Well Traveled: South Beach Story
As I was explaining in one of my prior posts, Miami is my “best of all worlds” vacation spot. It has all the things we enjoy – beach, shopping, great dining, nightlife and exercise options. We’ve been going fairly regularly for six years and here I share my perfect Miami trip. We always fly into Miami airport (MIA) and it’s a short 20-minute cab ride to the beach area. You can fly into Fort Lauderdale (FLL) but the cab will be near $100 and it’s more like a 50-minute drive. A rental car is not necessary in South Beach.
At the Delano. The hotel has an airy elegance that is hard to describe in words. Almost sexy. From the signature all-white rooms, to the palm-tree lined infinity pool to the occasional celebrity sightings, the Delano makes you feel at home yet part of the action at any hour you’re seeking it. A room with a view is nice but you’re never in it – so if you want to cut cost, get a city-view room. Want to splurge? Get a pool-side two-floor bungalow. Aside from our favorite spot, there are a string of hotels that are all up and down Ocean Dr. between 1st and 15th, a majority of them being across the street from the ocean. This area is quite a bit louder and is lined with an eclectic mix of bars and restaurants (The News Cafe for one). The Marriott down there is actually one of the hotels on the beach side of Ocean Dr. and is a nice option. Once you get to 15th, Ocean Dr. stops and all the hotels are on Collins Ave. It’s quieter and a bit more spread out as you go north of 15th. The Lowes (family-oriented), The Ritz Carlton, SLS, The James Royal Palm, Shore Club and the W are all great options with a quieter, more elegant and classier environment. I wouldn’t stay
much further north than 23rd because you get a bit far walking-wise from Lincoln Road and all the shopping on the south end of Collins.
By far our favorite breakfast spot is The Front Porch, near Ocean and 15th. The breakfast burrito grande and the granola pancakes will not disappoint. Their lunch and dinner menu have some great options as well (chicken hummus in whole wheat pita, for example). When we want to do a casual meal, we love The Cafe at Books & Books on Lincoln Road. They serve a lot of vegan options and many of the dishes include things like quinoa, kale, beans and other healthy ingredients. I always find something I love there whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. The people watching makes the meal twice as good as it already is so get one of the tables near the sidewalk. Lincoln Road is a walk street that is eight blocks long and is lined with restaurants, shops, exhibitionists, you name it. We like to spend one of our casual nights just walking the length of Lincoln Road to eat, shop and stroll. It’s packed with people at all hours of the day.
For a dressy dinner with a scene (and probably celebrities), head to Prime One Twelve. Their steak and salmon are both great and make sure to get the sweet potato mash as a side dish and fried oreos for dessert. Mr. Chow is also a busy, hopping place but don’t go with the blue hairs – it’s at its busiest for dinner after 10pm. Three dishes we really like (can’t recall exact names) are the prawns with candied walnuts, fiery beef and the lobster. For a romantic dinner and excellent food, head to my favorite Casa Tua at James and 17th. The traditional Italian is mouth watering and the scene is intimate. They have an Aspen location if you find yourself there, and it’s also great. While you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, the wagyu skirt steak is out of this world. I’d recommend a reservation at all three of the aforementioned hot spots and dress to impress! Lastly, two good sushi options are the sushi restaurant inside the Delano and Katsuya inside the SLS Hotel. Make sure to pay attention to your bill at the restaurants — most of them include the tip.
I have my favorite stores I frequent a few times during my visit and always find good things. Atrium on Collins at 21st has a wide selection of men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, accessories, etc. (brands like A.L.C, Rag & Bone, Iro, etc.). Scoop NYC is located in the Shore Club hotel and while it’s small, they do have a decent selection. Moving further south, I always stop (to drool mainly) at The Webster. Their main floor has semi-affordable
brands while the upstairs is all high-end designer. If you wanted to just buy one investment piece, they have a unique collection of bags, clothes and accessories from Chanel, Celine, and really any designer you can imagine. I tend to see items there that I’ve not seen at the major department stores – it seems as though they have access to unique designer pieces – always a plus! Lastly, further down Collins you’ll find two of my go-to stores Barney’s New York Co-op and Intermix. Lincoln Road is where you’ll find a lot of the stores like Anthropologie, J. Crew (a collection store actually and it’s quite nice), Zara, etc. If you have a rental car, head north to the Bal Harbour shops – again mainly to drool but it’s worth the trip (about 45 minutes away). They have Saks, Neimans and every designer store you’d wish for.
While we do visit the hotel gym once or twice per trip, our favorite cardio activity is to run from our hotel south down the beach (running in sand is a whole different story) to the end and then do plyometric squat jumps up a set of steps we found (see photos below). From 17th where the hotel is south to the end is about 1.5 miles so we typically do sprint intervals in the sand for example sprinting the length of five garbage cans and walking three, all the way down. We usually do 10-12 sets up the steps (there are 10 steps). We’ll do regular squat jumps and sideways squat jumps and sometimes some one-leg jumps. Another option which I’ve never tried but have seen many times, is around 10th ave just inland from the beach they have little exercise areas with simulated weight machines, pull up bars and other equipment.
There are great yoga options in South Beach as well. The lovely Kino MacGregor has her studio Miami Life Center at 6th street just four blocks inland from the beach. Her teachers are excellent. They offer mainly mysore classes but have some led primary series and vinyasa classes. The other great studio is Green Monkey and we love Paul T’s vinyasa classes. He weaves spirituality with the physical in a straightforward yet light manner.
As a more fun form of exercising, rent one of the many bikes you’ll find stationed around the city on a per-hour basis. The beach path goes on for miles and is a great way to sweat without realizing you’re working out. Visit Deco Bike’s website to find bike docking location.
Don’t forget the sunscreen! Feel free to message me or comment below if you have any Miami questions!
Be well xo