24 Hours in a City: Making the Most of Your Short Time in Miami

More than 400,000 people live in Miami proper, and many more come to visit each year. The city itself is essentially two separate entities: Miami, with its businesslike and austere appearance, and Miami Beach, the party capital of South Florida. If you happen to have just 24 hours in this beautiful strip of barrier beach, there are plenty of things to see and do.

Here are some suggestions for making the most out of a single day in Miami:

Getting to South Beach

Miami Airport is pure chaos, and getting into South Florida traffic can be even more chaotic. More than 400,000 flights come in and out of the airport per year, shuttling cruise-goers, international travelers, and cargo. You can help avoid some of the craziness by calling anuberX, uberPOOL, or UberXL from Miami Airport, and point the driver east toward the ocean. If you want to arrive in style, pick up an LUX or an LUX SUV.

Where to Stay

SoBe has hundreds of hotels and places to stay, all of which range from absolutely ramshackle to downright luxurious. The average prices for a hotel in the area run about $100 a night in the summer and $200 per night in the winter, when many people come south for the sun. The Faena Hotel on Miami Beach is the highest-rated around and will cost you right around $370 per night, and the rooms come with butlers. But if you’re looking for something more affordable, check out the National Hotel. It’s moderately priced at around $150 per night in the summertime.

Primp and Preen

Miami is all about appearances, so you should be sure that you look great before heading out in your bathing suit. Try heading to the Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, where you can get ready for some sun with their tush-treatment for a mere $75. Afterward, head to the pool to watch their tanning butlers apply oil to lounging ladies and lads.

Taste Signature Miami Fare

Food trucks and sidewalk cafés are prevalent in South Beach and they offer a wide selection of great food. If you want to try some fantastic Cuban fare, hop an Uber to El Rey De Las Fritas. Order the Cuban-style burger for a giant taste of the island nation. If you tend to eat healthier, check out the foodie fare at Wynwood Kitchen.

Hit the Sunset Lounge at the Mondrian Hotel for a place to grab drinks before heading to the beach. Not only do you get stellar views of Biscayne Bay, but there’s also a long list of great-tasting cachaca cocktails.

Shopping and Art

Lincoln Road is where to go if you’re looking to spend money, so take an Uber to the outdoor shopping area, where you can get everything from crystal-embellished Havaianas flip-flops to colorful sarongs. If you’re looking for more upscale designers, head to the side streets where they are stores tucked away around the area.

You can also check out the culture in Miami by heading to Wynwood, where the walls are painted in incredible graffiti murals. There’s a burgeoning art scene happening in Miami and every month, restaurants and galleries do an Art Walk, where they show off the newest additions to the Miami art scene.

Hit the Beach

After you’ve scored your designer duds, it’s time to show them off at the beach. Hop an Uber down to one of the many public beaches and stake out a spot. If you’re looking for something a bit quieter, check out North Beach. This stretch of white sand between 63rd and 87th streets is mostly residential and largely unpopulated during the week. If you want something with more of a scene, there’s the beaches between 21st and 45th street, where the luxury hotels are located and where the people-watching is prime.

Late-Night Snacks

As your day winds down, it’s time to relax for a meal. Grab an Uber to The Alibi, where the reasonably-priced diner-style food should hit the spot. Try the South Philly Cheesesteak or even better, the Writer’s Block, a chicken or steak sandwich loaded with mushrooms, onions, and green peppers. Don’t worry about going too late; they’re open until 5am.