Sunrise to Sunrise: 24 Hours in Miami
There’s more to Miami -- a place as diverse as it is chaotic -- than Rick Ross sightings and Justin Bieber arrests. For a taste of the real Miami (which is NOT the one you see on TV, where everyone goes to work in bathing suits), leave tourist spots behind and follow our guide below. And who knows… you might still see Rick Ross. It is Miami, after all.
5amMary’s Coin Laundry & Cafeteria
Start your day like any Miamian: with your first cup of Cuban coffee. This spot is nothing more than a laundromat with a food window and some tables and chairs, but it’s open 24 hours a day, is a hub for night-shift cops and 20-somethings doing laundry at weird hours, and boasts some of the most authentic Cuban food around.
6amWatch the sunrise
Since you’re awake and probably just stumbled out of E11even, you might as well watch the sunrise. Hit the hill at South Point Park at the southern tip of South Beach.
7amStart tanning early
Just short of hell, there is nothing as hot as a Miami beach day. But it’s still something you should do -- and the earlier the better. Head there before the crowds, park in the public lot at 21st and Collins Avenue, and attempt a tan like an actual Miamian.
8amGet coffee at French Bakery
Typically, a strip mall right off US1 in the middle of Palmetto Bay wouldn’t scream “PARIS,” but in this case, it does. Go for your morning coffee and “pain au chocolat,” as the French people who work there and like to pretend they’re not in Miami call it, and be prepared to wait in line. The locals love to start their morning at French Bakery.
9amGo kayaking at Oleta River State Park
North Miami Beach
In Miami, we don’t just have yachts. Some of us have kayaks. At this national park, you can rent one and paddle out on Oleta River and Biscayne Bay, where you’ll see lots of wildlife, really big birds, a giant sandbar, and people who do own yachts.
10amTake a behind-the-scenes tour of Jungle Island
If you’ve ever had a really strong desire to get up close and personal with some lemurs (and tortoises and kangaroos and giant, scary reptiles), now’s the time to do it. A private guide goes with you to feed you information and also make sure you don’t get attacked. Then you get to go home and tell all your friends you spent the morning playing with lemurs.
11amGet a smoothie at Under The Mango Tree
Set yourself up for the day at this tiny juice, smoothie, and acai bowl joint. Depending on how serious you are, you can also become a regular and partake in a cleanse. For $53 a day, you get a curated five-serving mix of juices and smoothies. After all, bikini bod season is every season here.
NoonEat lunch at Lemoni Cafe
For Miami with a distinctly Mediterranean flavor, head to Lemoni Cafe and order the Greek plate with homemade hummus, toasted pita, olives, and feta. That’s the healthy route. Or you could do the Nutella sandwich. We say, why choose?
1pmHave a picnic at Vizcaya
Something called “rules” says you can’t actually bring your own food and wine, but the café that’s there can totally make you a boxed lunch for two. All you have to do is bring the blanket, the Pavarotti CD, an iPad that streams The Notebook, your handwritten poems and whatever else you need to reenact Lady And The Tramp.
2pmGo kiteboarding at Crandon Park
Crandon Park is where you go for everything. It has golfing, tennis, nature trails, mangroves, butterfly gardens, BBQ spots, educational facilities, and yes, kiteboarding. You don’t have to be a pro, either, as you can get a dual lesson with a friend or family member for $75 per hour. Then go out on the Atlantic and try not to get lost.
3pmGo to hell on Hell’s Bay
Originally named because someone said it was “hell to get into, hell to get out of,” this canoe trail lets you paddle through mangroves, small ponds, bays, campsites, and the giant swampland that is Everglades National Park. If you want to go the whole way, warn your girlfriend ahead of time. It takes six hours to paddle through the whole thing.
4pmDrink high tea at Cauley Square
Wanna be classy? Drink tea. And do it at Cauley Square Tea Room, which has been transporting Miamians to the British countryside since 1974. Try the hazelnut truffle black tea with your finger sandwiches (fancy).
