Miami fitness buffs

Miami Is For Lovers: Part One

It was raining when we arrived in Miami. I had forgotten about the vast wetlands lying just to the west of the city until we were forced to circle them for fifteen minutes before being cleared to land. John’s and my conversation shifted to alligators and the tropical climate, which I never got used to. Miami was my home for four years during my undergraduate studies and it would be interesting to return as I hadn’t been back in over 12 years. I was curious to see how it would be different. Or perhaps how different I would be when revisiting old haunts.

Colony Hotel Ocean Drive Miami

It's not always sunny in Miami...

On the ground we quickly forgot about the Everglades as our taxi sped across the causeway to South Beach, our home for the next few nights. We were there to re-connect with our dear friends Andi and Lucas who we hadn’t seen since their amazing wedding in Buenos Aires two years before, and to celebrate Lucas’s birthday. Well, Miami is just the place to celebrate anything. I have never lived in a more passionate city, where people are just simply in love with life. Perhaps it’s the fiery Latin influence...or the heat, but Miami turns it on for its visitors and residents alike.

rollerblader miamiI never lived on the Beach. I can’t really write about the rest of the city and compare Miami to its beaches. Even geographically they aren’t that close. The journey from where I lived in Coral Gables, and later Kendall, could easily take an hour on a busy weekend night with everyone standing in traffic trying to get onto Washington or Collins Avenues. The Beach is full of trendy restaurants, shops, nightclubs, bars and tourists, where the rest of Miami looks like a lot of other places in the United States. Except, of course, for the ubiquitous palm trees and everyone showing a little more skin.

Loews Miami Beach palm trees

We checked into the Loews Miami Beach, with its unbeatable location right in the heart of everything you want to see and do on a trip to Miami, and immediately caught up over food and drinks at Preston’s downstairs. We had a fun weekend planned ahead, with a sampling of some of the wonderful things that Miami has to offer. It is impossible, of course, to pack in everything that there is to do in Miami over a weekend. Sitting here writing this after the fact, I am reminded of so many of the amazing things that we did not have time to experience. But because my memory is so awesome, I will include some of my additional favorite things to do at the bottom of these posts.

Loews Miami Beach

Loews Miami Beach

Because Miami is just exactly the same as I left it. There has been quite a lot of new development, certainly, but the core of what the place is and the types of people that circulate within its streets have not changed. It is every bit the same colorful, vibrant, sassy and lively place that I left behind over a decade ago. There’s big money to be made and big business to be done during the day. Or perhaps a lot of lounging around at the beach or pool if you’re so inclined. At night, the neon lights come on and everybody is out to party. People in Miami almost always look like they are having a good time. From the idle waiter busting moves at the front of the café while he waits for his next table to arrive to the grandmother showing off her tan and age-defying figure in a tiny white outfit while she shops on Lincoln Road, these are some people who are serious about loving life.

Miami fitness buffs

miami dog

And there is a lot to love in Miami. You can be passionate about food, art, fashion, music, cars, hard bodies, roller-blading, athletics, dancing, sunshine, Cuban coffee, tattoos, turntables, Art Deco, the way your feet feel in the sand, that hottie in the red convertible cruising down Ocean Drive, your dog, your kids, your pool, the weather…the tropical birds in the trees if you like. Everyone seems to immediately soak up that vibe the moment they arrive. I slipped into dresses I could never get away with on a night out on the town here in Houston and we all put on our best clothes for dinner and didn’t bother to budget as we made reservations at the best restaurants in town. You have to live it up when you come to a place like Miami.

car ocean drive

miami beach

It’s also an especially great place to get together with friends. The night we arrived we met up with Kyle Hepp, who we last caught up with in Helsinki last year. A group of us hit up the Hyde Beach nightclub, where a pile of beautiful people (including Lionel Richie) danced poolside under the stars. Be sure to check out one of Miami’s hottest nightclubs when you’re in town, if for nothing else but to see the ridiculousness that goes on in the VIP rooms.

winter haven miami night

What else not to miss in Miami at night?

