• 3 Days in Miami: Little Havana, Wynwood, and more

3 Days in Miami: Little Havana, Wynwood, and more

It’s been long overdue but I finally made it to and spent 3 days in Miami. Now that I know the area, I almost want to start watching the Real Housewives of Miami so I can be like “oh, I went there!”. I drove down from Kissimmee with my mom in our rental car (from Sixt, who FYI charged us crazy amounts for the tolls) and it took about 3 hours I think. Next time I come to Florida, I’ll get the Sunpass for the tolls.

3 Days in Miami: how my mom and I spent our time

Where to Stay Near South Beach

We checked in at a super cute hotel called Sense Beach House which was right next to South Beach. I was a little overwhelmed at first as it was their Sunday brunch and we weren’t sure where the actual hotel entrance was – and we had the car pulled over in a no-park zone. But, they told us to unload and the valet would come. Valet was $29 a night but the nearby lot was charging $31 per night and it was just a dude packing cars in as tight as they’d fit so valet was the best choice there. When getting around we just did Uber as parking is kind of stressful around Miami and isn’t free.

Where to Stay Near South Beach

Where to Stay Near South Beach

Our room was really nice, large, and had a wrap around balcony that you could see the ocean from. Each of the 18 rooms are different in this boutique hotel. There is a rooftop pool here as well which we did use since the beach was really crowded for the weekend. There was even a surf board shower up there!

Where to Stay Near South Beach

Where to Stay Near South Beach

We had brunch at their restaurant, The Local House, and it was the bomb. My mom was in love with her eggs benedict.

Where to Stay Near South Beach

Where to Stay Near South Beach

South Beach & Ocean Drive

We spent Sunday walking around South Beach and Ocean Drive (the road that runs parallel to the beach). You can walk up from 5th to 13th street to see all the famous Art Deco buildings. We didn’t have time to check out what was on Lincoln Road that night, but apparently it’s a don’t miss for nightlife and designer shops so I’ll have to go there next time.

South Beach & Ocean Drive

So-Fi (South of Fifth)

For dinner, we did a restaurant hop around the area our hotel was in called So-Fi (South of Fifth). I was told this is a really cool up and coming spot that will be getting even more cool restaurants in bars in the next year or two.

South Beach & Ocean Drive

South Beach & Ocean Drive

We first went to Cibo, a fancy Italian wine bar. There was a wine cellar in the middle of the room with glass walls and you can see the wine tastings going on inside. We got to have one which was set up by the tourism board. Whenever they need a bottle from the top, the woman in there puts on a harness and goes up to get the wine! She does little tricks and everyone in the restaurant started taking pictures. It was really cool. I think we let the girl doing the wine tasting down when the only smells we could guess where “winey” and the taste was “grape” haha, okay we weren’t THAT bad, but we were pretty bad. Their bread was the best bread I think I’ve ever had though – but we were off to our next stop for dinner.

So-Fi (South of Fifth)

So-Fi (South of Fifth)

For dinner, we ate at the popular restaurant, Red, the Steakhouse. THIS PLACE WAS AMAZING. You have to eat here when you come to Miami! By the way, all of these places I’m mentioning have been walkable from our hotel. Mom had a steak and I had the veal parmigiana (kicking myself that I chose steak & eggs at breakfast and was steak’d out!) Turns out, the veal was out of this world and as big as my head. Everything was so so tasty here. It was expensive, like $50 for a steak but that’s the same price as a chain like Ruth’s Chris (only way better).

So-Fi (South of Fifth)

As we walked back to our hotel, we stopped in at South Pointe Tavern. The menu had really unique drinks on it. I got the Miami State of Mind because it had jalapenos in it and mom got one with Pimms.

So-Fi (South of Fifth)

Downtown Miami

Our second day in Miami, we had two tours scheduled which are the top two tours in Miami and you wouldn’t want to miss them: a graffiti tour of Wynwood and a culinary tour of Little Havana.

So-Fi (South of Fifth)

But, we didn’t have anything until noon so since we were headed out that way via Uber, we got dropped off at the Brickell City Centre because it’s a new mall there. It was mostly really fancy brands but some affordable things like Zara and Bath & Body Works.

I went into Caudalie and had a fantastic massage. I think was going through withdrawal since I have them almost weekly in Asia!

Little Havana Food Tour – Don’t Miss This!

