Updated: Jun 9
I certainly never imagined myself having a few childless days in Miami Beach paid for by my employer, but wonders never cease.
So this blog is a little outside my norm. This is for the adult who is committed during the day to long training sessions but still wants to enjoy the area while in Miami.
You could also adapt this if you spend your days at the beach (with the kids/ fam) and just want some adult activity after hours :-) I'll also add my favorite family activities at the end :-) Can't resist.
I will review the places my co-worker and I visited and give any suggestions for how to spend the least and enjoy the most while in Miami. These are not my typical child friendly locations!
We stayed at :
The Confidante (click to connect)
4041 Collins Ave
The rooms were clean and comfortable. I had an Ocean view and my coworker had the City/River view. We were both on the 12th floor, not far apart. Both huge windows offered an amazing world below with drastic colors and picturesque scenes.
I called downstairs and asked if they had a microwave in the lobby area and they asked if I would like a microwave bought up to my room. I said yes and it was promptly delivered! The refrigerator was already full with a variety of drinks and fancy waters which I had to remove to fit my own selection in. I was not paying their outrageous prices for snacks. However, if I’d been in need there was a great variety.
We found the staff very courteous and helpful, and enjoyed the location and decor! A variety of family activities such as ping pong, big Jenga, and chess were set up outside in the lounge area. A choice of two different pools, one for families and the other for adults only bordered each side of the walk way out to the boardwalk. The boardwalk connects right beyond the pools and the Atlantic Ocean is just behind there. You can walk for miles in either direction on the walkway running north and south along the ocean along the Hotels. The water is Bermuda Blue at every glance and the sea grapes and palm trees remind you paradise is real. There are a few bicyclers, and stray cats but the walk itself is perfect for the active person or the wanderer. The Hotel building has historical relevance and has been remodeled, making a distinguished blue icon helping find your spot in the sea of hotels and resorts.
Night 1: Monday night we walked down to South Beach, which was approximately 2 miles south of the Confidante. It was a beautiful November night with perfect weather and we enjoyed the leisurely stroll. (We did Uber back). We stopped at ESPN Sports Bar aka the Clevelander. It is hard to miss. Loud DJ on the corner, open floor plan, no cover for entry, and very inviting. Palm trees, multiple outdoor curbside bars and flashing lights. The music was good and the crowd was decent for a Monday! But it may have still been early around 9 PM no one was dancing. So we sat at the bar and had a drink. I had a piña colada which was very well-made. We did dance a little bit before heading down the road a little further.
Our next stop was Mango’s. I was not sure what they would have going on for a Monday night but I have been there before on the weekends and know that it is always a good time. And Monday did not disappoint! The dance floor was filled with people spinning and twirling and lots of positive energy. The Spanish flavor was definitely hitting the spot and we stayed there for a couple hours and danced. Good crowd. Good music. Great time!
Ubered back around 11:30 pm
Monday night 5 stars!
Night 2: Tuesday we chose to join some of the trainers in a dinner at Scarpettas, a most delicious Italian Restaurant located inside the Foutainbleau Resort. This was in walking distance and we walked up and back easily. We did call and make reservations as we heard this was a busy location. When we got there we were seated right away, there was not too much of a crowd all though it was building. I don’t usually comment on the waiter, however, our waiter could have easily been the owner. He took real pride in knowing his stuff. He explained the menu and the ingredients with precision and expertise! In fact everything he described sounded scrumptiously delicious. I ate some duck foie gras ravioli which was $26.00. I had never tried this delicious selection before but oh it was super yummy! Each of us got something different and many of us sampled each other’s just because everything was mouthwatering! I had a glass of Rose to go with my meal and my dinner was $65.00. They include a suggested gratuity in the bill.
Night 3: Wednesday
Training was serious today! At least during our lunch break we watched some whales from the window playing in the ocean down below! We were ready for some area appreciation.
