If you are looking for a winter escape, there is no better place than Miami. Miami is a beautiful city with great weather, clear water beaches, and of course, lots of places to party. Miami is a city that has plenty of things to which makes it the perfect place for your next vacation, celebration, or group getaway.
Planning a trip to Miami this winter or anytime throughout the year? Use this travel guide to the sunny city that covers what to see, drink, eat, do, stay, and everything in between.
Birthday Trip To Miami, Florida
This year, I decided to celebrate my 30th birthday in Miami. This is a milestone birthday that I was hoping to celebrate in an exotic country with a large, adventurous group of my closest friends. Similar to the trip that I took when I was 25 and visited Puerto Rico for the first time. Since the pandemic is significantly impacting global travel, I decided that the best thing to do was escape Chicago’s chilly temperatures for beaches, sand, and sun—the perfect combination.
When to Visit Miami
My birthday happens to fall during the high season of travel for Miami (December – February). The weather remained warm throughout the day(low – mid-70s) and cooled off at night( high 60s). It’s still warm enough throughout the day to hit the beach or the pool, but not so hot warm that it’s unbearable to remain outside all day. Experts say to avoid the city during this time, because of the higher prices and crowds. I felt that everything was fairly reasonable in price and capacity during this time.
Highly regarded travel publications suggest visiting Miami between March and May when the temperature reaches the high 70s and low 80s. Because of the subtropical climate in this Florida city, it’s best to pack an umbrella, especially if you visit in the summer or fall, as you can expect some afternoon showers.
Where to Stay in Miami
Miami has fabulous hotels and vacation rentals throughout the city. If you are looking for a more local stay off of South Beach but still want plenty of options to do, book several nights in a long-term rental in Midtown, a neighborhood in between the Miami Design District and Wynwood neighborhoods.
Our accommodations at this Miami apartment were terrific! We stayed in a popular high-rise apartment complex and had access to all of the residential amenities. On several nights(and days), we spent hours relaxing by the pool, hanging out in the jacuzzi tub. The room was incredible and had amazing views of Miami. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment Even though it was just my one other person and myself, the room can accommodate up to six guests comfortably.
The location was within easy walking distance to major shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and even nightlife. It was also easy to catch a ride share service or Taxi, which was our main form of transportation during the trip. You could quickly arrive at just about any neighborhood, including the beach, in about 20 minutes or less—even in heavy traffic.
7 Day Itinerary: Things to eat, see, and do in Miami in A Week
Day One: Exploring Miami Design District And a Night at the Versace Mansion
On our first full day in Miami, my friend and I started the day off pretty early with libations lots of great energy. It was my 30th birthday, after all, and I wanted to start the day celebrating. We found a great liquor store along with a handful of other cute local shops and commenced with our festive day. Later that evening, we kept the luxury vibes going as we drank champagne and hung out by the pool before heading to my birthday dinner at the former Gianni Versace Mansion on South Beach. The Versace Mansion is a tourist hot spot whose atmosphere is much better than its food. Overall it was pretty cool to be in such a historic building as I celebrated my 30th birthday in Miami Beach.
Do: Midday; we headed over to the Miami Design District to check out the area’s luxury shops. It’s always fun to pursue the designer shops in other cities since they often have different merchandise than what’s available in your local store and even online. From Gucci to Bottega, we hit up the hottest designer shops to check out the latest collections and tried not to spend all of our vacation money.
See: While checking out designer goods, we also came across a pop-up experience and shop by Louis Vuitton. The free experience was a temporary residence showcase of the latest menswear collection by the iconic brand. After stops in Shanghai and Tokyo, the international voyage continues in Miami Art District with an engaging outdoor environment with larger-than-life balloon figures and sculptures. In the coming months, the adventure continues with stops around North America.
Eat: For lunch, we decided to stay in the Miami Design District and dine at Swan, a casual hangout and hideaway owned by Pharrell. We took advantage of the lunch special, which was $29 for a three-course meal. I dined on the spicy curry shrimp, chicken club sandwich, and a fruit sherbet for my courses. In addition to that, we order several florally cocktails and proceed to sip, chat, and dine at the design-centric restaurant.
DAY TWO: People watch in South Beach and Nosh in Wynwood
As working girls, my friend and I had to balance work and play(yes, even virtually) during our stay in Miami. While I had the earlier part of our trip off, my friend was still working throughout our journey. The morning was spent lounging by the pool. This was followed by an afternoon hanging out on South Beach and then wrapping up our evening with local vibes in Wynwood.
Do: South Beach is great for two things: people watching and partying. We opted to focus on the people watching and made our way to South Beach to hang out and sunbathe with locals and tourists alike. We walked up and down Ocean Drive, checking out the scene. It was very entertaining!
