Miami - tips please!

Discussion in 'New York/US' started by King Biscuit Time, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. King Biscuit Time

    King Biscuit Time Well-Known Member


    I'm hopefully wangling a work trip to Miami early in the new year.

    If it all comes off - I'll be at a conference at a resort on Miami Beach Sun-Weds. Then I was thinking of hanging around for the weekend afterwards (at my own expense, natch).

    So, aside from hanging out with WIll Smith, and partying in the city where the heat is on, all night at the beach 'till the break of dawn - anyone have any tips on things to do/places to visit (that are pretty cheap?). I'm also after a cheap place to stay - any hostel tips?

    I probably wouldn't have chosen to go on holiday to Miami if I was paying, but I reckon there's gotta be some stuff that's worth hanging around a few extra days for.

    I gather there's a big West Indian population in Miami - might there be some good Reggae nights/shops?
  2. dessiato

    dessiato I have earned the right to sing the blues

    I can't re-call much about Jamaicans, but there are lots of great Cuban places to visit.

    I'd get down to the Keys, especially Key West, and across to the Everglades if you can.

    There's a lot to do in Miami, it is my favourite place in the world.

    What do you like doing? What are your hobbies?
  3. dessiato

    dessiato I have earned the right to sing the blues

  4. dessiato

    dessiato I have earned the right to sing the blues

    I'd definitely do the Keys, there's diving, snorkelling, big game fishing and partying there. You could go across Alligator Alley to see the 'glades. There's also a Seminole (?) Reservation there that might be interesting to see.

    SoBe is a great place to hang out, the beach is nice and the girls awesome, as are the men.

    But with just a weekend it would be the Keys, after doing the Beach and the Art Deco areas.
  5. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Raddled old poet

    Ooh, I loved Miami. You must go to Calle Ocho, Little Havana and check out the open air dominoes, and drink cortadito (small, sweet, strong coffee) from hole in the wall cafes. Go to Versailles Restaurant and try the Cuban food, like empanada, papas rellenas, and black beans and plantain . And go to Lily's Records to pick up some Latin grooves. Spanish is the first language in Calle Ocho, but you'll hear it all over Miami. Non Spanish speakers will tell you Little Havana is dangerous after dark.

    Go to the Coral Gables Venetian Pool, an open air pool.

    Also, go on an airboat in the Everglades. The Shark Valley tram tour is a good way to see alligators and learn about the wildlife. The Miccosukee (local Native American tribe) have a reservation in the Everglades and they do airboat rides, and also have a visitor village, where guy called Gator Steve wrestles gators.

    Definitely visit the Keys. Hire a car a drive down; it's a great drive. There's the key deer on Big Pine Key and neighbouring keys. Wild deer that come out at dusk. They're tiny, like dogs. Very friendly, but you're not supposed to feed them. There's only a couple of hundred left.

    Snorkelling trips from Big Pine Key to Looe Key Reef are well worth doing. Nearby is Bahia Honda State Park.

    And of course Key West, where you can drink what Hemmingway drank, and watch the sunset at Mallory Square (which is worth seeing for the spectacle, but don't buy anything there. It's all cheaper a couple of streets in). There's a little road train tour of Key West, which is good value.
    dessiato likes this.
  6. dessiato

    dessiato I have earned the right to sing the blues

    There is too much to do it all in a long weekend! It is a great place!

    Take an empty suitcase, you'll need it for buying clothes from the outlet stores
    danny la rouge likes this.
  7. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Raddled old poet

    Good point. We lost our luggage. Well, Virgin did. So they gave us money to buy clothes. Which at that time were much, much cheaper than the UK. If you go to the right places.
  8. dessiato

    dessiato I have earned the right to sing the blues

    There is a big mall between Miami and Ft Lauderdale
  9. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    I go to Miami every year. One of the greatest places on earth.

    The place to stay is the Clay Hotel on Washington Avenue, two blocks from the beach and incredibly good value. The basic places to drink are Ted's Hideaway and Max's Deuce Bar. The place to eat is TapTap Haitian restaurant. The things to do are lie on the beach and go to the nightclubs.

    If you take my advice, when you're in a club, tip the bartender $50 with the first drink. It sounds expensive, but it isn't. S/he will always serve you first, extend happy hour and open bar hour for you alone, and even make sure you get past the velvet rope in future (which can be very difficult in Miami).

    Let me know if you need any other info.
  10. King Biscuit Time

    King Biscuit Time Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the tips y'all.
    I should know in a couple of weeks whether I'm definitely going or not - then I'll sort out an itinerary based around that - but I'll certainly hang around for as long as I can! In the meantime I'll read up on those links.
  11. stuff_it

    stuff_it stirred the primordial soup

    Don't follow strangers into areas you don't know trying to sore dope in your hire car?
    Bahnhof Strasse likes this.
  12. King Biscuit Time

    King Biscuit Time Well-Known Member

    Right - it's definitely happening.

    I'll be in a resort on Miami Beach for the first few days in a posh hotel. Then I'll be staying a few extra nights at my own expense. Will probably move to a cheap hostel in the city.

    Any suggestions?
  13. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Raddled old poet

    I haven't stayed in a cheap hostel in Miami, so I can't recommend any. I can, however, recommend you avoid the Big Pine Key Motel in Big Pine Key. Or if you do go there, don't share a sandwich with the guy in reception, or comment on his stuffed birds...
    Badgers likes this.
  14. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    Cheap hotel/hostel right in the heart of SoBE: the Clay Hotel. One of the best budget places in the world.

    I'm assuming that by "the city" you mean Miami Beach, not downtown Miami. Avoid the latter at all costs.
  15. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    If you were supposed to travel out on Sunday and back on Wednesday, extend that to stay in the US over a Saturday night, the air fare will be at least 1/2 and strike a deal with your boss that some of the savings can go towards your extended accommodation costs.
    Greebo likes this.
  16. silverfish

    silverfish Sprinkling glitter on turds

    DO NOT gob off at the airport security :D They are a mega touchy bunch, with their dangly jesus loves me id card lanyards.

    Very serious bunch

    Apart from that enjoy and watch the drinks measures I woke up in Grand bahamas with two days missing after getting stuck into the cuba libres at miami airport :eek:
  17. Greebo

    Greebo 'scuse me, Mrs May, can I have my country back? R.I.P.

    Very good idea IMHO
  18. King Biscuit Time

    King Biscuit Time Well-Known Member

    Right - so I'm there for a week - all booked up - half of that at a posh conference hotel in Miami beach and the other half at a cheaper hotel (also in Miami Beach) (with work paying for some of it as it reduces the cost of a flight by 2/3).

    Excellent - keep the tips coming - is there anything worth doing in Miami proper?
  19. phildwyer

    phildwyer Gorau arf arf dysg

    Little Haiti and Little Havana are alright, Coconut Grove is trendy, but you really need a car. South Beach is much better than anywhere else--I met a guy who claimed not to have left SoBe for three years.
  20. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

    I found it a rather dull place. Admittedly I wasn't able to get to the keys and the weather was a bit iffy, but the city itself seemed dead boring and South Beach just seemed touristy with and naff tourist tat and cod Latino bars everywhere.

    Where my hotel was (mid-Miami beach) there was literally no bars or shops or anywhere to get anything to eat or drink, which was a pain in the ass with no car. Had to uber it back to South Beach just to get to a place that sold food.

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