The city is known for having a nightclub and party scene. At the risk of sounding old and lame, I much prefer to spend my evenings out at relaxed pubs and quiet bars with cosy atmospheres.
Miami is also the one of the most visited cities in the US. With over 15 million annual visitors, I feared that the city would be a touristy sell-out and that I’d feel claustrophobic in the crowded streets.
But surprisingly, the city actually made an impression on me. Yes, it was a little touristy, and yes, there was a trashy nightclub scene, but those things didn’t ruin it. Miami had a certain beachy charm that flowed throughout the city, even in the busy areas.
We didn’t have a lot of time in Miami, but it was fairly easy to see the main attractions in a day. If you’re heading to Florida anytime soon, here’s how to spend one perfect day in Miami + a fun video of our Miami activities!
South Beach is where most people stay when they visit Miami. This famous beach is where you’ll find those iconic colourful beach structures where the lifeguards hang out.
I know from experience that the most popular beach is often overrated, but I honestly loved South Beach. It wasn’t too busy, and I really enjoyed chilling on the sand and watching people surfing, paddle-boarding, jogging, and generally enjoying the pleasant December weather.
My favourite activity in Miami was riding bicycles along the concrete boardwalk at South Beach. The boardwalk starts at South Pointe Pier and follows the shoreline up to Miami Beach. We used free bikes from our hotel near South Beach, but you can also rent bicycles or use the Citibike bike share program.
If you want to learn about the history of the area while you’re roaming the beach, you can do a South Beach by bicycle tour.
11AM: Art Deco District
I’m a huge fan of Art Deco architecture. It might be because I have a background in graphic design, but I just can’t help but love the grandeur and glamour that comes along with this architectural style.
The Art Deco district lines Ocean Drive along South Beach. Most of the buildings in this historic district are just a few stories tall and have strangely charming combination of 1930s Art Deco and bright neon lights. If you want to learn about each of these unique buildings, try a South Beach art deco walking tour.
This area is also where you’ll find a whole bunch of nightclubs and beach bars. It can be rather trashy, but if that’s your thing, then by all means go back at night time, purchase some overpriced drinks, and listen to blaring club music until the early hours.