Over the past two years I’ve made a number of trips to South Beach and have truly fallen in love with Miami. As an East Coaster, Miami is an accessible destination for sun and sand. The city has so much to offer, from rest and relaxation, to insane nightlife. Miami feels like a true departure from most U.S. cities. I love the vibrant mixing of cultures in Miami and how they result in an amazing culinary, music, and design scene. The Kimpton Surfcomber is my home away from home, and when I’m not hanging out by the pool, I love trying new spots and learning more about this dynamic city. Although I continue to explore new areas with each trip to Miami, I’m excited to share some of my favorite spots so far.
Brunch- I often find myself walking away from restaurants with a plant-based focus feeling hungry. I never feel that way at Dirt, a “counter casual” spot, conveniently located on the same block as Barry’s Bootcamp and Flywheel Sports. Dirt offers a wide variety of salads, sandwiches, and entrees that feel substantial and sometimes indulgent, but tend to be paleo, vegetarian, or vegan. The fact that my red meat-loving dad enjoyed his sandwich from Dirt is a testament to their crowd-pleasing menu options.
Cafe- For someone who drinks coffee every day, I tend to be pretty indiscriminate about the stuff I drink. I mean, I know Dunkin Donuts is bad, but for the most part I can’t really tell what differentiates great coffee from the good or average. That is not the case when it comes to Panther Coffee. I can confidently say Panther is the best coffee I’ve ever had. I can actually taste the notes of vanilla in their cold brew, it’s that good. It’s also located near my favorite workout spots in Sunset Harbor, which makes it the perfect post-exercise treat.
Specialty- Miami is well known for their intense, club-driven nightlife scene. But, when you’re not in the mood for LIV, there are plenty of great options for a more casual night out. Lagniappe has the vibe of a lively wine night, in a friend’s beautiful backyard. Part wine store, part cheese shop, part live music venue—Lagniappe is perfect for a big group. Go with friends, grab a picnic table under the string lights outside, then head inside to select a few bottles of wine and create your own charcuterie platter at the cheese counter.
If you want your night to continue, head around the corner to Wood Tavern, located across the street from Wynwood Walls. The drinks are reasonably priced and served in solo cups, the outdoor dance floor is almost always crowded, and you can buy tacos from a food truck in the back. It’s my favorite place to go out in Miami.
Drinks- The obvious choice here is Broken Shaker. The casual poolside bar at the Freehand is iconic for their creative cocktails. If you’re not interested in spending $18 on your cocktail, I have another suggestion for a hip place to grab a drink. My favorite cocktail is an affordable one, which is why I love the happy hour at PubBelly so much. Located in trendy Sunset Harbor, they serve happy hour every day, with inventive cocktails for $8, wine and sake for $6, and beer for $4. They also offer many of their Asian-inspired food items at a discounted rate during happy hour. Don’t miss the elote!
Dinner- Joe’s Stone Crab has been operating in South Beach for over 100 years and there’s a reason for their continued success. The massive restaurant is a well-oiled machine, providing truly excellent service to heads-of-state and tourists alike. While they’re famous for their stone crabs, I prefer menu items like their $7 fried chicken, chopped salad, Lyonnaise potatoes, and of course, the key lime pie. Joe’s is open from October to May and does not accept reservations. Put your name on the list and grab a drink in their courtyard while you wait for your table, their dirty martini is one of the best I’ve ever had.
Activity- Miami is one of the most active places I’ve ever visited. In the morning it feels like everyone is out in the sun, getting some exercise in. The people watching is incredible. I love borrowing a bike from our hotel or renting a city bike and riding along the beachside boardwalk all the way to South Pointe Pier. The pier gives you a gorgeous vantage point of South Beach and you can watch massive cruise ships and cargo ships enter the port of Miami.
If you’re looking to get out of South Beach or downtown Miami for a bit, head to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The grand former estate of James Deering is located in Coconut Grove and has some of the most stunning views of Key Biscayne. Spend an afternoon getting lost in the dreamy Tuscan style gardens.