By Charlotte Rick
I recently came back from America, where we spent a week in Florida. We flew into Miami and spent the first four days there before heading up to Orlando and exploring Universal Studios (read about that here!). There was so much to see and do in Miami, but I’ve tried to cut it down to the best ten (in my opinion). Have a read and let me know what you think!
1. Take a walk down Ocean Drive and see the Art Deco District
We stayed in the Starlite Hotel, which is on Ocean Drive and part of South Beach’s famous Art Deco District. Our reasons for staying there were it was the cheapest for the amazing location, as we were really staying in the heart of everything. http://www.starlitehotel.com/
At night time the place was a buzz with people as it was Spring Break, with all the hotels and bars along the front offering drink deals. On the first night we went to Boulevard which was next door to our hotel, tempted by their huge cocktail glasses at 2 for 1 (happy hour!), though these were $42 dollars each, so actually we were still paying a lot. We learnt after having a wander the next day that you get a lot more for your money by just going back from the beach a couple blocks, as they charge so much due to location.
Ocean Drive and the Art Deco District is a totally different place in the day time. If you wander up Ocean Drive you’ll find the start of the district by the Art Deco Information Centre and souvenir shop, selling prints and postcards of the area and other souvenirs designed around the era. But look up and see all the incredible buildings. Each are different in their individual style, but together look like something you’d only see in pictures. If you’re visiting South Beach you’ll most likely go past them anyway, but make sure you take the time to actually look up and see their design in detail as they’re all unique! Here you’ll also find the Versace Mansion, which you cannot miss.
2. Visit Wynwood Walls and see the art
We’d been recommended to go see Wynwood by a few friends, so one afternoon we headed over. This is one of those journeys I’d really recommend actually looking out the window on the way, as all the street art and murials are everywhere in the area before reaching the main part. I thought that it was just street art in the main streets, but actually Wynwood Walls is a garden type gallery you enter, which has all the art. There was also an indoor gallery which we had a look at with some really cool pieces.
Whilst outdoors, you can explore through several different sections of the garden. It’s definitely a must-see, as each wall has something of a completely different style. There’s also statues and other pieces to see.
When we reached the end there was another indoor section, which was titled ‘Pieces from the Taj Mahal’. This again was full of decadent pieces that you could imagine in an Indian Palace.
After viewing everything there was to see, we went across the road to Wynwood Diner. We were lucky enough to walk in during happy hour (4pm-8pm), so food and drinks were much cheaper. We, again, completely over ordered- American portions are huge! But the food was really good – we got a sharing platter and a jacket each, which was more than enough. The best thing though was that from 5pm-6pm there were $1 dollar drinks – something of a miracle when we’d been used to paying at least $6 up in the cheapest of places. We ended up staying here all evening till about 11pm in the garden, as we stocked up on drinks whilst they were cheap. I’d definitely recommend going to Wynwood Diner as the inside is decorated to match the Wynwood area, but the garden outside was beautifully decorated with fairy lights and candles, a lovely place to spend the evening.
3. Spend a few hours at the Venetian Pool
The Ventian Pool was a little way out in Coral Gables, but it was well worth the journey – it was absolutely stunning. $15 pp to get in, and you could stay as long as you pleased. The pool was probably the same temperature as the sea – a bit cold to begin with, but once you were in it was fine.
The waterfall is obviously the main feature of the pool, which you can swim under and sit in a little cave on the other side. It also had smaller waterfalls and little pools to sit in, which was a popular photo spot. I hadn’t heard about the pool until I saw a picture in a tour brochure, so if you haven’t heard of it go and check it out as it was definitely worth visiting!