A Conversation for Miami, Florida, USA

Florida suggestions

Post 1

bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran

Hullo, hullo,
I have a brother-in-law who lived in Miami for 15 years, and am waiting for a list of 'hot spots' from him. Was there myself two years ago, but cant seem to remember the names of any of the places I went...

I DO know a lot about the Daytona Beach area. If you get up there I can recommend some yummy restaurants. 'Cept it is a pretty long drive from Miami to Daytona.

It is about as far to DisneyWorld. But, if you have never had the Dizzyland experience, it certainly is something that should be included in the life of a Guide Editor. Then there's SeaWorld, and Epcot, and Universal Studios, etc., etc. All that 'tourist' stuff.

Will get back with names of Miami places if possible. Hopefully he will come up with some good restaurants and pubs. smiley - smiley


Florida suggestions

Post 2

what you know as km

Yeah... the theme parks are awesome, really. I mean it's hard to keep that in perspective, being relatively close to them and therefore deeply resentful that they should even exist... but every couple of years we all break down and go to one, and it always rocks.

...except Sea World.

But all the rest of them. You're right. Orlando's cool. If anyone decides to extend the trip and drive to Orlando for a few days, please phone me first (or turn around and say "hey kristina," whichever you deem more appropriate/effective), so you can drive by my house on the way—that week is spring break anyway. smiley - winkeye

Florida suggestions

Post 3


Thanks BluDragon smiley - smiley

here they are...the restaurants & cool places!!!

Post 4

bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran

This is a quote from my sister in law who is a Miami/Ft.Lauderdale native:
Joe's Stone Crab on South Beach is excellent but they don't take reservations and the place is usually packed on weekend nights (2 hour wait). So either go during the week or for lunch on the weekend. They are a little pricy but it's worth it.

There is a lot going on in South Beach. Tons of restaurants (very good ones too), tons of bars (for all types...) and tons of fun people watching. South Beach is "the" place now - I highly recommend them going to South Beach. It has gotten very artsy fartsy and the beach is beautiful, especially with the topless girls they allow now because of all the European tourists Miami gets.

Bayside is a fun, touristy place to go. It's right on the bay in Downtown Miami and have more of the same as listed above. You can also take boat rides from here which is neat to see "Star Island", "Fisher Island" (to see how the other half lives) and the beautiful skyline by water. You can also take a water taxi from Bayside to Miami Beach (South Beach) or to Coconut Grove and I think some other places too. Coconut Grove is a cool spot too with more of the same.

If they are feeling adventurous, they should go for Cuban food. La Carreta is a good one (Bob's favorite) and they have a few locations but I don't think I have ever had bad Cuban food anywhere in Miami.

So there it is! A native's opinion on Where To Go In Miami!

If you have any other questions, I am sure she would be happy to try and answer them. Have fun. smiley - smiley I am very jealous! It's a 25 hour drive for me to Miami. smiley - sadface

here they are...the restaurants & cool places!!!

Post 5

what you know as km

Hooray, I dare anybody to outdo that one. smiley - smiley

more on Miami/Ft.Lauderdale: water taxis

Post 6

bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran

My senior moment has passed, and some of my memories of my trip to Miami/Ft Lauderdale are returning...
smiley - winkeye
Ft Lauderdale has a canal system and water taxis. You can take tours through the system and see the Port of Ft. Lauderdale which is one of the busiest in the world [I didnt know that before I went]. You can also see some of the homes of the really, really rich. Our tour guide had lots of gossip about who was currently doing what to whom...

My sister-in-law mentioned water taxis in Miami and that reminded me of our boat tour. I dunno but I would guess that there are also similar tours on Miami canals, but I didnt go on 'em.

Ft Lauderdale is sorta a 'suburb' of Miami: it is just north of Miami, in Broward County, about 30 min drive up US 1.

BTW, you can drive up A1A along the beach from Miami and go through all the really 'posh' suburbs and oceanfront communtities of southern Florida. At least I did this a real long time ago when I was a young dragon.

Look out for the Spring Breakers. All the high school and college kids get their spring break starting now through the first part of April. And lots and lots of 'em still head for the Florida beaches from Ft.Lauderdale to Daytona Beach: 'Where The Boys Are'...


