Congratulations, you’ve booked a week’s vacation in Miami, the Magic City, a subtropical subparadise known for its sandy beaches and pumping nightclubs. Now forget everything you think you know. Ignore the online guides and the recommendations from the concierge (who gets paid to tell you to do the touristy things). On this list, we’re sending you elsewhere and warning you of the things in Miami you need to ignore. Don’t worry—there will still be croquetas and cafecito.
1. The food scene is legendary
Call us biased, but with tons of celebrity chef-run restaurants and imported cuisines from everywhere in the world, Miami isn’t just having a moment. It’s downright one of the best restaurant cities anywhere.
2. Enriqueta's over Versailles
Presidents have dined at Versailles, it’s true. And yes, it’s been there forever. If you want big plates of Abuela-quality Cuban food and don’t want to wait in line with cruise ship types, head instead to Enriqueta’s and squeeze in between construction workers and lunching lawyers at the tight counter.
3. Airboats are loud AF
Riding on an airboat is proof that it’s a good rule to avoid any kind of trip into nature that requires earplugs.
4. Nobody rides the bus
There’s nothing sadder than seeing a public-transportation-reliant European waiting for those tubes of human misery provided by Metrobus.
5. Although, the Metromover is pretty sweet
It’s a monorail, it’s free, and it’s a fine way to zip through Brickell.
6. Everyone’s in shape
Here in the land of all-year beach weather, it can seem like everybody is bathing suit ready.
7. Instead of the beach, The Underline
Yes, we know you want to spend all day on the sand, but the linear park recently built under the Metrorail line is something you must see.
8. Miami cabs are crap
For the love of all things holy, do not get in a cab, places of sticky leatherette seats, broken ACs, and shock absorbers that long ago called it quits.
9. Don’t go to Bayside Marketplace
Yes, Michelle Bernstein now has a place there, and we assume the view from the top of the big ferris wheel is stunning. But you will not find a local there, ever.
10. South Beach can be super sketch
You’re probably going to want to stay in or near that Instagram-ready row of Art Deco hotels. You’re probably going to regret it real hard.
11. But then there’s Sunset Harbour
South Beach’s best place to roam? This little walkable neighborhood on the Intracoastal, full of good restaurants and bars and views for days.
12. You’ll need some Spanglish
Everything you do will be a bit easier if you’ve got like 17 words of Spanish you can break out when needed.
13. Warm weather holidays rule
Northerners can keep their snow. The holidays are better when you’re going to grandma’s in your finest pair of shorts.
14. Say hello to the frita
There exists a magical thing called the frita, the Cuban hamburger, and while here, you should eat as many as humanly possible.
15. Oh god, Ultra
Ultra Music Festival is both a mecca for electronica and a shitshow of porta-potties and sweaty rubs from passing strangers. Trust us, this city is better enjoyed every single other week of the year.
16. Seriously, museums
Perhaps this isn’t a city regarded as a place to visit museums. That would only be said by those who haven’t been to Vizcaya, the Rubell Museum, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami—just a few of the world-class spots to see stellar art and architecture.