Miami, the home of beautiful white skyscrapers contrasted against never ending palm trees, expensive cars and an acceptable dress code of active wear. We were not really sure what to expect on this family holiday, but I must say that we were pleasantly surprised. I expected a lot of tits and arse and drunken shenanigans, and whilst I am sure there is plenty of that in parts of Miami, it is not the version we uncovered during our vacay. I left describing it as the friendly and tropical version of NYC.
It was a short trip with only 2 days and 2 nights on the ground to explore. Tie that in with the essential toddler naps and it meant we didn’t have a lot of time to do everything we would have liked and instead spent plenty of time relaxing on the balcony with a glass of Rose (how terrible!) However, it makes for a good excuse to travel back soon. Here is the down low on our trip to Miami, Florida.
- GETTING THERE | We flew directly from London Heathrow to Miami with British Airways. It was an easy flight of approximately 8 hours. Miami was our stopover for our holiday in the Caribbean, so it made sense to stop for a couple of days to break up the journey. Upon arrival at the airport we caught a cab to our accommodation but there are also plenty of ride sharing options available such as Uber.
- ACCOMMODATION | This year we are trying to make the most of accommodation sharing sites such as AirBNB, Home Away etc. As a young family I find it much easier if we can have some basic kitchen facilities and at least one bedroom. This allows us to put Mackenzie down for a nap and to bed at a sensible time without us disturbing her, and therefore enjoying some R&R ourselves. In Miami I booked an AirBNB which happened to be in the resident’s tower of the W Hotel. When people think Miami they think of the beach, but this was in downtown Miami and we actually loved the area. Beautiful views, relatively quite (although it started to get much more of a party vibe as the weekend approached), easy to walk around and lots of restaurants to choose from. Below are the links for the AirBNB we stayed at, which I highly recommend, as well as the hotel itself. Its worth noting that we had access to all of the W Hotel facilities such as the gym and pool.
- FOOD & COFFEE | With a restless and temperamental toddler in tow, it is not always easy to dine out at the places we would like to however, we successfully managed to negotiate two dinners. The rest of the time was spent shopping at Whole Foods and cooking up a storm in our kitchen – something we were not unhappy about!
- Komodo – On our first night in Miami we were on the hunt for Japanese. I found this cool looking Asian Fusion place which was in walking distance of our AirBNB so made a reservation online. We turned up to this ultra hip restaurant and we were the only ones there – uh oh! But that is because we were dining early and anyone cool would not be seen there at that hour. We were seated outside in their urban oasis and it meant that we didn’t disturb anyone with Baby Shark on repeat. The food was absolutely divine, albeit servings were on the small side, and the bill was far more than we expected (USD$250). I had forgotten that they add tax and then a service charge on top of the bill in the States.
- SoCal Cantina – The second evening we were in the mood for some Mexican food and we went to SoCal which was inside the Mary Brickell village. It very much had an ‘after-work drinks’ vibe about it on a Friday evening, especially as the table of twenty somethings next to us were playing ‘never have I ever’ at 6pm. However, the cocktails and tacos were delicious and if you are in town on a Tuesday, definitely head here for their Taco Tuesday!
- Eternity Coffee Roasters – You know me, always on the hunt for a decent coffee. Thanks to Google Maps I found this well rated coffee shop. They import and roast their coffee beans on site and the roasting machine is on display at the front of the shop. Did you know coffee beans are green before they are roasted? #funfact Anyhow, if you are in the vicinity it is worth popping in for a brew and grabbing yourself a bag of beans to take home whilst you are there.
- THINGS TO DO | Once I started researching things to do in Miami, my list just kept on growing and growing. We managed to do a couple of the key tourist attractions below, and the rest will be at the top of our list for our next visit.
- Miami Beach – Miami is renowned for its beautiful beaches so of course we had to make a visit our priority. I was surprised at how vast the sand was (you almost need to hire a taxi to reach the water) and that they have maintained a lot of the natural vegetation as opposed to putting in roads and buildings right on the beach. It is much better for the environment and sustainable, but just not what I expected!
- Miami Seaquarim – Travelling with a child means you will frequent a lot of zoos, aquariums, kids museums and everything in-between. I liked that this one had lots of outdoor theaters and shows and during the shows they spoke about protecting the environment and these beautiful creatures. We did gawk a little at the price to get in which was over USD$100 for 2 adults (under three was free).
- Wynwood Walls – I was absolutely dying to check this out but unfortunately we ran out of time. I think Mackenzie would love to look at all of the different graffiti, and of course it would have made for some good photo opportunities. A good excuse to head back! One of our favorite artists, Mijares, is from Miami and now we have visited the city it makes sense where he draws his inspiration from.
- Mary Brickell Village – A lovely place filled with restaurants and shops just a short stroll from our apartment. I managed to stock up on my US essentials – Sephora and Victoria Secret. The Designer District also looks like the perfect place to go shopping if you are looking for something special.
- Boat Cruise of Miami Waterways – Miami is a maze of waterways and as such, there are a lot of boats! If we had had a little bit more time I would have loved to go on one of these boat cruises. I am also a bit nervous to go on boats whilst Mackenzie is so little and incapable of swimming – probably a bit ridiculous but I will feel more comfortable when she is a bit bigger.
- Miami Heat – If you like basketball or sport in general then why not check out a Miami Heat game? American basketball games can be quite theatrical, and they can be a great place for celeb spotting too.
- Sunset Paddle Tour – I love stand-up paddle boarding (not that I am particularly good at it!) and there are heaps of different tour options offered in Miami. I particularly liked the idea of a sunset cruise – looks super fun.
And that’s a wrap on our stop over in Miami! As I said, we were taken by surprise with this city and its suitability for kids. Have you been or are you heading there soon? Share your stories with us below. I hope you enjoyed this Travel Diary and next up will be all about our adventures in St Maarten! Shell x