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A laid-back city break in Miami

21/02/2019

Just last week I was lucky enough to escape the winter in Europe for a few days and head to sunny Florida. As the trip was going to be quite short (not even 5 full days), we decided to stick to Miami and just enjoy some chill time by the beach.

Yes, I've been to Miami before, on an amazing girls' trip, but I was looking forward having a different experience this time around, going with hubby. And to be honest, I love Miami so much, I don't really mind going back over and over again. It has this cool, laid-back vibe and is always sunny. Ok, almost always.

The main reason for this trip was to attend the GroundUp music festival in North Miami Beach. It's a quite small and cozy jazz festival, happening in an amazing, open-air venue with super cool atmosphere, right by the beach. So, to be as close as possible to the venue, we opted to stay in North Beach, which is definitely less touristy than its neighbouring South Beach (where I stayed the first time). And staying there was actually really, really nice. We found a super affordable apart hotel with fully equipped kitchen, so we almost felt like locals. We even went for a morning run by the ocean, truly immersing into the local atmosphere. The first couple of days we had breakfast in the room (did some shopping in the near by Walgreen) but then we found this little "Juice and Coffee Organic Bar", which quickly become our favourite morning spot. Plus, they serve a yummy açaí bowl.

The first three days were basically gym/run, beach, festival. We really tried to not break the workout routine we've created (which is not easy when you're constantly traveling), and I really think this time we did good. When it comes to the weather - the Caribbean "showered" us (literally) with its "winter" side, but it all passed fast and smooth.

We only left North Beach during our last full day there. Skies were blue, the sun was shining and we were really torn to spend our time at the beach, however, we opted to take an Uber, cross the entire city and play tourists for a couple of hours. Our first stop was Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. Built between 1914 and 1916 as a winter residence of international businessman James Deering, its design was inspired by Italian Renaissance and Baroque villas and adapted to Florida's subtropical climate. There is a European connection in its name as well - "Vizcaya" is the Spanish name for the Basque region in Spain. According to personal letters, the owner also explains the name with the connection to the Biscayne Bay. Today, the house and its surrounding gardens are a museum open to the public since 1953 (James Deering passed away in 1925; tickets cost $22 per person) and offer an incredible experience - a lush green, zen retreat in the middle of the skyscrapers' jungle. So different from everything else in Miami.

Our next stop had to be the Wynwood walls. I loved it so much the last time I was there, I had to take the hubs and show him around. We had a late lunch at Coyo Taco - if you like tacos, you should definitely pay it a visit. Besides the delicious food it also has a really cool portrait of Frida Kahlo in the ladies room. I guess, here graffiti is literally everywhere. The official Wynwood walls park is just around 200 meters away from the restaurant. And it was a really nice surprise to find out that they actually change the artwork every now and then. Last time I visited Miami was less than a year and a half ago, and big part of the graffitis were already different now. Which makes it interesting for a person to visit over and over again. For example, last time the Portuguese artist Vhils had just one (quite big though) art panel and now there's a huge mural of his work. The Brazilian born Eduardo Kobra, whose art is so colourful yet so realistic, also surprised us with a giant mural of street art.

Time flies by when you're enjoying yourself, so after appreciating the beautiful art it was time for us to head back to the hotel and get ready for dinner. We've booked a table at the Versace Mansion in South Beach. I've been there already, celebrating a special birthday of one of my girlfriends, but as hubby and I were obsessed with "American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace" (we usually don't watch tv series, so it was a big deal for us) we wouldn't miss it. And apparently, a lot of people do the same as well. I was sad to notice that there are now more tables than there were before. And of course, everyone wants to snap a picture in front of the fountain in the garden, so highly recommend you to book a table for as late as possible - they put away all the tables and chairs after dinner, so with a bit of luck you might even be able to see the famous mosaics Versace logo in the centre of the garden. You're welcome 🤗

Miami was once again beautiful and sunny during our last morning there. And luckily for us, our flight back home, operated by TAP Portugal, was only in the afternoon, so we still had some time to enjoy a few more rays of my beloved sunshine. And now, as I'm writing this, I'm sitting on the couch surrounded by fluffy, warm blankets...

Can't wait to meet you again, Miami.

 

P. S. Shop my "Mermaid hair & salty air" t-shirt here. Use my code MINAMYTH20 and get a special 20% discount.

 

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