Miami Beach in August? It may not be your first thought for a late summer getaway, but despite the heat, the MIA has a lot to offer in these dog days. Here are three great things to do in Miami Beach.
Grab some Cuban food. While Chicago is lucky to have some great Cuban restaurants, I would argue that it still doesn't compare to what you can get in Miami. On our trip there last weekend we had lunch at Las Olas Cafe in South Beach (644 6th St.) where for maybe $20 we had some delicious roasted chicken, pork, plantains, tamales, and rice and beans. No menu needed, just go up to the counter, look at the food, and point to what you want. Las Olas is a great alternative to the over-priced drunk tourist-filled eateries on the surrounding streets. And it's hard to go wrong with the point and eat method.
Hit up a hotel bar. In Miami Beach, hotels are king and a great way to experience something different from where you're staying. We loved the outdoor bar at The Raleigh right off of the main drag of Collins Avenue. Interesting cocktails (gin and mezcal? totally works in the Oaxacan) carefully prepared in stunning art deco surroundings with just enough overhead coverage for that late-afternoon thunderstorm. A steel cup cocktail is surely the best way to stay cool right?
Check out the Standard Spa. Just look at that view from the infinity pool, and I don't think it's hard to see why I love this place. They run some good specials in the summer if you want to stay overnight or you can get a day pass to enjoy not only the pool, but sauna, steam room, Turkish hamam, gym, and garden area (think hammocks and palm trees). The Standard has a relaxed, 'do as you feel' atmosphere a bit removed from the craziness of South Beach, but still within walking or biking distance.
A word of caution- Miami Beach is not a haven for the budget traveler, but a great long weekend stop if you're looking for some posh pampering and indulgence. Aren't we all sometimes?
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