Let’s face it, Miami is an expensive city. Will Smith warned us “Hundred thousand dollar cars? Everybody got em”….Bienvenidos a Miami. But, I have put together a travel guide that is a little more budget friendly if you still want to experience Miami’s beautiful and lively South Beach.
Is this the cheapest you can get? No way, you could go ultra budget and share rooms in hostels, but you all know I have champagne taste. So, I found you all places to eat, stay, and play that still feel luxury, but that won’t break the bank.
Travis and I signed up for the Spirit Airlines Mastercard a year ago and have been banking our airline miles by traveling to Austin, NYC, and Vegas. We earned enough now to take a couple of mostly free domestic flights, so we chose to fly to Denver and Miami. Two U.S. cities that we had never been to, but that sounded cool and interesting!
Where to Stay
Travis and I stayed at the Dream Hotel South Beach, and were very pleased. It is a mid to low price hotel (we paid $150 nightly) and the resort fee was under $20 daily, which is not terrible for Miami.
We chose this hotel because it is right in the center of South Beach. You can walk in any direction and find bars, shops, restaurants, pretty much anything you could want. In fact, the hotel backs up to the Versace Mansion! How amazing to think that Versace lived and died just a few steps away.
The rooms themselves are very small (the hotel website really worked some magic to make them look bigger), but hey, its a 1920s art deco hotel…it can be forgiven. The décor is super cool; all clean lines, cool blues, smooth whites, and art deco details.
The rooftop pool was the absolute GEM of this hotel. Its a standard pool, but it was never crowded, with comfortable cabana beds and loungers, a rooftop pool bar with great drinks, unlimited towels, and poolside snacks and meals from the attached Mexican restaurant, Naked Taco. Every day for lunch, I ate the Key West Shrimp Tacos on flour tortillas with a Smirnoff Pink Apple Rosé next to the pool. Travis had pork tacos with mango salsa every day for his lunch. We both miss it sooo much!
Where to Eat
I highly recommend this unassuming little French bistro for breakfast or dessert. The selection of pastries will absolutely blow your mind. I had smoked salmon eggs benedict with coffee and it was incredible enough for me to recommend this place for breakfast.
Once we finished our hot meal, we perused the display cases. There were croissants of all flavors and sizes, macarons in a rainbow of colors, cram puffs the size of a toddler’s head, and other pastries that would get a Hollywood handshake on Great British Bakeoff without question. One of the best pastries I have ever had was a chocolate and hazelnut cream puff pastry from here. TRULY spectacular.
I wanted to get dinner at the Naked Taco one day, but it never fit into our plans. When we return to Miami hopefully we will stay longer and will be able to fit a dinner at Naked Taco. The décor is very cool, especially outside with graffiti style sugar skulls and neon hashtags.
See the hotel section above for the lunches we ate daily from Naked Taco. Best shrimp tacos I have ever eaten.
One of my MUSTS while were in Miami was to eat Cuban food. Once we were in Miami we asked some locals were to get good Cuban food, and the first two people we asked suggested the same place, Puerto Sagua Restaurant. It is just a simple diner with no frills, but the food was delicious as promised.
I had Cuban-style shrimp, which was sautéed in some amazingly spiced tomato sauce. For sides, I had buttery rice and the sweetest plantains I have ever had. All with a red sangria to wash it down.
Where to Play
A stay in South Beach Miami is not complete without actually enjoying the beach! The beach is FREE! Can you believe it!? The greatest attraction in Miami is free for all to enjoy.
You can pick a spot right on the sand or stay in the water. Or, you can people watch and walk up and down the boardwalk. You can also explore Ocean Drive on foot, but be prepared for the hosts and hostesses to beg for your business.
My favorite part of our recent trip to Miami was our trip to Wynwood, which is the art district in Miami. It is not in South Beach, so you will need to drive there. It cost us $30 Uber from Dream Hotel to Wynwood Walls. Once you get there, entrance to Wynwood Walls is free!
Wynwood Walls is a museum of urban graffiti art. It even has pieces from Shepard Fairey who created the Obama HOPE poster (you know the one, Obama’s face in red and and blue).
You can walk around outside and admire the murals and take photos with them. Its a basic girl Instagram influencer’s dream! There are also two indoor galleries that feature different artists on a rotating basis.
We had dinner and drinks at the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, which was also really impressive! I had crispy calamari and truffle croquettas. A bit pricey, but worth it.
All in all, we absolutely LOVED Miami. I definitely plan to return. We were only in town for 3 nights, and there is so much more I want to see and experience. The weather is perfect, the ocean is beautiful, sunshine, palm trees, great food, art, and Spanish culture. What more can you ask for?
Leah Little has a full time job as a social worker, and has managed to travel the world while wearing beautiful clothes by knowing how to score deals in travel and fashion. Learn more about her journey here. Join the Leah Little Travel and Fashion tribe by entering your email to subscribe to be the first to learn new ways to enjoy the best in travel and fashion for less. Say hi and send her a message! Contact