After a little stroll down to the beach to collect some treasures and also some trash (recent storms seemed to wash up a lot of things) we decided to go to Wynwood Walls and go see the street art and check out that area. This night turned into quite an adventure! As it was about 12 miles away we decided to get an Uber. At 6:30 on a Wednesday night between traffic and possibly higher demand Uber was showing a higher rate than expected. I suggested that we walk down a little ways and cross the street before calling for Uber that way we could let some of the traffic pass and save a few dollars on our ride. We wanted to stop at Walgreens for a few things which was down a little farther. The walk was going very nicely. Good weather conversation and many places already had Christmas decorations up so we were enjoying the scene completely. A few of the other people were friendly and we conversed with some other passerby's. We came to an overpass and decided to take some pictures overlooking the water.
The reflection of the lights in the water was beautiful. I said, "you know if we go down just a little further there is a huge bridge with a better view". Well I didn’t realize that once we walked further we would officially be entering the highway! And no sooner did we walk down and realize the cars were moving much faster and we decided it probably wasn’t safe to go much further so we called for our Uber. We thought we had a great spot for Uber to pick us up at because we were right across the street from the Cedar Sinai Hospital and there was a huge light display with a spacious grassy area for Uber to pull off and pick us up. Seemed reasonable. However our Uber driver could not find us and we waited for 20 minutes on the side of the road probably looking a bit out of place ! Eventually that Uber driver canceled and we just turned around and walked back until we hit the main neighborhood traffic again and then ordered a new ride. This driver found us with no problem and we were able to get to Wynwood with no problems. We did save a few dollars by the way :-)
Wynwood Walls is an area thriving with art! Real live artists are painting the murals on the sides of the buildings as you walk through a common area turned outdoor gallery. I’m not sure how often they repaint each wall as I’m sure they are contracted for a certain length of time. I’ve been there a few times now and some were the same and some were different over the course of a year. It is hugely inspiring and impressive.
We stopped for a drink in Wynwood Kitchen and Bar and told our story to the bartenders. They were laughing at us for trying to walk along the road not realizing it had turned into the highway. They gave us many suggestions for what to do in the area. Afterwards, we went next door to the Peter Tunney art gallery and actually had a great conversation with the resident artist himself. He’s passionate about education and current events. His art is so real and timely.
We stopped back by the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar to double check directions for some dancing on Wednesday in the area. The very kind bartenders actually walked us down the street (as we were threatening to walk the wrong way) to the recommended location: Vandalo. We were instructed to go to El Patio after we were done at the first stop. It was just a turn around the block away :-) (and we could find that on our own). at Vandelo there was an 80s DJ who also mixed in some 70s staying alive music and while there were not many people dancing- we were!! We ventured on down to the next stop El Patio and this scene was packed! This is where everybody was. In fact, the dance floor was extremely crowded. Great music very reggaetón and salsa flavory with a touch of new/ old mixed in. We danced until about 11:30 and Ubered back to-the Confidante. Successfully. 2 nights of good cardio and 3 of great places!
Night 4: Thursday - we had been asking around “what would you recommend in our travels” to all the locals now for days... Over and over Blue Martini came up. So, Thursday night we Uber over to Blue Martini for some live music dancing and drinks. The crowd was very mixed and fashionable. The music in between the Latin band was also mixed for the crowd. The band was very upbeat and lively lots of singing and dancing! It didn’t take long for the whole place to get packed and we were in our corner dancing and laughing and enjoying ourselves. The entire Brickell strip where Blue Martini is located has a ton of places to eat, drink, or be entertained! Shopping at a variety of shops is a step away and the promenade that crosses over the street connects two sides of the Mall for an awesome overpass in the middle. Of course we took the escalators up and down just to enjoy the moment. Lots of places had their Christmas decorations out and there were great displays for photos and setting a happy mood. Everyone there seemed to be vibing in a positive light. Happiness, good energy and the fashionable crowd set the tone for the street. This was definitely the working crowd but not one face looked stressed or down trodden. I believe we were there on a night when there were a few company parties going on. Although I would guess that may be the case almost any night!
