South Beach (SoBe), in Miami can be a bit overwhelming with all the places to stay, eat and shop. So we’ve put together this list of some of our favourites in order to help you out. One of our very favourite things about Miami is that you get both a city, and in a beach in one vacation, which is rarity!
If you’ve followed along on our various journeys so far, you may have noticed that we aren’t big partiers. I know a lot of people visit Miami for the nightclubs, however, those people are not us. So I’ll apologize in advance that we can’t help you out in that department. But if you enjoy shopping, beaches, lazing beside a pool and eating delicious food than this list should help you out!
Where to Shop:
There are lots of great shopping areas in and around Miami, but if you’re staying in SoBe, than Lincoln Road Mall is the only place you need to go. The street is closed to vehicles so you can safely and casually meander from one shop to the next. It has all our favourite stores on one strip, making it one of our favourite places to shop - anywhere! Ted Baker, All Saints, Anthropologie, Scotch & Soda, French Connection and pretty much anything else you’d want, it’s all there.
Where to Eat:
Bodega: This is just a quick jaunt from Lincoln Road, making it a great place to stop for lunch after shopping. If you’re a taco fan (and if you’re not, we can’t be friends) you must go here! We love this place. There’s also a “secret” club in the back at night, you have to go through the “porta potty” door to get to it.
This is maybe the one place we always go back to when returning to Miami- southern food (great fried chicken, mac and cheese, cornbread, bourbon- also a good beer selection)- you’ll definitely want to make a reservation in advance. My only complaint about Yardbird is that the food tends to come out pretty quickly, so if you want to meander and don’t want to feel too rushed, take your time in ordering.
Next door to Yardbird is a craft beer pub called the Abbey Brewing Company. If you go, be aware that smoking is allowed in here. They have no food but you can bring in take out or get delivery brought in.
Zen Sai has some really great Asian Fusion. We’ve only been once but really enjoyed it. It’s in the hotel, Essex House and didn’t seem too busy when we were there but we did make reservations first. Considering how warm SoBe is, I’m surprised more places don’t have outdoor dining options, but this place has great outdoor space.
Fun tapas place by a celebrity chef. It’s in the SLS hotel. You’ll need reservations. It’s worth going just to see the massive chandelier hanging in the dining room, and eat croquettes out of shoes.
Cleo: Mediterranean small plates- The food was exceptionally good, but the people watching was even better. It was packed the night we went so you’ll definitely require a reservation.
This is worth going just for the experience. It’s not cheap (but not much in Miami is), but it’s really interesting food and the presentation is always over the top. Start with a drink that is made using liquid nitrogen.
Breakfast- for some reason we haven’t often eaten out for breakfast in Miami but when we do, it tends to be at the Front Porch Café on Ocean Drive. They have a really large menu, so you’re pretty much guaranteed that whatever you’re in the mood for, they have.
Where to stay:
I’ve actually always found it overwhelming trying to pick a hotel here. There are so many options. The hotels are divided by those right on the beach (along Collins ave) and those on the other side of the street along Collins and Ocean Drive. We typically avoid Ocean, although I’m sure there are some really fantastic options there. I’m not going to mention any hotels we haven’t stayed at, that certainly doesn’t mean they aren’t good.
Our first time in Miami we stayed at the:
Royal Palm (at the time it was the James Royal Palm):
Since they’ve switched management I can no longer speak for a lot of aspects of this hotel. However, we really liked our room, it had a small balcony, and it relatively large for the area. There are two pool areas but we often found they were crowded and we had to arrive early to snag a spot. All in all though, it’s a really beautiful hotel right on the beach.
The next visit we stay at:
The suites are fantastic (with maybe the best bathroom I’ve ever encountered), this side of the hotel gives you access to a separate roof top pool, but you can still access the pool on the Gale side. It also includes breakfast as well as a wine hour in the early evening (I wish every hotel offered this). One of the benefits of not being directly on the beach is that rates tend to be lower, yet you can still access the beach. There’s also a really good Italian restaurant right on site, and a cocktail bar. (check out our room tour here).
Check on Travelzoo.com for spa deals. You can often get really good spa prices, usually at hotels. One nice thing about this is that these deals sometimes include pool access (it should say). On our last visit we got one from the Hilton- after our couple’s massage, we enjoyed the afternoon at the Hilton pool, and liked it so much we asked if we could come back. They were very accommodating (probably because we spent a fair bit on food and drinks) and were happy to have us back.
The boardwalk is fantastic, a favourite of probably any city we’ve visited. We generally go for a run there most days but you can walk/bike as well. It takes you along the beach but you also meander through a few parks. Make sure you go all the way down to South Point Park. If you’re walking/running and want a change of pace, you can rent bikes along the way.
Ocean Drive- If you’re going to eat here, I’d highly recommend doing your research. In general it’s mediocre and overpriced. It is however a good place to stop for a drink just to people watch. Sunday afternoon is absolutely crazy there, if you have time, just take a walk on Sunday afternoon- the whole street pretty much turns into a big party, I won’t give anything else away but prepare yourself accordingly if you go!
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