Miami is always a good idea. Especially a weekend in South Beach, Miami. I recently was playing travel roulette when I found a cheap ticket to Miami. I course jumped at the opportunity because a quick getaway to Miami is never a bad idea. Scoring a cheap ticket is the easy part but where are you going to stay? What are you going to do? And how are you going to stay on a budget?
Let’s Go to Miami
Have I mentioned I lived in Miami. Living in Miami you avoid South Beach like the plague however now that I no longer live there is is one of my favorite places to visit. It can be expensive with all the clubs, and drinks and restaurants on Lincoln Road. But trust me when I say. You can go to Miami for the weekend without breaking the bank. I put together a list of my favorite places to eat, stay and play. Hopefully this will help you in planning your next weekend getaway to Miami.
Where to Stay
There are a ton of places to stay in Miami and depending on your budget you can get as fancy as you want. I personally want a nice clean centrally located spot to lay my head at the end of a crazy day. Amenities are great but I’d rather spend my money elsewhere. Riviera Suites was the perfect spot for me. I found an awesome deal on Hotel Tonight for under $100 a night which was amazing. Also they offer a ton of freebies which makes the stay practically free. Here is a breakdown of what is included for Free:
- Airport Shuttle ($40 savings roundtrip)
- Nightly Happy Hour ($30 plus/nigh pp)
- Beach Chairs ($20 a day).
Rooms were clean and modern. The hotel could be a bit loud on the weekends but I believe this is going to be the case for any places you stay in SOBE. Since I was staying with my mom we split the hotel so it was $50/night for me. Add in the freebies and you are looking at about $25/night. Do you follow my math? If you don’t that’s ok. I barely can follow it myself.
What to Eat.
You know I love food and wine. This is where I tend to splurge which is why I included a mix of my favorite places. All within different price points.
FL Cafe-Bacon and Eggs for $6. Add $18 and you have unlimited mimosas. Sounds good to me. I didn’t take advantage of the Mimosas as I was working but maybe next time I will. This was the perfect spot for a quick breakfast.
Agaveros Cantina– I do not like to eat at restaurants that are in hotels. I always feel that you can find better if you just walk around the corner. I prefer the under the radar spots. My mom and BFF were not interested in “looking” for one of those spots so we ended up trying this place
(Quick Tip: If you do not know where to go go onto google maps and click on explore. I always find great spots that way).
This place was couple of blocks form where we were staying so it works. I have to say this place was gooooodd. The prices weren’t bad ($10-15 a plate) and the portions were very good. We ate so much we ended up kinda skipped lunch. Hehe. I take back anything I said about restaurants in hotels. HAHA.
Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar. We stopped here for a late breakfast after a morning of shopping and it did not disappoint. They have a ton of great options for Breakfast including omelettes and fresh pressed juices. I treated myself to the Feta Cheese and Tomato Scrambled Eggs and a Green Team Juice which was made of cucumber, lime, ginger and green apple. Not a bad deal for the area. My breakfast was about $14.
Playa Cafe. If you are looking for yummy food that is not going to break the bank this is the place for you. Some may call this a hole in a the wall. I call it a good idea. If you are looking for something trendy and pretty then go elsewhere. Most plates are around $10 give or take a few bucks. (You can go across the street and get pretty for double the price). And they give you plenty of food. I recommend this spot to fill up before a night of drinking. You will thank me in the morning.
Piola– I normally go here for Happy Hour however this is a great lunch spot. Prices are reasonable and portions are pretty big therefore you can easily split a pizza or a pasta dish and still leave satisfied.
Alma Mexicana-When I lived in Miami this was my spot. I love their burritos. Its a small spot, and they get pretty busy but so worth the wait. For lunch grab a burrito to go and enjoy it on the beach. I do this all the time. So yummy.
Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar– I mentioned this place above under breakfast but it is also a great lunch option. The menu have a ton of great options for salads and sandwiches. And don’t forget the fresh juice.
Playa Cafe. This place makes another appearance. Whether you are having a late breakfast or want to fill up on some rice and beans to soak up a little day drinking this is your spot.
