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Miami in One Day

Miami in One Day

DESTINATIONS, FLORIDA, MIAMI, SITES TO SEE, TOURS, UNITED STATES

Miami is one of my favorite cities but it can be overwhelming if you’re visiting and have limited time.  For my out of town visitors, I have set up a what I call:  “Miami in One Day”.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is first on the itinerary. Located just outside Miami’s downtown district, Villa Vizcaya will transport you to a different time and place entirely. Described as “the finest private house ever built in America,”  the “Deering Estate” is an ornate mansion built on the Bay with elaborate classical gardens. Plan to arrive early, just as they are opening. You will need 2-3 hours to see everything but you can easily spend a day there. If you want an in depth explanation, the “audio tour” is useful. You can simply punch a number of the place you are and hear interesting tidbits, like the fact the gorgeous pool was used by the owner only once.

 

1. Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

 

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, Florida
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, Florida

 

The early 1900s Italian-style home was designed to emulate centuries’ old French, Italian, and Roman architecture, with furnishings to match. You are able to tour the grand house at your own pace; audio tour devices are available for an additional fee.  Upon exiting the house, be sure to walk around to the back, which overlooks Biscayne Bay and offers sweeping views of the Miami and South Beach skylines.

 

Gazebo at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, Florida
Gazebo at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Miami, Florida 
Vizcaya indoor/outdoor pool, Miami, Florida
Vizcaya Indoor/outdoor Pool, Miami, Florida
Vizcaya Museum bedroom, Miami, Florida
Vizcaya Museum bedroom, Miami, Florida

 

From there, explore Vizcaya’s expansive and exquisite gardens, where you are sure to run into lizards, iguanas, and a photo shoot or two.  Vizcaya’s gardens are used for weddings and quinceanera photo shoots.  The gardens are a very magical place.  This past summer when we visited Vizcaya with my cousin Juanjo from Spain, he proposed to his girlfriend Vicky in the garden.  It couldn’t have been a more perfect and romantic location.  She of course said “Yes”.  And the gardens chalked about probably their millionth successful romance.

 

Juanjo y Vicky - Vizcaya
My cousin and his fiancé. She said “Yes”
Gardens at Vizcaya, Miami, Florida
Gardens at Vizcaya, Miami, Florida
Vizcaya Gardens, Miami, Florida
Vizcaya Gardens, Miami, Florida
Photo Shot in the Gardens at Vizcaya, Miami
Photo Shot in the Gardens at Vizcaya, Miami,
Statues and Sea rocks at Vizcaya Gardens, Miami
Statues and Sea rocks at Vizcaya Gardens, Miami
Sea rocks used for the steps in Vizcaya Gardens, Miami
Sea rocks used for the steps in Vizcaya, Miami
Vizcaya House facing Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida
Vizcaya House facing Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida
Vizcaya Gardens, Miami, Florida
Vizcaya Gardens, Miami, Floridas

 

At $18 for adults, the entry fee may seem a bit pricey; but, exploring this unique historic landmark is well worth the cost.

Vizcaya is a fantastic way to start the trip, filled with history, education, and an eerie feeling that only aged, faded neo-classical artwork can induce.

 

2.  Bayside Marketplace 

 

A ten minute car ride from Vizcaya in the heart of downtown Miami is Bayside Marketplace.   It’s a two story open air mall right off biscayne bay.  Bayside offers lots of restaurants along the water including Hooters and the Hard Rock Cafe.  From party boats to brand name stores you can sure accomodate a family day at this place. The best part, there is parking space within the facility, of course you pay for it, but it is a plus in this Miami area.

 

Bayside Marketplace, Miami, Florida
Bayside Marketplace, Miami, Florida
Shops at Bayside Marketplace, Miami, Florida
Shops at Bayside Marketplace, Miami, Florida

 

Bayside Marketplace is a nice place to get a drink and a bite to eat. The shopping is geared to tourists selling typical beachy and souvenir type items along with a number of chain stores thrown into the mix.