See: Take a stroll down South Beach and check out some of the lifeguard towers. The lifeguard towers are synonymous with Miami’s architecture, meaning the Art Deco movement immensely inspires them. Fun Fact: William Lane created the vibrant, artfully designed towers, an award-winning architect who has been making is a mark on Miami since the early ’90s. Be sure to find your favorite tower and snap a picture!
Eat: While on South Beach, we shared a clean and crisp sandwich from Le Sandwich but kept it pretty light. So glad that we did. That evening, we had a late dinner at R House in Wynwood. An Argentinean-inspired restaurant with a variety of Latin-inspired dishes. We opted to share a bit of everything from the tapas portion of the menu, and it was plenty to go around. My favorite dishes included the Coffee-braised short rib arepas, the Florida blue crab croquetas, and the Lechon asado tostones.
Day Three: Adventure to Key Biscayne and a night out in Wynwood
On day three, we wanted to get an early start and enjoy a fabulous day at the beach. We opted to visit Key Biscayne, an island over the Rickenbacker Causeway from Miami, sheltered with terrific beaches and two major parks—Crandon Park and Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. We opted to reside on the southern end of this island during our day trip to Key Biscayne and spend our afternoon at Crandon Park. After the beach, we headed back to the apartment for a quick nap before making our way to Wynwood for a night out.
Do: Spend an afternoon at the beach at Key Biscayne. Be sure to bring your own chair, umbrella, and some treats for an all-day rendezvous at the beach. Don’t forget to wade into the deep waters of Key Biscayne at Crandon Park. The water is impressively clear for all of you snorkelers and water explorers there.
See: On the southern end of the park is a long-abandoned zoo, now a nature preserve full of wild peacocks, crocodiles, and other wildlife. The Crandon Park Zoo Ruins transports you back in time with a visit to this off-the-beaten-path portion of the park. Now inhabited by crocodiles( I saw a few myself) roaming peacocks, the Crandon Park Zoo Ruins is a bit of a sanctuary to the once 1,200 animals that lived in and around the perimeter of the park long ago.
Eat: Support a Black-owned restaurant in Miami by grabbing brunch before you head to the beach. Stop by Lil Greenhouse Grill in the historic Overtown neighborhood in Miami. Order the sea cake burger and a side of Marconi and cheese from this neo-soul restaurant. You will not be disappointed. If you get parched on the beach, order a few beverages from a local beachside restaurant that offers food, non-alcoholic beverages, umbrellas, and chairs in case you forgot your own. Sip back and enjoy the day at Key Biscayne.
Day Four: Sunday Funday and Bottomless brunch in Midtown
Sunday Fun-day. We had a great time sipping and savoring our Sunday in Miami. An absolute carefree and fantastic way to spend the day.
Do: Plan a Sunday Fun-day! This day can consist of the beach, pool, or just hanging around the house if that’s how you feel! We grabbed our fabulous monokinis and soaked in the residential jacuzzi for our last Sunday in Miami.
See: While we did not have time to see many of them, I highly recommend heading back to Wynwood on a Sunday afternoon to check out the Wynwood Murals. The outdoor museum requires registration before arrival, so be sure to save a spot for yourself and a friend before you head out to snap some Instagram-worthy shots.
Eat: Sip on the bottomless brunch at Tap 42 in Midtown Miami. For $25, you can enjoy as many mimosas as you can handle. Don’t forget to balance your mimosas with a few bar-food noshes like the spinach and artichoke dip or the oven-backed shrimp mac and cheese.
Day Five – Day Seven: Downtown Miami with luxury dinner at Komodo
Day five through seven of our trip to Miami consisted of new views, swanky eats, and virtually working poolside. As we wrapped up our time in Miami, we kept things very mild compared to our first few days of arrival.
Do: Find chic and cheap goods at Bayside Marketplace. The two-story open-air shopping center has an excellent view of the water and a lovely Ferris wheel should you decided to see the city a bit differently. It’s a peaceful place for people and boat watch. If you are looking for more high-end goods, head over to the Brickell City Centre.
See: A celebrity or two at Komodo. The popular Asian fusion restaurant is known for alluring an exciting set of diners to be “seen.” It’s a dimly lit restaurant that is great for people watching but most importantly, the food is good. Don’t forget to snap an IG-worthy photo in the outside garden area.
Eat: Craving cheap and fresh east? Head to the Miami staple, Garcia’s Seafood and Grille for some of the freshest calamari and Chilean sea bass you will find in the city.
Overall, my trip to Miami was a huge success! I had a fantastic time eating, drinking, and lounging my way through the sunny city. I am so glad that I could explore the city beyond the typical touristy sites and can’t wait until I can visit again.