A Last Minute Trip to Miami
What girl could deny going on a last minute trip to Miami?! Especially since I have never been! Surprising, right? When one of my closest girl friends invited me to go for Columbus Day weekend, I could not say no. I was even able to extend my 3 day weekend into a 4 day weekend, making this trip even more worth it.
Even though I booked this trip last minute (about a week out) I was still able to get a pretty good deal on my flight. I redeemed 11,500 points for my outbound trip to Ft. Lauderdale on Jetblue and used my JetBlue Plus Card to pay the $5.60 fee. With the 10% point rebate through the Jetblue Plus Card, I ended getting about 1.7 cents per point! I booked the return flight to JFK for $143.20, so my total flight cost was $148.80. I can't complain about that!
We also got a pretty great deal on our stay as well! Airbnb was a great and cost effective option for this last minute trip. For our 3 night stay in South Beach, we ended up paying about $130 each. The location was ideal since we were walking distance to both the beach and nightlife. There was also CitiBike station located just outside the apartment, which we actually ended up using twice during our stay. To be honest, I did not even know Miami had Citibikes since I have only seen them in my hometown of NYC. They definitely were fun to use!
Food and Drinks
It kind of feels like all we ate during this trip was brunch and all we drank was alcohol. We started off on our first day with a late lunch at The Carlyle Cafe at The Carlyle. Most of the restaurants on Ocean Drive, including The Carlyle, have the same 50% off menu offer and also have happy hour. Just make sure to ask the price before ordering drinks so you know how much you are truly spending. The drinks are definitely too big for one person. My friend and I shared a giant sangria that we weren’t even able to finish. The restaurant had a wide variety of options; Italian, seafood and even some bar food. While I can't really rave about the food, I was super hungry so at the time it definitely hit the spot. It's good to have some food in you before you hit the beach.
On our second day started with brunch at The Social Club located at the Surfcomber hotel. We all checked in to Yelp as soon as we sat down in order to get free mimosas. They were absolutely delicious, but a little pulpy at the top. In this case beggars can't be choosers. I ordered the Surfcomber which consisted of eggs (I technically ordered scrambled, but received fried,) bacon, breakfast potatoes and rye toast. My friends ordered Dani’s Mahi Mahi Tacos with french fries and scrambled eggs with pancakes on the side. While none of us were able to finish our food, we still thoroughly enjoyed it! It is definitely a great place to go before heading to the pool party at Hyde Beach at the SLS Hotel.
On our last day we had breakfast at the Wynwood Diner in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. To drink my friends ordered freshly made juices. One had cucumber and watermelon mixed and the other had Mango. I got random Mexican Coke cravings after seeing it on the menu, so I ordered that as my drink. For food I had the Churro Waffle and Berries, which was so yummy. I have never had a waffle like that before. The outside was a little crunchy and sweet, combined with the fresh berries and whipped cream, it was just absolutely delicious. I didn't even really use the maple syrup because the food tasted great even plain. One of my friends ordered a cuban sandwich and fries, while the other had scrambled eggs and smoked salmon. Both friends really enjoyed their dishes, but once again none of us were able to finish our food. I guess the portions are big in Miami? Even so, we loved our breakfast in Wynwood and it definitely held us over for most of our day.
After walking through Wynwood we made it a necessity to make one last stop at Fireman Derek's Bake Shop before heading back. My friend Kristi over at Unconditionally Kristi highly recommended I try the pie here while in Wynwood. I ordered the two most popular flavors of pie; key lime pie and crack pie. My favorite of course was the key lime pie, which I guess makes sense since this pie was voted the best in Miami. It was just the right combination sweet and sour, with a perfect graham cracker crust that just did it for me. To be honest, I am still thinking about this pie. The crack pie was great too, but cannot compare to how perfect the key lime pie was.
Things to Do
People come to Miami for the beach and the nightlife, and we definitely did a lot of both during our stay. Though we didn't rent lounge chairs with umbrellas like the cute ones in the picture above, I think they are definitely a great option if you are staying at the beach all day. Also, if you stay in a hotel by the beach they are often complimentary. It was incredibly hot during our stay in October and shade is probably more effective than sunblock because of this. After staying by the beach, there are plenty of restaurants and bars to check out on Ocean Drive. There is also the Miami Beach Walk and the Miami Beach Boardwalk which are great for both walking and biking. South Beach is just so packed with beautiful architecture, and tons of shops and restaurants, I would recommend just wandering around. You never know what great place you will find randomly.
I would say that our day in Wynwood was probably our most low key. Wynwood almost reminds me of Williamsburg, Brooklyn with all of the street art, coffee shops and cute places to eat. I definitely felt in my element here, although it is not really near the beach. We really enjoyed exploring The Wynwood Walls, which is an outdoor street art installation. It is also free, which is very nice! The walls are all done by different street artists from around the world. It is definitely a visually appealing place to be. As cliché as it sounds, this is a great spot to get some colorful shots for Instagram. I tried to arrive somewhat early on Monday so that less people would be taking pictures at the walls. I'm sure this is a really crowded place on weekends. Busy or not, it is definitely a super cool place you do not want to miss.
Two words. POOL PARTY. Pretty sure it is not just me, but I find pool parties to be the best type of party. I got serious Las Vegas vibes at the SLS Sunday Pool Party at Hyde Beach. Though the drinks were overpriced, and pool water was probably very dirty, we had an amazing time. I also probably spilled half of my drinks in the pool while dancing. The music was pretty good during our visit and consisted of a mix of pop, reggae, EDM, hip hop, and even throwbacks. People were dancing and actually seemed to be enjoying themselves. There were even two unicorn floaties in the pool, which are pretty basic but I don't mind. I would say that if you are in Miami this pool party is definitely something you want to check out, especially for the chance of getting sprayed with champagne. Because why not, right?
I would say that overall, Miami is the place to be. Great weather year round, beautiful beaches, plenty of restaurants and nightlife everywhere you go, how could you go wrong? It is definitely a party town, though you can make your trip low key if you are into that. During my 3 day stay, I tried to see as much as time would allow, but I still was not able to see everything I had hoped. Little Havana was high on my list for food and dancing, but I guess I will have to try and visit next time. There will be a next time!