When I visited recently with my cousin, we decided to have lunch next to the water in one of the restaurants.  After lunch we took one of the Island Queen Cruises.  They depart almost very hour on the hour.  The sight seeing cruise runs around $24 for adults.  It takes you on 90 minute sightseeing cruise around Biscayne Bay where you have the best views to see the Downtown Miami skyline, the Port of Miami, Fisher Island, Miami Beach and Millionaire’s Row – the homes of the rich and famous.

 

Island Queen Cruises, Bayfront Marketplace, Miami
Island Queen Cruises, Bayfront Marketplace, Miami
Bayside Marketplace, Miami
Bayside Marketplace, Miami
Downtown Miami, Florida
Downtown Miami, Florida
Star Island in Miami Beach, Florida
Star Island in Miami Beach

 

3.  South Beach

 

From Bayside head towards the beach and in another 15 minutes we arrive in South Beach.

South Beach, also nicknamed Sobe is world renowned for it’s Art Deco architecture.  South Beach has more than fine white beaches and colorful buildings.  It offers an eclectic mix of world class boutiques, galleries, hotels, restaurants and stores.  It’s also a culinary hot spot for everything from gourmet to casual beachside cuisine.  At night, South Beach comes alive with crowds ready to go out and have a world-class evening out on the town.

Parking can be a little tricky by if you get lucky you might find a spot right on Ocean Drive like we did.   Some of the restaurants offer valet parking for a hefty fee.  There’s plenty of entertainment as you walk along Ocean Drive.  Be prepare to see it all.

South Beach - Ocean Drive Restaurants, Miami Beach
South Beach – Ocean Drive Restaurants, Miami Beach 
South Beach - Ocean Drive Restaurants,
South Beach – Ocean Drive Restaurants
South Beach - Ocean Drive Restaurants
South Beach – Ocean Drive Restaurants
Art Deco Buildings on Ocean Drive - South Beach
Art Deco Buildings on Ocean Drive – South Beach

 

After parking we started walking down the strip.  Every restaurant along the way was inviting us to sit and eat.  We finally picked one and ordered some drinks.    South Beach is great for people watching.   You never know who you might run into.   After a refreshing drink we continued to walk down the strip and crossed the street to check out the beach.      

South Beach is a beautiful white powdery sand beach with warm blue crystal clear water.  You can rent a chair or umbrella on the beach but it can be pricey, around $20 each.  Nevertheless, the beach was filled with sunbathers enjoying fun in the sun.    The beach is so wide that from the street, it’s quite a long walk to get to the water.  We took our shoes off and got our feet wet.   The water was nice and warm. Visitors from up north or the West Coast of the US cannot believe the warmth of our local waters.

 

Miami Beach from Ocean Drive
Miami Beach from Ocean Drive
Gianni Versace's Miami Beach home it's called The Villa Miami Beach
Gianni Versace’s Miami home now it’s called The Villa Miami Beach

The buildings in the evening looked amazing with all the bright colors.   South Beach is great for people watching, shopping (if you don’t mind premium premium prices), eating, and obviously, hitting the beach.

South Beach - Ocean Drive neon signs
South Beach – Ocean Drive 

 

4.  Lincoln Road

Only a few blocks away from South Beach is Lincoln Road.  It’s an outdoor pedestrian mall with nice shopping and restaurants with outdoor tables/seating set up along the center of the street.  It’s approximately 8 blocks of non-stop cafes and shops. You can find almost any kind of food from Sushi to Cuban. Like any mall there’s great shopping opportunities.  Some of my favorite stores H&M, ZARA, Victoria’s Secret and the Apple Store can be found.

 

Lincoln-Rd-Mall-Sign, Miami Beach
Lincoln Rd Mall Sign, Miami Beach

 

If you’re into people watching, just stop at one of the cafes and you’ll be entertained. One of the great treats that many people overlook are the wonderful Art Deco buildings on Lincoln Road. The Banana Republic is in an old Art Deco bank and has the original counter and iron work inside. The changing room is in the vault in the back. My cousins loved the outside seating area and shops.   

