Having recently (finally!) gotten our vaccines, we waited for the requisite two weeks, and on two weeks and one day later, flew to Miami. It was a quick three day trip (excluding flights), but it was the perfect vacation now that we’re finally vaccinated. This was the perfect vacation - we overate, walked a ton, and relaxed on the beach. Because we’re cheap and hate taking Ubers, we walked more than eight miles a day.
Day One: Little Havana & Wynwood
I was pretty devastated to see how many places had been bankrupted by Covid. El Titan de Bronze was a super cool place where they showed how Cuban cigars were made, but it was closed. Ball and Chain, the first bar in America to be interracial - and a super famous stop for many musicians - is now closed as well.
Nevertheless, there were still some amazing food options - and even many vegan friendly fares! We stopped by Azucar first, where I had a guava sorbet and Ahana had an amazing pineapple tropical mix. We then had what I’d say is the best meal of the entire trip at El Pub. We ordered two non-alcoholic drinks (a cafecito and a virgin mango mojito), two entrees, and a dessert. It all came out to just $26. It was so unbelievable I had to take a picture of it.
We were incredibly stuffed at this point, so after some shopping (and taking some pictures of parrots), we made our way to Lung Yai Thai Tapas. We were so full at this point we just had some appetizers, but it was definitely worth it.
We then walked to Wynwood (we had to, after all the eating we did). Wynwood has some great murals and graffiti, and it’s definitely a must-see for any tourist.
After walking around for quite a bit, we some tacos at The Taco Stand - which was absolutely incredible. They had amazing vegan cactus tacos as well, and right next to that, stopped by for vegan ice cream at Nabati.
On the way back we went to the Miami Selfie Museum which was pretty fun. Neither of us are really huge into selfies, but having a cute set up for a dedicated spot where we could just take the bulk of the selfies for the trip all at once was nice. Also, it was air conditioned and it was so hot in Miami, especially with all the walking we’d been doing.
For dinner we went to Love Life Cafe, a vegan restaurant which had the most amazing sushi. It reminded me of Shizen in SF.
Lastly, we stopped by Wynwood Marketplace, which was a great outdoor shopping / music / eating venue. Many of the shops were tiny and set inside shipping containers, and there were tons of food trucks.
Side note - we got back to the hotel pretty late and, amazingly, got hungry again. I’m not sure if it was because of Covid or not, but tons of places really closed very early. Late night Miami should have been absolutely popping, but we tried to order from four different places but they all canceled. Doordash, Uber Eats, Grubhub, everything. Which also led to this rather hilarious thing:
So @DoorDash has a new feature where they ask you to get some stuff from 7-11 along with your restaurant order. Sure why not. But my restaurant canceled. And there was no way to cancel then 7-11 order. So my dasher just spent 40 minutes delivering one (1) hot cheetos to me... :/ pic.twitter.com/C6xqywx0tx— Chander (@chander) May 23, 2021
We ended up just walking to a near by taco drunk (nearby-ish).
Day Two: Downtown, Vizcaya Gardens and Design District
The next morning we walked around the Shops at Mary Brickell Village and Brickell City Center. This neighborhood was really lovely, and super walkable. It was also one of the most dog-friendly neighborhoods I’ve seen at Miami.
We ate at La Sandwicherie, which was a pretty great sandwhich and then Ubered to Vizcaya Gardens.
Vizcaya was an estate belonging to a wealthy American entrepreneur, and it was really beautiful. It sits right on the coastline and overlooks the ocean, along with an amazing garden. We spent about two hours entering what was basically a time capsule. It’s amazing how architecture has completely changed due to technology. This house had several small closets which served as phone rooms for privacy. And the kitchen of course would completely be redone in today’s times.
We then went to Bayside Marketplace, which is a great walkable shopping area. This reminded me of Pier 39 in SF - it had restaurants, tons of shops, and open music.
We walked around downtown before deciding upon Over Under. Fortunately, they actually had a full vegan menu with some of the most amazing fried cauliflower I’ve ever had. It was absolutely incredible.
After over eating (again), we walked back to the hotel and passed out.
Day Three: Design District & South Beach
The design district was probably my favorite neighborhood in Miami. Imagine the Stanford Shopping Mall, but way larger. The buildings were amazing, the sidewalks were clean, everything was imminently walkable, and there was even a dog park. We actually wanted to go to the Locust Projects, but because of Covid it was unfortunately reservation only, and I didn’t make a reservation.
We walked around a ton of shops and had food at various popups. There was even a Japanese shaved ice (kakigori) cart which was much needed. We ended up eating at Itamae before deciding to go back to the hotel to change into our beach clothes.
We had lunch at Full Bloom, which was a vegan restaurant. This was probably my favorite vegan restaurant yet. After Full Bloom, we walked around Lincoln road and slowly made our way to the beach.
South Beach and Lummus Park were awesome. The park just goes on for blocks and blocks and is an incredibly walkable neighborhood. The beaches are surprisingly clean (except for the lots of seaweed), but the water is the perfect temperature. It’s not warm - unlike in Chennai where the seawater is actually warm - but the water is certainly not cold like it is in the Pacific. Within a second of diving in, the water feels perfect.
After spending a couple hours at the beach we went down to Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine which was awesome. They definitely were overbooked though, so the delays between getting food and the bill were incredibly large.
After overeating (once more), we meandered all the way to the South Pointe Pier Park and the South Pointe Park Lighthouse. We enjoyed the sunset views before eventually walking back up to Lincoln Road to call an Uber.
For our last meal in Miami, we went to Old’s Bar. This place had an incredibly long line and way more reviews on Google Maps, but I definitely strongly prefer El Pub. Old’s isn’t bad by any stretch, but El Pub was way better.
Miami was really great. South Beach, the design district (Buena Vista), and Beverly Terrace (immediately south of the design district) are probably the only places I’d consider living in. Miami is really an up and coming city, but except for these small neighborhoods it’s not very walkable or dog friendly. The traffic is insane and people drive like they’re crazy, and honestly I’m not cut out for Miami summers at all. We went in May, where the highs were only around 84, but because of the humidity it already felt much higher than that. I can only imagine what Miami is like in July.
That said, Miami was a really great vacation destination! I had a blast, and it wasn’t just because it was my first vacation since quarantine began.