Miami, it is an interesting place. There are parts full of history and rich with culture. And also parts that are false and tacky, full of tourist attractions and people in minimal clothing. Whichever you prefer is up to you. I managed to get the best of both worlds.
Little Havana: Little Havana is a vibrant and exciting Cuban neighborhood full of colourful murals, old men arguing about politics whilst playing dominoes and some great food. Here were my highlights!
CAFE VERSAILLES: This Cafe is known all around Miami for it authentic and delicious Cuban food. And it is all crazy cheap. Whilst out of the way of most other tourist spots, this cafe is worth the trip. When I got there on Saturday morning, me and my 2 friends where the only English girls in the place, it was incredible hearing everyone around us speaking a variety of Spanish and Cuban, and seeing people from all walks of life. We tried a variety of the small foods and I would have to say the highlight was the Guava Pastry! This is a must try, the empanada and croquettes that I had were also pretty great too.
AZUCAR ICECREAM COMPANY: The ice cream at this shop is incredible as it the building itself. As you walk in you will immediately notice the amazingly beautiful coloured tiles on the floor. The interior is lovely, but the ice cream is the real highlight. There are plenty of flavours to choose from as well as the ability to take some home from later. Get a few scoops and enjoy next door at the bar that has great live music.
CALLE OCHO: This street is full of life, lots of local shops to visit, cigar factories and locals happy to have a chat. There is also the domino park that you often see in movies in this street which is worth a visit. This domino park is full of old men talking politics, sports and everything in between.
See CIGARS MADE at EL CREDITO CIGAR FACTORY: Little Havana is full of cigar factories and here is one of the finest. Enter and you will be overwhelmed by the smell of tobacco but if you can handle it, stay to watch the old men hand rolling cigars to sell starting from just a few dollars.
South Beach is a place like no else, it is full of scantilly clad women, body building men, beaches and some pretty nice cocktail spots. Take your pick of activities, relax and take in the view.
SHOPPING: There are plenty of shops around South Beach but the main street to get a big hit of shops is on Lincoln Road, from Steve Madden and Victoria’s Secret to some pretty interesting Costume stores, check it out.
HAVANA 1957: If you want to experience some Cuban food, but stay within the south beach area this restaurant offers quality, tasty Cuban food for a relatively good price (for South Beach restaurants). I went to the one on Espanola Way but there are others also located on Lincoln Road and one in South Miami Ave (Brickell End).
The food we got included the croquettas (yummy), a chicken on the grill special which was incredible and also the Vaca Frita which was really nice. Ask the waiter what he recommends though, our provided some great ideas.
SOUTH BEACH: Go down to the actual south beach and walk along it, take in the beach huts and people sun bathing and maybe have a lie down yourself. I was lucky enough to see some body building and street art when I was there which was great fun. Also grab a cocktail at one of the many bars along the street to quench your thirst.
JOES STONE SHELL CRAB: This restaurant is one of the oldest in Miami and has been serving up stone shell crab since 1913. The stone shell crab is expensive, but amazing, share one or two between a few people and get some of the amazing sides. My favourite was the hash browns and the fried chicken looked amazing.
Be sure to save room for dessert – try the brownie!
Also check opening times of the restaurant and aim to get there just before it opens. We got there at 5:45pm for a 6pm opening and got in straight away but by the time we left at 7pm the wait was 2 hours long. The bar also opens before the restaurant so get down early, and have a drink whilst you wait.
CLUBBING- This is a must do in south beach if you are a partier but check out with the locals where the best clubs are. And be prepared to dress in very little, or wait a while if you are a group of guys with no girls.