Anja’s Top 5 Miami Hotspots
Like I have stated various times, Miami is my happy place and my most favorite city in the US. For everyone who will be visiting Miami for the first time, I want to break it down to my five favorite spots:
Miami Beach Botanical Garden
In the middle of the crazy and loud Miami Beach area there is this little paradise called Miami Beach Botanical Garden. It’s not big, but peaceful and beautiful. The Botanical Garden is located right across the street from the Miami Beach Convention Center. The really cool thing about it, is that the moment you step into the Garden, you can’t hear anything apart from birds and other natural sounds. There is no rush, no loud street noise only natures beauty. You can walk a little trail, which leads you through the whole garden. It has a big pond in the middle where you are able to feed koi’s. The “Visitor Center” is located right next to the pond and offers snacks, drinks, souvenirs and a lot of info about all the plants and animals living there. The location can also be used for big events, such as Birthday Parties and Weddings.
The entrance is free of charge and opening hours are Tuesday till Sunday from 9am to 5 pm. If you are in Miami Beach and want to relax for a few minutes or hours, I can only recommend coming here.
The Metro Mover is the perfect way of getting from one point to another in Downtown Miami – and the best part about it: it’s free and it’s over ground, so while you are riding the Metro Mover you will get an excellent view of Downtown. There are three different lines and if it’s super hot outside riding around and taking a look from up there is the best thing to do. A cool asset: the Metro mover is fully automatic and there is no one steering it. Every time we have been to Miami we used it to get from one point to another.
The Metro Mover operates every day from 5am till mid night.
Even if you are not into art the Wynwood District and the Wynwood Walls are a must do when in Miami. Over 10 years ago, Wynwood was a district that probably not many tourists went to due to the high crime rate and the location close to the airport. But with the help of talented artists Tony Goldmann (investor) has transformed the once run down part of Miami into the biggest open-air art gallery. You can either drive or walk around and take a look at the amazing paintings; every wall is unique, and it changes constantly. There are people who offer tours but we always walked through the streets ourselves. If you want to take a break, you can also sit down in the bars or cafés and drink a cool drink and enjoy the art from a comfy chair.
Vizcaya Museums and Garden
One of my favorite places is the Vizcaya Museum and Garden south of Miami (3251 South Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33129). The house is might remind you of a mansion in Tuscany, Italy and is surrounded by a beautiful garden with fountains. It was built in the 1910s and contains lots of the old furniture. It is well worth the visit. The most outstanding part about Vizcaya is the barge, which is formed like a Venetian gondola and served as a landing point for visitors who arrived by boat and also as a wave-breaker. You can go on a self-guided audio tour (adults $18, kids $6), the operating hours are Wednesday though Monday (closed on Tuesday) from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm. If you want to see something unique, I definitely recommend visiting this beautiful historic place.
Fun Fact: the Vizcaya museum was also home of several Hollywood productions, including Bad Boys II and Ironman 3.
We can’t talk about Miami and not mention Miami Beach. Of course you have to walk up and down the Ocean Drive and maybe get a cocktail or eat dinner in one of the restaurants/bars. Always remember: the Ocean drive is all about seeing people and being seen by them. If you want to watch a sport event while being there, check out the ESPN Studio in The Clevelander. They not only show almost every sports event there is, but also broadcast live radio shows there. If you want something exclusive, you might want to check out the restaurant which is located in the Versace Mansion (Villa Casa Casuarina) or rent one of the 10 hotel suites. It was used as the filming location for the series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”.
If you are overwhelmed by all the noise you might want to walk down the Ocean Drive all the way down almost to the very end. The beach is the same but less people. Last time we had a hotel directly in Miami Beach right next to the beach (Room Mate Lord Balfour). The best part about it: the hotel has reserved beach chairs as well as towels and parasols for their hotel guests. A must do for me is going to the life house which has the flag painted on it and taking a picture; I can’t leave without it. I’m normally not the person who will spent days on the beach, but Miami Beach is different. If you want to have a super cool picture and a great memory make sure to stop at the big clock which is located on Ocean Drive and not only shows the time but also the date and temperature.
When in Miami you absolutly have to eat at a Cuban restaurant. A few years back we searched for a authentic restaurant where locals are eating as well (since this always indicates me, that this is the real deal). After searching online and asking locals, we where pointed to the “Versailles” and it was the best tip we could get: the food is simply amazing, the atmosphere is outstanding and you should make a reservation since it’s always crowded. Since that evening we have been there many times and we were never disappointed. My favorite meal is the Shrimps “Al Ajillo”, if you have like seafood, you need to taste it. They also have a bakery attached to the restaurant with delicious pastries. Address: 3555 SW 8TH STREET, MIAMI FLORIDA 33135
Another cute bakery with amazing Cuban pastries is the La Rosa Bakery: we’ve been there several times and tried lots of different things and they all tasted really good. Address: 4259 W Flagler St, Coral Gables, Florida 33134
If you have any questions or feedback please comment down below or contact me, I’m always looking forward to hearing other people’s experiences or answer questions.