You’ve got your heart set on vacationing in Miami, and the hottest beaches and the sultriest nightclubs are stacked at the top of your bucket list. You’re already imagining yourself sizzling under the Florida sun and dancing until 6 a.m. at the after-hour clubs, but once you touch ground in this saucy city, you’ll find yourself getting swayed by more than just sea breezes and salsa music.
When you want to embark on some Miami sightseeing that doesn’t necessarily include the most touristy attractions, allow us to help. We have five stellar sights that belong on your Miami bucket list.
Venture over to the Little Havana neighborhood and you might find yourself thinking, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Miami anymore.” Like stepping into Cuba, you’ll smell the strong, distinguished scent of Cuban coffee wafting from ventanitas, as mesmerizing cigar rollers working their craft stop you in your tracks. Between touring the art galleries on Calle Ocho, experiencing the live music at Cultural Fridays, and eating your weight in pastelitos (pastries), you’ll get your Havana fix without actually leaving Miami. [viewfinder-image-landscape]
Miami pool parties are cool and all, but the Venetian Pool is a hard act to follow. Located in Coral Gables, this lavish pool was built around a natural rock quarry in 1923. It’s filled with spring water and includes waterfalls and grottos, offering an enticing oasis, surrounded by palm trees and Mediterranean influences. Between March and October, take a dip in this fabulous swimming hole and dabble where Miami’s elite and by-gone movie stars like Ester Williams and Johnny Weissmuller once gathered.
Viewfinder Tip: The Zika virus has spread to areas of Miami, so take caution and consult the CDC for safety information.
William Wagner House
All this time you thought art deco designs were the only architectural wonders you could marvel at in this modern city. Yet in Lummus Park, you’ll find antebellum styles portrayed in the William Wagner House. It was one of the city’s first permanent homes, which dates back to 1857, making it the oldest known house in the city. Along with this hand-hewn lumber structure, you’ll come across Mediterranean revival and masonry vernacular styles in the park, too.
Ancient Spanish Monastery
There’s a rather strange story behind the city’s Ancient Spanish Monastery. Originally known as the Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux, it was built in 1133 A.D. in northern Spain. Fast forward to 1925: William Randolph Hearst purchased it, and then had it deconstructed and shipped to the U.S., stone by stone. It wasn’t until 1953 that the monastery was finally rebuilt and placed in North Miami Beach. Today you can tour the magnificent building, attend service, and even meander around the outdoor Labyrinth Walk.
During your Miami vacation, hoist your sails and let the wind propel you over the water or sit back and watch the pros do it at Hobie Beach. As the name suggests, this beach at the entrance of Key Biscayne is the ultimate spot for taking out hobie cats, but also for windsurfing. Never caught the wind on your own? Sign up for windsurfing lessons to learn to cruise over the water like a Miami local. As an added perk, this stretch along the Rickenbacker Causeway is dog friendly, so you and your pup can find some shade under a palm tree with a sweet view of the Miami hotels and businesses in the distance.
What’s on your Miami must-do list?