The Bazaar– I absolutely love this place. It is a bit on the pricey side but so worth it in my opinion. If you want to splurge check this place out.
YardBird– Book your reservations to this place as soon as you can. This place is super popular and for good reason. Best fried chicken ever. I love this place and try to make it a point to have dinner here anytime I go to Miami.
Pane e Vino– This is my new favorite spot. Let me start by saying Handmade Pasta. And it is good. This is a cute little spot right off of Espaniola Way. Make sure to get reservations as this spot is super small. You might get lucky as a walk in but be prepared to wait. Well worth it as the food is phenomenal.
Piola– Happy Hour with Free Food. You heard me right. They have a great happy hour with drinks around $5. The best part is that they offer appetizers for free for anyone drinking. I am talking pizza, gnocchi and even Caprese salad. If you’re on a budget this is definitely the spot to go. Order a $5 glass of wine. have a few bites at the same time and call it dinner.
Alma Mexicana- Burrito Bowls and Margaritas. Sounds like a great way to fill up after a day on the beach. As I mentioned above I love this place. It is small and does get busy but do not let it deter you. You can always grab it go.
Playa Cafe. I’m talking about this place one more time because they are open until 4am and you can order from Uber Eats. Win win in my book. So if you are looking for a midnight snack (meal) this is your spot. Nothing like a Cuban Sandwich at 3am to sober you up. Or in my case prevent a hangover. Food cures everything.
Happy Hour is always a good idea. Bonus if they have food. There are a ton of places in Miami that offer happy hours including food. Here are some that I have come across myself.
Piola– I mentioned Piola above but just in case you weren’t paying attention. They offer free appetizers during Happy Hour. So you can pretty much have a glass of Pinot Grigio with pizza and pasta for $5.
Spris – If you are looking to have dinner on Lincoln Road with a little bit of people watching head straight to this place. Ask for the Beat the Clock special. Starting at 5:30 everyday you can pick from either a Pizza Margherita, Pizza Genovese or Pizza Diavola. The price is based on the time you place your order. So for example if you order at 5:30pm your pizza is $5.30. If you order at 6:30 the price is $6.30. They also have carafes of house wine which are pretty reasonable. The special ends at 7pm so be sure to get there early. And enjoy the people watching.
Drunken Dragon- Craving a little bit of asian food. Then this is your place. Happy hour is everyday from 5pm-7pm. And the best part is that they have a little bit of everything for everyone. With beer ($4), wine ($5) and cocktails ($6-7), you have a lot to choose from. And did I mention there is food as well. With bites starting at $4 this is definitely the place to pregame.
Stiltsville Fish Bar– When I first started my research for Miami I of course asked for recommendations and everyone I know mentioned this place over and over again. And they have Happy Hour. YES!!! Bar snacks start at $3. They have Beer ($5), Wine ($6) and Cocktails ($7). So awesome when my friends introduce me to another good find in Miami Beach.
Oh and let’s not forget the Free Happy Hour for hotel guests at the Riviera. From 7pm-8pm grab a free drink and enjoy the tropical vibe at Mas Cuba. On weekend nights they even have live music. You cannot get better than that.
Taima’s Budget Tips
Pack a cooler.
I have one of those small foldable coolers that fit about 6 bottles of water. It easily fits in my luggage and back pack. I cannot leave home without it. I usually will go to CVS, pick up some beverages, fill up the cooler with ice from the hotel and head to the beach.
Go to the Supermarket
The First thing I do when I arrive is make a trip the the supermarket. I will usually pick up water, wine and sometimes even items for a beach picnic. This saves me a ton of money at the end of the day. There is nothing better than a picnic on the beach with wine. NOTHING!!!!
Research your Hotel Amenities
Most hotel’s in SOBE have a resort fee. Do a bit of research and figure out what the resort fee includes. Look for hotels that include things like beach chairs, transportation, water bottles, breakfast or even happy hour. I always try to find hotels that offer these kinds of amenities. If I am going to be paying a resort fee I better be getting something out of it.
Have I convinced you to book a trip to Miami? I am personally going to stalk google flights because I am ready to head back. Hope to see your there.