MIAMI 48 HOURS See our best places to eat, visit and sleep based on a recent trip.
Miami 48 hours – STAY AT THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL
If you only have 48 hours or so in Miami then we suggest you stay at the Mandarin Oriental in Brickell Key. It’s very well located on a private “island” type location just a few minutes walk across a pedestrian bridge from busy, Brickell Key.
It has it’s own private beach area where we did a fabulous free yoga class too. A great way to start your day. All levels are catered for by the experienced teacher. Mats, towels and water all provided free of charge.
You can walk all around Brickell Key and have an early morning coffee with local residents before breakfast at La Mar by Gaston Acurio at the Mandarin Oriental Miami.
The hotel has a house car that’s super useful for getting to local places like the shops in Brickell City Centre, local restaurants and even some nearby museums.
Staff are very helpful and knowledgable about the local area when it comes to attractions and restaurants too. So do ask the concierges for help.
Miami 48 hours – EAT HERE
We enjoyed some Miami Spice menus at participating restaurants, curated, set menus that are very good value offered during August and September all over Miami.
Try dinner and drinks at Zuma Miami, a 15 minute walk from the Mandarin Oriental. A taxi back to the hotel at about 10.30 pm took quite a while as there was traffic so be warned, it’s quicker to walk sometimes.
The vibe at Zuma Miami was excellent. They have tables outside by the water, try for one of those. The bar is buzzy, prices are similar to Dubai.
Food is a little different, slightly on the sweeter side but the names of the dishes are pretty much the same.
Miami has some great Happy Hours for drinks and food so do your research and avail these deals. Usefully many Happy Hours start early at about 4pm so have a late breakfast and snack lunch! We recommend the drinks and food at River Oyster Bar’s Happy Hour in Brickell. That’s available on Saturdays too, but you cannot reserve, just turn up.
A bit further away is the very cool rooftop of the Esme hotel, try that for some lunch time drinks if you’re walking towards Ocean Drive. The bartender makes great cocktails and the guacamole with charcoal chips is excellent.
Lunch at Mandolin in the Design District was tasty, cool and set in a pretty patio. Think high end Greek taverna, you must book though and follow lunch here with a walk around the Miami Design District just 5 minutes walk away.
There is another cool place here called Swan for eating and drinks but it’s more for people watching vs hearty meals!
48 Hours Miami Visit
We suggest you visit historic Vizcaya Museum and gardens. They have a cool Farmers Market just across the road on a Sunday morning. Do download the free audio tour to get the most out of your visit.
Art lovers will definitely want to check out the contemporary Perez Art Museum. It’s an airy, well laid out modern museum in a bright building right opposite the Frost Museum of Science. It’s about a 10 minute taxi ride from the Mandarin Oriental in Brickell.
Walk around Miami Design district and check out all the architecture and designer shops. Have lunch as we have suggested at the Mandolin, Greek restaurant nearby, but do book.
Little Havana isn’t far from Brickell either, but it’s not walkable from the Mandarin Oriental. The area is distinctively Cuban with cigar rolling shops, little cafes and people singing and playing live music on the pavements at the weekend. Little Havana has a real Spanish flavour, and many people speak only Spanish here!
Eat some empanadas and plantain chips at a cafe called El Pub about half way down the main Little Havana street. Cold beers are great to accompany your snacks here. You must try the Cuban creme caramel too! These places are great value for money for authentic food.
A walk down Ocean Drive gives you a whole feel of Art Deco Miami. We took in the vibes along the sea while heading to the Esme hotel for some lunchtime drinks.
We also had a look at the Faena art hotel that’s in Mid Beach Miami. It’s right on the beach and has a very arty terrace bar. Do check out the gold mammoth statue! Pricey at about USD 26 for a cocktail before tips and taxes though and about USD 8 for a non alcoholic beer.
After 48 hours in Miami, we headed up North to stay with family in Jupiter.
Do a day trip to Palm Beach from Miami if you can and have some snacks and drinks at the iconic Breakers Hotel. Walk down Worth Avenue and explore this Italianate style street. This is about a half day trip in total.
Serious shoppers will love the prices at the large outlet mall called Sawgrass Mills. Check if the location works for you though.
Getting to Miami from Dubai
Emirates has a direct flight from Dubai to Miami, but it is a long 16 hour journey. Note it’s not an A380 aircraft so there is no bar on the flight!
There is an 8 hour time difference and the flight leaves here at 3am and arrives the same day local time 11am. So you do gain time if you can get right into the zone quickly!
Thank you for the restaurant suggestions to Bishop Design in Miami. The views, opinions and photographs are all my own.
Monica’s Travel Tips page up to date, practical, useful travel tips including new routes from Dubai.
Monica’s Weekend – Recommending cool places to eat, things to do and events in and around Dubai every week on Dubai Eye 103.8 fm.