- Where the Locals Go
Despite her many travels, Melissa Mederos cannot imagine calling any place but Miami home. Born and bred in the Magic City, the interior design assistant is as up for an urban adventure as she is for exploring the abundant natural splendor that surrounds her city (think the Everglades and the Keys).
When asked why she loves being a part of the Miami scene, she says, “We live for Cuban coffee, being fashionably late, and taking weekend cruises to the Bahamas.” Not much to argue with there. Here are a few of Melissa’s favorite things about her hometown paradise.
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Miami Is My City
When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them to is South Beach, to take in views of South Beach, Government Cut, and the downtown skyline. After that, we’d head over to South Pointe Park Pier, a historical pier that reopened after a decade of renovation.
Winter is the best time to visit my city because of Art Basel, an international art show that features artwork from across the globe (not to mention some of the best parties of the year).
You can see my city best from Watson Island. If you are daring enough, hop on a chopper at South Beach Helicopters for the best views in town.
Locals know to skip Collins Avenue and check out Sandbar in the Coconut Grove neighborhood instead for karaoke, trivia, and a fun night out at one of Miami’s best sports bars.
Bayside Marketplace and Lincoln Road are the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.
In the past, notable people like basketball player Lebron James, pop legend Cher, and singer-songwriter Lenny Kravitz have called my city home.
My city’s best museum is the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) because of its commendable commitment to exhibiting international modern and contemporary work.
If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that there are many transportation options. Rent a Deco Bike, Car2go, or travel by boat. Walking is another popular and doable option.
The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is South Beach or Key Biscayne.
My city really knows how to celebrate its national sports teams, including the Miami Heat (basketball), Dolphins (football), and Marlins (baseball). From Westchester to Little Haiti and Hialeah, we are ready to cheer them on with pots and pans (and they’re not for cooking).
You can tell if someone is from my city if they use their horn more than their turn signal while driving.
For a fancy night out, I put on my best outfit and head over to Barton G or Casa Tua in Miami Beach. If I’m in the mood for waterfront dining, I go to the Rusty Pelican.
Just outside my city, you can visit Everglades National Park, where you can camp out, take a swamp walk, bike through Shark Valley, or visit Lucky Coles for some homemade venison chili and vintage finds.
My city is known for being a party city, but it’s really about relaxing on the beach while taking in Miami’s diverse cultures…with a margarita in hand.
The best outdoor market in my city is the Coconut Grove Organic Market, open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The S & S Diner is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and Big Pink is the spot for late-night eats.
To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read the Miami New Times.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I head to 30-acre Museum Park to sit by the bay and watch the cruise ships coming and going. Tip: Be sure to check out Miami on the Cheap for some great deals and free events.
To escape the crowds, I take my canoe out and paddle among the mangroves.
The dish that represents my city best is the frita (a Cuban take on the hamburger), and the cafecito is my city’s signature drink. Sample them at El Rey De Las Fritas and Versailles, respectively.
Tobacco Road is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Story Nightclub or Blue Martini.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Leaving a club or bar after 4 a.m. and still showing up to work the next day could only happen in my city.
In the spring you should head to the beach. Miami is known for being one of the best spring break destinations around.
In the summer you should go to Coral Gables and swim in the Venetian Pool, a historic public watering hole that’s said to be the largest freshwater pool in the United States.
In the fall you should check out one of many festivals Miami is known for, such as Grovetoberfest, the South Beach Seafood Festival, or the Great Grove Bed Race.
In the winter you should go to the Winter Music Conference, South Beach Wine & Food Festival, or make you way to the beach (it’s still hot, even in the winter).
If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss the Miami-Dade County Fair or Santa’s Enchanted Forest.
The best book about my city is Miami: The Magic City by Arva Moore Parks because it takes a comprehensive look at the history and people of my hometown.