In late February, having felt an intense need for sunshine, we booked a spontaneous trip to Miami. In all honesty, there was no rhyme or reason guiding our decision to go to Miami specifically - Family Day long weekend was coming up, and Miami was the top 'budget' hit on the Google search for "Hottest U.S. Cities In February". The result was a blissful three days spent baking in the sun far, far away from even trace amounts of snow and stress. Follow along for our 3 day guide to Miami!
Check In At The Betsy Hotel
We saved a little on our trip by flying Air Canada overnight via Mexico on the way in, just so we could upgrade the quality of our stay in Miami. Our number one priority was to be by the beach, and everything else was secondary. After scouring blog and Instagram reviews for days, we settled on The Betsy Hotel in South Beach. The Betsy is the perfect union of old meets new, especially being that it is the lone surviving example of Florida Georgian architecture on Ocean Drive. The decor is best described as grandma chic meets art deco, giving off all the right vibes for a relaxed Floridian vacation. The hotel faces the beach on one side, and the Art Deco district on the other, so you have a choice between both when picking your room. Our Superior Balcony Room was larger than some condos we've seen in Toronto (seriously), featuring warm interiors, full marble bathrooms, and a balcony overlooking the courtyard pool. The Betsy is conveniently located in proximity to the nightlife in the neighbourhood but is extremely idyllic in itself. Our stay was in one word: relaxing.
Lunch At The Alley
In the back alley wrapping around The Betsy is their pizzeria called... *drumroll please*... The Alley. We dropped our bags off and sunk into a curated cheese and meat plate with recommendations from our server, followed by a classic pepperoni pizza. Fabulous lunch. We would absolutely recommend for a quick bite in between beach sessions and sight seeing.
Hit Up The Beach
As soon as we were settled in to our room, we got changed and hit the beach. The hotels on Ocean Drive all have private sections of the beach cordoned off for their guests, which helped spread out the crowd and give each of us sun-chasers enough room to sprawl out and work on our tans.
Drinks At Azabu
Upland came heavily recommended to us as a dinner spot, which brought with it an hour long wait. To pass the time we stopped at the Marriot Stanton for a drink, where we stumbled upon Azabu, an upscale Japanese restaurant and bar. Their cocktail menu included a creative list of concoctions and a moderately sized selection of sake.
Indulge At Upland
Upland was a true feast. Definitely go on an empty stomach. We shared the bucatini cacio e pepe, and pappardelle ragu, with a side of crispy potatoes and just about managed to finish what was on our plates. In spite of the noise levels and crowd at Upland, it actually made for a great date spot!
Morning At The Beach
Day 2 began with another lazy dip in the ocean, as all mornings should if you ask us.
Explore The Art Deco District
As the name might suggest, the Art Deco Wing of the Betsy Hotel actually overlooks the Art Deco District. We spent a few hours strolling and taking in the architecture, snapping photos, and enjoying a lazy afternoon. This is a great spot to grab some 'grams amidst pastel coloured buldings, and retro convertibles.
Refuel At Joe And The Juice
After an hour or two of walking in the sun, we stopped into Joe And The Juice for some fresh pressed goodness and a bit of air conditioning. They actually have a little photo booth in the back, but sadly it was out of order when we visited.
Take In Wynwood & The Wynwood Walls
After juicing up, we ubered over to Wynwood. It was a vastly different scene from South Beach, bursting with life! Loud reggaeton played from a number bars, people lined up to get their Saturday party on, souped up cars revved their engines up and down NW 2nd Ave (many of them in groups to show off some tricks). Alistair was a little unnerved by the chaos, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, so make of that what you will. The Wynwood Walls were pretty crowded being a Saturday afternoon, but we got to take a quick stroll through and enjoy the art before moving on to the main event - more food.
Break At Thrifter (Doggi's Arepa Bar)
We got pretty hungry while exploring Wynwood, and happened to walk right into Thrifter (also known as Wynwood Marketplace). Lined with food vendors, artists, and dessert trucks (in that order as you walk through), we started off by eating our very first arepas and tequeños (Venezuelan cheese rolls), followed by some donuts and a crepe. It's a true wonder we made it to dinner after! Thrifter had a lovely cosy family vibe with loud music playing and people dancing and just thoroughly enjoying their weekend. Good vibes all 'round.
Dine At Beaker & Gray
Beaker & Gray, a tapas style restaurant, also came highly recommended to us. Being that we were positively stuffed from snacking at Thrifter, we ordered the Cheeseburger Croquettes and Fried Chicken to share and again, barely scraped through our plates. Beaker & Gray is tucked away from the general chaos of Wynwood, so it's a nice quiet spot to grab a bite on a patio.
Even More Beach
Need we say more?
Miami Design District (And Watches & Wonders Miami)
A little known fact is that Alistair is a massive watch enthusiast. Having seen on Instagram that Watches & Wonders was on it's last day at the Miami Design District, we made our way over during our last few hours before heading the airport. The Design District is stunning to take in on its own, but it was an extra layer of fun popping in and out of stores and exhibits, geeking out over watches. If you're in the Louis bag.
Cool Off With Mad Lab Creamery
I was drawn to Mad Lab purely based off of its pastel pink decor but the fact that it was an ice cream parlour was a massive bonus. And then they put glitter on my ice cream. At first, I was a little apprehensive of the glitter but as it turns out, you can't even taste it. A++ for decor and fun food!
Cuban Fare At Versailles
For our last hurrah in Miami, we stopped by the 'The Most Famous Cuban Restaurant In The World'. Right off the bat you can tell that Versailles is a major tourist hot spot. Reviews warned that the queue to get in could take as long as an hour, but luckily we only waited 15 minutes. For reference sake, we went at around 3pm on President's Day long weekend Sunday. A must-try are the croquettes and cafe con leche. Alistair and I also shared a beef stew special, which was homely, hearty, and delicious.
We left Miami with renewed tans, and full bellies, feeling 100% rested and relaxed. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us in the comments or in a DM, to ask for more suggestions or if you have any suggestions for places we should visit this year!
Thank you so much for reading along until the very end! We hope you all enjoy this new series, and that it sparks a little wanderlust in each of you. We have tons of little trips planned for the year and can't wait to share them with you!
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Until next time!
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