So you’re only in Miami for the day- where to START? I had the chance to visit Miami Beach for a day trip and I did my best to pack an entire vacation’s worth of activities into the 12 short hours into what is known as the “magic city” – I’ll share the highlights of my trip here.
Breakfast: Zak the Baker
First on the list is to begin the day with a hearty and carb-filled breakfast at Zak the Baker in Wynwood. This establishment has been named “one of the best kosher bakeries in the country” by YeahThatsKosher.com (seems legit), won “Baking & Pastry Chef of the Year” at the Zest awards and is consistently named one of the best restaurants in Miami on Eater.
The bakery was originally founded by local baker Zak Stern, who quit his studies in pharmacology to travel through Europe acting as an apprentice to numerous cheese makers and bakeries for about five years in Italy and France, to work his way up to becoming the carbohydrate craftsman he is today. How inspiring.
Mid Morning: Wander around the Wynwood Arts District
The Wynwood Arts District is a trendy section of the urban core of Miami- it’s an ever-expanding hub of art and culture. Breweries, restaurants, and a plethora of insanely beautiful street art decorate every street corner. This district of Miami is home to an array or eclectic art galleries, stores, antique shops, bars, artisanal eateries and is well-known as one of the largest open-air street-art installations in the world.
Of course, the area has an interesting history behind it. From the mid-to-late 1900s, Wynwood was an enclave for Caribbean immigrants and home to Miami’s Garment District. It was run down, dangerous, and not a place for exploring- until a renaissance occurred in the early 2000’s when the neglected warehouses, shuttered factories, and other unused buildings, were reincarnated into the businesses present today.
Now, artists from all around the world visit the area and use what’s left of blank wall space as canvases to showcase their work- resulting in the vivid murals that adorn the district today.
First we stopped in and checked out Wynwood Walls which is a street art complex of six separate buildings. Since its inception in 2009, the gallery has brought the world’s greatest artists working in the graffiti and street art genre to Miami- over 50 artists representing 16 countries have covered over 80,000 square feet of walls.
The project has since migrated to include murals outside the park in the surrounding neighborhood, and is continues to expand each year to welcome new artists.
Next, we visited the Wynwood Marketplace, an open outdoor market with a selection of art, food, clothing, music, and plenty of booze for sale. It. Was. HOT. Good thing they had plenty of misters and an enormous fan too chill out with.
Afternoon: Lounge on South Beach/Walk along Ocean Drive
Next we headed to South Beach, to walk along Ocean Drive and scope out the scene. South Beach is well-known for its white-sandy beaches, glamorous people watching (celebs galore!), as well as the well-preserved art deco architecture which you can admire just by walking down the street.
Happy Hour Drinks: The Carlyle
Happy hour in South Beach, Miami is like no other happy hour around. We went to The Carlyle on Ocean Drive, famously known for its role as Robin William’s character’s home in the 1996 move “The Birdcage,” which he shared with his partner, Albert ( Nathan Lane) as well as the site of the Birdcage Club. The eatery is well equipped with a wide variety of fun-sized happy hour drinks… Think, any cocktail of your desire- but the size of your head- times two. It’s a great deal if you’re going out with anyone who shares a similar taste in drinks (and won’t be intimidated by the size of the glass).
BUT just because there’s four straws doesn’t mean you can’t keep one of them all to yourself, right?? #ChallengeAccepted
Dinner: Havana 1957
If you’re in Miami, you’re aware of the Cuban cultural presence in the city (and the amazing coffee and food which comes with it). Also, if you have some free time, read up on the history of the city’s complicated relationship with Cuba, because it’s extremely interesting topic to be educated on.
We enjoyed dinner at Havana 1957, and scarfed down every bite of the authentic Cuban cuisine. I would suggest ordering the classic “Ropa Vieja” dish, which comes with a generous and well seasoned portion of meat.
Miami was hot, humid, and a lot of fun. We managed to squeeze an entire vacation’s itinerary into one day in South Beach and took advantage of the opportunity to fill our senses (with not only the water in the air… 90% humidity) with the area’s artsy and gastronomic culture and its many tasty and authentically made foods.
I would go back to South Beach and make sure to spend the evening there. Even if “The Birdcage” club isn’t real, their larger than life sized drinks and the nightlife scene of Ocean Drive would make for a fun experience 😉
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