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Mar 19, 2013 05:08 AM

Help with 7 hours in Miami

I purposely booked a long layover on my way to Peru so I could spend some time in Miami. Arriving Sun. about 1PM and will be back at the airport at 9PM or so. I thought there was a proper Deco Museum (at 1001 Ocean Dr) but now I'm not sure, is it only a walk around the buildings? I can do that myself. But I do want to see those buildings and will need a nice lunch before I look around. Any place jump to mind for something tasty but not unhealthy in the $15-20 range? Then I'll need an easy to carry snack for the plane ride. The first thing that comes to mind is a Cubano but anything that's not messy.

May or may not care about a cocktail but read about the Broken Shaker which looked interesting. And a friend suggested Tobacco Road and Mac's Club Deuce. And got a rec for lunch at the Tap Tap Haitian Restaurant but I'm looking to go a bit more upscale I think.

Also wondering if it's easy to see another part of town without spending too much money on cabs. Is there a shuttle from the airport that doesn't take too long? Where would you go with limited time? Should I go to the Bass Museum? Little Havana of course comes to mind. I'm from Boston and walk a lot so that's not an issue but going from one interesting area to another is probably a lot further than it is here. Want to see some sights but not spend tons on cabs to do it. Thanks in advance.

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  1. With limited time and a desire to avoid too many taxi fares, I would focus on one area rather than run around, and if you're interested in Art Deco architecture, it may as well be South Beach. 1001 Ocean Drive is an Art Deco Welcome Center, I don't know if I'd quite call it a museum. There is, however, a very interesting museum at 1001 Washington Ave., the Wolfsonian, which focuses on early 20th century art & design. The Bass Museum is also fairly close at 21st St. & Collins Ave.

    Tap Tap is not remotely fancy but it's not a dive either. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find much more upscale for lunch on South Beach for $15-20 (but see comment on Milos below), and if you're looking for some "local flavor" it's a good choice.

    You could also go take-out from My Ceviche (tasty but not unhealthy) but that's even more downscale, basically grab & go and picnic at South Pointe Park. You could do the same from Joe's Stone Crab but will have trouble staying under $20 if you want stone crabs.

    Across the street, Milos has a very good 3-course lunch deal for $24 and is very much more upscale than any of those other alternatives - but there's not much "local" about it even though it's a seafood place (most of the product is flown in from the Mediterranean).

    Club Deuce, on the other hand, is indeed a dive bar. If that's what you're looking for. Broken Shaker is a great place with very good cocktails and a wonderful atmosphere, but I don't think it's really operating during daytime hours (I could be wrong).

    You can get a Cuban sandwich at the airport and save having to schlep it around with you - there are several Cafe Versailles outlets and La Carreta at Terminal E.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Frodnesor

      Frod's got great tips. His idea of take-out from My Ceviche, or even Joe's, and have an impromptu picnic at South Pointe Park, or even on the closeby beach itself, would be more memorable than lunch at a sit down place. That said if you're still looking for more sit down and local then Tap Tap would be something you probably couldn't find in Boston.

      As for logistics, there's a metro that takes you from the airport to downtown. From there I'm sure there's buses to get to the beach, or take a cab from downtown and it'll be cheaper than from the airport. While on the beach there's a city-run bike system (a la Paris' Velib) called Deco Bike that'll make getting around a bit quicker. As for museums I like the Wolfsonian more than the Bass.

      1. re: lax2mia

        Joanie, I used to spend a lot of time in Miami. You'd enjoy Tip Tap. I love the idea of a Joe's Stone Crab picnic on the beach. The restaurant will push your budget but you should be able to you might be able to come close. Stone crabs are a FL delicacy that are not available in Boston.

        Love the Wolfsonian.

        May single favorite activity i South Beachh is just walking and enjoying the art deco buildings. Stroll through some hotel lobbies and grab a coffee. Be sure to check out the pools. Nothing like it up here. Some of the hotels I really liked are the National, Delano, Shore Club, Raleigh...some amazing architecture. I 'm sure the locals could provide more recent info.

        I think most of the deco is from 8th St to Lincoln Rd. I've walked that stretch, up Ocean..people watching, The area from 1st(where Joes is up to 8th) I think has seen a lot of growth..I know there are a lot of hi rise condoes have been built.

        Little Havana is fun but I think I'd skip it due to time/cabfare restraints. A Cuban sandwich or coffee at Puerta Sagua on Collins and 7th should scratch your Cuban itch.

        Have fun! It's a great area to just walk and enjoy the colors and design of the buildings. You'll see colors that we don't have in Boston..:)

        1. re: 9lives

 Joe's Stone Crab, the restaurant will exceed your budget. The Takeout next door might work.

