A Single Girl’s Guide to Miami, Florida

July 23, 2019

Typically labeled as a party city, Miami surprised me. I first visited Miami in 2015, when I lived there for several weeks, dancing with Miami City Ballet. I’ve visited twice since, and every time I fall a little more in love with what Miami has to offer. Miami loves to have fun, and whether that’s a party on South Beach or a day spent wandering the walls of Wynwood, there’s really something for everyone there. I’m going to be honest, for the solo female traveler, I think Miami’s an easy place to feel very alone compared to other cities, as you’ll see many large groups of friends, bachelorette parties, families, etc. {more so than say, LA, NYC, Tokyo, or Paris, for example}. If you can bypass that initial feeling, you’ll find Miami to be a vibrant city with a lot of unique experience and ways to relax on your own!

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WHERE TO GO

WYNWOOD ART DISTRICT

2520 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127

Wynwood Art District is easily one of the most Instagrammable neighborhoods in Miami. Home to the infamous Wynwood Walls, this creative, unique neighborhood was one of the sketchiest areas of Miami just a few years ago. With buildings covered in installations from some of the world’s top street artists, Wynwood is something of an outdoor, large scale art gallery. If you prefer your galleries to be indoors, don’t worry, this artsy neighborhood is filled to the brim with those as well! Not only does Wynwood have a vibrant art scene, it also has a bustling bar dynamic and is emerging as one of the top neighborhoods in Miami for restaurants, as well. Read my full guide to Wynwood Art District by clicking here.

DRESS | SHOES

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THE VENETIAN POOL

2701 De Soto Blvd, Coral Gables, FL 33134

The closest thing I’ve encountered to the Venetian Pool was a lake, and trust me, it wasn’t nearly as clean. The Venetian Pool is a freshwater pool located in Coral Gables, about 20-30 minutes outside of downtown Miami. The pool was built from a coral rock quarry in 1923. The coral rock dug out to make the pool now decorates and borders the pool! The pools is absolutely beautiful, however is on the deeper side in some areas due to it originally being a quarry. If you’re like me an have sensitive skin that can’t handle frequent chlorine, this is an amazing option!

BAL HARBOUR SHOPS

9700 Collins Ave, Bal Harbour, FL 33154

Bal Harbour Shops is truly opulent shopping in Miami Beach. This outdoor mall is gorgeous, and filled with flora and fountains. Shop department store favorites like Neiman Marcus and Saks, or luxury staples like Chanel and Goyard. I would recommend Ubering to this shopping destination – parking will run you $1.50 per hour if your parking is validated, or $5 an hour if not.

KEY BISCAYNE

Key Biscayne is idea for those who prefer a more low-key beach with softer waves. As Key Biscayne’s beach rests in a state park, it stays relatively quiet, and very shallow comparative to other beaches in Florida. It’s also home to a 19th century lighthouse. If South Beach isn’t as appealing to you for the foot traffic and more upbeat vibe, Key Biscayne is a great option! Also nearby is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a unique American-style villa that boasts a unique collection of art, extensive gardens, and most of the original furniture to the property.

LITTLE HAVANA

Little Havana is truly a gem in Miami. Walk through Domino Park to see some of the most intense games of dominoes ever, or stop into Versailles for some delectable Cuban cuisine. In March, Calle Ocho {southwest 8th St} hosts the world’s largest street fair. I loved going through Little Havana and spotting all of the art that was painted on walls or that stood out in front of stores. See the roosters scattered around the neighborhood in bright colors and prints, or take a photo in front of the iconic “Welcome to Little Havana” mural. The mural is located at 2614 SW 8th St facing into a Chase Bank {it took me forever to find the location online}. The hibiscus painted staircase below was a surprise find! There’s two identical hibiscus staircases located on the next block over from the Little Havana mural in a parking lot.

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SOUTH BEACH

South Beach’s notorious reputation as a party beach typically proceeds it. While yes, there are some great parties thrown on South Beach, there’s so much more this beach has to offer. Stroll through the Art Deco district to see some beachy chic 1920’s architecture, or walk through the Lincoln Road Farmer’s Market on Sundays for squeezed on the spot fresh mango juice. Collins Ave boasts a range of shopping, for those looking to get off the beach. Stop into Maxine’s for a sit-down dinner on their patio, or the Big Pink for some affordable 1950’s style diner fun.

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BIKINI

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MIAMI DESIGN DISTRICT

3801 NE 1st Ave, Miami, FL 33137

The Miami Design District is located so close to Wynwood Arts Distrct, that it makes complete sense why this neighborhood is so creative! Luxury shopping is accented with unique art installations. There’s no way you’ve seen a parking garage like the one below before! The flagship mural of the Miami Design District is the mural below by art collective 2×4. The mural is located in Jungle Plaza, a 20,000+ square foot plaza. Jungle Plaza is also home to Flotsam & Jetsam, one of the world’s largest 3D printed objects.

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DRESS | SHOES

MIAMI CITY BALLET

1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132
{Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center}

While I understand that ballet may not be everyone’s cup of tea, hear me out on this one. Of couse I’m a bit biased, but Miami City Ballet is one of the top ballet companies in the United States. This isn’t just any ballet company, Miami City Ballet performs cutting edge work commissioned from trendy, innovative choreographers such as Justin Peck, in addition to working with the George Balanchine trust to perform Balanchine’s vibrant, brilliant pieces as well. Miami City Ballet typically performs at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center.

