I hope you enjoyed reading about South Beach in my previous blog post, Miami Part I. South Beach offers visitors great beaches, restaurants, shops, and nightlife; but if you want less crowded beaches or family friendly options, visit the local cities surrounding Miami. With so many great places to visit in the Miami area, like Aventura, Bal Harbour, Hallandale Beach, and Hollywood area, these cities offer visitors an alternative to South Beach.
Bal Harbour Shops are located north of South Beach in Bal Harbour. The Bal Harbour shops opened in 1965 as Florida’s first high end shopping center. With over 450,000 square feet of luxurious fashion, this collection of shops are a fashionista’s dream! From Alexander McQueen, Bulgari, Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Stella McCartney and many more high fashion designers, the latest fashion collections can be found here. Whether purchasing a special designer item or just window shopping, Bal Harbour is THE destination for luxury shopping! After shopping, dine at Carpaccio’s Italian Restaurant. Come to dine on great food with impeccable service, but stay for the views! Sit outside on Carpaccio’s patio to view the fashionable guests of Bal Harbour and their amazing collection of luxury cars.
Gulfstream Racing and Casino Park offers visitors live horse racing, live telecast horse racing, and a casino. If horse racing and gambling do not interest you, visit The Village at Gulfstream Park. This outdoor mall and entertainment center offers visitors national chain stores, local boutiques, international stores, art collections, and several dining and bar choices! This beautiful outdoor complex has something for everyone!!
Hollywood Beach area is a great alternative to South Beach. Located north of South Beach, this family friendly area provides visitors with a great beachfront boardwalk, local motels, name brand hotels, local bars, restaurants, and amazing beach and ocean views. Bring your own beach gear, or rent a chair and umbrella for the day and enjoy the ocean breeze and the sand. Take a break from sunbathing or ocean swimming and walk down the boardwalk to grab a drink, food, or shop for beach trinkets in the local shops. I enjoyed a frozen drink at the small tiki bar at the Riptide Oceanfront Hotel. With beach views, yummy drinks, and live music, this eclectic bar had a mixed crowd. Walk down the boardwalk and visit Nick’s Bar and Restaurant. Nick’s gives visitors ocean views, good food, cool drinks, and great people watching. Since this bar is in the heart of the Hollywood Beachfront Boardwalk, an assorted crowd passes by!
For a great burger and intra-coastal water views, visit Le Tub. This gas station turned restaurant is a casual dining experience. The hamburger joint has been voted best burger in America by GQ Magazine and appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show. Enjoy huge handmade burger patties with great views of the water. With limited seating, this small restaurant can become very crowded. Some nights, you may have to wait for over an hour or two to get your burger! So munch on chips and salsa or other appetizers, enjoy a drink and the view!
Another favorite of mine is Taverna Opa. This fun Greek restaurant gives visitors a chance to eat authentic Greek food, drink, and be entertained. With belly dancers on the tables, Greek dancing by the staff, and vibrant music, Taverna Opa provides good food in a Greek Island atmosphere. After dinner, your table becomes your own personal dance floor! This is not a quiet dining experience, so be prepared to eat, drink, and dance at Taverna Opa!
If you visit Miami, I hope you check out some of my favorite places! Thanks for reading!