It’s certainly no secret that I’m no stranger to Florida. I’m pretty lucky to say I’ve travelled a good portion of the state, from Jacksonville and Orlando to Sarasota and on to Key West. I’ve visited countless times, but every time I learn or see something new in Florida. This time, when I had to make a client visit in Jacksonville, my coworkers and I thought it was rude not to tag on a drive down to Miami for a couple of days to party. So, that’s exactly what we did. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have seen just what we got up to.
Our trip began with a few days in Jacksonville for various client meetings. Boasting Florida’s youngest population, and the largest city by area in the US, Jacksonville isn’t on the usual tourist map. I’ve got to know Jacksonville pretty well by now, having visited a number of times. Situated on the St Johns River, there are tons of cool bars and restaurants in the city. We started off with a steak dinner on the river with a view.
If you’re looking for a cool bar in Jacksonville, I’d recommend Black Sheep. They have a cool rooftop area, perfect for catching a sunset like the one we saw. I also highly recommend their amazing poutine. That says a lot from a girl who lives in Canada!
After a couple of nights of cocktails and smoky dive bars, we woke up a little hungover. Having planned to drive down to Miami after an early start, we woke up a little later than expected. With help from a $100 McDonald’s order en route, we hit the I-95 for a five hour journey to Miami.
The drive into Miami along the water is so beautiful. Picture palm trees everywhere, super yachts resting alongside waterside properties, and art deco architecture. We dropped off our rental vehicle on the iconic Collins Avenue and set off for our apartment for the next couple of nights.
The apartment was fantastic, and a great find in the Brickell neighbourhood of Miami. Brickell is pretty well known for its yuppie crowd and dazzling, contemporary condo buildings.
Just look at the beautiful view across Biscayne Bay and downtown Miami. We weren’t even aware that the property had such amazing panoramic vistas, even from the bedrooms.
I could quite happily survive having this bed with floor to ceiling windows, couldn’t you?
It also had a lovely rooftop pool, which we saw just as the sun was beginning to set. If only we’d had more time to actually use it!
It’s also just a short walk from downtown Miami, with plenty of healthy eateries and juice bars nearby. Miami really is a super tropical and exotic version of Los Angeles.
A Night on Ocean Drive, Miami
With the rum and pineapple cooling off, it was only right we had to have our first night out in Miami, Florida. Tamar and I hit Mango’s South Beach, a Latin inspired club located on Miami’s famous Ocean Drive.
The music was fun with a Latin vibe, and there was so much dancing and a mix of people. There are dancers on the tabletops and it’s an all round good time. You’ll find multiple rooms if you fancy listening to different types of music.
South Beach, Miami
The next day, I woke with a slightly sore head. In Miami, though, there’s no time for a hangover! I hit the gym to attempt to shake it off, and I must say it’s one of the most incredible gyms I’ve been to. It’s super new and modern with great machines, and the most incredible view to match. Running on the treadmill isn’t so bad when you can stare out over Miami’s Biscayne Bay!
After getting ready and an iced coffee to cool down, we hit South Beach. Getting there a little early for Nikki Beach, we went to grab some food from Lolo’s Surf Cantina. Opting for shrimp burritos and ice cold beers, it wasn’t the most overwhelming of restaurants. However, onwards and upwards to the beach!
South Beach, Miami is famous the world over for its beautiful people. Situated between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, it’s common to see models, rollerbladers, cyclists and jet skiers all enjoying the area.
Even though those grey clouds look a little daunting, the weather was beautiful. A welcome contrast to rainy Vancouver.
Ocean Drive, Miami
Miami’s South Beach is lined by the iconic Ocean Drive (namesake of countless songs), and beautiful art deco buildings. Decades ago, it was where you’d spot all the rich and famous. In fact, the Versace Mansion is also on the drive, and it’s incredibly elaborate and beautiful, much like the Versace fashion house. It’s where fashion icon, Gianni Versace, was tragically shot outside his home in 1997. Today, it houses a beautiful restaurant.
Several years ago, I visited Miami and stayed on Ocean Drive with my family. At the time, we stayed at the Park Central hotel, a fairly average hotel but in the most stunning art deco building. It was interesting to see it being renovated today.
There’s nothing quite like the palm trees and art deco buildings. You instantly recognize it as Miami. Despite Ocean Drive being full of bustling restaurants and bars my first time in Miami, I was a little surprised this time around. It seems a little tacky, with pushy servers plying punters with cheap drink deals in each restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, though – the famous street still maintains an air of glam, with Lamborghinis and convertibles roaring down the street every other car.
Saying that, we were still tourist enough to accept one of the deals and sat at a restaurant with the largest Bulldog cocktails I’ve seen! Well, we were drinking for the evening ahead.
Martin Solveig at Story Nightclub
Prior to our arrival, we booked tickets to see DJ Martin Solveig at the humungous Story Nightclub. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know how much I love to party. I’ve seen various DJs over the years, but missed seeing Martin Solveig’s ‘My House’ night in Pacha, Ibiza. So, there was no better time than in Miami. At around $50CAD, it wasn’t a bad price either, particularly when you compare it to Ibiza’s club prices.
It was an incredible – if slightly drunken – night with some awesome coworkers. The only way to end a flying visit to Miami, Florida.
Next time I’d love a little longer in Miami. I was desperate to visit the Wynwood district with its iconic murals, but we simply didn’t have time. Waking up at 11.30am the next morning after a night of clubbing didn’t help either! Until next time, Miami.
Have you visited Miami? What are your favourite things to do in the city? And where are the best bars and clubs?