Florida suggestions

Post 7


take a suggestion from a european who looks at florida from an outsiders point of view. nicest spot i've ever seen in florida and on earth in general is a little spot called indialantic. it's close to melbourne beach, right on the a1a. most beautiful beach i've ever walked on and the best of it, there's nobody there!
not to forget the weather, but you all know about that.
so if somebody wants to stick around the nicest place on earth, just enjoying sun, sand and water without being disturbed by any other human being, still having civilization only one hr drive away, ask me about it, i know a very nice and inexpensive place to stay.
of course, you do need a very large and enduring towel for this place.

more on Miami/Ft.Lauderdale: water taxis

Post 8

what you know as km

As a resident (in perhaps a distant sense) and one who lives near a canal of sorts which belongs to the same breed of water district (they're all the same here) I find it very curious that anyone would pay money to ride down one!

more on Miami/Ft.Lauderdale: water taxis

Post 9

bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran

hullo Kristina Marie
smiley - smiley
I dunno 'xactly which canals you live near, but I was a 'tourist' when I went to Ft. Lauderdale for a wedding a couple of years ago. We were downtown at the Doubletree, and the watertaxi was across the street. My sister-in-law [the bride] even considered riding in a water taxi from the church back to the reception at the hotel. The church was at a park on the canal, and it was very romantic, by the water, with cypress trees and spanish moss, and parrots flying about. She decided not to do it, simply because of the time it would have taken, but it would have been a lovely way to ride from the church to the reception.

Because of this, and at her suggestion, I took the commercial canal 'tourboat'. I saw a side of Ft Lauderdale I would not have seen otherwise, and it was quite interesting, especially the port area. It was only limited to the 'fancy' area and the port, so maybe I wouldnt have found it so attractive if we had gone to the less glamourous parts, but it WAS interesting.

I spose if you live somewhere it doesnt seem as interesting as it does to the visitor, 'cause you see it every day, and it is something new to the visitor. smiley - smiley

Do you know anything about the St John's river up by Jacksonville? I have been considering taking a houseboat vacation there. DeLand has two Marinas that rent houseboats, and what I have seen of the river is quite nice.


more on Miami/Ft.Lauderdale: water taxis

Post 10

what you know as km

Nah, that's way up in the armpit... I'm only down in West Palm... still, it sounds like you're talking about the bigger, more civilised canals, which (though still in my jaded opinion a bit repulsive) are reasonably more tolerable. smiley - winkeye

Still, in a wedding dress? I dunno... LOL!

Florida suggestions

Post 11

Æther SPOON!

Funny, it only takes me one hour to get there smiley - smiley I don't really like Miami though- I don't speak much Spanish

more on Miami/Ft.Lauderdale: water taxis

Post 12

Æther SPOON!

I'm in WPB too, where in WPB are you?

Two bits about South Beach

Post 13


I've watched South Beach "blossom" so to speak since 1986 or so, and since it seems to be the most popular tourist destination in Miami, perhaps writing a bit about it here will interest a few people.

In the early to mid 1980s, South Beach was a "gay" beach located very near a wide variety of crack houses and similar residences. Parking was cheap and easy to find, and there was lots of beach to go around. But, my recollection of the choice of restaurants was, well, slim at best, and people watching was not quite what it is today, either.

As with many places in the city, the Miami Vice production crews came through and repainted the run-down 50+ year old Deco era buildings. While the show was still in production, nothing really changed except the colour of the buildings. But, it marked a turning point at which "SoBe" started to revitalize. The epi-center of this change was somewhere near the Clevelander Hotel on 10th street and Ocean Drive, if you're anywhere near it, it's hard to miss with the pink neon behind glass brick bar just off the Ocean Drive sidewalk. Also, the News Cafe' was an early success which has endured through today. By 1991, there was a reliable supply of trendy restaurants popping into and out of existance on Ocean Drive, always something new and usually interesting. Now, in 2000, I hardly go near Ocean Drive anymore, since I prefer swimming in the sea, rather than crowds of people.

