the ultimate miami travel guide: part one

it’s been nearly two months since my mother/daughter trip to miami, and i’ve shared tons of content – but i’m excited to be putting together the ultimate miami travel guide for my readers to take on their next south florida vacation! i’m a repeat offender in miami, traveling there 2-3 times a year religiously…. it only makes sense that i’d be able to compile a list of my favorite things to do/see/eat! i’m currently on my second excursion there this year, and i’ll be adding ‘part two’ after this spring trip is complete…. but for now, off the top of my head, here are my best picks for your next miami vacay!

where to stay:

on a budget: EDITED: i typically suggest the congress hotel. unfortunately, this place must be under new management because it is not what it used to be!!! ‘on a budget’ option to be continued….

all out: if you’re ready to spend the big bucks to see and be seen, the fontainebleau is miami’s most prestigious resort. situated away from “the ruckus”, you can be sure your dollars are going towards the ultimate in relaxation. miami’s elite liv nightclub has it’s home at the fontainebleau, as does one of my favorite restaurants – which i’ll get to later – hakkassan.

boutique luxury: the delano is my yearly mother/daughter hotel of choice. it’s high end, but gives off a true boutique feel. the service and the food is top notch. the all-white aesthetic is to die for. located just off the strip, the delano is conveniently walkable to “the ruckus” yet set back in your own private pod of foridian luxury. this is hands down my favorite hotel in miami, and if i could afford it, i’d choose to stay here every single time. below, you’ll find some of my favorite photos from this february’s stay:

where to eat:

comfort food: one of my favorite restaurants in south beach is yardbird. the fried chicken is heavenly and the vibe is upscale casual. more on this in part two!

beach eats: my friends and i frequent the sugar factory every time we pop off the beach for a mid-day bite. while obscenely large milkshakes aren’t the best option when you’re in a bikini, they’re irresistible – and this place makes a bomb turkey burger. easy and fun, centrally-located beachside spot with quick service so you can get back to sunbathing! another place i love for a finer dining experience is bianca at the delano. bianca makes a mean chicken cesar salad and the ‘rose water’ cocktail is crisp and refreshing.

scenester spots: some staple scenester favorites include prime112, it’s sister spot prime italian, stk, mr. chow, nobu, and hakkasan to name a few! these restaurants are known worldwide and many of them have outposts in nyc. they speak for themselves, and they are consistently fab every single time.

bank-breaker: let me preface this by saying the “scenester spots” are also bank breakers (worth it!!!!) – but i put juvia into it’s own category because it’s not nearly as well known as the restaurants i’ve named above. this restaurant is a fusion of french, peruvian and japanese cuisines and it does not disappoint. the eclectic menu and delicious food is rivaled only by the incredible rooftop views of south beach…. just be prepared to empty your wallet!

exotic: my choice for a true authentic and exotic high-end south beach meal is byblos, which i reviewed here.

coffee/snacks: when the everyday latte staple seems like a snooze and you want to shake it up on vacation, check out panther coffee – high quality java in the scenic, artsy neighborhood of wynwood.

things to do:

day: if you need a break from the beach or pool, hop in an uber to midtown and check out the wynwood walls – an outdoor museum/gallery of street art that spans for blocks in an up-and-coming neighborhood of artists!

night: mango’s tropical cafe is an ocean drive must-see! scantily clad dancers and neon decor make this bar/lounge/entertainment venue a serious miami hot spot. a great place to start – or end – the night!

laid-back lounge: for a speakeasy vibe check out the regent cocktail club – while i’m a tequila drinker myself, i keep hearing about their “world’s best old fashioneds”. regardless of what you’re sipping on, this is a really nice place to try if you’re looking to slip away from the lights and craziness. more to come on nightlife in part two, when i delve deeper into the south beach club/lounge scene!

best beach: my favorite swatch of sand lies hands down at the sls south beach…. and yes, it’s only because their chairs & umbrellas are pink. (kidding.) in all seriousness, this section of the beach is centrally located, easy to find, and the cabana boys are super hospitable.

spa day:

fan favorite: bliss spa miami is located inside the W hotel south beach and is just as consistently relaxing as the bliss spas here in new york.

lesser known: agua spa at the delano is super luxe whether you’re a guest of the hotel or not! it’s an intimate space that follows the all-white aesthetic of the entire property. with beautiful views of the beach, you can unwind in the relaxation station and their treatments are superb. not to mention their spa boutique has some of the cutest pieces by delano cocktail waitress (and extraordinary artist) julianne marangi. check out her amazing work here, where you can order online – or swing by the agua spa to see them in person!

honorable mention:

i can’t post a miami travel guide without mentioning the kimpton surfcomber hotel south beach. i popped in because i was looking for a unique spot to shoot a segment for my 2017 swim style blog post. unassuming from the boardwalk, the surfcomber is a trendy-trippy wonderland that’s a combo of 70’s throwback and modern art. sprinkled around the lounge area – amidst vivid colors and clean lines – lives the herd: large, life-sized ceramic farm animals that (oddly enough) really compliment the space and add to the surfcomber’s vibe. i have to tip my hat to the risk taken in this super cool out-of-the-barn aesthetic. (see what i did there? ok i’ll stop now, i swear.)

i hope you enjoyed scrolling through part one of my ultimate miami travel guide! i’m in a real and deep love affair with miami, and there will absolutely be more where this came from when i return from my april getaway! if you’re looking to plan a trip that’s easy, fun and relaxing… miami is the spot! between the vitamin d rays, the well-dressed locals, the invigorating nightlife and of course the endless food options… i can’t think of a better beach vacay within the u.s.a! follow me on instagram to stay in the loop!


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