A couple of months ago, le bf and I packed our bags and took off on a week-long Miami vacay. We were set to arrive on the last day of Art Basel, and had very little idea as to what we would actually do in Miami once we land. I had no time for research, and so we set off with no preconceived notions about the city, with that Will Smith song stuck in my head. Now that we got to experience a bit of what Miami has to offer, I thought I’d share my newfound wisdom…aka the top 5 things we loved about Miami, and you may too. Feel free to let us know which places are on your must-do list!
I’ll be honest, I learned about Wynwood Walls from Instagram, and all of those photogenic outfit pics of various bloggers, posing in front of the coolest graffiti I’ve ever seen. So, being a fashion blogger, I knew I had to make the trip to see (and pose in front of) those beautiful walls. And so we went, we saw, we posed, we photographed, and we loved it. Honestly, whether you’re a blogger or not, you’ll love Wynwood Walls. It’s a grungy area to be sure, but it’s inspiring all the same. Once you’re done admiring the pretty walls and doors, you can take a short cab ride over to Miami’s Design District, where you can do some high-end shopping, before grabbing a table on Mandolin’s lovely sun-soaked patio. Their kefte and saganaki are delicious, while the unsweetened iced-tea is super refreshing.
Versace Mansion aka The Villa by Barton G.
As a fashion lover, I knew I had to check out the infamous Versace Mansion while in Miami. There’s obviously a sad backstory to the mansion and those infamous front steps, but it’s basically a historic sight and a must-visit while in Miami. We made a dinner reservation, and arrived without high expectations. Mostly, we just wanted to check out the mansion itself, so the dinner part was just an aside. But when our meals arrived, we were pleasantly surprised by how much we loved the food. There are mixed reviews online, but everything we ordered was delicious. And as a bonus, we got to sit facing the beautiful courtyard, with that magnificent pool and infamous tiled floor as our view. We also had an unexpected dinner companion running around our feet – a Versace cat. We were told that on the day Gianni was shot, a cat arrived at the steps of the mansion, and since Gianni believed in reincarnation, the cat was allowed to stay, with its offsprings now enjoying the privilege of being Versace Mansion inhabitants.
Tip: If you plan on grabbing dinner at the Villa, make sure to leave your flip flops at the hotel. Smart attire is required.
More after the jump!
Bal Harbour Shops*
After a couple of days at the beach and at the pool, I felt the shopping itch, and so le bf and I took a cab to Bal Harbour Shops (with a pit stop at the nearby IHOP). I immediately was smitten with this outdoor luxury shopping center. I finally got to visit a standalone Charlotte Olympia boutique, the newly renovated Chloé store, and check out the coolest store of all – The Webster. The Webster is a Miami boutique with only two locations, and it carries brands like CHANEL, Maison Martin Margiela, Saint Laurent, Mary Katrantzou, Delfina Delettrez, among many others. I could’ve spent HOURS at The Webster, but I didn’t. I did, however, play with all the fun CHANEL pieces they had in store. Just look how happy I am with that basket in my hand. If only grocery shopping was always this glam.
Post-shopping, le bf and I met up with Jay Strut for a quick lunch at one of his faves – Carpaccio. And while we only nibbled on yummy appetizers (still too full from IHOP earlier), we did love the coconut sorbet. It’s a must!
*Bal Harbour Shops are technically located in Bal Harbour, not Miami, but it’s a quick skip and a hop away, so I say it counts.
I loved Miami architecture! LOVED IT. I am mostly talking about all the Art Deco buildings in South Beach – all the ornate, colourful, spectacular hotels that made me want to take a photo every time. Ocean Drive, with all its tourist traps and glowing lights had a ton of cool buildings to check out, and so did Collins Ave. Take the Art Deco Tour to get the full experience, and maybe stop by one of Ocean Drive’s salsa clubs after. You’ll get the best of both worlds.
This one’s a no-brainer. Beach is where it’s at in Miami. You’re probably going there to escape the brutal weather of wherever you are, so make sure to save a few days to laze around on a sandy beach, enjoying the sunshine and the sweet ocean breeze. We stayed at the Gale South Beach, which has an amazing rooftop pool, but also has reserved loungers on the beach nearby. So we alternated between the pool and the beach, soaking up all the sun we could get.
Our Fave Miami Eats:
Dolce Italian at Gale South Beach – top-notch service and authentic Italian food. Start with burrata and finish with their homemade ricotta cheesecake. Heavenly!
Joe’s Stone Crab – this place is an institution, and gets packed. We waited almost an hour to get seated, so either come early, or don’t come too hungry. Food was great, bib recommended, as are King Crab Legs…mmmm!
Mandolin – delicious Mediterranean food that tastes super fresh. Grab a seat on the patio and people-watch while stuffing your face with fried cheese and pulled lamb sandwiches.