Hello hello! I am back home from a quick weekend away in Miami with lots of photos and stories to share.
As a little Christmas gift, Marco booked us a trip to Miami to spend the weekend exploring South Beach. He was already travelling for work, and we decided Miami would be a great spot for us to meet for a weekend away at the end of his trip.
I flew into Miami on Friday night and arrived super late. I checked into the hotel and relaxed before hitting the hay. Marco was scheduled to fly in super early the next morning–the cost of flights were just better that way.
So, bright and early on Saturday morning (ahem, 7:30am), he was knocking on the hotel door. Have you and your spouse ever met in a city before? There is something so fun, and kind of romantic about it (despite my bleary-eyed tiredness of travelling all evening & going to bed at 2am 😉 ). This was the fourth time we’ve done it and it’s such a sweet way to reunite.
We ended up sleeping for a few more hours before heading out to explore South Beach.
Our hotel was pretty central, but still about a mile and half (2kms for my Canadian girls) to the main drag + hot spots. Marco found an amazing Cuban restaurant for lunch on Tripadvisor, so off we went in search of our first meal of the day (thank goodness for hotel room coffee makers!).
It took us about half an hour to get there on foot, but once we arrived, the buzzing Puerto Sagua did not disappoint! Despite it being mid afternoon, the restaurant was jammed and they called to us as we walked in to grab the two remaining spots down at the far end of the bar. A little ‘hole in the wall’ type spot with friendly service, tight tables and a slight 50’s feel, we were excited with the vibe.
We ended up ordering two traditional cuban dishes, a cuban sandwich to share (which served as a great snack later while out shopping) and two iced coffees that they make with shaved ice–very cool. The food was phenomenal and would you believe I didn’t even snap a pic?! As someone who needs to eat as soon as I get up, you can imagine how crazy hangry I was getting by this time and just dove right in!
On top of that, the restaurant did not die down in the hour we were there and the people just kept coming. It was crazy! If there is one spot you need to eat at for traditional and killer Cuban food, make it this one because we were so happy.
After shopping along the main area in Miami Beach and checking out Ocean Avenue, we decided to hop in an Uber and head to the Brickell City Centre–an awesome outdoor mall that has some amazing stores (ie. All Saints, Saks, Zara, Intermix, Addict, Lululemon, etc.). Just the look of the mall is stunning–multiple floors, outdoor escalators, beautiful design aesthetics and more. It was gorgeous.
The photo above is taken ‘in’ the mall, looking out to the street below, and the photo below is a few hours later when it was dark.
We really took our time and shopped around, and actually, neither of us bought anything, but it was fun to get out and explore. Sometimes I just need that to satisfy a shopping fix!
How crazy is that condo in the background with the sphere cut out!? We stood there staring at it for a solid three minutes, what an insanely cool design. This was taken at one end of the mall where there is a little patio and some restaurants nearby.
I’m not sure why I didn’t think we would be walking a ton, but were were! On the first day, I wore my gladiator sandals (which are not broken in) and by the time we finished our Cuban lunch and walked around a little more, I was in the grumpiest mood! My feet hurt so bad, plus it was kind of chilly and here I was looking all tourist in my jean skirt & off shoulder top.
Anyway, we popped into Aldo and there wasn’t much I was loving but I did find these cute furry slides. I asked to try them on in black, but sure enough they didn’t have my size #bigfeet #thestruggleisreal, but they did have my size in the burgundy colour–so I went with it. Immediate sweet, sweet feet relief! Haha. I ended up wearing the slides for the rest of the trip. Best $11 spent! 😉
That night, we headed out to dinner for Mexican at a cool spot called Tequiztlan. Since we arrived later in the evening, it wasn’t very busy, but the place had a great atmosphere. We drank margaritas and watched them make guacamole from scratch at our table. The tacos were amazing and we had such a great time just chatting and enjoying a night out in some beautiful weather.
The next morning we agreed to get up early and make the most of our final day. I had read rave reviews about a hot diner for breakfast the day before, so was determined we hit it up to see what it was about. Again, we walked, and it took about half an hour but it was totally worth it!
The 11th Street Diner is just off the beaten path, but right off the hub of South Beach. They offer tons of seating inside and outside–we sat on the patio and it was adorable–and if you’re on a budget, you can get bacon & eggs for $4. The decor is totally 50’s-60’s diner, and the patio was more modern.
