Learn To Maneuver Miami Beach
Miami, from a local’s perspective, is much more than just beautiful beaches, women in micro-sized bikinis, and nightclubs. We all like to observe and indulge in a little, or ALL of that, but there are major differences when it comes exploring a la tourist or a la local. Part of my Spring series is to showcase Miami from a local’s perspective: what we do, where we go, and tips to enjoy our unique culture. And yes, I will show you beautiful beaches, clubs, and our people – probably not in their bikinis though.
When visiting Miami, keep in mind that South Beach is part of Miami, like Manhattan is part of NY as well as the Bronx, Williamsburg, and so on. You can concentrate in one area but there is much more to explore outside of South Beach. We locals tend to stay away from South Beach, especially Collins and Washington Avenues, both of which scream “tourist central”.
Tip alert!! Uber is going to be your best friend in Miami. It’s actually cheaper to user Uber from Downtown Miami to the Beach than paying for a “Flat Fee” at a parking garage. You’ll thank me tenfold!
I started the day with a perfectly crafted foamy latte and a hearty yet healthy sandwich at Miam Café and Boutique, located in the hipster chic area of Wynwood. Here, you can enjoy homemade food prepared with organic and locally sourced ingredients. They also boast a section where you can find groceries that you would not find at the local supermarket (Publix).
S O B E
Sobe, as we call it, is short for South Beach. The ever-so demanded tourist destination is a mecca of landscaped beaches, diverse nightlife, boutique hotels, and nationally recognized eateries. However, going to South Beach as a local can be very tricky, trying to avoid all the tourist traps, especially during high season! For a more tranquil day at the beach, head north! where the noise from crowds subside. This tip does not carry a guaranteed success rate, but is a good shot if the strip is crowded. Find the perfect spot, and enjoy what all snowbirds and Europeans are always so jealous of. Take a dip in the water, which is usually just the right temperature for that refreshing effect and head back to your towel to achieve that Greek God/Goddess tan.
After working all day on that perfect tan, it’s time for lunch and by lunch, I mean 3pm. There are plenty of restaurants within a 10 miles radius of 5th St. Check these out if you don’t want to venture out too far:
- Yard Bird
- Fratelli La Bufala
- Las Olas Café
- Puerto Sagua Restaurant
- Pinocchio Italian Deli & Caffe
Tip: When in Miami, Cuban food is a must!
We now head to Lincoln Rd. Mall for an afternoon walk to offset our full-belly status. Locals tend to veer toward Alton Rd. (west side) rather than Washington Ave. (east). If you enjoy people watching, this is the perfect spot. Just grab a coffee and enjoy!
Go home, work out, take a nap and fast-forward to night time! One of my favorite places now is La Bodega. A Taqueria open day and night but what you don’t know is what goes on in the back of this seamless Mexican joint. I want to call this place a Speakeasy but the long line gives it away. Many locals have agreed that you will not find your typical Miami crowd here. We are all calling it “different” because it captures a New York vibe but exudes a Latin flair. I can’t describe the details, you’ll have to experience it for yourselves! The best thing of all – tacos afterwards! Who can resist that?
Tip: All lounges and clubs in Miami Beach require proper attire, so no flip flips, hats or tank tops. Guys, if you’re traveling with a big group, be prepared to get bottle service, balance the guy-girl group ratio or split up the group in order to gain access to these places.
We locals tend to head out after 12:30 and skip the lines thanks to the who’s who in Sobe. Try to arrive at your desired location between 11p-12a to avoid lines and any other possible issues.
Learn to maneuver the infamous Miami Beach and you’ll have an amazing time as a tourist enjoying like a local.
Miami Beach Sunset