Your essential guide to spending 48 hours in Miami

What to do when you only have 48 hours in Miami? Spend two days ticking off our list of essential things to do.
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Jared
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If you only have 48 hours to spend in Miami, you must be efficient. Of course, there are a few musts. You have to go to at least one of the best Miami beaches. You’ll need to find a proper Cuban Sandwich. And if you didn’t dance the night away at one of the best clubs in Miami, were you ever really here at all? But, beyond the obvious picks, things can get complicated. Miami is growing at a stunning pace and neighborhoods that weren’t in the conversation five years ago have become hotbeds of art, food and vibrancy that absolutely can’t be missed. And don’t forget about the city’s rich history—which must be experienced—and our vast cultural offerings—which must be tasted, heard and felt. In short, you have your work cut out for you. Luckily, we’re here to make sure you get a crash course in the best of Miami.

How to spend 48 hours in Miami

27 Restaurant & Bar at Freehand Miami
Photograph: Courtesy 27 Restaurant & Bar at Freehand Miami/Justin Namon
Restaurants, Contemporary American

Friday evening

icon-location-pin Miami Beach

Housed on the property of the Freehand, a chic Miami Beach hostel with a rotating cast of trendy customers, 27 Restaurant & Bar satisfies aesthetically and gastronomically. Anchored in a two-story house, the restaurant's various rooms provide a quirky intimacy that's accompanied by fresh-as-can-be dishes from the sea, farm and ground. After-dinner drinks at next door's Broken Shaker are non-negotiable. 

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Bowling at Basement
Photograph: Courtesy of The Edition
Nightlife, Clubs

Friday late night

icon-location-pin Miami Beach

The nightclub is very much still an essential part of Miami Beach culture, but Basement isn't your average discotheque. Here—all in the comfort of one club—you can bowl on technicolor lanes, ice skate with friends and dance to DJ sets from local favorites and celeb guests, who spin an open-format style to a very eager dance floor. 

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South Pointe Park
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Jared
Attractions, Beaches

Saturday morning

icon-location-pin Miami Beach

Did you really think we weren't going to send you to the beach? At South Pointe Park, the southernmost tip of Miami Beach, you can lay in the sand and watch hulking cruise ships roll in and out of Miami, walk the pier and have a breakfast picnic on the green space in the park. 

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Lolo's Surf Cantina
Photograph: Deep Sleep Studio
Restaurants, Mexican

Saturday midday

icon-location-pin South of Fifth

It’ll only be about a ten-minute walk to Lolo’s Surf Cantina, where you can sit outside and fuel up with Mexico City-inspired fare. The tacos are a safe (and delicious) bet. Vegetarians should get the oyster mushroom taco—smoked to resemble the taste of bacon. Wash it all down with a perfectly spicy michelada.

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Lummus Park
Photograph: Shutterstock
Attractions

Saturday afternoon

icon-location-pin South Beach

Ready to pedal? Lummus Park is bike-friendly (there’s a Citi Bike Station at Ocean Drive and 7th Street) and takes you through some of South Beach's most recognizable territory. Say hello to the Versace Mansion, ride past muscle hunks doing pull-ups and soak in the ocean views. 

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KYU
Photograph: Juan Fernando Ayora
Restaurants, Barbecue

Saturday evening

icon-location-pin Wynwood

Come hungry to KYU because you will want to (and just might) eat everything on the menu. Most items are crisped to perfection on a wood-fired grill. You can’t go wrong with the fried chicken or the thai fried rice stone pot. And you can walk off the calories with a nocturnal stroll through the Wynwood Walls, just one block away. 

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Gramps
Photograph: Courtesy Gramps
Bars, Dive bars

Saturday late night

icon-location-pin Wynwood

Though Wynwood started as an arts district, it's indisputably a nightlife destination now. Gramps will give you a great feel for the still-artsy vibe of the neighborhood. On Saturday, you can usually find a live band of DJ spinning in the bar's tropical backyard. Plus, bar hopping is easy (and encouraged). On NW 24th Street alone, you can find Rácket and J. Wakefield Brewing.

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Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Museums and attractions, Miami
Photograph: Courtesy Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
Things to do, Event spaces

Sunday morning

icon-location-pin Coconut Grove

Chances are, Vizcaya will blow your mind. An absolutely huge Italian Renaissance-style villa built in 1914, you can get lost exploring the property's dazzling gardens, fountains and pools. The view of Biscayne Bay is one of the city's best and you'll be glad you carved time for this slice of old Miami. 

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Brickell City Centre
Photograph: Courtesy Brickell City Centre
Shopping, Shopping centers

Sunday midday

icon-location-pin Brickell

The sleek new Brickell City Centre is a sight to behold—and a good place to get in some last-minute shopping. Even if you’re running low on cash, the architectural gem is worth the trip simply for a stroll through. There are dining options too. Grab some Mexican at Tacology. A huge new Italian food hall, La Centrale, should open in the next few months too.

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Bars, Bars

Sunday evening

icon-location-pin East Little Havana

Leave the city on a high with one of the best mojitos (and bars) in the whole damn city: Ball & Chain. Located on the main strip of Calle Ocho, here you'll finally get a taste of Cuban Miami with live salsa and vintage decor. Head to the back patio, buy a cigar and watch the setting sun turn the sky a dreamy purple-orange. We'd tell you to come back soon, but we have a feeling you don't need any more convincing. 

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