Hostelworld Guide for Miami

By Colm Hanratty


Haven for the rich and famous, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in America's celebrated Sunshine State, Miami is the perfect place to unwind. Most of those who descend on this city in the south of Florida lay their hat in South Beach, a part of the world-famous Miami Beach. Here the top of anybody's itinerary is the beach. The warm waters here are arguably the most pleasant in the United States, and the lifestyle around the neighbourhood itself is an envious one. After only a day you will begin to imagine how viable it would be to move here. If it isn't an option, make use of your days not only to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, but also to explore its neighbourhoods, meet the entertaining locals and, of course, its nightlife. While this is a great place to relax, it's hard to think of a better city to party.



In this Guide...      

Useful Information
After Dark
Places to Eat
Top Attractions
Budget Tips
Where to Shop

 The Essentials


Getting There

By air: Miami International Airport is extremely close to the city, located just 8 miles from Downtown Miami and 10 from South Beach. A taxi to South Beach is a flat fee of $32 (plus tip) but the cheaper option is to take bus #150 which will drop you at Collins Avenue at 16th Street. The journey takes approximately 30 minutes.

By train: If your chosen mode of transport to Miami is train then you will arrive at the city's main Amtrak station which is located at 8303 NW 37th Avenue in Downtown Miami. It has good rail connections with the rest of the country.

By bus: The main bus network in the United States is Greyhound. If you choose to travel to Miami with them you will arrive at their station at 16000 NW 7th Ave in North Beach. There are many smaller independent bus companies that operate between Miami and other American cities.

Getting Around

On foot: You can explore South Beach easily on foot, but to get to other parts of Miami such as Downtown or Little Havana you will need to use public transport, namely the bus.

By 'Metrorail': The 'Metrorail' is a 22-mile, elevated rapid transit system runs from Kendall to South Miami. There are 22 stations on the line, each (funnily enough) a mile apart, with stations at Coral Gables, Downtown Miami and other places.

By 'Metrobus': As the Metrorail doesn't travel to South Beach where most of the city's hostels are, to get around Miami from there you will need to use the Metrobus which is operated by the same company that operates Metrorail. Buses are clearly marked on the front where they go and the service is generally reliable.

By 'Metromover': The Metromover is a free monorail type service which operates three lines around Downtown Miami. It makes exploring Downtown Miami extremely easy (see 'Budget Tips' for more info).

Miami basques in a subtropical monsoon climate which means summers are hot, humid and sometimes quite wet. From June to September the average temperature is 27°C or higher. Of these months, June and September are particularly wet. Winter is Miami's high season, as from December to February the city boasts an average temperature of 20°C, with little rain. April is another good time to visit when rainfall is light and the average temperature climbs a bit.

 Good to know...

Language: English
Currency: US Dollar
Electricity: 220 volts, 50 cycles
Telephone Code: +1 (USA), 305 & 786 (Miami)
Emergency Code: 911 (Police / Fire / Ambulance)
Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time
General Post Office (South Beach): 1300 Washington Ave
Main Tourist Office: Greater Miami Convention and Visitor's Bureau, 701 Brickell Ave., Downtown

Embassies *

UK: +1 202 588 6500
Canada: +1 202 682 1740
Australia: +1 202 797 3000
South Africa: +1 202 232 4400
Ireland: +1 202 462 3939
Germany: +1 202 298 4000
Spain: +1 202 728 2371
Italy: +1 202 612 4400
New Zealand: +1 202 328 4800
France: +1 202 232 6854

* Embassies in Washington DC

Hostelworld Guide for Miami

 Cheap Eats

 After Dark

Pizza Rustica, Cnr 9th St & Washington Ave, South Beach Whether or not this is the best pizza in South Beach is up to you, but the slices here are certainly different to those in its counterparts. Here, they're served in rectangles, receiving its inspiration from the takeaway shops of Rome. Toppings are experimental and service is speedy. A safe bet. Open daily 10am-5am.

 Steel Dawn

11th Street Diner, cnr 11th St & Washington Ave, South Beach This stainless steel diner has been serving locals and tourists alike since 1992. Everything you'd expect to find on the menu are here - pancakes, burgers, sandwiches and more. Since it's open all day long, all you need to do is choose when to visit and what to treat yourself to. Open daily 24 hours.

Cuban restaurants, Little Havana One thing which is extremely evident in Miami is the Cuban influence. Obviously, the neighbourhood you can see this most in is Little Havana, just west of Downtown Miami. The cafés/restaurants here serve great Cuban sandwiches, making them the perfect place to refuel when exploring the area.

Bayside Marketplace, 401 Biscayne Blvd, Downtown Miami Here you'll find a mix of those omnipresent tourist-driven restaurants such as Hard Rock Café and Bubba Gump Shrimp along with smaller establishments too. Still, a good option when in the city centre. Open Mon-Thurs 10am-10pm, Fri & Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 11am-9pm.

La Sandwicherie, 229 14th Street, South Beach Voted the 'Best Sandwich in Miami' by CNN, the people at this South Beach sandwich bar really do know how to make a good sandwich. First you choose with a type of bread, then your meats, and then salads. If you're not picky, simply go for the works. And if this is your lunch, make it an early one to leave room for dinner. Open daily 8am-5am.

Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave, South Beach One of many 'superclubs' in South Beach, Mansion draws clubbers in their thousands every weekend. There are numerous bars and a host of areas to display how good your moves are. The tunes being played by the DJs, which are sometimes world-famous, are house and trance making this a must for dance music lovers. Open Wed-Sun 11am-4am; admission charge.

Automatic Slim, 1216 Washington Avenue, South Beach If clubs aren't your thing, but instead bars with equally loud music, 'Automatic Slim' located in the heart of South Beach is where you need to go. Tunes are a mix of old rock classics to more modern ones...all are familiar and guaranteed to get you in the party mood. Open daily.

 Gay / Lesbian Miami

Like most of the big cities in the United States of America, Miami has a very active gay scene. Gay bars and clubs can be found throughout the city, but most of them are in and around the South Beach area. Twist (1057 Washington Ave, South Beach) is one of the neighbourhood's most popular bars, as is Score (727 Lincoln Road, South Beach). If you're one who likes to get down to the latest tunes check out Discotekka at Club Mekka (950 NE 2nd Ave, Downtown).

Nikki Beach, 1 Ocean Drive, South Beach 'Nikki Beach' is perfect for those clubbers that don't consider them too hardcore. This is all thanks to an enormous outdoor area complete with sand on the ground and beds to laze on. As you would expect, the music is dance, and the crowd are happy as a result. Open Sundays 11pm-5am.

Buck 15, 707 Lincoln Lane, South Beach Opened in 2004, this bar has set out to bridge the different communities of the City of Miami. This is done through the different styles of music played, and the crowd it attracts. Apart from Mondays when doors are shut, there's something different happening here every night. Open Tues-Sat 10pm-5am.

The Clevelander Bar, 1020 Ocean Drive, South Beach You simply can't leave Miami without a night out on the famous Ocean Drive, and of all the venues, The Clevelander is where it's at. Here you've got 9 bars, a wide range of beers and cocktails to select from. And when it starts getting really late and you want to carry the night on, visit the affiliated nightclub '1020 Music Lounge'. Open daily 12 noon- late.

 Don't Miss

 Budget Tips

Key West One thing you hear of people doing time and time again in Miami is visiting Key West. Why so? Well, there's quite a lot to do. If you're into fishing, you can do that here. If it's diving you're into, you can do that too. Or if you're one who likes to relax and soak up the sunshine, you can do that too on one of it's golden beaches.

Bay of Biscayne boat tour Miami has always been a popular spot with celebrities, and many stars have decided to call it home, most of whom on the islands of Biscayne Bay. To see into the front gardens of entertainment's best known stars (and sitting rooms if you have your binoculars) don't miss a tour of the bay.

 Deep in the reeds

Everglades Safari Park Within less than an hour drive of Downtown Miami you will find the Everglades National Park - a subtropical wetlands home to an abundance of wildlife, most notably the feared alligator. On day tours you get to see the creatures up close and personal and from one of the famous airboats on the River of Grass.

Wolfsonian Museum, 1001 Washington Ave, South Beach If you feel like you need to soak up some culture and get away from the sun, sand and sea for a bit, this famous art gallery in the heart of South Beach is the perfect option. The collection contains artefacts primarily of North American and European origin, dating from 1885-1945. These include furniture, books and paintings. Open Thurs-Tues noon-6pm (9pm Fri); admission $7+tax).

Catch a Miami Heat game Thanks to the arrival of some of the biggest games in the NBA, now is definitely the time to catch the Miami Heat play a game. Their home stadium is the American Airlines stadium in Downtown Miami and tickets vary in price.

Relax on the beach Make no mistake about it – thousands flock to Miami for one main reason… the beach. Initially known as Miami Beach, now one more popular section is known as South Beach and this is where you are bound to find yourself when here. The beaches are broken up into different sections with different characteristics. They all share one common theme though – warm waters and lots of sunshine.

Get around using the Metro Mover This people mover first began operating around the streets of Miami back in 1986 with just one line. Since then more lines have been added but thankfully it has been free from day one. There are 20 stops in total at different locations around Downtown Miami as well as those in Brickell.

Take part in free classes on Bayfront Park While relaxing in Bayfront Park is a great free thing to do in its own right, what’s better is that there are free classes you can enrol in also. There are two to choose from – Yoga (Mon, Wed & Sat) and self-defence classes for women (Mon & Wed). If you’re sadly not around for the classes, try to visit the park anyway which is a nice base point for exploring the downtown area.

Visit the Woflsonian for free If you happen to be in Miami on a Friday, and were planning on visiting the astounding Wolfsonian Art Gallery in South Beach, good news – the museum is free to enter every Friday after 6pm. It’s open until 9pm so you’ll pack a bit in during the three hours.

 An Art Deco delight

Admire the Art Deco architecture After the beach, it is arguable that the next 'top attraction' are the Art Deco buildings around the Miami Beach area. Many of these can be found along Ocean Drive in South Beach, and many of these are beaches. The most photographed is said to be the Carlton Hotel.

Hostelworld Guide for Miami