Driving Along Florida A1A
This oceanfront route, which runs north up Miami Beach, through Sunny Isles and Hollywood, and into Fort Lauderdale (starting at Ocean Dr. and First St. in Miami and merging onto Collins Ave. before running north), embodies the essence that is South Florida. From time-warped hotels steeped in Art Deco kitsch to multimillion-dollar modern high-rises, A1A is one of the most scenic, albeit heavily trafficked, roads in all of Florida.
Dining at Garcia's on the Miami River
Some consider dining on the Miami River to be industrial chic; others consider it seedy in a Miami Vice sort of way. However you choose to look at it, by all means do look at it; the sleepy Miami River is nestled below the sweeping downtown Miami skyline, reminding you that even though you're in a major metropolis, things in this often-frenetic city are capable of slowing down to a more soothing pace.
Getting the Juice at El Palacio de los Jugos
For the true, frenetic, cacophonous Miami Cuban experience, this is the place to go, where heaps of gloriously greasy fare and sort of healthy fresh squeezed juices have people coming in packs.
Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant
You will wait in line at Miami Beach's landmark spot for crab, but it's never dull, and the cacophony of mostly Northeastern U.S. accents and the occasional celebrity will keep you entertained until you are seated for your feast of crustacean. Dip medium, large, or jumbo crab into a tasty mustard-mayo sauce or just mustard, and save room for Key lime pie. Open October through May only.
Midnight Snacking at Versailles
This iconoclastic, gaudy Cuban diner in the heart of Miami's Little Havana is humming with the buzz of old-timers reminiscing about pre-Castro Cuba, local politicos trying to appease them, and a slew of detached people there only for the fantastically cheap and authentic Cuban fare. Much like its French namesake in whose image it's been literally mirrored, Miami's Versailles provides a palatial view of Miami's ever-changing Cuban landscape.
Sunset Cocktails at Smith & Wollensky
Say bon voyage to the mega ships sailing out of Government Cut from this, one of the best waterfront vantage points in all of Miami.
Learning to Salsa
If the only salsa you're familiar with is the kind you put on your tacos, get over to Bongo's Cuban Café, the hottest salsa club north of Havana, where Miami's most talented salsa dancers will teach you how to move your two left feet in the right direction.
Unleashing Your Inner Gourmand in Miami's Design District
Turns out, the home of high-end furniture showrooms and interior design firms is also home to some of Florida's most lauded eateries -- Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Sra. Martinez, Pacific Time. Some tapas with your tapestries, perhaps?
Channeling Andy Warhol in Miami's Wynwood Arts District
After waiting patiently for this arty, funky area to hit its comeuppance, Miami's hipsters and artists have finally been rewarded with this still raw neighborhood of galleries, studios, and even a few cool bars, lounges, and restaurants that exude that New York City SoHo-meets-Meatpacking District vibe.
Sundays at Alabama Jack's
There is nothing like hanging out, chugging a cheap beer, chowing down on amazing conch fritters, and watching a bunch of sauced octogenarians dressed like extras from Hee Haw line-dancing to incredible live country music, all in a Sunday's afternoon. Even better is the spectacular waterfront setting that makes you truly appreciate why you're in Florida in the first place.
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