If you prefer the college scene, head to Coconut Grove in the evenings for a more laid-back atmosphere and bar-hop amongst heaving shops and restaurants. While you’ll still find plenty of co-eds on South Beach, only the most hard core partiers head out there on the weeknights.

For something different, watch or try Latin dancing at one of the numerous clubs around town. We tried to get into Mango’s on Ocean Drive one night but didn’t want to wait in line. Here’s a list of some great places to check it out.

big margaritas south beach

John and Lucas enjoy the excess with 32oz margaritas on Ocean Drive.

Miami is home to some seriously good restaurants. Avoid the tourist traps along places like Ocean Drive and seek out places where you can savor the work of some of America’s hottest chefs. Two places that we can recommend are Ola (1745 James Ave., Miami Beach) and Bazaar (1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach), the latter of which will be covered in a later post.

Have you lived the sweet life in Miami yet? What did you think?

Disclosure: We received a significant media discount for our stay at Loews Miami Beach.


  1. Elle-Rose Williams 17 August, 2013 at 17:24 Reply

    I’ve never actually been to Miami but it always looks so fun and colourful! Definitely going to try and get down there sometime in the next few years! How would you compare it to other US cities? x

    • inspiringtravellers 19 August, 2013 at 19:23

      Quite different – I think the Art Deco and the Latin culture are very unique for the US

  2. Marina K. Villatoro 17 July, 2013 at 22:42 Reply

    Miami is a nutty place! I enjoyed it for our past trip, but think there are more interesting spots in Florida now.

    I found it to be too full of itself – mainly for the people. Our hotel/condo rental had a ferrari owner pay so that his car can be in front all the time to show off how his car. SOmetimes we’d wait outside for our car to be driven, and he would come out, flex his muscles shirtless. Sit in the car for a bit, make sure that people saw him and then leave. It was a bit embarrassing. And I found that many hotels and restaurants had trophy sports cars in front as well.

    • inspiringtravellers 20 July, 2013 at 13:46

      Yes, we saw a lot of that too. I find it entertaining…in small doses…

  3. Emily in Chile 12 July, 2013 at 18:41 Reply

    I’d be jealous of this weekend if it had happened in the middle of nowhere, but the fact that you guys all met up in such a fun city is almost too much to handle! It sounds like you really did Miami right.

  4. Jennifer 7 July, 2013 at 10:24 Reply

    Love, love, love the photo of the dog chillin’ in the car with the guys doing handstands behind! I’ve never been to Miami but I’d love to visit one of these days.

  5. Heather 5 July, 2013 at 11:31 Reply

    I love Miami! The last time I visited I kicked myself for not attending college there. But as luck would have it, some close friends moved to Miami recently so I’ll always have a place to stay! Beautiful photos by the way, especially the one with the sun shining through the palm trees!

    • inspiringtravellers 5 July, 2013 at 14:20

      It was an interesting place to go to school – I think UM was kind of known as a party school but I guess we get it done too because it’s always high in the US university rankings. Definitely a fun place to study!

  6. Cathy Sweeney 4 July, 2013 at 01:07 Reply

    Passion is in the air in Miami. Been a while since I spent quality time there, but had have very fond memories. :) I agree that you kind of soak up the vibe as soon as you arrive — I know I did.

  7. nicole 3 July, 2013 at 16:02 Reply

    I have been wanting to go to miami for a while. Thanks for the info about where to go! And I love the photo of the dog. He made my day. =)

  8. Andi 3 July, 2013 at 08:24 Reply

    First of all, congrats on some amazing photos! WOW!!! I’m really, really impressed. Second of all, love the pics of our husbands. Third of all, thank you so much for coming to Miami to celebrate Lucas’ Birthday. We love you guys so much!

    • inspiringtravellers 5 July, 2013 at 14:18

      We had such a wonderful time with you guys – looking forward to our next trip! xoxoxo <3

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