Afterwards, we meandered down to the beach to check out the ocean. Although I’m not one for usually laying on the beach all day, I definitely wanted to see the ocean while in Miami, and that we did. The waves were quite aggressive and no one was really swimming, but there were plenty of people around. Mind you, then again it was only about 70F so it wasn’t the warmest of days either.
We ended up walking back to our hotel to relax for a bit, played some pool in the lobby/bar area and watched the football game.
Another high point? We ordered Uber Eats! Haha, since moving, our area no longer delivers Uber Eats so we always love to take advantage of it when we’re travelling and need a quickie food fix. Marco found a great one for acai bowls and ordered me two; one for that afternoon and another for the next day’s early morning departure to the airport *insert praising emoji hands*
On our last night we ate at Bella Cuba, which was a cute little spot, again just off the beaten path. Definitely nothing fancy to write home about, but the food was excellent and I wanted one last Cuban fix before we left.
After we got back to the hotel, we packed everything up and went to bed and were up at 3:45am to head off to the airport and back home to the snow. Overall it was a great trip, with tons of walking, great food and some relaxing in between. I’m going to outline the places we ate, stayed, etc. below just as an easy way to recap everything & as always, thanks for reading. xo
MIAMI / SOUTH BEACH AT A GLANCE
HOTEL | The Gates
Slightly off the beaten path, but an easy walk or $6 Uber ride to the happening parts of South Beach. Very modern, with a chic mid-century meets beach theme throughout the hotel. Formerly an Aloft hotel and now owned by Hilton, they’ve basically kept the decor elements super similar (love that. We stayed at Aloft in Tampa for one night during this trip). I will say, we were a little concerned with the reviews on TripAdvisor, at first, because the majority were really negative. We always read reviews before staying anywhere, and had found this place, fell in love, then read the reviews and reneged. However, after digging a little deeper, and calling the hotel itself to ensure the construction was over, we decided to take a chance and book it. In the end, it was a great call, and I would definitely stay there again. The staff were friendly, the rooms are super chic, the bed is comfortable, everything felt really clean and the price for location can’t really be beat.
EAT | Cuban food is a must!
Miami has a huge Cuban community and if you like flavourful food, this is a must! Puerto Sagua was our fave meal of the trip, just unreal flavours, authentic vibe and surprisingly right in the heart of South Beach. Bella Cuba was an easy spot to get to, also very down to earth but a little more expensive. We loved the Mexican food at Tequiztlan & it was so cool how they brought a cart to your table to make the guacamole (if you order it). The acai bowls were from Berri Bar & even Marco said they were better than the ones we had in California. And finally, looking for a great breakfast? The 11th Street Diner is off the main drag, food and service are delicious and can also be budget friendly with breakfast from $4.
If you’re looking to check out the beach and still get your shopping fix, you’re in luck. There are shops all along Collins Avenue (between 6th and 8th avenue), which runs parallel to Ocean Drive; the road that runs along the beach. Spots include H&M, Free People, Zara, Steve Madden, Dash, Tommy Hilfiger, Club Monaco, Urban Planet, Aldo, Armani and a ton more. If you forgot to pack something, there are plenty of places to grab a replacement steps from the beach.
If you’re looking for a little more structure, the Lincoln Road Mall is a fun spot for walking around outside and popping into shops. More restaurants than shopping, I would suggest this spot if you’re looking to meander, check out local vendors and casually pop in and out. Stores like Steve Madden, Victoria’s Secret, Lululemon, All Saints, Gap, BCBG, Zara, Forever 21, Banana Republic, Madewell, SuperDry, J. Crew and more. The centre walkway is also used for tables and tents so you can dine outside.
And finally, for the serious shopper, you must check out the Brickell City Centre, which is a 15 minute Uber ride into the mainland with the most outstanding aesthetic. This mall is absolutely stunning and boasts several higher end stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Giuseppe Zanotti, Stuart Weitzman, All Saints, Intermix, Kiton, Diptyque, Iro (coming soon) & more. More budget friendly places include Zara, Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Apple, Lululemon etc.
GET AROUND | Uber (use code h48si to get a free ride!)
If were weren’t walking around Miami Beach & South Beach, we were taking an Uber. Rides were fairly average for fare and we always took an Uber at night for dinner.
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