Heading into the new year, travel will again be at the top of my list of resolutions. I try to make travel a priority every year but inevitably, I always end up craving more adventures. One adventure I do always manage to squeeze in is a sunshine-filled girls trip with my best friend from college. As she's based in LA, and I'm in New York, it's become a necessity to meet for a vacation annually. In 2017, we made it to Cancun and this year, we decided to stay domestic and flew down to Miami. Let me tell you, Miami is a GREAT girls trip destination.
Between the beautiful beaches, fun nightlife and great food scene, Miami makes for a perfect little getaway - especially if you’re in the New York area seeking a warm vacation and want a quick (and cheap) flight. While we spent most of our time at the beach and pool, I want to share my top recommendations for lodging, eats and drinks.
Where To Stay
Because we were seeking a beach vacation, it was essential that we stayed in South Beach, as downtown Miami is a bit of a drive from the ocean. So, we narrowed our scope to beachfront resorts and hotels.
We ultimately settled on Nautilus, a SIXTY Hotel and were very impressed by the clean, spacious room, the beautiful pool and cabana area, as well as the easy access to the beach. While the poolside bar was quite pricey, the room rates were decent and the warm welcome from the staff made it well worth it.
Another great option that we considered (although they were sold out at the time) was the Confidante Miami Beach, a Hyatt hotel. The vibe at this hotel is very “old glamour Miami”, with bright colorful decor and boutiquey rooms. This spot is also on the water and has a beautiful pool area. Next time I’m in town, I’d like to try this place out!
Where To Eat
Bodega: Bodega was my favorite place in Miami, and I will revisit it below as a place to drink; but first, let me begin with its culinary delights. Bodega is a speakeasy bar/lounge disguised as a hole-in-the-wall taco joint. While the tacos at the counter are great, the real vibe happens behind a heavy steel door in the cafe. Beyond the door, is the lounge area of Bodega that boasts a happy hour from 6-8 with tacos for just a few bucks and $6 (delicious) specialty cocktails. Perfection, if you ask me.
Mare Mio: This is an Italian restaurant with a focus on fresh seafood, located in the center of Espanola Way. Embraced by the warm Miami breeze, we sat outside here for dinner on our second night in town. Starting with fresh oysters, I enjoyed the spaghetti vongole with clams as my main and we shared a few bottles of wine. It was phenomenal.
Moreno’s Cuba: We popped in here for breakfast one morning for some good ol’ Cuban fare and were not disappointed. The Cubano here was massive and definitely helped overcome a certain deadly hangover. Not mad about it.
Where To Drink
Bodega: As I mentioned prior, I LOVED Bodega. After enjoying their happy hour full of tacos and inexpensive cocktails, we went home and refreshed before the REAL night began. By 11 PM, Bodega was bustling with twenty-somethings tearing up the dance floor. As I already mentioned, the drinks were delicious (although not as cheap during regular hours obviously) and the DJ was playing a healthy combination of throwbacks and top 40 songs. We danced all night and I regret not making it back here for a second evening out.
E11EVEN : Truth be told, I’m not much of a club person -- I typically prefer bars and more laid back environments. That said, this club was unbelievable. That’s all I can say. You have to see it to believe it.
El Patio: On our last night in Miami, we wanted to end the trip with some dancing and open air vibes, so we headed to El Patio. This is an outdoor spot with amazing Latin music and no-frills drinks. If you like to dance a little salsa with a beer in your hand, this is your place.
While I can't say I'm ready to pack up and move to Florida, Miami is definitely a new staple for my travels. Next time I need to get away but not too far away, I'll definitely be checking flights to MIA.