Wynwood, Downtown, Little Havana and South Beach: The best places to visit in Miami

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    Miami is one of my favourite places to visit in the world.

    I love the way that it’s almost always sunny, I love how the architecture is so vibrant and colourful, and I love the fact that there’s so much culture in such a tiny city.

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    Having last visited Miami almost a decade ago, I was a little apprehensive about how the city has changed over the years.

    If anything, the city is now even better than it was when I visited it.

    But don’t just take my word for it – book a trip to the sunshine state and experience it for yourself. And while you’re there, don’t miss these spots in the city.

    Wynwood Arts District

    The Wynwood Arts District is one of the hippest places in Miami right now, largely thanks to the Wynwood Walls.

    Almost every surface in the area is covered by vibrant graffiti.

    It’s the perfect spot for keen photographers and Instagrammers, and fashion bloggers flock there to use the colourful artwork as a backdrop.

    As a living museum, everything is open air – but to get a sense of the place behind the art, you can book a walking tour too.

    Aside from the graffiti, the neighbourhood is also bustling with hip stores selling design-conscious wares.

    Take Le Labo for example, the fragrance store is styled after an apothecary, featuring stripped back walls and dark wood.

    You can sniff your way through a myriad of aromas before getting a personalised blend made up – just expect to pay a small fortune if you do.

    And if you have a hipster beard that needs to be kept in trim, there’s probably few places better than Junior & Hatter.

    Vintage barber’s chairs and antique tables deck out this quirky salon (it caters to the ladies too) – and there’s even a radio booth inside, which is home to Wynwood radio.

    Of course, no trendy district is complete without good coffee and even better treats.

    Panther Coffee does a great selection of brews, in just about every style under the sun. And if you want to escape the heat and sit inside, you’ll get to watch their coffee tasters at work trying out the next blend.

    You’ll probably want to arrive hungry for the pastries at Zak The Baker, and take home a loaf or two of their sourdough bread.

    And you definitely don’t want to miss the incredible selection of doughnuts at The Salty Donut.

    Downtown

    Downtown Miami is one spot that’s been completely rejuvenated since my last visit.

    In fact, with all the new builds in the area, it’s barely recognisable.

    Downtown Miami USA over Biscayne Bay
    (Picture: Getty)

    One of the newest areas is Brickell city centre, an upscale neighbourhood that’s practically been built from the ground up in the last few years.

    At the heart of it is East Miami, a hotel that’s become a hotspot in the city since it opened.

    Its swanky rooftop bar Sugar may have something to do with it, or the fact that its main restaurant, Quinto la Huella, is the first international outpost of award-winning restaurant Parador La Huella outside of Uruguay.

    Upscale shops and restaurants surround the hotel so if you’re thinking about splashing out, this is the spot.

    That said, if you stroll away from the more commercial streets of the area, you can still find small neighbourhood delis selling freshly made bagels.

    Toasted Baglery & Deli for one is a great spot for breakfast.

    Little Havana

    Welcome Mural Calle Ocho 8th Street Little Havana
    (Picture: Castaneda Luis/AGF/UIG via Getty Images)

    While the Latin vibe permeates the city, you’ll get the biggest dose of Cuban culture in Little Havana.

    The neighbourhood sprawls to the west of the Downtown area but the majority of visitors will head straight to Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street), where most of the sights are.

    The Ball & Chain is a stop everyone makes – for the mojitos and Cuban sandwiches, and the jazz and salsa.

    You’re not short of choices of course – there are plenty of small cafes and hole-in-the-walls where you can pick up Cuban fare.

    Florida, Miami, Little Havana, Maximo Gomez Park, Cuban Immigrants Playing Dominoes, And Wall Mural Depicting International Political Leaders.
    (Picture: Jeff Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images)

    And just across the road is Maximo Gomez Park, a noisy space where people are actually jostling for space to watch the domino games in play.

    South Beach

    No visit to Miami is complete without a trip to South Beach – and with sand that soft and white, it’s hardly surprising the beach is such a popular attraction.

    You probably won’t want to go for a swim, as the waves can be quite strong, but even an hour or two in the sun will leave you with a Miami glow that will last for weeks.

    Trust me – having lived in Florida when I was younger, the only time someone complimented me on my tan was after a weekend break in South Beach.

    It’s not just about the beach here though.

    south beach
    (Picture: Getty)

    On a hot summer’s day, walking along the promenade on Ocean Drive, under the shade of the palm trees, with a light sea breeze lifting your hair is about as lovely as it gets.

    There are plenty of restaurants and bars along that stretch of road as well, so you can always pop in to quench your thirst or grab a bite to eat.

    And then there are the colourful Art Deco buildings that line the streets, and the even more characterful cars that trundle down the busy roads.

    It feels like you’ve stepped back in time. And honestly, I wish I could step back in time and get back there now.

    How to get there:

    Several airlines operate direct flights from London to Miami so do shop around.

    British Airways offers returns from £444.

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