend trying the Bananita Daiquiri or Jam Session. Tip: Come here first for the 2-for-1 happy hour, leave for dinner and then come back later in the night to enjoy live music.

After drinks, we had dinner at El Exquisito. Everything we tried at this family-owned Cuban restaurant was good, but I particularly enjoyed the cajun shrimp and sweet fried plantains.

And, while you’re in the area, don’t forget to check out Domino Park– it’s usually bustling with activity.

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Bonus Tip: Although it can be hard to find time on a short trip, the beaches in Key Biscayne are worth a visit. Not only are they quieter than South Beach, but the number of palm trees alone will make you feel like you’re on a tropical island.

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