Six reasons to visit Miami

By Hannah Louise Summers

Photogrpahy by Daniel Korzeniewski/Alamy

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Whether it’s cool Cuban culture and moreish burgers, or family-friendly fun and alternative art, travel writer Hannah Louise Summers shares six reasons why Miami should be on your holiday ‘must’ list.

Art on the street

Art on the street

You don’t have to visit galleries to admire art, take a stroll around the neighbourhood of Wynwood for streetside art – without a gallery fee. Here, you’ll struggle to walk more than a few metres without stopping to Instagram another mural – from vibrant takes on Bowie and Blondie, to big electric-blue letters spelling out the word ‘Nope’. Although if galleries are more your thing, then Miami’s Pérez Art Museum won’t disappoint for contemporary and modern work from the US, Caribbean and Latin America. To add to the city’s credentials, it also hosts an annual Art Basel event – a 75,000 strong gathering of innovative artists and dealers.

While you’re there, try a pint of ‘The Boss’ at J Wakefield Brewing and soak up the laid-back atmosphere, a perfect antidote to the glammed-up beach scene.

Family fun

Miami may be most known as a playground for young adults, but it’s a great family destination, too. Take the Oleta River State Park – Florida’s largest urban park – where you can kayak or canoe through the wetlands and mangroves spotting wildlife along the way. Elsewhere in the park, there are over 24km of mountain bike trails to explore, with steady uphill climbs, fun descents and shady forested pathways meaning you’ll never get too warm. Need to refuel? Take the family to Surfside, towards the north of Miami. As well as having one of the calmest and prettiest beaches in the city (without the crowds), it’s also home to great dining options. Try Josh’s Deli for a relaxed local restaurant and a menu packed with Josh’s creative twists on brunch staples, from bagels to pancakes.

  • Devour a double-patty burger at Bird & Bone.

    Big Bird

    Quirky Bird & Bone is open Monday to Thursday (07:00-22:00), and Friday and Saturday 07:00-23:00.

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  • See some of the best US street art in Miami’s Wynwood district © Brian Scantlebury/Alamy.

    Street smart

    Wynwood not only has great street art but unique art galleries – check out the Miami Supercar Rooms and the University of Miami Gallery.

  • Escape the gym and keep fit outdoors in Miami.

    Paddle up!

    With year-round sunshine, Miami is a great place to try new sports like paddleboarding, beach boxing or volleyball.

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Burger heaven

You don’t have to head to the likes of New York to devour the best burgers, Miami has some of the best in the US. It’s also home to the newly opened – and world’s first – Burger Museum, the brainchild of Miami blogger, Burger Beast. Here you can admire decades of retro hamburger memorabilia, and may even meet the Beast himself – he’s a pretty big deal in these parts.

For a relaxed restaurant atmosphere, sink into the jazzy cushions at Bird & Bone, and try Chef Hales’ outstanding double-patty burger. For something a little grittier (and great for late-night munchies) pull up a sticky stool at Cheeseburger Baby. If street food’s your thing, then one of the Burger Beast’s monthly food truck gatherings is a great place to soak up some local Miami vibes, while mingling with grandparents, children and dogs devouring tacos, wings and any other food you could hope for.

Mingle with the locals with a game of beach volleyball, or join the joggers pounding the path alongside the beach

Work out

It’s a city overflowing with restaurants – from fine dining with great views to cosy meat joints – but it also comes with a healthy appetite for exercise. Working out in Miami doesn’t have to mean a boring hour in the gym, the options are endless. Hone your core with stand-up paddleboarding over turquoise water at Miami Beach, shake your glutes at a Vixen workout, or embrace the trend for female boxing at South Beach Boxing. The beach is the epicentre of exercise, so mingle with the locals with a game of beach volleyball, or join the joggers pounding the path alongside the beach.

  • Stop by for a cocktail at chic Employees Only at the Washington Park Hotel.

    Staff party

    Contrary to its name, Employees Only is open to all, Monday to Thursday 21:00-05:00, and Friday and Saturday 22:00-05:00.

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Hit the town

Whatever your idea of a night out, Miami’s got it covered. It may be a little touristy, but sipping a giant margarita on Ocean Drive alongside pastel-hued art deco hotels will give you instant ‘I’m on holiday vibes’. For something more chilled, head to Wynwood for the Wood Tavern – a space that operates as a craft beer pouring, cocktail shaking art hub – or Churchill’s in Little Haiti for curry and 80s’ rock classics.

If you want to hang with the sophisticated crowds, try cocktails at Employees Only, a new, retro-styled bar in the Washington Park Hotel on South Beach which serves up killer cocktails, late-night snacks (hello truffle grilled cheese) and offers patrons psychic readings – a must when the liquor takes hold.

Cuban culture

Head to western Miami and you’ll find Little Havana, a laid-back neighbourhood of Latin-style architecture, history and food, that was recently designated a national treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. El Rey de las Fritas is one of the best retro diners on the block, with huge fritas cubanas (a Cuban version of a hamburger loaded with cheese and egg) with a mamey shake on the side (a sweet fruit that’s blended into a thick Vitamin C-packed smoothie).

Follow it up with a mantecado (Cuban vanilla) ice cream at nearby Azucar and enjoy it while wandering along streets where elderly gents have settled in for an afternoon of dominoes. Don’t miss the neighbourhood’s first museum, El Museo de Little Havana, due to open its doors late 2017.

Plan your trip to Miami

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