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Miami Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Eat, and More

Miami is a wonderful travel destination offering great food, warm weather, and beautiful beaches. When other parts of the country are cold, snowy, and gray, escaping to this tropical locale can be just the break you need. Miami is home to many luxury hotels, New York restaurants, and high-end boutiques if that’s what you’re looking for. But there are also free or less-expensive options to help you enjoy Miami without breaking the bank.

Despite its hard-partying reputation, Miami can be a sweet, even civilized escape for those looking to enjoy a few days of socially distanced fun in the sun. And of course, if you’re vaccinated, options abound. Whichever category you fall in, we’ve got recommendations.

Palm trees and beach on a path leading to the ocean.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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Where to Stay

Assuming you want to be near the water (really, what other choice is there?), you’ll want to sleep where it makes the most sense geographically, aka Miami Beach. Fortunately, there are myriad oceanside options to choose from, from boutique hotels to ultra-luxury properties — not that you can put a price on waking up and immediately taking a dip.

Kimpton EPIC Hotel

Pool and chairs at the Epic hotel.
Photo by EPIC Hotel Image used with permission by copyright holder

Located in the heart of Downtown Miami overlooking Biscayne Bay, the Kimpton EPIC Hotel has everything. Outdoor cigar lounge? Check. Japanese izakaya dining at Zuma? Yessir. You can even opt to arrive by yacht to a private marina if you desire. The amenities are so seductive, you’ll never want to leave.

Another option? Book a day pass or rent a private cabana at the picturesque Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel in South Beach. Trust us, the happy hour is well worth it.

  • Nearest Airport: Miami International Airport 
  • Time: 20 minutes
  • Distance: 6 miles

Kayak Miami Beach

Interior shot of the KAYAK Miami Beach hotel.
Travel & Leisure

As Kayak.com’s first-ever hotel, Kayak Miami Beach features all the techy innovations, including (but not limited to) access to hotel staff, event notifications, expedited check-in, and streaming workouts, all in an historic Art Deco-style building. Seamlessly blending the past and future, we can’t argue that it’s an extremely efficient place to stay.

  • Nearest Airport: Miami International Airport
  • Time: 21 minutes
  • Distance: 10.9 miles

Good Time Hotel

Pool at the Good Time hotel.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Whether or not you’re there for a long time, you’re guaranteed to have a good — nay, great — time at The Goodtime Hotel, a collaboration from hospitality impresario David Grutman and Pharrell Williams featuring 266 rooms with chic AF interiors and a 30,000 square-foot vintage-tinged pool club. After a raucous opening night with Kim Kardashian and David Beckham in attendance, you can expect a celeb-caliber getaway.

  • Nearest Airport: Miami International Airport 
  • Time: 23 minutes
  • Distance: 9.2 miles

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Faena Hotel Miami Beach

Hotel room at the Faena Miami Beach hotel.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When it comes to Miami hotels, the Faena is, without a doubt, the most coveted stay. Its signature red umbrellas are a defining characteristic of the property, which offers suites with panoramic ocean views and a wildly decadent asado experience over an open flame curated by Argentine chef Francis Mallmann against the backdrop of a gilded woolly mammoth by the artist Damian Hirst, unmissable to passersby on the boardwalk.

  • Nearest Airport: Miami International Airport 
  • Time: 23 minutes
  • Distance: 10.5 miles

What to Eat

There are so many great restaurants to choose from in Miami it will be hard to fit them all in during one vacation.

  • “$” = budget-friendly or cheap
  • “$$”= average
  • “$$$”= expensive

OTL Restaurant

An overhead view of plates with egg, toast, and fruit.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Start off at OTL in the buzzy Design District, a laid-back café that serves breakfast all day long (we suggest the overnight oats).

  • Best for breakfast
  • $$ 

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Zak the Baker

Zak the Baker's chocolate Babka.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

No trip to Miami would be complete without a quick schlep to Wynwood for Zak the Baker, a kosher eatery with an easily recognizable graffiti exterior that specializes in delicious baked goods that range from the classic (double chocolate babka) to the creative (salmon Reuben) — but be warned, the pastries sell out fast, so go early to get the goods.

  • Best for baked goods
  • $$

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The Oasis

Tables, chairs, and building of Miami Oasis.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

A stone’s throw away, The Oasis offers an assortment of lunch options, including New York institutions Alidoro and Prince Street Pizza.

