Hi everyone, I have a six-day solo trip to Miami in January; before flying on to Central America. I'm not particularly into beaches and sunbathing, but do love architecture / the arts / culture. How long do you recommend I stay in Miami, and how much to devote to Key West and/or The Everglades? Anything else I'm missing? I plan to hire a car for the days I'm not in Miami itself.
Also, any recommendations on places to stay that won't break the bank? I like B&Bs, private rooms and hostels (in my own room rather than a dorm, and not a party place as I'm late 30s and need cocoa ;) ).
Thanks in advance.
I agree with Stephen below, eschew the naysayers. As a native of Miami I can attest that this city is much more well rounded than what many might portray it to be. Firstly, seeing as your primary interest is not beach culture I would suggest possibly staying elsewhere in the city. Although, South Beach and the north beaches do have much to offer, particularly great Art Deco architecture (which you can take a proper tour of) and some of the best restaurants in the area, it might not be the best place for you to rest your head. There is so much more to see. Since you mentioned you will have a car, I recommend maybe staying in Coconut Grove (Florida), whether it be a hotel or Airbnb. "The Grove" is the oldest neighborhood of the city with a unique charm and history. It is a lot more laidback and has plenty of bars and restaurants all within walking distance to keep you satiated. Check out Scotty's Landing on the water for a local scene with live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. And you can access almost any other neighborhood of the city within 15 minutes or less of driving! Another area of the city to explore is Wynwood Arts District where you can marvel at all the street graffiti that has become popularized by the annual Art Basel show, as well as art galleries galore. Plenty of up and coming restaurants and cafes in Wynwood as well. If you like beer don't miss Wynwood Brewing Company, where you can take a great tour. Among others, The Design District, Midtown and Wynwood has some more high end art galleries and retail worth a look. We also have a brand new Art Museum in downtown, called Pérez Art Museum Miami with good collections and a stunning view. While in downtown, if you'd like to get a sense of the history of Miami and how much its changed since it was founded, the museum HistoryMiami is the window to the past. Don't miss a visit to Calle Ocho to get a real feel for the Cuban and Latin makeup of our city. Otherwise, Miami is best seen from the water. Get on a sunset cruise from Bayside Marketplace or from one of the many boat tour operators in downtown. If you have time for a trip to the Everglades, Shark Valley Visitors Center is worth it. The Keys are also a great day trip, just keep in mind the extra traffic on weekends. A great, quirky, little place on your way down (or on return) from the Keys to grab a bite to eat is Alabama Jacks. Hope this information helps, have a great trip.
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Hello Julie, I am glad you are asking to do something different when in Miami. I love that city and I spent 5 years of my life there. So here are my suggestions: I think 6 days with your mood are good, I wouldn't stay less nor longer. The city of Miami is developing fast, they recently opened a new museum Pérez Art Museum Miamifor example. Another good area for art galleries is Wynwood
Miami and Miami beach are great for walking around and enjoying the view of the Biscayne Bay. You can then go to visit some beautiful mansions and estates such as Vizcaya Museum and GardensDeering EstateFairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. About the keys, I am not sure if you want to do that in such a small period of time. But if you decide to do so, I highly recommend to spend one night there. The drive is long and one of the most beautiful things there is the sunset. You could stay in a nice area of Miami Beach, in an airbnb room. Very nice, clean and perfect location: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4553141. If you have any other questions about places to see and cafes or restaurant you can also email me at asarno at me dot com.
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Hello Julie, Don't listen to the nay sayers. There are many things to do while in Miami. Jungle Island, Miami Seaquarium is nice, The Zoo Miami, The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science is also very nice. There is the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, The Venetian Pool, Art Museums, many different architecture from contemporary, Spanish/Cuban and even some Frank Loyd Wright. Don't forget all the great places to eat and try new cuisine Things To Do In Miami.
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If you ask me, spend as little time in Miami as possible. It's such an overrated place. I've been twice and both times, I heard endless catcalls to the point where I've even had people follow me in open public space even after I told them to get lost.
Ocean Dr, which is the main street on Miami Beach is the worst. It's fun, but it is a total tourist trap. They overcharge for their food and then add 20% gratuity without telling you, so then you end up tipping twice.
The nightlife is fun and crazy, but it's like any other clubs and bars in metropolitan cities.
If you want to be super spontaneous and skip out on Miami, I'd say just hop on a cruise ship. There are hundreds of cruises that depart from Miami or Fort Lauderdale, even for like a short 1 or 2 day trip. You can find some great deals on sites like Priceline and Expedia.
Sorry for all the pessimism about Miami, but that's just how I feel about the place :D If you want something more on the chill side, check out West Palm Beach, but it's like Malibu... just a one big rich neighborhood with pretty houses.