Special shout-out to my husband and favourite travel partner who has taken most of our travel photos.

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Hotels

Nautilus South Beach

♥♥♥♥♥

Perfectly located on the beach just north of Lincoln Road Mall. The hotel has a beautiful swimming pool area with loungers and a bar, as well as beach chairs and a kiosk/bar right on the beach. The hotel backs onto the boardwalk.

Day 1

 

Afternoon

Arrived in Miami and checked into our hotel, the Nautilus South Beach, perfectly located on the beach just north of Lincoln Road Mall. The hotel has a beautiful swimming pool area with loungers and a bar, as well as beach chairs and a kiosk/bar right on the beach. The hotel backs onto the long boardwalk which stretches from the south end of Miami Beach, on Ocean Drive, until 46th Street and Collins Avenue.

After we checked into the hotel we walked over to Taquiza - a traditional Mexican taquería crafting authentic tacos. It's located on Collins Avenue underneath the HI Miami Beach Hostel building. They serve a variety of tacos made fresh to order at the counter. There are a few seats inside and outside where you can eat your tacos with a nice cold beer.

We spent the rest of the afternoon strolling through Lincoln Road Mall which is a pedestrian street running a mile long, parallel between 16th and 17th streets. The busy promenade is architecturally made up of many beautiful heritage Art Deco buildings. There are many shops and restaurants with outdoor seeting.

After our walk we returned to the hotel and went down to the pool in the late afternoon where we had a mojito while relaxing on the lounge chairs.

Evening

We met our cousin for dinner at an Italian restaurant, Pane Vino, on Lincoln Avenue near Espanola Way. This cozy restaurant hand-makes all of its pasta on location. In fact, there is a chef at the entrance to the restaurant rolling out the dough and making the different types of pasta while you watch. The pasta is delicious and they have a good selection of wines.

Day 2

 

Morning 

After breakfast we went for a long walk, heading north along the boardwalk. The boardwalk takes you along the beach, and through many sections that are lush with tropical vegetation, flowers and shade. It is really beautiful and a great way to start your day. 

Afternoon

We booked a food tour of Little Havana with Miami Culinary Tours. This was a fun tour in the Cuban area of Miami. We walked around learning the history of the Cuban community while tasting delicious, authentic Cuban food. We heard stories about those cooking the food and learnt about some of the establishments made famous for their music and culture.

 

After the tour we went back to the hotel for some relaxation by the pool.   

Evening

We decided to go for a casual dinner this evening. I had read about the best pizza in South Beach and decided to give it a try. Mister01 (previously called Visa01) is a small Italian eatery (only about ten tables), which is a little hard to find, but worth the search! It may feel strange to walk down a quiet hallway, in an office building off of Lincoln Road Mall, rather than eat al fresco while in Miami, but trust us on this one.

 

They make the best pizza we have ever had. Their thin crusts have a crispy base with just the right amount of cheese and toppings. Their salads are fresh and their burrata cheese melts in your mouth. As if that wasn't enough, they treated us to dessert - two croissants filled with Nutella and warmed in their wood-burning pizza oven. Heaven! 

Day 3

Morning

After breakfast we went for a nice walk along the boardwalk, this time heading south. The south end takes you to Lummus Park and along Ocean Drive where you can see many of the Art Deco hotels that South Beach is known for. Most of these hotels have restaurants with large verandas.

Afternoon

This afternoon we booked a private tour with an organization called The Art Experience. This tour focused on the Miami Design District as well as the Wynwood Art District. Both of these areas are home to stunning private galleries, museums and colourful outdoor art displays. 

While visiting the Design District our guide took us to the de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space which houses works from the personal collection of Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz. It has been available for public viewing for the past fifteen years. The collection focuses on international contemporary art inside a new three-story, 30,000 sq. ft. space. If you like contemporary art, this is a must see.

From the Design District we headed to the Wynwood Art District - a former warehouse district which has become the arts hub of South Florida. It started with murals, street art, and graffiti - encouraged by the neighbourhood's early developers. They now have over 70 galleries and many new restaurants and bars. 

