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Yep, that’s right: I didn’t go see the hottest spot in Miami. I stayed just south of Miami, right next to the University of Miami’s campus with a friend in graduate school there and didn’t even venture to one of the most talked about spots in all of Florida. I guess this little blip shows that every city has two sides …at least.
You may be familiar with associating yourself with a city that you may live near or outside of; I admit to doing this as my address reads Richmond, Virginia yet I live 20-25 minutes outside of downtown Richmond. Miami is a big city that has countless numbers of suburbs and districts that still fall under the category of “Miami” so even though I visited Miami, I was still a ways from a lot of Miami. The University of Miami is just south of Miami and the city traffic makes travel at least twice as long as expected so you can see why I was a little let down when my friend said his house was about 40 minutes away from South Beach and didn’t feel like making the drive.
I definitely wasn’t let down with my other options. Sunlife stadium was our first stop on Thursday night about 30 minutes after getting into Miami. It was an unbelievable experience having the loud, rowdy University of Miami football fans leave the game early while our friends playing for the University of Virginia upset the Hurricanes at home. I sat with my friend’s family and they couldn’t have been happier with their son and the team’s performance that night and we all left the stadium satisfied and ready to explore Miami.
85 degrees without a cloud in the sky is what I woke up to around noon the next morning- in late October! We quickly grabbed our stuff and went to the beach, which is where I was pleasantly surprised. We went to Key Biscayne and only saw about 10 people the entire day. And to top it off I would compare this beach with any beaches in the Caribbean with its palm trees, white sand, and perfect weather. The only large group we saw on the beach was a wedding that took place just before sundown. Our (basically) private beach sat on the edge of a park so it is great to bring kids and significant others alike: there are picnic tables, a small playground, and plenty of beach to go around. I have to admit, I was disappointed that we didn’t go to South Beach because I really wanted to see what the hype was about, but this was a great alternative.
That night we went to the Yard House brewery located in a very luxurious outdoor mall. The Yard House had a huge variety of beer and an arguably better food menu. We sat outside, of course, in the mid 70’s where there are lounge areas for socializing and tables for dining. After dinner (I had an amazing barbeque chicken pizza) we traded beautiful weather for AC and game 7 of the World Series as we sat at the bar inside. The interior was really cool, especially because I am used to bars with good beers being synonymous with fairly lame interiors: an oval shaped bar that had TVs all the way around just about the beer taps pretty much put me in heaven. The crowd here was mixed between upscale diners (very nice part of town) and University of Miami students drinking and watching the game. So night two was a success.
My last day fell on college football Saturday so we went to Coconut Grove to watch the games. This too is a nice area, but it is right outside of some sketchy parts of town so just be a little mindful when straying too far from these bars. This area provides a great mix of upscale shops, restaurants, and hotels for an older more economically sound crowd with cheaper priced bars where you can find a lot of UM students. We went to Sandbar which has a ton of tvs, good specials, and a great crowd; it is a bar/restaurant during the day and it turns into more of a club style with a DJ and some tables removed.
So I’d have to say I was let down that I did not see the clubs nor South Beach, but I can say that experiencing a different side of Miami will not leave you wanting much more. We did spend a little more money that I had planned because of the quality of the places where we ate and drank, but it still only ended at a moderate expense and a great time.