 

Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach
Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach
Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
Lincoln Road Mal , Miami Beach (photo credit, flickr Juanco Gutierrez)
Lincoln Road Mal , Miami Beach (photo credit: flickr Juanco Gutierrez)
Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach (photo credit: flickr juanco gutierrez)
Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach (photo credit: flickr Juanco Gutierrez)
Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach
Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach

 

In the evening, Lincoln Road is a great place to enjoy the energy of Miami. It is well suited for families, couples, and just about anybody who wants to be outside on a nice night.

My out of town guests really enjoyed their day out in Miami.   There’s so much to see in such little time, but it’s a great way to spend the day and see most of the sites.

 

What’s your favorite location in Miami?

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

14 Comments

  1. Emma
    May 19, 2014 at 10:24 am
    Reply

    I haven’t been to Miami for years, last time we stayed for a couple of days before we went down to Key West, but next time I will be looking up this post for lots of interesting stuff to see! 🙂

    • Carmen
      May 19, 2014 at 9:46 pm

      Thanks Emma. Miami has some great places to see, hope you get a chance to see them next time you’re in town.

  2. SJ @ Chasing the Donkey
    May 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm
    Reply

    I’ve never been to Miami. 3 trips to the USA and I have never made it there – damn! I think I need to look at how I can be sure to work Miami into my next trip there, there place looks and sounds FAB! PS: Why is Lincoln road struck through? As always thanks for linking up with us for #SundayTraveler

    • Carmen
      May 19, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      Hi SJ. I’m not sure why Lincoln Road was struck through but thank you for pointing that out. I fixed it. Miami is a fabulous place to visit.

  3. Vicky Alonso [MissArretrancos]
    May 19, 2014 at 7:42 pm
    Reply

    Vizcaya, what lovely place!! I’ll never forget that day. So romantic!
    We visited Lincoln Road very fast, but was amazing.

    I love Miami! <3

    • Carmen
      May 19, 2014 at 9:55 pm

      Hi Vicky! I’m sure you’ll never forget the place you got engaged. I’m glad I had a chance to show you the town.

  4. Lauren
    May 20, 2014 at 1:14 pm
    Reply

    I’ve been to Fort Lauderdale but never as far south as Miami. This is a great roundup for anyone looking to visit and looking for things to do! I would love to soak up the sun 🙂

    • Carmen
      May 20, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      Hi Lauren,

      Fort Lauderdale has some great places to see as well. You’ll have to take a ride to Miami Beach next time. We have plenty of sun to go around.

  5. Adelina | PackMeTo
    May 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm
    Reply

    I don’t know much about Miami beyond the beaches. I like how there is a lot of diversity and culture. The only place I’ve been to in Florida is Orlando unfortunately. I would love to do a road trip through all the southern states.

    • Carmen
      May 25, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Adelina, Yes, There is a lot of diversity here in South Florida. That’s what makes it such an interesting place to live. Apart, from Miami we have the Florida Keys that are beautiful too. Let me know when you’re in the area and we can hook up.

  6. FrankAboutCroatia
    May 21, 2014 at 11:26 am
    Reply

    Exactly what I needed (but few years ago). I’ve visited Miami three times, but it was always only for a day. And all three times I’ve ended up at the South Beach. Thanks for sharing!

    • Carmen
      May 25, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      Hi Frank, South Beach is one of my favorite places. We love to go for lunch or dinner and watch all the people as they walk by. Sometimes you might get lucky and spot a celebrity or too hanging out.

  7. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}
    May 22, 2014 at 6:55 am
    Reply

    I went to Miami when I was a teenager on a family trip and remember being completely awestruck by Vizcaya. So beautiful and ornate! What a wonderful setting for a proposal. Congratulations to them. I think I’d also enjoying seeing all the Art Deco architecture in Miami and hitting that gorgeous beach. Is that a log pencil mobile in your photo?

    • Carmen
      May 25, 2014 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Michele, When my kids were younger they pretended that we lived in Vizcaya. I always enjoy going back to take visitors. Especially, ones that get engaged. 😉 Some of the pictures were taken by my cousin. It’s possible that he used a pencil mobile app on his phone.

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