Words by Carlie Tucker
When it comes to spending 24-hours in any US city, you'd be hard pressed to beat Miami. The Magic City has a reputation for charming travellers of all ages with an irresistible mix of glamour and sunshine. Finding things to occupy your time is not a problem. In fact, the city has so much on offer, the real question becomes, where should you start? Here's a quick guide on where to eat, play and stay the next time you find yourself with 24-hours to spare in Miami:
Image courtesy of Versailles facebook page
What to Eat:
Breakfast: Miami's breakfast offerings seem limitless, but if you want to kick things off with a hearty meal, Big Pink is your spot. This nostalgic diner serves up breakfast all day with signature dishes such as the Big Pink breakfast burrito. Or you can opt for something more traditional like a bagel and cream cheese with tomato, red onion and capers. Just make sure you come on an empty stomach because the portions are generous.
Lunch: If you have room for lunch after breakfast at Big Pink, you'll have your pick of international cuisine. Though, it's hard to pass up the chance to sample an authentic Cuban dish or two. Get to Little Havana to sample a Cuban sandwich at Versailles. Many hold this landmark restaurant in high esteem , declaring it to be the home of one of the best sandwiches in the city.
Dinner: In the spirit of Miami's decadence you may want to kick things up a notch for dinner. Ariete is one of the city's hottest restaurants and is dazzling diners with a contemporary take on American cuisine. The atmosphere is easygoing, but the menu is all about indulging. We're talking rib eye with béarnaise and red pepper beef jus or market fish with salsa escabeche, both of which happen to be house specialties.
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Image courtesy of cambriasuitesmiami.com
Where to Stay:
With limited time in the city, a comfortable stay in the right location is essential. Sticking close to the airport is a savvy strategy, which is why you can't go wrong with a night in the Cambria Hotel & Suites Miami Airport. It is a mere five minutes from the international terminal, yet offers easy access to the rest of the city for sightseeing. For example, popular South Beach is only a 20 minute drive
There are eight different room configurations (all suites), ensuring your stay is as comfortable as possible. A sleek and contemporary fit out also ensures all the creature comforts with chic styling. In addition to a comfortable bed with down pillows as well as a well-appointed ensuite, each room comes complete with such extras as a media hub for charging devices and in-room desk.
Beyond the rooms, your comfort is further assured with the presence of a business centre, on-site dining options, outdoor heated pool, sun deck and fitness centre. The hotel offers guests free airport transportation, and it also happens to be a SmartSTAY hotel. This means you'll be treated to a number of added benefits when you book through FCBT.
Image courtesy of Getty
Where to Play:
Regardless of your travel tastes, you wouldn't be remiss to kick your day out off with a stroll or cruise down Ocean Drive. This iconic spot is home to many of the city's famed Art Deco buildings, delighting travellers from around the world with their pastel facades that light up with nostalgic neon signs at night.
From here, it's only a short walk to the Lumus Park overlooking the famous sands of South Beach. Stroll along the coast line, snapping photos of the colourful lifeguard towers, or wet your feet in the surf.
Once you've felt the sand between your toes, a short 15 minute drive back to the mainland to see the Freedom Tower and Little Havana provides some insight into the city's cultural diversity and history. Don't forget to check out the colourful street murals en route to Maximo Gomez Park where older generation Cubans show off their expert domino skills.
If you're seeking a little retail therapy, Miami is no stranger to over the top shopping complexes. Peruse designer brands at the ritzy Bal Harbour shopping mall or head to Aventura Mall for a little bit of everything.
For those that dabble in afterhours fun, Miami will not let you down. The city is home to some of the best clubs in the USA. This includes Story Miami, a mega nightclub that hosts some of the world's best DJs so you can dance the night away. Or, for a decidedly lower key evening, a cocktail at the Sunset Lounge can be enjoyed while watching the sun dip below downtown Miami's impressive skyline.