I always plan a trip around my birthday since it’s the perfect excuse (not that I NEED one) to get away and go on vacation. This year, I decided to go to Miami!! I was initially a bit worried since it was hurricane season (June to November) and the forecast called for thunderstorms all week. However, the weather cleared up over the weekend (my birthday), and it was perfect!
We stayed at the Kimpton Epic, a luxury hotel in downtown Miami with incredible accommodations and prices, and it worked out perfectly. The hotel is in the centre of downtown Miami, which is more of a business district but it is walking distance to Bayfront and the Brickell areas. We were able to get to South Beach easily by Uber/Lyft. We opted to stay in the downtown area for two reasons. First, it was more convenient for my friend to visit his family and second, the price was very reasonable, especially since most South Beach properties charge an annoying resort fee, even if they don’t have beach access.
The hotel has modern decor and the rooms are designed to make guests feel relaxed. Being right by the water, guests have an insane view of the Biscayne Bay. One of the best features of the hotel can be found on 16th floor, where they have a rooftop pool with lots of lounge chairs and cabanas.
The restaurant, Area 31, can also be found on the 16th floor. The waterfront dining known as ‘foodie paradise in the sky’ accommodates indoor or open terrace dining, which overlooks downtown and Biscayne Bay. Although Area 31 is well known for its seafood, I must say, they have other menu items that deserve the same praise. After all, they have the BEST chicken and waffles!!
That evening, I booked a sunset flight with Miami Flightseeing! The owner greeted us warmly and even helped us take some pictures by the planes. The flight itself was around 45 minutes and you get to see the entire Miami shoreline, including South Beach, Star Island, Stiltsville, and downtown Miami. All of this with champagne in hand during the most beautiful sunset. It was a breathtaking experience. We were even offered to fly the plane as a co-pilot, and although this was an amazing opportunity, we opted to stick to the champagne. 🙂
The next day we went to the beach to soak up the Miami sun! To avoid the crowds of South Beach, we opted for North Beach by the North Shore Open Space Park. It is a bit off the beaten path from the tourist but just as beautiful. There were lots of people picnicking, barbecuing and just relaxing in the park and beach.
That evening we quickly checked out the Wynwood area. This was once an industrial area but is now one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Miami. The Wynwood Art District is home to over 70 galleries, museums and collections. It is also home to some of the most amazing street art I have ever seen. There lots of shops, restaurants and bars in this area. If you are tired of the beach or just need a little break from Florida’s sun, I definitely recommend checking this area out as an alternative!
Next, we decided to do a touristy boat tour of Biscayne Bay, including the beautiful downtown Miami skyline, the Port of Miami, Fisher Island, Miami Beach, “Millionaire’s Row” and Star Island – the homes of the rich and famous. The tour departs from the Bayside Marketplace – a quaint but touristy area, which is walking distance from downtown. The tour was really enjoyable. It’s not something I would do twice, but it was interesting to get a sense of where everything is.
Stayed tuned for our next post… Montreal for Pride.