Miami & its friendly side – 1 day itinerary
October 27, 2018
I would like to dedicate this post to a person close to my heart, the one who managed to make me visit a place I have never been particularly interested about.
Miami is familiar to many of us from American movies and series. Ocean Drive with its palm trees, the sandy beaches with skyscrapers in the distance, large luxury yachts, wide roads with up to 6-7-lanes, bridges linking islands that belong to Miami and the giant ships – all that is part of Miami. I have to admit that I never really wanted to visit this southern US city, I thought that I would not like it too much. Then I experienced it and realised that Miami has its likeable side too – at least for me.
Many people fly over the Atlantic ocean from Europe to Miami to be part of a Caribbean cruise. The ships that cruise around the Caribbean with the curious tourists depart from the well-known harbor of Miami.
Many times people may not even have too much time for Miami itself, but if they do, they might not be able to experience the most of it. True that, we’ve spent more than just a day in this American city because of our friend, so we managed to have more great experiences – and of course – firsthand. From my favorite experiences in the city I put together a whole day itinerary – the way I’d experience Miami in a day. Rent a car for the below or ride in Uber.
Breakfast at Jimmy’s
Let’s start the day with a good American breakfast, after all we are in the USA – we though that it’s a great idea at least 1 time. I know that all the pancakes with the maple syrup, scrambled eggs, roasted bacon, the white & sweet toast bread and hash-brown is not too dietary but once in a while one can treat her- or himself with such start for the day. And definitely it gives energy for a day packed with intensive programs. Once we decide to have a real American breakfast, it’s also good to find a real American-style diner. Jimmy’s Eastside Diner (7201 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138, USA) was our friend’s suggestion and it didn’t disappoint us at all.
It’s an absolutely typical place where from one side we can slide on benches cowered with burgundy coloured leather, where single dining people are sipping on their dark hot drink that shouldn’t be called coffee, to be honest. Where coloured vitrage curtains are covering part of the windows and where 70-year-old Auntie Lizzie or Uncle Jimmy (or whatever they are called) walk around in their aprons, with jugs in their hands offering guests some coffee every two minutes. For me Jimmy’s represented all that real American breakfast should offer.
It’s good to move the heavy breakfast off somehow, so a walk in Wynwood would do the job and it’s definitely fun.
Wynwood earlier was Miami’s industrial district. Today the walls of the buildings are covered in huge colourful paintings that reflect the atmosphere of the quarter. Since the early 2000s, this special district has attracted more and attention. Investors came and created Wynwood Walls, which is essentially a permanent rotating street exhibition. In addition to the graffitis there is a lot of emphasis on fashion too, so if someone wants to get some unique garments, definitely it’s the place for the hunt.
Beer lovers can choose from a handful of local local breweries. The Concrete Beach Brewery (325 NW 24th St, Miami, FL 33127, USA) not only provides a pleasant atmosphere with its tasteful interior design, but we can get a glimpse of the secrets of beer making process through a huge glass wall.
It’s worth to taste their 4-line selection where we can combine the 4 types of different beers.
Bill Baggs Cape Park
After a visit in the Wynwood Art district and local breweries we could be ready for more of a close-to-nature experience. The perfect location for that is Bill Baggs Cape.
Here stands majestically the historic lighthouse, which was built in 1825 and is the oldest preserved building in Miami-Dade County. The park itself was named after a journalist who was an activist at the same time and fought to protect this area to keep its natural beauty from investors who wanted to build hotels and seaside homes here. Thanks to God that Bill’s efforts have been successful, and Miami now has a huge and beautiful green area that is not far from the downtown area at all (about 17 km).
You can’s just enter the park, the fee is $ 8 for a car (2-8 people), $ 2 for pedestrians or cyclists and a $ 4 for motorbikes or car with 1 person in it.
If we are lucky, walking on the western side of the island we can spot some manatees and in the park we can see many different species of birds.
Climb up to the top of the lighthouse (opens at 10am and the entry is free of charge) and admire the Miami skyline from above. Then take a short visit to the house where the guard and maintainer of the lighthouse lived with his family.
Before getting back to the noisy city, it’s a great idea to cool off in the ocean (north of the tower, on the east coast) and have lunch at Lighthouse Cafe.
Miami Beach & Ocean Drive
Let’s continue the day at Miami Beach which is basically located on another island. This is the real Miami! I mean it is what we know from the movies and pictures, so obviously it’s a must-visit place for the day!
If you are driving by car, park in Nikki Beach Miami (66 Ocean Dr Parking). You can buy tickets from a vending machine at the parking lot.
The ocean is only a few steps away from the parking lot. And it really looks like in the movies. Fine, soft, cream-coloured sand, beautiful turquoise water, colorful lifeguard towers a few meters away from each other. In the background there are lined up some luxury apartment buildings, palm trees planted in front of them, gulls and pelicans flying over our heads. If someone is looking for hidden places, he is at the wrong place.
Technically this is the southern part of the island, here is the famous pier of Miami Beach, the South Pointe Pier. Locals often come her for a walk, but even to run and work out.
2 km north of the pier there is the Miami Clock Tower. Well, it’s not exactly a clock-tower, at least not what I’m used to, like the Prague Orloj, but it’s Miami’s and tourists like to check it out and take a picture with it. So did we. And we had a very strong reason to pose for a photograph here: we celebrated our girlfriend’s birthday, so it was a must to indicate that day’s date and in addition we needed to have champagne in our hands, ATTENTION! It’s prohibited to drink alcohol in public in USA, alcohol glasses or bottles cannot even be seen so they have to be put into a paper bag or a plastic bag that is not transparent! We were only posing with the champagne glass …
We can reach the clock from the oceanfront or through Ocean Drive that is lined up with beautiful, tall palm trees on both sides.
Monty’s on South Beach
At the end of a busy day, when the sun drained all of our energy, we dipped in the cool water, it’s time to move on. Monty’s (300 Alton Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA) restaurant on the west side of the island is the perfect venue for closing the day. It’s a place to sit down, seize the moment and enjoy the environment, while the extremely friendly staff with a big smile on their cheeks do their job.
From Monday to Friday, from 4PM to 8PM they have Happy Hours.
Order some small bites (I recommend shrimp basket – it was super delightful) or a Monty’s burger with homemade french fries, a mohito or a margarita to come with it, lean back and watch the sunset behind the yachts in the harbor and Miami skyscrapers in the background.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the prices seen at Monty’s. For a good portion of burger they asked for $ 14 and we paid $ 5 for cocktails at happy hour. Ok, these prices are still higher than our prices in Eastern Europe (although there are some places in Budapest that have similar tariffs) but hey, we had a magical sunset and a superb venue come with our dinner and cocktails.