Miami, with its miles of beaches, art deco architecture and Latin-influenced cuisine, is a super-fun spot for a holiday. But this sun-drenched city also has a growing arts scene with multimedia galleries, street murals, performing arts spaces and new museums. South Beach remains the tourist hub, but downtown, Wynwood and the Design District are emerging areas to discover.
There’s something for everyone in Miami, whether you’re an adventurous nightlife-er or relaxed daytime dweller on your vacations. There’s also something for everyone, no matter the size of your wallet.
Are you saving, splurging or staying at a mid-range spending level for your trip? Check below for your choice of spending level and see our suggestions for where to stay, what to do and where to dine for each one.
Stay: The Two Diamond Rated South Seas Hotel is a great find. The beachfront boutique property is just minutes from Ocean Drive, the famous street lined with Art Deco architecture, home to the former Gianni Versace mansion. There’s also a pool and a garden with nap-inducing hammocks. Pilikia by the Pool, an indoor/outdoor cafe, is great for a casual lunch or mid-day snack – try the fish tacos.
Do: The beaches are free, so enjoy soaking up the sun and people-watching at Lummus Park Beach, which is part of the Deco District and in walking distance from Ocean Drive’s cafes and restaurants. In the Wynwood area, warehouses have been transformed into art galleries, and Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street park featuring urban graffiti, has murals from Shepard Fairey and other artists.
Dine: South Beach’s La Sandwicherie sells delicious sandwiches such as the SoBe club with turkey, Brie and avocado. The French cuisine-inspired sandwich bar also sells smoothies and shakes to satisfy your sweet tooth, plus veggie juice for the hipsters that La Sandwicherie attracts. And don’t miss the famous Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana, where you can enjoy Cuban fare like black bean soup, ropa vieja and Cubano sandwiches. Try out an authentic Cuban mojito while you’re there.
Stay: There are 216 rooms in the Four Points by Sheraton Miami Beach, some with ocean views. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and a fitness center. After a day spent at the beach or poolside, sip a craft beer in The Bloo Lounge and have a bite in the Sungrass Cafe. Then, enjoy a nice sunset or nighttime stroll along the waterfront boardwalk to round out the evening.
Do: Tour Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, the former winter home of Chicago industrialist James Deering. The Italian Renaissance-style villa features antique-filled rooms and gorgeous gardens. Treat yourself to a relaxed shopping day on Lincoln Road, a pedestrian-only shopping street with restaurants and outdoor cafes. You’ll be sure to find a good spot for a bite to eat in between your shopping.
Dine: Enjoy small plates such as salt cod empanadas, Iberico sliders and creamy coconut rice at the AAA Four Diamond Rated restaurant, The Bazaar by Jose Andres. The restaurant blends Andres’ Spanish heritage and local Latin culture to make a unique experience that will have your tastebuds jumping for joy. Joe’s Stone Crab is a can’t-miss classic: Since 1913, it’s been serving stone crab claws with a mustard- based dipping sauce and, for dessert, Key lime pie.
Stay: The AAA Four Diamond Rated Fontainebleau Miami Beach, which attracts stars like Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga, is one of the city’s iconic art deco properties. It boasts 1,504 rooms, numerous pools, a 5,800 square foot fitness center, a spa and 12 restaurants and bars inside its beachfront setting. For a nice Miami brunch, try Vida, an American Brasserie with Latin influences, which offers a brunch buffet every Sunday.
Do: Most of Miami’s upscale resorts offer cabanas complete with butler service for a pampering day by the pool. You can also charter a yacht to cruise Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean while sipping wine and sampling fresh seafood prepared by a private chef. Or, if thrill-seeking is more your style, you can also see what Biscayne Bay has to offer from a bird’s eye view by hang gliding.
Dine: The Fontainebleau boasts hot spots like Hakkasan, which serves modern Asian food, and Scarpetta, known for its rustic Italian fare. Downtown, Asian dishes and American dishes are fused at the AAA Four Diamond Rated Azul restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental. Entrees like yellowfin tuna carpaccio and short rib are on the menu, and wondrous views of the ocean are plentiful.
What about Miami most excites you? Tell us in the comments below! Let AAA help you plan your next getaway to Miami at AAA.com/Travel.