The Ultimate Miami Travel Guide - That Goes Beyond Typical Tourist Spots & Info

 

Many Miami travel blogs show you South Beach and South Beach only. This Miami travel guide goes beyond that. 

At this point in my life, Miami is my second favorite city after my hometown Chicago. For me it’s not about the partying, nightlife or pretty privilege stamp of approval, it’s simply an amazing city full of opportunity, art, amazing food, and going there changed my whole life. As someone who is there frequently, at this point I know the city like a local as well as a tourist. This is what makes this travel guide stand out from other travel guides, I will be providing some great places and tips that go beyond the typical tourist spots. 

The information in this blog is based off of places I've personally frequented as well as places recommended by locals I know and off of research. Always be sure to do your own research as well while planning your stay.


How to Get There

Flying 

Your best bet to get to Miami is to fly, especially if you’re outside of Florida and outside of the United States. I’ve flown from Chicago to Miami several times via American Airlines, Southwest, and Spirit. Depending on the season, when you book your trip and where you’re flying from, you can find some pretty inexpensive prices. I’ve paid as low as around $60 (one way to and from Miami) and as high as $120 (round way). 

While it’s ideal to fly into Miami International Airport (MIA), you can also fly into Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL). While searching for flights, compare and contrast the better options and prices between MIA and FLL. Please be sure to factor in the location of your hotel/Airbnb and how long it will take and how much it will cost to get from either airport to your stay. As it will be explained in the next section, you have the option to utilize the Brightline train from Fort Lauderdale to Miami for $10-$24 depending on the day and time. 

Train

If you’re in Florida, particularly in the Central Florida area, the Brightline trains are now up and running and go as far as from Orlando to Miami. Another option for Floridians is to fly into Orlando’s airport (MCO), drive or take a train into Orlando and take the Brightline train from there to Miami. 

In the above section, I mentioned there's an option to fly into Fort Lauderdale and then go into Miami. This option was shunned by many people due to the suggested high ride share and taxi prices, but now vacationers have the option of flying into FLL and taking a Brightline train into Miami. Whatever suits you best, I'm just here to show different options. 

If you're into long commutes and sight seeing, try something new and take an Amtrak. The station is in Hialeah, west of Miami but is still close to downtown, the airport, and Brickell. 

When To Visit

November to April is the best time to travel for the dry season. After that, and especially during summer, you'll be met with rainy season and hurricane watch, especially during August to September.

Location: Best Areas To Stay 

It’s always best to stay in the most tourist friendly areas when vacationing so you have access to tourist based locations. Here are some great Miami areas to stay in:

Miami Beach - Contrary to popular belief, Miami Beach is not apart of the Miami mainland. It’s it’s own island and city. This is where the food and nightlife is although there is an effort to push more cultural, art and family friendly activities. If you’re a major beach bum, this is where you will want to stay to have quick and easy access to the water and waves. 

Brickell - Brickell gives major mini New York City vibes. It’s where many of the city’s wealthiest stay and play and where you can find more restaurants and nightlife. 

Downtown - Downtown is north of Brickell and is one of the main shopping hubs in the city. It’s not as nightclub friendly, but there are plenty of restaurants and other cultural hubs to frequent such as the Perez Art Museum, Kaseya Center where the Heat play and the Bayside Market. 

Airport Area - As quiet as it’s kept, the airport area is a great and underrated location for vacation. Unlike the airports in my hometown, ORD and MID, Miami International Airport is close to everything in Miami. 15 minutes away, tops. What I like about staying close to the airport is having access to a shuttle bus to and from one of the hotels that have this accommodation. 

Little Havana - If you’re looking for a more homegrown Miami feel, Little Havana is the place for you. While there aren’t many hotels in this neighborhood and it’s more residential, your best bet will be finding an Airbnb there. There are plenty of local Cuban restaurants there and it’s close to Wynwood, Downtown and Brickell. 

Where to Stay

@___dro__ Pullman Miami Airport is a 10/10! Close to @iflymia & a great distance from downtown Miami, Wynwood, Brickell & the surrounding neighborhoods like Hialeah & Coral Gables. So lush & boujee! It really gives 💅🏾🛫🏝🥂🏨 #blackgirltravel #blackgirltravelslay #miamitravel #thingstodoinmiami #miamivacation #miamivacations #miamihotels #miamihotel #womentravel #womentravelers #traveltiktok #hotelreview #pullmanhotel #pullmanhotels #miamiflorida #hotelreviews #hoteltour #hoteltours #travelflorida #floridatravel #floridatravels #miamitravelguide #luxurytravel #luxurytravels #blackwomeninluxury #blackwomentravel ♬ leave me - Anees
Miami has some of the most luscious hotels and homes in the world. Whether you’re looking for luxurious  5 star stay or a humble, laid back, inexpensive vibe, there are plenty of options no matter what your price range is. Here’s a list of some great hotels, some I have stayed in myself. 

