From cotton candy-colored Art Deco to blazingly blue beaches to bold graffiti in a rainbow of hues, Miami might be the most visually arresting city in America. But, there’s more to the 305 than just good looks. It’s a city passionately in love with good food and drink, infectious rhythms, and living life with the intensity of a Category 5 hurricane. The Magic City is heavily influenced by its immigrant populations—it’s been called the “Capital of Latin America”—so brush up on your Spanish and work on your spice tolerance before starting your two-day stay here. Whether you’ve come to chow down on Cubanos or salsa until dawn, you’ll come away understanding why the city’s basketball team is called the Heat. (It works in more ways than one.) If you have 48 hours to spend in Miami, this itinerary can help you get the most out of your stay.
Start your stay with some killer water views and sweet photo ops.
Morning: Take a speedboat tour of Miami
Speeding through the waterways of Biscayne Bay on a guided speedboat tour is absolutely the best way to start your first day here. A knowledgeable local will fill you in on all the sights as you zip along. It’s the perfect way to see Miami—in fact, you’ll probably see some sights that otherwise would have gone unnoticed.
Lunchtime: Head to Little Havana for some fried shrimp
If your frame of reference for fried shrimp is the all-you-can-eat Endless Shrimp® at Red Lobster, prepare to have your mind blown by Little Havana’s version. The signature crispy crustacean is perfectly breaded here—make it a combo with green plantains and yellow rice for a few dollars more. If you aren’t in the mood for shrimp, try the super-fresh snapper sandwiches (with the fin still on) and seafood burritos. If you feel like you could replicate the creations, grab a full raw fish or a handful of shrimp from a fishmonger to go. For a really over-the-top experience, head out on a food walking tour to sample all the local delicacies this neighborhood offers.
Afternoon: Walk through the Art Deco Historic District
On one side of Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, you’ll see some of the city’s most postcard-perfect Art Deco architecture, candy-colored and stunningly well-preserved. Fix your eyes on the pastel treasures between 5th and 23rd Streets instead of the pastel-wearing partiers in Lummus Park. The 800-plus historic buildings, put up before the Depression dampened everyone’s spirits, have a fabulous Gatsby-on-vacation vibe. Be sure to look for the Villa Casa Casuarina (Gianni Versace’s old mansion—he was murdered outside) and the Carlyle Hotel (featured in Scarface and Bad Boys II). A guided walking tour is also a cool way to get some behind-the-scenes deets on this famous Miami neighborhood.
Evening: Chow down on tacos and sangria
With taco options ranging from octopus to quinoa-queso “falafel,” Miami offers a plethora of Mexican-inspired restaurants serving up these tasty stuffed tortillas. Thanks to the Atlantic Ocean, the seafood tacos are particularly fresh and fun—try the fried Florida grouper or the seared gulf shrimp. Wash all the spicy goodness down with a large, fruity glass of sangria.
Spend your second day sipping on some artisanal coffee, window shopping, and relaxing like a local.
Morning: Grab a coffee and stroll through the Wynwood Arts District
The once-gritty Design District is now a hotspot for artisanal doughnuts/microbrews/espresso, with vibrant street art gracing nearly every hip-as-heck warehouse wall. Stop by the outdoor Wynwood Walls gallery for a photo shoot and a snow cone, or head up to the De la Cruz Collection and the Institute of Contemporary Art. The neighborhood especially comes to life on the second Saturday of the month, when the Wynwood Art Walk turns the streets into a buzzing block party. For an in-depth look at the street art and galleries here, take a walking tour with a local art expert.
Lunchtime: Fuel up on arepas
Even a bad arepa—soft corn dough, melty cheese, whatever meat you’re into—is still delicious. Downtown Miami serves good arepas, so there’s no shame whatsoever in devouring one in the daytime. Arepas here are served overflowing with fresh fillings, from salty white cheese to reina pepiada, a sort of avocado-and-chicken salad. You can also find corn-studded cachapas, Venezuelan street sandwiches called pepitos, and fresh-fried, chocolate-drizzled churros for dessert.
Afternoon: Soak up the sun on South Beach
No trip to Miami is complete without some fun in the sun on the city’s famed South Beach. Known for its white sand, glamorous clientele, and outdoor cafes, it’s easy to while away your afternoon here in true Miami fashion. Grab a cocktail (or two) at any of the trendy bars in the area, nosh on some food from a celebrity chef-owned restaurant, and lounge in the sun with your toes dug deep in the sand. After all, this is what you came here for, isn’t it?
Evening: Dinner, drinks, and dancing
If you’re up for a night on the town after your sun-filled afternoon, stay in South Beach for dinner, fruity cocktails, and local beer. Whether you’re looking to nosh on fresh-caught seafood with a waterfront view or craving a burger and fries, you’ll have no problem finding a restaurant that strikes your fancy. And don’t forget your dancing shoes—this area of Miami is also party central, and you’d be remiss if you didn’t live it up at the bars and clubs on your last night here.