If you have just one day in Miami, you can easily see the things the city is known best for – if you don’t hit traffic, that is. Start your day in Little Havana then move to colorful Wynwood and glamorous Miami Beach, and you’ll fit a whole vacation’s worth of pictures into just 24 hours. Plus this is Miami, so you don’t even need to start your day early.
You can’t leave Miami without having an authentic Cuban breakfast, which consists of tostadas (Cuban toast) dipped in café con leche. You can grab one at literally any ventanilla (coffee window) along SW 8th St. in the vicinity of SW 12th Ave. If you want something a little more substantial, get a ham and cheese croqueta and a guava pastelito to go with it.
After breakfast, take some time to explore the heart of Little Havana. Watch cigar rollers at the Little Havana Cigar Factory, then take in a game of dominos at Maximo Gomez Park. Pop into the Cubacho Museum and Performing Arts Center to see its impressive collection of pre-revolutionary Cuban art, and if you’re not opposed to a little early drinking, grab a mojito at the bar.
After you’ve exhausted Little Havana, head up to Wynwood and grab lunch at Wynwood Kitchen and Bar. It places you right in the middle of the famous Wynwood Walls, and when you’re finished eating, you can stroll the blocks and blocks of ever-changing murals in Miami’s landmark arts district. If you are a bottomless pit, though, you should grab a doughnut from the Salty Donut (try the guava and cheese or brown butter and salt) if there isn’t too much of line.
After perusing Wynwood, it’s time to see what you came to Miami for: Miami Beach. Park your car or have your driver drop you around 1st Street and Collins Ave. where you can rent a Citibike and take it as far up the boardwalk as you want to go. You’ll pedal past the famous art deco hotels of Ocean Drive, up to the Fontainebleau, and into less-populated North Beach.
This pedestrian mall just south of 17th St. was designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus, and it’s one of the best spots in Miami for people-watching. Grab a coffee or a salad at the Café at Books and Books or head to the rooftop bar at Juvia for one of the best views of the city.
It’s touristy, tacky, and quintessentially Miami all at the same time, but having a big, fruity, frozen drink on Ocean Drive is the perfect way to tell all your followers on the ‘gram that you’re in Miami. Head to the Clevelander for a Miami Vice (a combination daiquiri/piña colada) by the pool.
One of Miami Beach’s great hidden gems is South Pointe Park, a little green space on the southern tip of the island where you can watch the sunset over the Miami skyline in one direction and the magical twilight colors over the Atlantic Ocean in the other. The views are best from the top of the grassy hill where you can bring a blanket and enjoy the show.
The South of Fifth neighborhood, where South Pointe Park resides, is the richest restaurant neighborhood in the city. Prime steaks at Red: The Steakhouse, hole-in-the-wall Italian at La Locanda, beachside Greek at Santorini by Georgios, farm-to-table at Stubborn Seed, and healthy food at Lilikoi are all within walking distance. Stroll around and see what strikes your fancy. In this neighborhood, it’s hard to go wrong.
Miami stays up late, so your after dinner options all depend on how late you want to be out. Start with cocktails at Broken Shaker then see where the night takes you. If you find yourself out at 4:00 AM, stop into Mac’s Club Deuce for a divey nightcap, grab a sandwich from La Sandwicherie across the street, and then stroll over to the beach and watch the sunrise.