Miami Beach

Freehand Miami 

Fountaine Bleu 

Hampton Inn

Airport Area 

Pullman Airport Hotel 

Hilton Blue Lagoon Airport 

The Miami International Airport Hotel

Regency Miami Airport by Sonesta

Downtown 

Hilton Miami Downtown

Hyatt Regency Miami

YOTEL Miami

Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Miami Brickell

EAST Miami

Overtown

Dunns Josephine Hotel 

Where to Eat 

Like the different stay options, there are also many options for good eats. Miami has some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. It’s a shame that people are so focused on partying and even clout chasing that there’s rarely any mention on how good the food is. Miami’s cuisine can compete with the best of them from the USA. From the more opulent locations to local mom and pop shops, there are plenty of great options to eat at while in Miami. 

Luxury & Fine Dining

Sexy Fish - Brickell 

Kiki On the River - Downtown

Versace Mansión - South Beach 

Mila - Miami Beach 

Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge - Downtown 

Rusty Pelican - Virginia Key 

La Mar - Brickell

Le Jardinier - Art District 

Caribbean 

LC’s Roti Shop - Miami Gardens

Flavaz Bahamian Restaurant

Chef Creole - Little Haiti

Dukunoo - Wynwood

Soul Food

Lil Greenhouse Grill - Overtown

Eloise & Earnestine Soul Food - Brownsville 

Jackson's Soul Food - Overtown 

World Famous House of Mac - Wynwood 

Red Rooster - Overtown 

Latin American

Coyo Taco - Wynwood

Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine - Little Havana 

Vegan & Vegetarian 

Planta - South Beach

Plantisserie - El Portal

Vegan Cuban Cuisine - Sunset

Love Life Cafe - Wynwood

SoBe Vegan - South Beach

The Vegan Marie - Little Haiti

I Stronga Vegan Cafe - North Miami

Asian & Sushi

Negroni - Midtown

Moshi Moshi - South Beach, Brickell, Biscayne 

Brunch 

Morgan’s Restaurant - Wynwood

Little Hen - Design District

Mayami - Wynwood

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How To Get Around 

Public Transportation 

Miami doesn’t have the most reliable public transportation system but it can be utilized for maneuvering through Downtown, Brickell, and Wynwood. In my own experiences, the Metrobus bus it has been very reliable for me while navigating Miami Beach in particular. I would recommend utilizing it in the more touristy areas as mentioned above. 

The Metromover is a free train that moves through Downtown and Brickell. This is great if you’re staying in one of those areas or to navigate to them. There’s also a free trolley system that goes through the areas too. Other options include the Metrorail which gets you from MIA airport to Kendall, renting CitiBikes, scooters and segways. You can find more information on the Miami Visitors Bureau website

Lyft and Uber 

This is your best bet when navigating Miami. If there’s a big event or festival going on, be mindful that prices will surge. 

Renting Cars 

Another great option for those who prefer to navigate around on their own terms. Companies like Hertz and Enterprise are available in the airport. You can even use travel apps like Expedia, Kayak, and Booking.com to secure your vehicle. 

Things to Do 


There’s literally so many things going on in Miami at all times, day and night and that includes both clubbing and non-clubbing activities. While many people think you have to spend an arm and a leg, there are plenty of inexpensive activities to do as much as boujee, luxury vibes. Let’s break it down by category: 

Beaches 

Nikki Beach Club - South Beach

Joia Beach Club - Watson Island 

South Beach

Haulover Beach

Bal Harbor 

North Beach

Water Activities 

Jet Ski 305

Riverfront Gondola Tours

Blue Space (boat and food tour) 

Thriller Speed Boat Tours

Museums & Art

Perez Art Museum - Downtown 

Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science - Tamiami, FL

Miami Children's Museum - Watson Island

HistoryMiami Museum - Downtown Miami

Wynwood Walls - Wynwood

Shopping

Bayside Marketplace - Downtown

Miami Design District - Design District

Dolphin Mall - Fontainebleau, FL 

Aventura Mall - Aventura, FL

Brickell City Center - Brickell

Lincoln Center Shopping District - Miami Beach

Nightlife & Day Parties 

Basement - Miami Beach

Dante's Hifi - Wynwood

Lagniappe - Midtown

The Urban - Overtown

@___dro__ The Urban in Miami, FL is cute, REAL cute. 🌴 Especially on a Sunday. As a Chicago girl, I’m not used to these outside parties that’s the norm in Florida, but they are LIT! Something about them makes them way more fun than inside functions. Located in the Historic Overtown neighborhood. Just make sure you Uber or get there early because parking is a fool! 😂 • • • • • #theurban #miami #miamifl #miamiflorida #thingstodoinmiami #thingstodoinflorida #southflorida #dadecounty #dadecounty305 #miamilife #blackgirltravel #traveltiktok #soflo #broward #browardcounty #traveltiktok #blackgirltravel #blackgirltraveltok #travellife #floridaliving #traveltok #blackwomeninluxury #blackgirlfollowtrain #florida #theurbanmiami #miamian #miamivacation #miamivacay #miamivacations #floridavacation #floridavacay ♬ original sound - user88225560253
TIP: There are festivals and events happening in Miami literally all year round. Be sure to do your research on what's going on and when. 

TIP: You can find deals on Groupon for activities, Experiences on Airbnb, and be sure to check Eventbrite for festivals, concerts and other events. 

This travel guide will be regularly updated with more tips, places, and info! 


What are some of your favorite Miami spots to frequent? Share below!

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