The Ultimate 3 Day Guide to South Beach, Miami
What do you think of when you think South Beach? Beaches, resorts, Cuban influence, nightclubs and more, South Beach is a little beautiful oasis in Miami. I just got back from a few days in South Beach, Miami celebrating my 30th birthday and let me tell you... it was a good time. I was completely overwhelmed before we left worrying how we would spend our time there so I'm taking the guesswork out for you.
Here's my guide for your next weekend in South Beach.
Where to Stay
The Betsy is a beautifully luxurious Art Deco hotel right on Ocean Drive that is perfect for your next trip to South Beach. According to their website, "Inside, you’ll discover everything you’d expect from a luxury boutique hotel — thoughtful amenities, extraordinary service, a storied chef guiding the kitchens— and some things you might not, like a beloved gathering place for arts and culture, a curated events program ranging from yoga classes to live music, a royal welcome for four-legged friends, and the individual attention of a family-owned hotel."
We were greeted with cold champagne and warm cookies at check in and in awe of the sophistication at every corner. Fully renovated, the Betsy is two buildings connected by a piece of modern art called, The Orb. with 130 guest rooms (35 suites), 4 restaurants, 2 pools, a fitness center featuring Peloton Bikes, and a wellness spa.
From check in to check out, the Betsy was overwhelmingly accommodating. Every staff member went out of their way to ensure we had exactly what we needed and we can't wait to go back.
If you can't find a room there, head to the Miami Beach Edition. A luxury beachfront boutique hotel offering two pools, multiple bars and Matador restaurant. The basement has a nightclub, bowling alley, and ice-skating rink.
Morning: Grab a morning flight so you arrive with plenty of time to explore. When you arrive, you can either Uber from the airport for about $20 per way or take Miami Beach Airport Flyer Bus for $2.65 per way per person! Buses run every 30 minutes and provide express service from 6 a.m. to 11:40 p.m., seven days a week. We opted for an Uber.
Afternoon: From there, drop your bags off at the hotel and grab lunch at Havana 1957. There's several locations, we went to Ocean Drive.We ordered the South Beach Mojito and it did not disappoint. For food, we shared the Cuban Combo and a Cubano sandwich. It absolutely lived up to the hype and the sandwich was huge so more than enough for us to share without the appetizer.
Once we were done with lunch we checked into our room. The Betsy handed us champagne and homemade fresh cookies upon arrival that were delicious. After setting the room up, we went and explored the grounds of the hotel. From art to music, every single wall of the Betsy is covered in something for you to absorb. It was amazing. We headed to the library to rest for a minute and take a quick break. Then it was back to the room to shower and get ready for the evening.
Evening: We stopped by the concierge at the hotel and if you've never utilized their services, I HIGHLY recommend. Art and Guenter truly made our trip to South Beach, giving us recommendations that never disappointed. We were still full from lunch so we got a drink and appetizer at the Lobby Bar and planned our night. I opted for a local pale ale, La Rubia.
The Betsy lobby lounge
Next, we headed to Swizzle, a rum bar with a speakeasy feel that won't let you down. With only 10 seats available, this intimate setting will transport you back to the '60's in Havana with their soft music and ambiance. After entering through the Stiles hotel and walking through the hotel library, you are met with a false door where you have to ring a bell 5 times and wait to even be let in! They have over 150 rum selections and the bartenders were some of the best we've ever encountered. It's no wonder it was ranked the best cocktail bar in Miami Beach.
The hallway leading into Swizzle
Last, we switched it up and headed to Lost Weekend. A completely different vibe, lost weekend is vibrant and fun with their upbeat music and pool tables. Drawing in a younger crowd, you'll find drink specials every night and a kitchen open late night. We got a few drinks there and then opted for a late night steak and cheese that they claimed to compete with the originals from Philly. As an northeasterner, I highly doubted this but was pleasantly surprised. It was one of the best Philly Cheesesteaks I've ever had in my life.
We opted to hit the pool while we had some nice weather on our second day. The Betsy boasts an amazing roofdeck pool with full bar and it did not disappoint. Sprawling views of the city, it was the perfect way to start the day with some coffee and a croissant from the Carlton (The Betsy cafe).
The rooftop pool at the Betsy
In the afternoon we went to explore Espanola way and it did not disappoint! There were so many small restaurants and shops to pop in and out of. After we did some sightseeing we sat outside and grabbed lunch at Oh Mexico. I highly recommend the Shrimp Tacos!
My husband walking Espanola Way
In the evening:
I recommend looking up some happy hour menus and seeing what sounds interesting to you. Miami is a late town so you're going to want to get a snack in before dinner. On our second night, we decided to start at Katsuya. Every day from 6-8 they have happy hour specials in the Dragon Lounge and it is a great chill vibe to start the night. From there, we moved on to our 8:00pm reservation at Byblos. When I tell you this was the best food I've ever had in my life... I am not lying. Highly... highly recommend. We shared the Rock Shrimp Rice, Thrice-Cooked Fries and Atlantic Salmon. My favorite was the Sujuk Pide we had to start... absolutely amazing!
Outside of Byblos - the decor both inside and outside was beautiful!
On our 3rd day we traveled off of South Beach and towards the city of Miami. This was a quick uber ribe that cost about $20 so just plan accordingly. We did everything off South Beach in one day to save on ubers back and forth. We started the day by grabbing some cuban coffee and then heading to the Wynwood Walls. If you're into street graffiti and art, this is your place. It does have a small admission fee but was well worth it in my opinion.
From there, we grabbed lunch at Casablanca on the Bay, which has waterfront dining and a prefix lunch menu. The food was great and the views were even better. After walking around the Design District more, we ubered back to South Beach.
Our 3rd afternoon was the perfect day to actually hit the beach! The Betsy provides towels, chairs and umbrellas for guests so it was so easy to throw our suits on and pop right over. The beach was definitely full but not overwhelming. The water is warm and perfect!
On our 3rd night, we opted for an intimate italian dinner. Our concierge was able to get us a table at Spiga, a tiny restaurant that is known for its daily fresh pasta and diverse crowd. The caprese salad was one of the best I've ever had and the FETTUCCINE CON GAMBERI & ASPARAGI was nothing short of amazing. Their menu, though small, did not disappoint.
From there we saw a drag show at Palace, the #1 drag bar in Miami and one of the best in the world. It was such a fun experience and something I will never forget... without dropping names, we saw a few celebrities that had tables during the show as well so if that is your thing, this is a great spot to people watch! Next, we ended our night at Mangos, a 30 year old nightclub with multiple stages, live music and entertainment. There is a little bit of everything there so you will not be disappointed. We only stayed until about 2am but if you want to stay all night, this is the place!
In closing, Miami is a great place to visit if you have just 3 days. A quick birthday trip, a bachelorette or a parents getaway, Miami can really be whatever you want it to be. If you have any specific questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me via instagram @MassachusettsMama or via email at themassachusettsmama.com. If you looking for links to any of the outfits you see in my photos, you can find them on my Amazon Storefront. Thanks for reading!