Envisioning Miami quickly bring about swirls of palm trees, bikinis and neon art décor design. But beyond South Beach there’s a whole city of possibilities of culture and incredible experiences not known by the everyday family traveler. With just a quick hop on the highway, Miami can bring you to places of outdoor art installations, sizzling Latin dance and wallet-friendly food that might often be overlooked that you and the kids will love.
Don’t bother with the overpriced glitz and glam of Miami Beach – take a quick drive through then head straight for the outskirts of this lively, sunny city. The little ones will thank you with so much more to see and do besides getting a sunburn on the beach!
Wynwood: Home of Artists and Creatives
This up and coming neighborhood can be great with any age children. Do know that the area is popular for street art and some themes may be mature. But with a little discussion ahead of time, it can be a wonderfully fresh way for your family to experience art together. Simply stroll the streets and hunt for the most colorful murals splashed on the walls of business and homes alike. The Wynwood Walls is a contained outside art gallery that’s opened to the public too, with commissioned works on walls and a small indoor gallery. The neighborhood is north of downtown, so the best bet is to stay somewhere in between, such as the DoubleTree in Biscayne Bay.
If you’ve got a sitter for the night, grab some cocktails at It Espresso Lounge or see a live show at The Stage. By It Espresso Lounge, there is a fun Spanish chain restaurant you can bring the kids to called 100 Montaditos, serving mini sandwiches and sangria on tap.
Brickell Avenue: Where the stars play
Mimicking some of the glamour of South Beach, this is one of the most popular and beautiful places to live. Situated in the heart of downtown Miami, it’s a chic strip covered in posh restaurants, salons and commercial real estate. Bring the kids for the one fancy dinner of the week to Stanzione 87 – the Nutella calzone is a show stopper paired with a brick oven pizza. Choosing a hotel downtown is a snap, as there’s so many to pick from. Try the JW Marriott Hotel or the wallet-friendly Hotel Urbano; both are located right on Brickell.
Key Biscayne: Relaxed and Breezy Beaches
Losing a child on the sand in South Beach is way too easy among the chaos. Bring them instead to KeyBiscayne, which is often overlooked by visitors. There is less manicured beaches and rentable umbrellas, but the waves are less severe and the families are everywhere. At the end of the road, take a walk to the Cape Florida Lighthouse for some pretty views of endless ocean.
You can also rent cheap catamarans by the bridge to be rewarded with incredible views of the city skyline from the water. This strip of beaches is easily reached from the downtown area.
Little Haiti: Like Little Havana, But Cooler
Many people have heard of Little Havana nestled in the center of Miami, but this neighborhood of charm and fantastic culture is just as thrilling. First, book a room at nearby Air BnB south of the neighborhood then venture in for a look around. If you and the little ones love music, this is the spot to jam. Stop into the new Haiti Cultural Center, boasting a theater, ceramic art gallery and courtyard. On certain days kids and adults can take Afro-Caribbean art and dance classes.
When it’s time for some grub, check out one of the authentic Haitian cafes, such as Chez Le Bebe. Get a feel for how the neighborhood has maintained for more than 30 years at this local staple, serving up delicious dishes of fried pork, rice and beans. Kids love the hearty meals and orange sauce they can slather on their food.
Go Beyond the Beach
Keep the crew happy and moving with strolls through some of Miami’s fantastic neighborhoods off the grid. While the monorail downtown is easy and Ocean Drive is a straight shot through South Beach, there’s a spirit thriving outside these iconic areas that should not be missed. It can be a great opportunity to show the kids that there’s more to a destination that meets the eye.
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