  • Best for lunch
  • $$

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La Sandwicherie

Sandwich and drink from La Sandwicherie.
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Queue up at La Sandwicherie and grab a sizable sandwich on a crisp baguette to-go, you can’t go wrong.

  • Best for lunch
  • $$

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Osaka

Plate of thin sliced tuna.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Arguably the most important meal of the day in Miami, dinner is an opportunity to see and be seen (even in pandemic times). One of the most hard-to-get reservations includes the Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Osaka.

  • Best for dinner
  • $$$

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Planta

Salad, sushi, and side dishes from Planta.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’re looking for delicious plant-based food, Planta sources its produce from its own rooftop garden at the restaurant.

  • Best for lunch, dinner
  • $$$

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Byblos

Couch, tables, and chairs at Byblos patio.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Byblos serves up Eastern Mediterranean cuisine such as lamb ribs, couscous, and stuffed baklava accompanied by a wide variety of their signature cocktails.

  • Best for dinner
  • $$$

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Red Rooster Overtown

Sauce poured over grilled fish.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You’ll feel like a local at Red Rooster. It celebrates local arts and musicians and offers delicious comfort food.

  • Best for lunch, dinner
  • $$$

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Carbone

Booths inside carbone restaurant.
Culture Crusader

Don’t miss out on this Italian restaurant. The spicy rigatoni vodka is one-of-a-kind, but if you want to get a spot, be sure to make a reservation ahead of time.

  • Best for dinner
  • $$$

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Margot Natural Wine Bar

Bartender pours drinks at Margot.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’re not too stuffed, stop by Margot Natural Wine Bar, a concept from the Broken Shaker team that boasts organic and biodynamic wines.

  • Best for drinks
  • $$

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Lido Restaurant and Champagne Bar

Interior dining room at Lido.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Bubbly, anyone? Cruise by Lido’s Champagne Bar, located at the historic Surf Club, for a glass to relax and recharge. Replete with palm trees, the space oozes glamour. It’s no surprise, then, that it was a go-to for Hollywood icons, including Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor.

  • Best for drinks
  • $$$

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Swan

Colorful purple drink at Swan.
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Swan, the indoor-outdoor space and celeb-favorite haunt run by Grutman and Williams, is an absolute must.

  • Best for drinks
  • $$$

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The Mojito Bar

Red ceiling lights and pineapple place setting.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Mojito Bar is the place to be if you want the full Miami experience. Unwind, enjoy the music, and taste the delicious Cuban cuisine led by Hispanic chef Douglas Rodriguez.

  • Best for drinks
  • $$

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Bodega Taqueria y Tequila

Tray of tacos.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For a late-night bite, wrap up your marathon evening at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, a taco joint-slash-speakeasy lounge that’s undeniably cool from the front to the back. Let’s be honest, after a night of dancing, who isn’t craving a ginormous burrito?

  • Best for late night
  • $$

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What to Do

Wynwood Walls

Wall of grafitti.
Tats Cru painting at Wynwood Walls 2019, in Miami, USA. Image used with permission by copyright holder

Wynwood Walls, the outdoor museum featuring sweeping street art murals from prolific talents like Faile and Shepard Fairey, is a can’t-miss, if only for the Instagram opportunities. Get your steps in (and maybe some additional pics, too) by walking around the Design District, where you can shop, eat, pose, and peruse the galleries and art installations, including Virgil Abloh’s inflatable figures from his collection showcase.

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Joia Beach

Beach chairs and cabana.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Enjoy some R&R on a cozy daybed at Joia Beach on Jungle Island, modeled after European beach clubs. Perhaps you’ll see one of the venue’s fans, including Blake Griffin, Adriana Lima, and Dwayne Wade, but if not, it’s still the ideal location to enjoy an epic sunset.

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E11EVEN

Blue lights illuminate interior dance floor.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Pending your vaccination status, head to the infamous after-hours club E11EVEN that’s open 24/7 — we honestly can’t think of a better spot to let loose when you’re at peak immunity.

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How to Save Money on Your Trip to Miami

Experiences

Look for free activities. Wynwood Walls, for example, doesn’t charge any money to walk around. The beach is always free. Save money where you can because Miami can certainly be a high-end (read: expensive) vacation if you want it to be.

Hotels and Vehicle Rentals

Book in advance and travel in the off-season!

Book on KAYAK

Editors' Recommendations

Benjamin Buckingham
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ben lives in Portland, Oregon where he works as a freelance writer and outdoor guide.
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