24 Hours in Miami

24 Hours in Miami

Long-haul layover or just a flying visit to Florida – 24 hours in Miami offer a tantalising taste of one of the USA’s most intoxicating cities. Palm trees cast frond-shaped shadows across dreamy Art Deco streets, the sounds of Spanish and salsa music fill the air and the tropical climate is perpetually warm and perfectly balanced for both beach and rooftop bar. To help you make the most of your whirlwind trip, here’s how we’d spend a memorable day in Miami.



Dawn Walks & High-Piled Plates

Before you stop for breakfast, beat the heat with an early morning stroll along South Beach. This world-famous stretch of sand is also one of the best spots to watch the sunrise. After a picturesque pause to greet the sun, it’s time to eat. Fuel up at the Front Porch Café, located at the quieter end of Miami’s tourist-tempting Ocean Drive. Breakfast is served until 6pm here (handy for the morning after the night before…) and includes generously-portioned dishes like kimchi scrambled eggs, cheddar tacos and granola pancakes. The eponymous front porch is also a shaded spot to sit and plan the finer details of your 24 hours in Miami.


breakfast in Miami



From Street Art to Science Museum

Miami Beach is an Art Deco dream. For a quick look at the perfectly formed, pastel-hued architecture, join a 90-minute walking tour with the Miami Design Preservation League. Get to know the Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival and Miami Modern (MiMo) styles that give this historic district its charming vintage vibe, with a peek inside a few interiors too. To discover an entirely different side of Miami’s artistic streets, head to the Wynwood Walls, where former warehouses have been transformed with colourful and cutting-edge murals. This open-air museum welcomes visitors from 11am, but you can join an early access tour an hour earlier to see the street art in relative solitude. If you’d prefer to spend the morning indoors (read: with air conditioning), you can’t beat the Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Science (more simply known as Frost Science). Venture into outer space at the ultramodern planetarium or explore the exotic depths of the three-level aquarium, which recreates the underwater ecosystems of South Florida. Craving more culture? The neighbouring Pérez Art Museum Miami is one of the city’s most eye-catching buildings and houses a fine collection of contemporary art from established names and exciting newcomers.



Cuban Soul & Sandwiches

We love lunchtimes in Little Havana, savouring the flavour of one of Miami’s most famous neighbourhoods. First up, the food. You can’t visit Calle Ocho (Little Havana’s lively main thoroughfare) without sampling a Cubano or Cuban sandwich. The classic recipe calls for sliced ham, roast pork, cheese, pickles and mustard, artfully layered between slices of soft, slightly sweet Cuban bread. Few places do it better than Sanguich de Miami; a tiny spot where those extra-special sandwiches are served alongside batidos (Cuban milkshakes). Batteries recharged, it’s time to explore more of Miami’s Latin heart. Cuban exiles first settled here in the 1960s, giving the neighbourhood its name, and today Little Havana continues to welcome immigrants from across South and Central America. Wandering the vibrant streets, you quickly understand why Little Havana is considered a ‘national treasure’ by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. And you may find yourself lingering for a longer lunch break. Follow the sound of tiles tapping on tabletops to Máximo Gómez Park, where local retirees do battle over dominoes. Visit a family-run cigar shop to watch small batch cigars being hand-rolled the traditional way. Or stop by one of the many walk-up windows or ventanitas for a cafecito; a sweet and strong shot of Cuban coffee to power your afternoon.


Miami beach

Image by Jerome Galland



Shopping, Sightseeing or Splashing Around

Options abound for an afternoon in Miami. For souvenir shopping and more art spotting, visit the Design District, where high-end boutiques sit alongside sleek galleries and world-class museums, like the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami. Or for a slice of serenity away from the hustle and bustle, visit Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The museum was once the winter home of industrialist James Deering, who modelled his 1910s Miami retreat on an Italian villa. The house contains more than 2,500 antique artefacts, while outside there are ten acres of pristine gardens and 25 acres of forest to explore. If you have time to travel further afield, swap shorts for swimsuits at the Venetian Pool in Miami’s neighbouring city of Coral Gables. This former quarry was transformed into a swimming pool in 1924 and comes complete with paradise-parodying palm trees, waterfalls and coral rock formations. As pools go, the sun-dappled, emerald-green Venetian is vast, offering plenty of space to cool off during a hot and humid 24 hours in Miami. Dubbed ‘The City Beautiful’, Coral Gables itself is a picturesque place to wander. Stroll the tree-lined boulevards to see more of that Mediterranean Revivalist architecture you were admiring on your morning walking tour.


art deco in Miami



Cocktails, Clubs & Every Kind of Cuisine

Salsa bar, super-club or secret speakeasy – Miami’s nightlife has treats for all tastes, both humble and hedonistic. Each neighbourhood offers something different too. Return to Little Havana for mouth-watering mojitos – made properly – or head back to South Beach to sip sea-view cocktails. Meanwhile, it’s at the bustling financial district of Brickell where you’ll find the best rooftop bars where the after-work crowd mingle with tourists taking in the views. And as you’d expect from a cosmopolitan, cultural melting pot like Miami, the food scene here is varied and vibrant. From Michelin-starred fare to Mexican tacos from a food truck, you’ll be hard pressed to find a cuisine Miami doesn’t have. So, whether you’re saying goodnight now or joining the late-night line for one of the city’s decadent nightspots, you can round up your 24 hours in Miami with a belly full of delicious food.