One of the big draws to this neighbourhood is the Wynwood Walls - a collection of giant walls from six buildings. These walls have become a canvas of painted murals by famous artists from around the world. It is on public display - basically an outdoor museum. 

We wandered around this area for a couple of hours taking in the beauty of the art and vibrancy of the neighbourhood.

 

We stopped for lunch and a cold beer at the Butcher Shop Beer Garden and Grill. This buzzing restaurant is a good spot for a delicious burger. 

Evening

For dinner we went to Barton G. This iconic, upscale Miami restaurant has a beautifully landscaped tropical garden and patio. Their food is creative and whimsical with over-the-top presentations. Comfort food taken to a whole new level.

Day 4

 

Morning 

After our morning walk we headed to the Art Deco Welcome Centre where we registered for an Art Deco walking tour.

 

The tour was led by a volunteer member of the Miami Design and Preservation League. This fascinating two-hour tour explained the origins of Art Deco and specifically the history of the large collection of Art Deco buildings in South Beach. The area contains 960 historic buildings - one of the largest in the world.

Afternoon

We stopped for lunch in Lincoln Road Mall at The Cafe at Books and Books. This lovely spot is not only a cute book store but also has a cafe serving a healthy and hearty menu of fresh and locally grown food.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel and then to the airport to catch our flight home.

Guides and Tours
  • Miami Culinary Tours. This food tour of Little Havana took us through the Cuban area of Miami. We walked around learning the history of the Cuban community while tasting delicious, authentic Cuban food.

  • The Art Experience. This tour focused on the Miami Design District as well as the Wynwood Art District. Both these areas are home to stunning private galleries, museums and colourful outdoor art displays.

  • Art Deco Welcome Centre. We registered for an Art Deco walking tour. This fascinating two-hour tour explained the origins and history of the large collection of Art Deco buildings in South Beach. 

Miami Beach itinerary in 4 days

Noteworthy Restaurants
  • Taquiza.  A traditional Mexican taquería crafting authentic tacos. There are a few seats inside and outside where you can eat your tacos with a nice cold beer.

  • Pane Vino. An Italian restaurant near Espanola Way. This cozy restaurant hand-makes all of its pasta on location. In fact, there is a chef at the entrance to the restaurant rolling out the dough and making the different types of pasta while you watch. Delicious pasta and a good selection of wines.

  • Mister01. (Previously called Visa01) A small, casual Italian pizzeria (only about ten tables). It is a little hard to find as it may feel strange to walk down a quiet hallway, in an office building off of Lincoln Road Mall, rather than eat al fresco while in Miami, but trust us on this one. The pizza is the best we've ever eaten.

  • Barton G. This iconic, upscale Miami restaurant has a tropical garden and patio. Their food is creative and whimsical with over-the-top presentations. Comfort food taken to a whole new level.

  • Butcher Shop Beer Garden and Grill. This casual restaurant, in Wynwood, is a nice spot where you can enjoy a good burger with a nice, cold beer. 

  • The Cafe at Books and Books. This lovely spot on Lincoln Road Mall is not only a cute book store but also has a cafe serving a healthy and hearty menu of fresh and locally grown food.

Favourite Museums
  • Wynwood Walls - a collection of giant walls from six buildings. These walls have become a canvas of painted murals by famous artists from around the world. It is on public display - basically an outdoor museum. Located in the Wynwood Art District.

  • de la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space - houses works from the personal collection of Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz. The collection focuses on international contemporary art inside a new three-story, 30,000 sq. ft. space. If you like contemporary art, this is a must see. Located in the Miami Design District.

Florida is an easy get-away from Toronto. In just a short three hour flight you are swept from a cold and dreary winter to a tropical beach with sunny weather. I have been to many parts of Florida, including theme parks with our kids, as well as the lovely west coast but South Beach in Miami is always fun and with lots of things to do.

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