Bucket List Item #21: Miami… Where the Playas Play

I know it’s been awhile, but the last 5 months have been a whirlwind of changes – new job, living situation, friends, places to travel. Writing a blog has been nearly impossible, BUT I continue to get asked why I stopped, so here we are again! Also, I had to get permission because now, all of my opinions can be blamed on ESPN, so I was told I have to give a disclaimer…

**The opinions in this blog are NOT the opinions of ESPN** (lol so anyway)

I’ve done a lot in the last few months that I’m not going to write about, like snowboarding in Vermont, learning to salsa dance, and exploring parts of New England, only because I’m going to attempt to live and write about the now.

So, I’ll start with last week! Miami…. *queue Will Smith*

I originally found out that I was going to Miami for work, and of course extended my stay for a few days. There were things I wanted to do there that I didn’t get the chance to because of poor, last-minute planning, but there were several things that I did do and highly recommend for anyone interested in heading there in the future.

Below are the places to add onto your Miami hit list that you may not hear about when going as a tourist (aka me). I luckily went with some seasoned Miamians and thank God I did!

umiamiThe Universities – This is something that I would have NEVER thought to do if I didn’t have to do it for work, but hitting up a few of the college campuses there is a must. I loved it, not only because I like to see how the other half lives, but because the campuses look like resorts! Especially coming from the arctic temperatures of West Virginia University and Erie, PA. I went to U Miami, St. Thomas, Florida Atlantic and Barry, all beautiful with walkways of palm trees. If you can only go to one, head to U Miami. There, you will see a badass campus, with an outdoor pool, tables overlooking the water, and a friggin’ brewery in between the classes. Seriously, I have no idea how college students in Miami even make it to class.
Suggested Restaurant: Pollo Tropical – beachy fast-food for something quick with a tropical menu
Suggested Bar: Rathskeller (aka the “Rat”) – campus-center with burgers, beer, live music, etc.

Coconut Grove – This area is a must for anyone who loves outdoor fine dining, high-end boutiques and everything to be in walking distance. I stayed at the Sonesta Coconut Grove, whose pool and restaurant overlooking the ocean and marina are enough to make your stay worthwhile. I got the chance to have dinner at a beautiful outdoor restaurant and made it to their CocoWalk the next night to watch my Mountaineers. Unfortunately, WVU blew it, but I did run into a fellow Mountaineer while there! I’d love to tell you how the shops were, but shopping isn’t really my thing, so I guess you’ll have to go see for yourself.
Suggested Restaurant: Green Street Café – grab outdoor seating to really take in the neighborhood
Suggested Bar: Anywhere in the CocoWalk – for sports, go to Duffy’s Sports Grill

sonesta coconut grovecocowalk.net

Wynwood – This BY FAR was my favorite day of the trip and I would have never even known to go there had it not been for my personal tour guide and picture whore, Francessca. Wynwood is an art-based neighborhood north of downtown that has walls, streets and restaurants full of murals, graffiti and local artists. If anyone knows my love for colors and art, you understand why this place was heaven for me. Everywhere you look, there’s something that makes you think (and makes you jealous that you’re not that talented), and it feels never-ending. I could live in that beachy, open-aired, art-filled neighborhood forever, which is why I almost threw a big girl temper-tantrum when we had to leave.
Suggested Restaurant: Wynwood Kitchen and Bar – sit on the patio to get bitch-slapped by colors (picture below)
Suggested Bar: Concrete Beach – games everywhere, an indoor/outdoor bar and the nicest bartenders ever

Brickell – This is an urban area in downtown Miami that is considered to be the financial district of Miami (and it happens to have a name that is really fun to say fast and loudly every time you consume alcohol while in Miami. Seriously, try it…. BRICKELL!). Anyway, this is where you go when you want to see the true professional downtown, skyscrapers, bridges overlooking the water and a beautiful, lit-up skyline like no other city. I know I am more side-tracked than most by the colors, and I’m not a big city, uptown girl type of person, but when every building is a different color AND surrounded by palm trees, I think I could make it work.
Suggested Restaurant: Didn’t stay there long enough for a meal, but I did have time to tour… and drink 🙂
Suggested Bar: Better Days – a small, laid-back, beachy cocktail bar that most tourists don’t know exists (picture below)

South Beach – Also known to the thousands of model-looking locals as SoBe, this area is a tourist must because it’s exactly what you picture when you think of Miami. Beaches, fancy pool parties, beautiful hotels (and people), and tons of shit within walking distance. I recommend going here first so that unlike me, you make sure to have time to chill on the beach. That will also give you a few days to let your sunburn go away before heading back to your real life, while sitting in meetings with your nose peeling… just sayin’.
Suggested Restaurant: Sultan – not The Sultan, like in Aladdin, but a Mediterranean sidewalk café
Suggested Bar: Pick a pool bar! Most hotels in South Beach have day pool parties with access right to the beach. I stayed at the Shore Club and it was beautiful, but be prepared to spend a disgusting amount on drinks.
shore club

Hope this helps and I hope you one day get to experience it! Let me know when you do so I can hide in your luggage. Like, the biggest luggage ever… I’m kind of tall. 😉


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