Although we planned this to be our late night we knew when we were ready, and headed back at a reasonable time. For beautiful drinks, festive atmosphere and lots of dancing, this is the spot!
We lounged/ worked by the pool a little before packing it up to leave and make the drive back up to Brevard County. We actually took our laptops down and ate some awesome guac and chips. Soaking up the warmest day of the trip so far and trying to get a little sun before leaving the area. Emails and Certifications were high on the priority list and the office view of palm trees and pool could not be beat! While we live three hours north it is actually 10° warmer in Miami than it is at our house! So those cooler 60° nights were 50° at home! We were happy to miss the Florida “cold front” That was gone by the time we arrived!
But on the drive back to Brevard we did a pit stop half way at Jupiter Beach and went to Blowing Rock Preserve. This is a place I had heard about and been meaning to check out. Since we were passing anyway and the weather was good we decided stop and see for ourselves what the fuss is about.
Blowing Rock Preserve is a short trail leading to the beach with some lime stone formations that play with the waves when they wash in. When the water hits it right, it blows up through the holes making it look like volcanic eruptions of water. It really is quite awesome to see and experience. My coworker and I stayed a couple hours and enjoyed the water show. Oddly enough high tide was right at closing time which was right at 4:30. I had read the best time to be there was at high tide and sure enough the closer it got to being at it’s high point, the stronger the water eruptions got. We really enjoyed the time in nature after getting out of busy Miami and this helped us reset before finishing the drive back home.
Below are some of the pictures captured of the huge water which can be quite unpredictable....
These are the timeline of how the wave swallowed me whole (I expected a background splash)
This was not my first trip to Miami. Here's a few more Miami things important for planning purposes. When you are going to Miami it's important to bring your patience, (traffic and crowds are a special sort here), and willingness to explore. This city is quite spread out and some of the best things are located away from the other attractions. Obviously you can't go to Miami with out a drive through the famous beach, but there are many things to do here.
The free tram is the first thing I need to tell you about. The Metromover! It runs from 5 AM to midnight seven days a week. There are 14 stops in its circle and you can get on and off again seeing much of the down town area easily. Riverwalk, Bayfront Park, and other places are close by and fun to see and take pictures. Wander, explore, see the skylines and enjoy the view which is ever changing and moving along.
Museums- The Miami children’s museum is free the third Friday of the month from 3 to 9.
Frost Art Museum (Florida international University‘s Modesto Mediq campus) is always free
Perez Art Museum is free the second Saturday of the month
The Bass Contemporary Art Museum has free admission on the last Sunday of the month from 2 - 4 p.m. Admission is free for kids ages 6 and younger every day.
Freedom Tower in Downtown Miami - Admission is free from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays to tour the The 1925 building, which has been called the “Ellis Island of the South,” houses exhibits detailing the exodus of Cubans to the United States. Inside, you can see photographs, artwork and collections.
There are lots of ways to get discounted tickets for many of the attractions/ museums you may be interested in. Check out cultureshockmiami.com for discounted tickets for students. They offer a good deals for lots of activities. Teens 13 to 22 can buy tickets for five dollars and get a second ticket for the same price.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens - If you are interested in historic homes and enjoy visiting places such as the Biltmore in NC or the mansions of Long Island, you'll love this one as well. Absolutely gorgeous and worth the $25 entrance fee. (it costs a pretty penny to maintain a 100-year-old mansion in the heat, humidity, and salt air) The house is impressive, but it's really the grounds that make the place so spectacular. Be mindful of the heat if you are here anytime other than the "winter" months, although there is a lot of shade and a nice breeze when you're closer to the water. A small café in the gift shop also offers sandwiches, gelato, bakery items, beer, and wine. Admission tickets are only sold online.
