Sunny beaches & Old Florida languor in Miami
Hello sun-and-sand lovers! You’ve taken the first step—deciding to take a trip to Miami and experience its subtropical climate and miles upon miles of coastline. Beyond the sandy beaches, indulge in Miami's blossoming arts scene, partake in outdoor adventures in Biscayne Bay or the Everglades, and unwind in the slower-paced Keys.
To get the most out of your adventure, please make sure to read this itinerary from front-to-back. It is sectioned into three parts: prep, daily itineraries, and an appendix identifying everything you need to print (lodging, train tickets, etc).
This is an interactive PDF, which allows you to add your own notes in the text boxes provided and check the boxes as you complete tasks. All the links are active, so all you have to do is click!
Unforgettable Moments (Highlights)
The most enjoyable sojourns in Miami indulge the senses. Take time to experience what state officials proudly call "The Real Florida" - the beaches, reefs, and shoreline jungles of Biscayne Bay. Visit the dreamy wilds of the Everglades, a place unlike any other on Earth, where you can rent a canoe and explore a primordial water world, so serene, the loudest sound is often the beating of your heart. Taste New World cuisine, immerse yourself in warm Gulf Stream waters and dig your toes into the sand that crunched beneath the boots of Florida's first European visitor.
Day by Day Breakdown (overview)
Both Miami International Airport (MIA) and nearby Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport service Miami. Cruise ships provide the most luxurious form of transportation. Airport buses leave the airport at regular intervals and are the cheapest means to get to Downtown. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or Uber.
After arriving in Miami, you'll want to check into your hotel and freshen up. Have a filling breakfast at your hotel. Take out your swimwear, sunscreen, sunglasses, and flip-flops - you’re going to the beach!
SAND AND SUN
Start your first day with a visit to the wide, white oceanfront strand of Miami Beach. There are no two-square-miles anywhere like these on the American Riviera, a dazzling sweep of sand and Gulf Stream-warmed blue shallows flanked by some 800 art deco buildings. After you've swum, suntanned, and ogled some of the most beautiful people on the planet, partake of the hip sidewalk café life along Ocean Drive.
SHOP TIL YOU DROP
On the western side of Brickell Avenue stands the Shops at Mary Brickell Village, a new collection of boutiques and eateries set in a compact, shaded environment. To recuperate from the long shopping jaunt, stop at one of the many restaurants, such as Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant, a popular spot with an interior imported from Dublin.
MORNING & AFTERNOON
The harbor is home to charter companies offering on-the-water tours of Biscayne Bay. One of the most interesting operates the 85-foot-long topsail schooner Heritage of Miami II, a 47-ton steel-hulled reproduction of the 19th-century cargo and passenger carriers that voyaged between here and Havana. During your cruise, the captain will point out interesting landmarks and tell tales of Miami's colorful past.
In the afternoon, stroll along the nearby Lincoln Road Mall. It is noted for upscale boutiques and stylish restaurants and bars - where you'll see fashion models and possibly a celebrity or two. Stop at Britto Central Art Gallery to see colorful pop art by Miami's most famous visual artist, the Brazilian Romero Britto.
In the evening dine at Rusty Pelican, a waterfront restaurant serving continental seafood against the stunning backdrop of the downtown Miami skyline. Sunday dinner is the best, or just go for a drink and soak up the view.
Pay a visit to Coconut Grove's Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. This spectacular Renaissance Italian villa and was completed in 1916 when being just a few miles south of downtown meant being in a separate world. Sophisticated, comfortable, culturally diverse, and overgrown with vegetation, the “Grove" is one of Miami's most appealing suburbs. Its bohemian flair invites comparisons with New York's Greenwich Village and London's Chelsea.
Later, visit neighboring Coral Gables and stroll the Miracle Mile, marveling at the Mediterranean Revival architecture that gave forth the nickname "City Beautiful." Drive 3.5 miles to the nearby University of Miami and stop by the Lowe Art Museum, which features collections of Renaissance, baroque, American, Native American, Asian, and African works.
Take in a ballet or symphony performance at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Call it a day with dinner at Perricone's Marketplace and Café, which serves fine Italian food indoors as well as outdoors in a lush setting.
Day 4 - Day Trip
Today is a great day to hop onto a bus or hire a car to Fort Lauderdale. Once a playground for raucous spring breakers, this city has grown into a family-friendly destination with waterfront amenities, high-end shopping, a bustling cruise port, and a growing number of luxury accommodations.
ARRIVAL TO FORT LAUDERDALE
From Miami, take 1-95 north to the Broward Boulevard exit, turn toward the Atlantic and follow Broward to one-way N.W. First Avenue. To cruise the city, go right onto NW. First and go south until it takes you left onto Las Olas Boulevard.
EXPLORING ART AND CREATIVITY
Start with the well-respected NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, part of Nova Southeastern University. For scholars and art lovers who find appeal in older works produced during what was once considered the avant-garde movement in Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam, this collection is a treasury. Its permanent collection is noted for 20th-century American and European masters! Alexander Calder, Salvador Dalí, Henry Moore, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Frank Stella, among many others.