Stay at Hyatt Centric & discover every amazing local hot spot
5pmGo to Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery
Pick up some croquetas (because in Miami, they go with everything), drive reeeeally far south to Redland, and look for the thatched-roof building in the middle of nowhere, B.F.E. Congrats, you’ve found South Florida’s only winery. This is also the part of Miami where people farm things, so it uses the area’s exotic fruits to make beer and wine: like mango, guava, coconut, pumpkin, and our personal favorite, lychee.
6pmTake a bike ride over Rickenbacker Causeway
This is Miami’s gateway to the Keys. It’s a little more than five miles long, goes right over the water, is bordered by a beach, and has amazing views of the Downtown Miami skyline. End at Rusty Pelican for happy hour, and even non-athletic humans will realize the greatness of this activity.
7pmDo dinner at Tap 42
This newly opened Ft. Lauderdale transplant takes “gastropub” up several glam notches -- this is Miami after all. Try the bacon & corn guacamole and “prohibition” burgers -- then schedule repeat visits so you can sample the more than 50 craft beers on tap.
8pmGet a glass of wine at Le Koke
When Calle Ocho tries to get classy, it opens a wine and tapas bar that very few people know about (probably because it’s a classy wine bar on Calle Ocho), but everyone should. When you get there, ask for Laura. She’s one of the co-owners and knows everything about the hundreds of wine bottles along the wall.
9pmListen to live music at Black Point Ocean Grill
Only the locals know about this place, partly because it’s a restaurant in the equivalent of a back-alley marina, but mainly because it’s sooo far south that you’d really have no other reason to even find it. Because of that, though, it has its hidden charms, one of them being that you can usually count on cheap drinks and a decent cover band.
10pmVisit The Butcher Shop
This no-frills, German-style beer garden will make you wonder if you are still in Miami -- until you remember that you still don’t need a sweater. The German pretzel with bechamel sauce and assorted sausage platter are the biggest hits, and of course there’s the beer menu’s 14 drafts, 19 bottles, and regular specials.
11pmFollow the ordinary people to Blackbird Ordinary
In Miami, the place where what you drive and what you wear matters, we love a laid-back bar where anything goes, like Blackbird Ordinary. There’s never a cover, but there’s always good music, a decent crowd and tequila shooters like “Two in the Bush” seven nights a week.
MidnightJoin the late-night crowds at Batch Gastropub
Batch is good at anytime of day. Literally. It has a reasonably-priced chicken-and-waffle brunch, high-end pub food like lobster fritters and dry-rubbed hanger steak skewers, and at this time of night, Brickell’s finest partiers drinking cocktails on tap, hitting on each other and eating gnocchi mac n’ cheese with gruyere and “Dorito dust” until 4am.
1amWait in line at Casola’s Pizzeria & Sub Shop
Casola’s pizza is a mainstay in Miami, and your friends are always jealous when you’ve gone without them. It’s open really late, so go at 1am with the UM kids who have probably just stumbled out of Blackbird Ordinary, and be prepared to stand in line. This cheesy, dripping, bigger-than-your-head slice of pizza is always worth the wait.
2amEat tacos, drink tequila at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila
Those people who say “nothing good happens after 2am” have clearly never been to this taco shop and speakeasy. Or Miami. At Bodega, you can start with Chimichurri steak tacos for two or a roasted pork tostada for just $8 at the indoor “taco truck,” and then sneak through the beat up port-a-potty door and find yourself in a swanky tequila lounge.
3amHangout with Ted
This spot is for everyone. It’s an absolutely no-frills place that’s usually packed with regulars who we aren’t sure have jobs, waitresses who just got off work, and anyone who wants a cheap craft cocktail and a good late-night story on a weekday.
4amStuff your face at Big Pink
Regardless of the fact that Big Pink has an all-day (and night) breakfast menu with Oreo pancakes and “Burger Bennies,” which is basically a burger topped with eggs-over-easy and Canadian bacon, the main reason you go is because it’s open all night long and has portions big enough to satisfy any severity of the munchies. Plus, at this hour, the people watching is fantastic -- you might even run into the same people you just saw at Bodega or Ted’s.
5amContinue partying at Club Space
At Club Space, the party never stops. Literally. Your next day will be totally worthless, but if you’re up at this hour, Space is where it’s at. Stay longer and you might even catch the sunrise -- watching it from the rooftop of this EDM party palace is usually a sign of a good night.