Anyone who knows me knows I am a low-key, conservative, traditional person. Anyone who knows Miami knows that the city is exactly the opposite.
At first (okay, still) Miami is very overwhelming. The nightlife, culture, language, traffic, crazy drivers and crowds can make this city seem uninviting. It’s no secret that I don’t love living here, however, I’m glad I had this experience because Miami does have a lot to offer. I ended up making the best of the last 3.5 years by finding activities and places that I enjoyed, despite them not being “typical” Miami activities.
If you ever visit Miami (including Coral Gables, where I live), here are some of my favorite things to do.
Where to EAT + DRINK
JugoFresh tops my list for juices, smoothies, acai bowls and snacks. There are multiple locations across the Miami area so chances are you will be within 5 miles of one. Everything is organic and gluten-free and all of their snacks/grab n’ go meals are plant-based.
My favorite smoothie, pictured below in a bowl with toppings: Happy Kale Belly (probiotic coconut yogurt, almond mylk, kale, banana, blueberry, ginger, mint, honey)
Green Gables Cafe is an organic cafe with gluten-free and vegetarian options located in Coral Gables. It’s only open for breakfast and lunch but breakfast is served all-day. My go-to order is the “Superfood Salad Bowl” (kale, brown rice, spinach, tomato, sesame seeds, scallions, avocado).
Lido Restaurant & Bayside Grill is located at The Standard Hotel on South Beach. I went there with my mom earlier this semester and everything on the menu sounded great. The Standard is a great hotel to see (very chic) so might as well eat while you’re there.
Mariposa at Neiman Marcus is in The Villages at Merrick Park (see below) and features fresh, light American cuisine. There are great GF and vegetarian options and the setting (inside Neiman Marcus, obviously) makes it feel elegant.
Sushisamba has two locations in the Miami area: South Beach and Coral Gables. It’s definitely a pricey restaurant but the environment, elaborate menu choices (and separate GF menu) made it worthwhile.
For regular priced, but still delicious, sushi…Sushi Maki is a great choice.
Lastly, Whole Foods, because, how could I make a list about Miami without mentioning my home-away-from-home? They just opened a new location in Downtown Miami but I have been to every single one in a 25 mile radius from campus.
Where to SHOP + WALK AROUND
Miracle Mile (Downtown Coral Gables) is a strip of designer shops, art galleries, restaurants and theatre. There aren’t many stores I personally shop at (other than Barnes & Nobles) but it’s a great place to eat dinner and walk around.
The Villages at Merrick Park (pictured below) is part of the reason I chose to go to school here. It’s a large, upscale, outdoor shopping center with many restaurants. There is a Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Lululemon AND Athleta, Anthropologie, Sephora, Vineyard Vines, J. Crew and a bunch of super pricey stores I don’t go into.
Where to WORKOUT
For yoga, go to Green Monkey. It’s a Baptiste studio that I’ve been going to for more than two years and there are two locations in the Miami area. They also offer slow-flow and non-heated classes, plus tons of specialty workshops.
For running, you have many options. The weather and time of day plays a big factor in where I run, but if the sun isn’t a huge issue, I love running from Coconut Grove over to Key Biscayne (pictured below). I also enjoy running around the Biltmore in Coral Gables as well as the Granada Golf Course. As for South Beach, there is a paved path along the water for most of Ocean Drive (aka right along the water).
Other Miami ACTIVITIES
BEACH IT. I like Key Biscayne because it’s usually less crowded than South Beach, but a beach is a beach is a beach. I would suggest just driving over the bridge leading into Key Biscayne because the view both directions is incredible.
Remember when Kourtney & Khloe took Miami? Well their store (DASH) is still here! It’s not that great and it’s so incognito that you might walk right by it, but it’s cool to visit. I actually bought a candle from there a few years ago and it was ridiculously expensive but smelled amazing.
Hotel hop! One time my family and I just walked along South Beach and went into all the famous/chic hotels for no reason other than to “go to the bathroom.”
The Wynwood Walls are graffiti paintings on walls (duh) all clustered together on one street. So building next to building has unique, life-sized drawings. It’s a perfect spot for Instagrams.
Goodbye to the 305
Obviously there are many other things to do depending on your interests. Museums, clubbing, fine dining, high-end shopping, art, local cuisine, outdoor activities, sporting events, concerts, etc. Trust me, you’ll find something you like. While I’m definitely not in love with the 305 like Pitbull is, I managed to make it my own during college.
On that note, I’m happy to say “adios” and leave the chaos of a city for now.