The New River runs through Fort Lauderdale's central district, flanked by a glittery arts and entertainment district, where you can applaud touring Broadway plays by the river at the glassy Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
STROLL ALONG THE RIVER
After dinner, take a stroll along the Riverwalk, a mile-long promenade on the river's north bank, which crosses over and continues for another half-mile on the south side. What's particularly nice about this ramble are the tropical landscaping, interpretive displays that tell you about Fort Lauderdale, and the river overlooks.
Reserve the third day for the cultural offerings of downtown Miami. Miami Downtown is anchored by commercial and residential high-rises, the appealing Bayside Marketplace, a popular shopping, dining and entertainment complex on Biscayne Bay. The marketplace’s low-key friendliness attracts a lot of people who come simply to dawdle, browse, and nibble their way around the large food court.
A PEEK INTO HISTORY
In the afternoon, visit the two museums located at the Miami-Dade Cultural Center - the Museum of History Miami and the Miami Art Museum. Have lunch at one of the many upscale restaurants in the Shops at Mary Brickell Village. At the history museum, you'll learn about Tequesta and Seminole Indians as well as early pioneers. At the art museum, marvel at post-World War II works from throughout the Americas.
DINNER WITH A VIEW
You can't miss downtown's skyline, one of America's most handsome, especially at night when spotlights paint skyscrapers in vivid colors. What’s a better way to watch the splendid skyline from “Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita”, a popular rooftop restaurant and bar in the heart of the city.
If you’re traveling with kids, Miami Children's Museum is a must-visit. It is one of only a few children's museums that actually appears to have been designed by children. Kids can go grocery shopping, learn how to take care of their pets, hang out with teddy bears, bang on musical instruments, pretend they're on television, learn about saving money-much to the delight of elementary school-age children.
In the late afternoon, while driving back to central Miami, stop at Little Havana's Máximo Gómez Park, where you'll see Cuban Americans playing dominoes and inevitably discussing the Castro brothers. Shops and restaurants in the area include Nicaraguan, Mexican, and Colombian enterprises. Miami's Cuban population has expanded from here, but this remains the sentimental heart of the community.
Top off the evening at the Versailles, a restaurant that is the social locus of all things Cuban in Miami. The fare is traditional (rich, spicy, and sweet), including everything from arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) to roast pork to flan in oversize portions.
One last photo-op
Getting an evening flight out of Miami is ideal so you can soak up every bit of the city on your last day.
Was there something you read about that didn’t have time to do or see? Get out there and do it! Florida's keys, located just a few miles east of downtown Miami and accessed via the Rickenbacker Causeway. Spend the morning at Virginia Key Beach and then visit the nearby Miami Seaquarium. This world-renowned marine attraction has orca and dolphin shows, and its massive aquarhttps://virginiakeybeachpark.net/iums showcase manatees and sea lions as well as fish in all shapes and sizes.
In the late afternoon, travel five minutes to neighboring Key Biscayne and visit the lighthouse at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. Its cafe with outdoor tables serves casual food, which is just right after a day spent outdoors and among sea life.
The Black Experience
Miami, Florida is known for being the 2nd largest international travel destination in America as well as for its notable Cuban-American community, but beyond the surface, Miami has a rich history intertwined with many facets of the African diaspora. Once you’ve had your fill of South Beach and danced the night away in Little Havana, take a little stroll off of the beaten path to visit historic sites like Overtown, Virginia Key Beach, and Little Haiti to get a taste of what Miami’s black-owned food scene has to offer.
This little piece of Bahamian heaven will fill you with the flavors and history of Nassau. Famous for their conch salad, this restaurant boasts a menu of traditional dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Treat yourself to the fish stew or the oxtails after you inhale a big bowl of their conch salad!
The team behind Lil Greenhouse Grill began as a humble food truck concept before finding its’ home in the heart of Overtown. The menu offers “edgy neo-soul” cuisine including favorites from BBQ to seafood to the best lemon pepper wings in town. Stop in a catch a vibe, you may just roll up on a spoken word, musical performance, or open mic night!
Recently relocated to the heart of Little Haiti, Clive’s is serving the best of Jamaican cuisine. Miami may be hot, but the soup on Fridays is so much hotter! Traditional mannish water soup with goat is local favorite along with their jerk chicken and classic breakfast offerings such as ackee and saltfish. Don’t forget to cool off with any one of their house-made beverages!
Divine is just one way to describe Chef Ingrid Bayoro and her team. Their immaculate plate-ups are heavily influenced by roots deeply connected to the Ivory Coast and Haiti. Expect the best griot in town, and be sure to check out the infamous plantain sandwich along with their excellent cocktails. This budding hotspot is also a great place to start an amazing a night out in the Magic City.
A notable favorite of the late Anthony Bourdain, Chef Creole is a Miami powerhouse for Haitian Creole cuisine. Dive into dishes like grilled conch, crab Creole, and of course, the conch fritters. Pros know to dine in and join a dominoes game in their outdoor dining area. Seated with a beer in hand and a side of pikliz, it’s easy to forget you’re stateside. Locals know to head to the 54th Street location!
