3 Dos and Don’ts in (South Beach) Miami

January 22nd, 2017

I’ve been to Miami twice now, once in 2015 and December 2016 just gone (for my honeymoon). I’m no expert on South Beach Miami but I do have some helpful tips for those planning to go there for the first time this year.

Firstly, South Beach Miami is not the best representation of Miami on the whole; apologies for those well versed in geography but Miami is a city within the state of Florida.

Population: Florida = 19 million, Miami = 420,00, South Beach Miami = 40,000.

For those from London, South Beach Miami is what Canary Wharf is to London. Expect expensive restaurants, nice cars, random celebrity appearances (randomly walked past Hugh Hefner last time), and no sleep.

We’ll get the negatives out the way so here are 3 DON’TS when you head over to the city that never sleeps.

DON’T…

  1. Purchase any bar crawl/club crawl wrist bands: There are a number of prowling adults dressed in red T-shirts, sniffing out the local Miamians from the lost, confused and wandering tourists…Don’t give in. They willl approach you and ask what you’re doing that night, chances are you haven’t got a clue. They’ll then tell you about some of the hottest clubs in Miami, that the clubs near your hotel aren’t great and they know better. Of course they would, they live here….You think. You’re already lured in. They tell you about the amazing bar crawls they have going on at the weekend, that Mayweather himself clubs at one of their final destinations, that you yourself…you lost, peasant of a tourist, could very well be sharing the same Co2 as Miami’s A-lister celebs. They then drop the bomb, that it’s $85.00 per person, but that includes queue jump, free drinks and the time of your life. Put it this way…If you wouldn’t pay for a bar crawl (post-university) in your own country, then why do it abroad? The bars they take you to for the most part are free on any given evening, the free drinks taste like apple sours and the final destinations tend to be Miami’s hottest clubs but unless you’re willing to pay the equivalent of £50.00 for a CUP of gin and tonic, then don’t bother…NEXT.
    Suggestion: Ask the locals which clubs to hit up. You have to try Mango’s Cafe, it’s a Latin club so lots of Latin music will be played but it’s so fun. LIV and Dream are expensive but play good music and the Clevelander is good fun; music, sports and food.
  2. Underestimate how much you will spend: South Beach Miami is expensive, as I said, think Canary Wharf in London. That’s not to say that walking for about 15 minutes to find a restaurant on the outskirts of South Beach might be cheaper, which they are. If you don’t live in a country where service charge is a respectable and expected thing, then you will be in for a shock. $25 dollars for that meal seems reasonable until they add on the tax and the service charge, which might I add you basically have to pay. There are always added costs so always work it out before putting yourself in a “crap…how much?” position.Suggestion: For one person staying in South Beach Miami for around 4 days, I’d suggest taking around $550.00 with you.
  3. Stay in one place: Miami is a huge place, if you have enough time, travel out a bit, you must speak to locals about good restaurant spots and they will most likely tell you places that aren’t in South Beach. Don’t walk around aimlessly, you’re in Florida, there are areas where it’s probably best you avoid if you don’t want to end up on Worldstar for being punched up by oversized 15 year olds from Haiti.
    Suggestion: Ask the locals!

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DO…

  1. Use Ubers: Yeah, duh, obvious. You say this but I saw so many tourists using cabs, I get that…they’re a cool mustard colour but let’s not break the bank where possible. Ubers are efficient, cheaper and you meet the best people. When I was in Miami with my husband we got talking to so many Uber drivers, they give you the ins and outs of Miami, suggest great places to visit, a lot of them are chauffeurs for the “celebs” in Miami so they have some crazy stories to tell too. Be sociable and jump in an Uber at least once.
  2. Visit Sum Yung Gai: Oh my gosh. It’s a Chinese Restaurant on Washington Avenue…Order their Orange Chicken and thank me later. The owner looks like an undercover snitch from a horror movie but take no notice, she’s cool peeps. Their address is: 1403 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139
  3. Visit Zoological Wildlife Foundation: This is not to be confused with the Miami Zoo or Jungle Island. This particular Zoo is an experience “zoo”, it’s technically a reservation. It’s very expensive but it’s a once in a life time experience. In very small groups of no more than 8 people, you get to wander around this tropical-looking zoo where you can play with baby monkeys, feed giraffes, see lions up close and if you pay extra you can play with their cub lions, tigers or other small animals. You will be covered in mosquitos bites afterwards so make sure you take some sort of repellent. It costs around $85 per person for the general tour and about $80+ for the personal experience with different pets. If you are staying in South Beach then make sure you order your Uber ahead of time and give yourself 45 minutes to get there, both times in an Uber our driver got a little lost as it’s very tucked away, and if you miss your appointment at the Zoo you have to take the next one which could be 2 hours from then, so you cannot be late.

Hotels to stay at: I stayed at Hotel Victor and Dream Hotel, they’re a 2 minute walk from each other. They are both absolutely stunning hotels so I’d recommend either.