Heading a little further south is the Bill Braggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne. For $8.00/ car entry fee you have a beautiful beach park for the day. When the parking l ot reaches capacity, they do stop letting people in and weekends can be busy, plan to arrive early! You can easily spend an entire day here loving life! Key Biscayne it’s not attached to all the other Keys. It’s separate, and just south of South Beach. The Light House here is the oldest structure in the vicinity, offers a couple of free tours a day on a first come first serve basis, and the view from the top is stunning! Tours are informative and interesting for the entire family. There is aa mangrove habitat you can check out, many biking and walking paths, picnic areas, and a restaurant. The Beach at Bill Braggs Makes many top 10 lists and really is as good as they say.
Coral Castle - is a fun spot to stop and wonder for a few hours. Edward Leedskalnin. single-handedly and secretly carved over 1,100 tons of coral rock from 1923 - 1951, in an unknown process creating one of the world's most mysterious accomplishments.
Adults (ages 13 and up) $18.00
Children (ages 7 – 12) $8.00
Children (under age 6) Free
Don't miss a walk through Wynwood and Wynwood walls - all of the street art is one of a kind, and my while family appreciates the collection of shops and museums surrounding these courtyards.
-Mindset is everything. If you want to do something, you will find a way to do it.
-Miami is diverse and beautiful, be prepared to be swept off your feet.
-Miami stays up late! It's a 24/ 7 city.
-Fashion is turned up! People are even fabulous at the beach. Designer everything everywhere.
-Miami Beach is a PARTY zone, if you want the National Park vibe beach, head a bit south to Key Biscayne. $8.00 to enter, but feels like another world.
-Public Transportation: Doesn't connect you to South Beach or Miami Beach. The Metrometer, Metro Rail, Trolley and Bus all have different loops, so if you don't want to spend a fortune on Uber or drive, plan to study these options. Miami is spread out, you want to be able to explore.
-Parking is expensive. Hence the above point being so important.
-It's a little cheaper to stay in the Homestead area. Miami itself is a mecca for luxury, fashion and splurging.
-Travel smart: Just because everyone else is doing it doesn't mean you need to lol. Plan those meals, budget ahead and don't get tempted to spend every time you blink your eyes 👀
If you really want to save money and explore Miami: have a drink before you leave. Cocktails in Miami are among the most expensive I’ve ever ordered. Especially when Ubering it is perfectly safe to warm up before hitting the town. Along the same lines, this is a city with many people in it. I would not recommend being intoxicated in a place you are not familiar. Know your route there and back before leaving your hotel. I have been to Miami many times and still underestimated the road shifting from regular road to highway, which fortunately turned out alright but still shows the need for a plan. And be cautious with strangers. Miami has a party vibe which can be very alluring, just remember there are wolves in sheep‘s clothing out there that look great in expensive suits! (Ok, the mom in me feels better now)
Parking: is really costly! If at all possible, ditch the car completely and rely on Uber or other transportation. Metrometer is a 4.4 mile looping monorail free for everyone to ride. This is a people mover arriving at each stop every few minutes and continuously looping to all of the 11 stops in the Brickell downtown area. I would recommend it even if you don’t have a specific destination because it’s almost worthy as a free tour guide! Hop on and see Miami without having to drive and get the view from above. This system connects to other public transportation options as well, of course I prefer the free one first. But see the city with out driving through and enjoy the view much more!
Sunrise/ Sunsets: Find the beach nearest you and watch the sun coming up and going down. This is the best way to start your day or begin an amazing evening, appreciating the beauty of our world. For sunrises face East. for Sunsets face west, and enjoy!
My biggest suggestion is where ever you are – be there!
Look around at your surroundings. Take in the sights, smells and vibe. Live in the moment. Experience the place you are at. (Try to ignore the phone as much as possible). When business sends you somewhere, do your business but explore and discover the area as you may get more than you bargained for.
And always make the memories count.
Be blessed in all your travels near and far!
Thank you for joining our journey, please share your own tips and favorites when in Miami!