Luxury Hotels & Villas List
FLIGHTS / BUS / TICKETS
Flight costs are annoyingly unpredictable. You’ll save the most money if you book 3-6 months out. Miami-Dade Transit (MDT) is the primary public transit authority of Miami, Florida, United States and the greater Miami-Dade County area. Hiring a car can provide you with the much-needed flexibility to travel at your own pace and wander off to offbeat places.
Miami has hundreds of amazing culinary and cultural experiences to enjoy - it would be a shame to miss out. It’s best to book your outings and tables in advance as a steady mix of tourists and locals make this city a busy one. Heard of a must-try Michelin-star restaurant in downtown? Call ahead to avoid super long waiting times - trust us.
Better safe than sorry
While Miami is a safe city with a top-notch medical system it’s always safer to travel with insurance. Not only does it protect personal belongings, but ensures access to expensive medical treatment should the worst happen. If you think you might take part in adventure sports make sure to check whether these are covered too.
Visa on arrival
Nationals from 37 countries, including Canada, Australia, and European Union members, are eligible to apply for Visa Waiver before 72 hours from arrival into the US. If your ESTA Application is denied, you will be required to apply for a B-1 Visitor Visa or B-2 Tourist Visa. Try to ensure you're traveling on a passport with over six months' validity and check with the US Embassy in your respective countries.
For this itinerary, allow 6 nights, 7 days.
ARRIVE: Miami (MIA) in the morning of DAY 1
DEPART: Miami (MIA) in the evening of DAY 7
There are plenty of lodging options available—hotels, B&Bs, hostels—just be sure to secure your accommodation in advance. Airbnb is a great option if you are traveling as a group. (See next page for recommendations.)
Miami, USA | DAY 1 - 7, 6 nights
Some tickets and reservations can be made 1-2 months in advance.
Transfer from Miami Airport to Lodging | DAY 1
Fadó Irish Pub & Restaurant | Dinner DAY 1
Car hire from Miami to Fort Lauderdale| DAY 4
Dolores But You Can Call Me Lolita | Dinner DAY 5
Versailles | Dinner DAY 6
Transfer from Lodging to Airport | DAY 7
Recommended Airlines & Routes
North America: New York City, Orlando, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Chicago, Tampa, Washington d.c., Houston, Cancún, Boston, San Francisco
Asia: Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Doha,Dubai,Tokyo,Denpasar,Hong Kong
Africa/Middle East: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Dakar, Algiers
Australia and Oceania: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Gold Coast, Uluru, Canberra
South America: Lima,Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Aruba, Georgetown, Quito, Brasília, Montevideo
Alaska Airlines has constantly been voted as the best airlines to travel in the US with a high customer satisfaction due to entertainment options, leg room, and complimentary refreshments. Spirit and Frontier offer the most economical options. Delta Air Airlines has the best connectivity with international destinations from Miami.
Apps, Transportation & The ‘Gram
Splitwise | eliminates the headache of bill splitting & a must for group travel
Tripadvisor | a favorite resource for finding off-the-beaten-path restaurants and things to do. However, all reviews are subjective, so don’t obsess over scores
Whatsapp | free text messaging to other Whatsapp users
NobelApp | make cheap calls locally and back home
TRANSIT BOOKING SITES
skyscanner.com | easy to use the website for finding low airfares
google.com/flights | helpful fare prediction technology
https://www.miamidade.gov/transit/metrorail.asp| for metro timetables and hours
https://www.amtrak.com/stations/mia| Regional train timings and tickets
https://www.uber.com/en-CA/cities/miami/ | Uber is a popular mode of transportation in Miami.
For re-posts of your shots, @tag and use the following hashtags:
Miami | @_Miami_city #miami #miamitrip #miaminightlife
USA | @usatodaytravel #ustrip #usatravel
Fort Lauderdale | @_Fort_Lauderdale #fortlauderdale #fortlauderdalemiami
Travel Noire | @travelnoire #travelnoire
The city of Miami gets its name from one of the native tribes that lived in the region in the 17th and 18th centuries, the Mayaimi.
AIRPORT CODE: MIA
Miami Beach is home to the world's largest collection of Art Deco architecture.
12:00 - 2:30 PM LUNCH
7:00 - 11 PM DINNER
VISITORS TO MIAMI IN 2017.
Known as the Cruise Capital of the World, the Port of Miami serves almost 5 million passengers annually and is the busiest cruise port in the world.
TIME ZONE: GMT - 4
Miami is the only major city in the nation to be founded by a woman (Julia Tuttle, called the “Mother of Miami”).
Burger King has the origins in Miami. The first outlet was opened in 1954.
The Harbor City
The city's downtown has the largest concentration of international banks in the US.
TIPPING RULE OF THUMB
Restaurants | Tipping is a part of the culture in the US. Tip 15%-20% of the bill.
Cabs | Leaving 15%-20% of the total amount is the general practice.
SEE YOU, MIAMI!
You’re going to take home some fantastic memories. To ensure you’re journey doesn’t turn sour at the last minute make sure you’ve planned how to get to the airport. Public bus is cheap and is generally reliable but take a taxi if you don’t want to take chances.