I showed up to this tour hungry like they said to which wasn’t hard because I show up to everything hungry. I’m just always ready to eat (it’s a skill). Our tour was with Miami Culinary Tours (the #1 company there) and we met for the start at Agustin Gainza Arts And Tavern which was part of the tour. Go early and get a coffee there! 

miami culinary tour little havana

miami culinary tour little havana

miami culinary tour little havana

miami culinary tour little havana

I was surprised how small Little Havana is. It was hardly any walking to hit up all the famous places. I feel like I shouldn’t give them all away as then they might lose business, but I sort of already tagged each place on Instagram Stories (whoops).

miami culinary tour little havana

miami culinary tour little havana

miami culinary tour little havana

miami culinary tour little havana

miami culinary tour little havana

miami culinary tour little havana

miami culinary tour little havana

miami culinary tour little havana

miami culinary tour little havana

But, we went to all the top spots to try empanadas, their unique coffee, a REAL mojito where Billy Holiday used to play, the best Cuban sandwich, a guava pastry, and a local ice cream shop that does Cuban flavors. But we also learned about the culture and their past with America and, of course, stopped into a Cuban cigar shop (where they were making them in front of us). At one point we went to a fruit stall which was funny because we tried sugar cane juice (a key drink in India!).

My mom and I liked this best of everything we did in Miami.

Grafitti Tour in Wynwood Art District

You can’t do a graffiti tour with anyone except Miami’s Best Graffiti Guide if you want a truly authentic tour. Our guide Ryan “the wheelbarrow” is a graffiti artist himself and knows the other artists personally. It was a unique tour and it was a time to finally understand how these artists actually make a living doing this (as it’s not actually just kids scribbling – it’s serious).

… but it was also a good time for me to get some cool pictures for Instagram and by the looks of it that is what other people were doing, too!

graffiti tour wynwood

graffiti tour wynwood

graffiti tour wynwood

graffiti tour wynwood

graffiti tour wynwood

graffiti tour wynwood

graffiti tour wynwood

graffiti tour wynwood

graffiti tour wynwood

graffiti tour wynwood

Little Havana is very close to Wynwood so if you go to both I recommend using Uber and not worrying about parking. For short distances like this we did the Uber Carpool and since the distance was so short no one else needed a ride at the same time + it was like 1/4 of the price. 

What else?

That night we checked out the Design District but were so stuffed we didn’t even have dinner and crashed out early since we were going to do stand up paddle board the next morning. The Design District has luxury shops, boutique local shops and of course artist’s galleries. Whenever I see famous people on Instagram in Miami, they always tag this area so it must be the “cool place”.

The last thing we did in Miami was SUP before driving down to the keys. We went to Sailboards Miami to do this but they don’t just do SUP, they actually do windsurfing classes here! I’d love to learn that one day, too. You can park here for free and that was lucky since we drove straight from here to the Keys!

If we had more time we would have done a barre class at Exhale Spa, and Española Way/Washington Avenue Shopping District but unfortunately, time did not allow… another reason to come back!

Pin 3 days in Miami for later:

This post is in collaboration with Visit Florida. I was compensated for my time in being in Miami and writing this article.

2017-07-28T04:26:56+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing to live on the beaches of Goa, India almost four years ago where she is now a travel writer. Her website gives advice on the 35+ countries she's been to but has become the go-to site for India travel, focusing on offbeat places & “glamorous travel”. Hippie in Heels has been featured in ELLE magazine, Tripadvisor, and Thomas Cook. Her blog is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world based on traffic. She also enjoys writing for BravoTV.

4 Comments

  1. Vidyut Rautela July 31, 2017 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    Rachel,

    Seems you and your mom had too much fun!

    Loved the decor of Sense Beach House – shades of white and grey – did you also consciously match your dress ? Anyway, it came out very well.

    • Rachel Jones July 31, 2017 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      No, I wish I thought that much ahead to pack to match, but it worked out well. It was a beautiful room!

  2. Renuka Walter July 31, 2017 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Wow! I didn’t know Miami was so mother-daughter destination, too! The bars and restaurants that you mentioned look super cool. The hotel looks so plush and comfy.

    • Rachel Jones July 31, 2017 at 10:50 pm - Reply

      Yeah, I mean we definitely didn’t go clubbing haha! It has a family-friendly side too :)

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