          1. re: 9lives

            Thanks everyone for your replies (nice to "see" you 9lives). A few things. You think 7 hrs isn't enough time to get lunch, walk around, see a museum AND see another part of town. I was only in Miami once before for an afternoon and saw South Beach and Coral Gables (or Coconut Grove, 1993 was a while ago). I don't want to make things hard on myself before a very busy vacation so it might be just as well to stick to SB but double checking.

            I think I want a proper lunch rather than sitting outside making a mess then finding a bathroom after. The 3 course lunch sounds nice but more time than I want to spend sitting down. I'll look more at the Tip Tap Room and other casual spots. I might go for a takeout snack toward the end of my time wandering around. Or an ice cream?

            I def. will check out one of the dive bars and since I don't need to be at the airport til 9-9:30, can try Broken Shaker after they open.

            Thanks lax2mia, I didn't know there was a metro in Miami. You say go downtown but which stop is that? Looking at this map


            and not sure what would be closest to South Beach. How long do you think it would take? It doesn't look too far.

            Sounds like the airport has enough options for plane food. Hope I can rally for all that time til 11:55 departure. Thx.

            1. re: Joanie

              I just returned from South Beach and we really enjoyed Puerto Sagua for Cuban food. The prices are very reasonable (rarely more than $10 for an entree) and its located at 700 Collins Ave. Definitely take the time to walk around because the Art Deco buildings are amazing. Very different from anything I've ever seen. I found South Beach to be very walkable and safe. Enjoy your visit!

              1. re: Joanie

                Government Center is the main stop downtown and it's where the most buses take off from. Or you can grab a cab from there.

                Just saw you said you'd been to South Beach before. A lot of high rises have popped up but the Deco architecture is the same so if you've seen it I'd recommend going to another area like Wynwood/Midtown/Design District. Wynwood in particular is a walker's paradise. It has one of the highest concentrations of art galleries in the city, but along with the indoor art galleries, almost every building has allowed street artists to paint their facades. It's still a gentrifying neighborhood but it's incredibly unique and interesting. You'll find tons of places to eat there as well: Jimmyz (specializing in Puerto Rican mofongo) or Clives (for Jamaican, but is closing soon). Nearby are the Midtown and Design District neighborhoods which open up even more opportunities for walking and dining. While Midtown is a recent development and the architecture is meh you'll find some worthy places to eat (Sugarcane and Sakaya Kitchen are probably the first choices). Moving further north you get into the Design District with buildings from the 1930's and even better dining (Michael's, Oak Tavern, MC Kitchen). It also looks like you don't need to be at the airport till later so you could make it to a happy hour at any of the DD or Midtown spots. These areas will change your perception of Miami just being about beach and pastel-colored buildings. Plus as this area is on the Miami side of the bay it'll save a lot on cab fare.

                1. re: lax2mia

                  My time in South Beach (20 years) ago was so minimal, it barely counts. But a quick question, when I use the metro planner, it tells me to take the light rail (not sure if I'm using the right terms) 3 stops then a bus right to south beach. If I took it to Govt Ctr, would that be walking distance to Little Havana? Is there anything interesting by the Govt Ctr stop to look at before grabbing a cab? Is there a stop by Little Havana? Maybe I could stop there on the way to or from south beach. Looking at this map of neighborhoods and it doesn't seem far but not sure of scale:


                  Def. leaning toward spending most of the time feeling ugly next to all the beautiful people except when I'm at Club Deuce.

                  1. re: Joanie

                    There's no light rail in Miami. You'll take either two or three modes of transportation. The Metrorail to get from the airport to downtown and the bus to get to the beach (or a cab). In between you may need to take the Metromover to from a Metrorail station to a bus station. Here's the link to the transit site which has info for all three.


                    There is nothing interesting at Government Center and it's too far from Little Havana to walk to.

                    1. re: Joanie

                      If you don't want to change from Metrorail to bus for South Beach downtown, take the Airport Flyer express bus all the way to Miami Beach.

                    2. re: lax2mia

                      Calling Wynwood a "walker's paradise" is a stretch. I love Wynwood, am there all the time on the bike or on foot, and you can walk there, but it is simply an area which is gentrifying. Lots of art and graffiti are there, and increasingly, as LAX suggests, there are places to eat. Yet there are still areas there where broken glass outnumbers people, and if you go the wrong way, it could be uncomfortable.

              2. re: Frodnesor

                Club Deuce is directly across the street from La Sandwicherie which has become quite local over the years. You can walk Espanola Way, Washington, Lincoln Rd. visit a few cool lobbies and pool gardens on Collins and take the express bus back to the airport. Even Gilbert's is now at the airport in Terminal J.