Sample Itinerary for MIAMI

Miami has many dimensions--the glitz and glamour, historical museums, the arts & culture, to ecological wonders. Wish you knew a local who could tell you the best places to see and memorable things to do? Well you do right here! Below is an example of an itinerary to make the most of your trip.

The Coral Gables neighborhood emanates history and elegance drawing from mediterranean architecture in the hotels, to the homes to the recreational grotto. Spend a day discovering and enjoying The Venetian Pools. Better yet, enjoy these pools during the weekday when it's less crowded. Open daily summertime only.

Then before or after your splash-around, visit the landmark Biltmore Hotel which offers free tours for an hour on Sundays only at 1:30pm, 2:30pm and 3:30pm. No reservations are needed. Just show up and absorb this decadent history.

A great introduction to Miami Beach is my Art Deco Walking Tour. Learn the colorful history of the architectural buildings, the pioneers, the heroes and villains, and other cultural contributors of Miami Beach. Once you've taken the tour, you'll appreciate the sights and sounds around you everytime you visit! Take the tour in the morning or the best time is the the twilight tour during summertime where it's far cooler than the morning. Twilight tours begin anywhere between 6:30pm and 7pm.

Daytime is best to see the any number of teeming museums.

There's the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens south of downtown near Coconut Grove, a must see if you love old buildings and history. Also the weekday tours are better since there are less crowds and the tour is not rushed.

Get an early morning start to commune with mother nature in the sky and on earth with her other children--the alligators.

Two options are  the Everglades Safari Airboat Ride or an aerial tour of Miami and the Everglades. This is in western Miami Dade county.

The Everglades Safari Airboat Ride is not as far as other ones so you don't lose an entire day driving. Click here to read my review of this attraction. Remember, best time to see the alligators is EARLY MORNING.

If noisy airboats and alligator-watching doesn't tickle your fancy, maybe soaring into the sky is your adrenaline adventure.  Drive over to Miami where Eusebio Valdes will take you on a personal aerial tour ride and offer you a few flight instructions. If you've taken my Art Deco walking tour and love that personal/concierge service all in one, then you're going to love Eusebio.  You'll feel like long-lost cousins reunited!  Best time is early morning or twilight during the summer. Click here for my review!

On the way back stop at Little Havana for a little culture along 8th Street and 15th Avenue.

*Domino Park--witness the secret of a long, life for these elderly Cuban men who match wits and brains in a game of Dominoes. Yes, even in the sweltering heat, the wooden man-made cobachas provide enough shade to endure several rounds.

*Cigar Factory-steps away is a third-generation Cuban Tobacco Cigar Company (the one with the Indian in front of the storefront). Now the seeds come from Cuba but the leaves are grown in Costa Rica or Nicaragua and rolled right there at this Miami factory. Watch workers hand roll and tip these aromatic cigars that waft out the entrance doors.  Feel free to take photos or video!

*Exquisito Restaurant -- complete your self-guided tour with a sampling of Cuban food. Ask for an appetizer of Yuca fries or plantain chips. And if you're an adventurous foodie, I recommend trying the Green Plantain Omelette. (Address: 1510 SW 8th Street).

On the last Friday of  every month is Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays).  From 6:30pm to 11pm enjoy a lively Friday evening in Little Havana with live music and dance, street artists and artisans, a myriad of art galleries and unique stores and restaurants that is typical new Havana.  A Free Walking Tour is led by famous Miami historian, Dr. Paul George and begins at 7pm at the Tower Theater.   For more information visit or call 305-643-5500.

In the Evening:
By now you're hot, sweaty and a little tired. There's plenty of time to shower, refresh and even take a nap at the hotel. Then break out your dancing shoes for dinner and dancing at Lincoln Road. Choose from a number of great restaurants. Most popular among locals is NEXT and VAN DYKE.

For Salsa lesson, there's only one place, YUCA restaurant (Lincoln Road) beginning at 8:30pm. They also offer lessons on Friday and Sunday at same time.

Continue exploring the different museums.

Jewish Museum of Florida open Tuesday through Sunday, 10am- 5pm.

In the Evening:
If you're staying for a short weekend, then you can abbreviate the itinerary and begin with the popular Art Deco Cocktail tour. 

TGIF--which means let your hair down a little without going wild and visit the World's Erotic Art Museum in South Beach and yes it is a true museum. Be sure to ask for a guided tour by the founder Ms. Naomi Wilzig. At the perky age of 75, she will regale you with historical tales for each presentation that varies with time periods, cultures, and continents. The museum opens at 11am daily and is a great way to escape the midday heat wave.

In the Evening:
The Wolfsonian Museum (which was the Washington Storage company) is FREE after 6pm on Fridays and closes at 9pm. Then amble around the corner to Ocean Drive and two blocks north for a drink on the steps of the TIDES hotel,  one of two luxurious Art Deco hotels on the strip. Sit close to sidewalk for a free show of the drag queens singing and dancing next door at the Palace Bar. It's comical and free entertainment.

Stay for dinner at La Marea at the Tides. I highly recommend the Snapper!
For dessert I recommend a refreshing homemade gelato at Milani on lively Espanola Way.

Start the weekend with a dip in the ocean or my Art Deco Walking Tour.

For lunch, grab a bite at the popular Big Pink restaurant, casual beach attire is acceptable.

Top off the evening by clicking your heels then head over to Tapas & Tintos for Spanish tapas and a free Flamenco dance performance. This hidden gem is at the end of EspaƱola Way on the left hand side. Now there's a trick to getting seats at this match-box size restaurant and to watch the show. Arrive about 9pm and order one tapa dish at a time and graze (eat slowly). So this way you have indoor seating by the time the Flamenco dancing starts around 11pm. Otherwise if you get there by 10pm, no seats will be available except for outdoor dining and you'll miss the show. Flamenco performances are Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

If you don't have a car or if the heat is impeding you from walking more than a few block, fear not. I just learned about a new FREE taxi service within heart of South Beach-- Swoop Miami! Program their number into your cell phone: 305-409-6636.

This page is updated regularly so check back anytime you plan to visit Miami!

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