Where to Stay, Play, and Eat in Miami

Spring Break is coming up, with graduation right on its heels, and where's the best place to celebrate your freedom? On the beach in Miami! With plenty of things to see and do, a vibrant social scene, stunning beaches, and more delicious restaurants than you can shake a stick at, you'll never want to leave Miami. From a budget point of view, Miami can add up...but, here we are to help you out and give you some tips on where to stay, play, and eat while on vacation in Little Cuba.

Where to Stay

Miami is a very condensed city, all centering on the beach. On the small 1.7 mile main strip of Miami Beach, you'll find more than 125 hotels. Many of these were built back in the boom age of Miami, in the 1920s and '30s, still retaining their Art Deco glam and appeal. However, these hotels can be quite pricey as you're paying not only for the history but the view and location.

There are cheaper hotels away from the beach, which we recommend for visiting student groups. If you wish, and not everyone is always up for it, there are boutique hostels, clean and modern, which offer a communal living style for a more affordable price. However, big name hotels, roadside inns, and smaller up and coming hotels in the city offer discounted prices - depending on the neighborhood. Downtown Miami and Miami Beach are the most expensive, typically, but if you go during Spring Break season there might not be a ton of low-priced rooms unless you look further and further away from the beach. We can only recommend that you look around, or call us, before you book.

Where to PlayVilla_Vizcaya_20110228

Miami Beach is your number one attraction, obviously. If you can pry yourself away from the sunny sands, however, you'll find the city awaiting at your fingertips. Jungle scenery, interactive zoos and animal preserves, Gilded Era mansions on Biscayne Bay, and plenty of nightlife to keep you interested in South Beach.

If you like animals, then Jungle Island and Zoo Miami are your go-to destinations. Filled with beautiful exhibits, wondrous global creatures, and plenty to see and do, these animal-filled attractions are perfect for student groups of any age. Jungle Island, especially, is an interactive animal park where you can meet the animals up close. See trainers teaching orangutans, meet the cute kangaroos, pet and feed the barn animals, and have some fun with the quirky and cute penguins among others.

If history and architecture is your thing, then Villa Vizcaya and the Coral Castle are for you. The former was built by an entrepreneurial businessman on the waters of Biscayne Bay, backed by a tropical paradise. Inside, you'll find centuries worth of art, sculpture, textiles, artifacts, and furnishings which made Villa Vizcaya a museum from its inception. The Coral Castle, on the other hand, is entirely made up of outdoor sculptures created from coral. More impressive is that the castle was built single handedly by one man. Though the price of admission is no longer ten cents, as it was when it opened to the public, it's still worth seeing firsthand.

Museums are also in evidence in Miami, including the renowned Perez Art Museum, filled with an amazing collection of contemporary art. The Bass Museum of Art runs from ancient times to modern, as does the Lowe Art Museum, while Barnacle Historic State Park preserves the oldest standing house in the county, backed by a natural oasis.

As it's Miami, there are also plenty of places to shop. Go retail wild along the Miracle Mile, window shop and splurge in the Design District or Bal Harbour, or explore the shopping streets surrounding South Beach and Miami Beach proper.

Where to EatOcean_drive_day_2009j

This is, personally, one of my favorite sections to write about: food. Miami has a wonderful array of affordable to expensive, delicious foods that can fit any budget and/or taste. Even the cheap food tastes amazing so don't be afraid to try that quirky diner down the street from your hotel, it might just be the best meal you've ever had.

Some of the top eats include the Eating House ($$) offering up Italian food with a fun, American flair with desserts like cap'n crunch pancakes. But what Miami is best known for (in the food department) is Latin food. 100 Montaditos, La Camoronera, and El Mago de las Fritas top the list for best Latin food in Miami, alongside non-Latin affordable eateries like EDGE Steak & Bar, Joey's Italian Cafe, and the Indonesian Bali Cafe.

If you're hungry and looking for a good place to eat, really just follow your nose and you'll discover something new, unique, and delicious.