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WHAT TO EAT

BIG PINK

157 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

With a bright, pop pink exterior, Big Pink is not only one of the most Instagrammable spots in South Beach, but also one of the busiest. With a fun 1950’s theme and a reasonably priced menu, it’s understandable why this restaurant is such a Miami Beach hotspot. Expect a wait between 30 minutes to over an hour to get in. Don’t worry, their waffle mac and cheese grilled cheese sandwich is worth it.

VERSAILLES RESTAURANT

3555 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135

Versailles is easily the most well known Cuban restaurant in the Miami area. Located in Little Havana, expect to find this expansive restaurant busy and bustling. Despite the popularity, Versailles remains an extremely well priced restaurant, with several entrees below $15. Next to the restaurant, Versailles owns a bakery of the same name.

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JOEY’S ITALIAN CAFE

2506 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127

Joey’s Italian Cafe is the first restaurant to hit the Wynwood Arts District after the revamp. This chic and modern Italian restaurant features fresh ingredients, and a great location to the surrounding murals. Read more on Joey’s and Wynwood by clicking here.

WHERE TO STAY

AFFORDABLE: THE HOTEL CROYDON

3720 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

If you’re looking to find an affordable hotel that doesn’t sacrifice style, The Hotel Croydon is your solution. The hotel frequently has room rates under $100, and features a complimentary airport shuttle and cocktail hour, a rooftop sundeck with a beautiful view, an outdoor pool, and a fitness center, amongst others. Included in the hotel’s resort fee is two beach chairs and beach towels. In balancing amenities and price, this hotel is away from the central South Beach area, and instead is located in Mid-Beach. If you prefer to stay in quieter, more relaxed environment, Mid-Beach is ideal for you. It’s worth noting for the under 21 crowd that the Hotel Croydon is one of the few Miami Beach hotels that do not require someone over 21 on the reservation to check in. I’ve stayed at this hotel twice and have enjoyed it both times, however I feel as though service here has been hit or miss.

LUXURY: VILLA CASA CASUARINA – THE VERSACE MANSION

1116 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Formerly known as the Versace Mansion, the Villa Casa Casuarina is truly one of the most unique hotels in the United States. The walls, floors, and ceilings, and windows of the mansion remain original to the Gianni Versace’s renovations. The mansion once functioned as accommodations for Gianni Versace’s friends and family. Donatella Versace’s former room is now the Venus Suite, and Santos Versace’s former room is now the Signature Suite. Today, you can find the iconic Versace Medusa Head still at the Villa Casa Casuarina. The hotel is pricey, however for those looking for a unique experience in Miami, it can’t be beat.

RESORT: FONTAINEBLEAU MIAMI BEACH

4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

If you want an all-inclusive experience, the Fontainebleau is your resort. This infamous Miami Beach staple is located in mid-beach, and with the amount of amenities it offers, you could last your entire vacation without ever leaving it. The Fontainebleau offers 11 pools, a private beach, exotic car rental, luxury cabanas, a Martha Stewart-approved spa, four bars and clubs featuring live entertainment, nine restaurants, a gym complete with fitness classes, and several shops within the resort. The property itself is large and expansive. It’s almost like the Miami version of the Breakers in Palm Beach.

GLAM: SLS SOUTH BEACH

1701 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

The SLS South Beach is downright posh. Designer Philippe Stark channeled Madame de Pompadour, Louis XIV’s mistress, when decorating the property. As a result, the hotel is a modern take on French aristocracy with naughty twists such as mirrors on the ceiling and a box marked “sinners.” In contrast, Lenny Kravitz channeled a world traveler and collector to design the Villa and Presidential Penthouse. The SLS has a Lincoln Navigator house car, access to two beach chairs and towels for guests, GETSTREAMING for your devices, and access to Vivrelle, a luxury handbag rental service as well.

TRANSPORTATION

CAR

Whether or not you need a car full time in Miami is completely dependent on what you choose to do. Overall, I’d say that my number one method for getting around is a rideshare app such as Uber or Lyft. Parking on Miami Beach is expensive if you’re parking overnight or want in and out privileges. Street parking is scarce. If you are driving into the Miami area and do find yourself needing to park overnight, I recommend booking an AirBnB off of Miami Beach island. Several AirBnB’s in newer apartment buildings offer free parking, which will save roughly $35-60 a night. When I travel to Miami, I typically stay on Miami Beach, and find that Uber and Lyft to the mainland for Wynwood, the Design District, Little Havana, etc., is typically no more than $15-20. If you’re trying Uber or Lyft for the first time, use code “evap1241ue” on Uber or code “EVA07711” on Lyft for a discount off your first rides. If you are bringing or renting a car in Miami, download the Pay by Phone app to park in municipal lots and garages for the best rate.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

Public transportation in Miami is maybe the worst I’ve seen for any major city. On the mainland, Metrorail is an elevated, dual track train that runs for approximately 25 miles. I’ve taken it a few times before, and absolutely would not recommend it. As it does not have several lines, the Metrorail is only efficient if you’re trying to go between two places within a close walk to a station. Otherwise, you’ll be left walking several miles to Miami’s top attractions.

BIKING

If you’re planning on spending the majority of your trip, if not all, on South Beach, biking is an efficient way to get around the island! Many of the shops, restaurants, and hotels, are all within a 15-30 minute bike ride from the top to bottom of South Beach. Otherwise, Miami Beach itself is very walkable.

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SAFETY

Miami has a reputation for some -erm- shadier activities when the sun goes down, however over the last several years, the city has really cleaned up its image. South Beach remains very safe, and areas such as Wynwood, Little Havana, and Downtown Miami are all safe during the day. I would recommend using extra precaution when in Wynwood and Little Havana at night on weekdays. Like any major city, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.

xx,
E

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