Over on the beach, from approximately 15th Street south to Government Cut, since the 1980s the local police have had standing policy of not enforcing the local nudity laws - at least not for women who wish to remove their tops. In 1987 this translated to a few local high school girls taunting the retirees who would insist "missy, if you don't put your top back on, you're going to get a ticket!" Well, the cops never bothered the high school girls, and not to be callous, but those retirees are mostly dead by now. European women also started taking advantage of the situation while on holiday, and South Beach's local lesbians, and by the early 1990s for some reason, the beach was starting to get quite crowded. Now you get MTV throwing parties, kite festivals, and all other manner of excuses for jamming the sand with wall to wall people. It is still quite nice and deserted in the mornings, around sunrise, and there's a decent stretch of sand that the lifeguards and police drive on which makes a nice place to ride a bike, or if you don't like to get too much sand in your chain, there's also a wide sidewalk for roller-bladers and the like.

The first avenue westward of Ocean Drive is Collins Avenue. Collins is another name on A1A, which runs all up the east coast of Florida, with a few breaks for major inlets and ports. There's quite a few shoppes and some restaurants on Collins, but I wouldn't characterize it as a "walking" street.

The next is Washington Avenue - which I would characterize as being about 3 steps funkier than Ocean Drive. The beautiful people and "see and be seen" crowd all flock to Ocean, while the "you'll never forget me because I'm so unique" crowd tends toward Washington. There are many good restaurants on Washington, though they tend to be trendy. My favorite used to be LuLus, with their Elvis shrine room upstairs, fried peanut butter and bannana sandwich (along with more conventional fare), and changeable crowd, from business types at lunch, to one particular night when I saw a drag queen who was a dead ringer for Alan Hale (Skipper of Gilligan's Island) wearing tight jeans and a yellow blouse. Not everything on Washington is quite this spicy, but that is the general flavor. One of the few American youth hostels is located on Washington Avenue and Espanola Way (14 1/2th Street.) Washington Avenue runs north past the Convention Center and crosses Lincoln Road Mall at the east end of its pedestrian zone.

Lincoln Road Mall was a ritzy, glitzy shopping mall, in the 1960s. By the 1970s, its open air character was decidedly out of style, and most shoppes went vacant before 1980. In the early 1980s, about all you could get there on a summer's afternoon was sunstroke. Then in the late 1980s, a few restaurants and an ice-cream shoppe made a stab at it, what with the nearly free rent and all. Starving artists set up studios on the mall, and people actually came back, slowly. The momentum continued, the owners of News Cafe' opened Van Dyke Cafe' on Lincoln. Starving artists were slowly dislocated by the likes of Romero Britto - whose distinctive cartoon figures are scattered all over the city. Dozens of good restaurants line the sidewalks, the city has replanted the foilage, improving the ambiance and dropping the temperature significantly. A couple of recommendations are Balans, nearly on the west end of the pedestrian mall - which is a remarkably reasonably priced cafe' apparently run by an ex-Brit, the menu ranges from bangers and mash to green curried snapper. A few notches up the price scale takes you across the way to Pacific Time, absolutely delightful food, but somewhat noisy inside. There's a wave of better known stores invading the west end of the mall now, Williams and Sonoma, Bannana Republic, and the Gap can't be far behind.... One thing that Lincoln Road has over Ocean Drive is accessibility, much better parking and much less traffic jam to get there if you're coming from the city.

To access Lincoln Road Mall from the city, I would recommend taking Alton Road south from I-195, then turning left at the (very Deco) Burger King, and diving into any one of the parking lots along the north side of the mall. Alton Road itself is developing into quite a nice place to shop and eat, but I wouldn't miss Ocean/Washington/Lincoln for it, yet.

One of the perinneal questions I field about South Beach is "where is it, exactly?" Well, go to the Miami Beach, head south, and there you are. More specifically, Miami Beach runs from something like 200th street at the Dade / Broward line, down to 1st street at Government Cut, where the cruise ships sail from. Anything north of 24th street, I could not in good conscience call "South Beach," but if your travel agent books you into a hotel up to 90th street or so, don't despair, you're still in easy taxi-cab commute distance. As far as "South Beach proper", that would have to be Ocean Drive, from 15th to 5th, as well as Collins from 5th to about 24th, Washington Ave from Joe's Stone Crab near 1st street up to Lincoln Road (about 16th), and Lincoln Road from Washington to Alton.

One final note - Lincoln road does continue all the way to the beach, but you cannot walk to the beach on it because of two large hotels which have it blocked. If you're ever trapped by this, like I was, make sure to drop in and make a rude remark to the desk clerk, they deserve it. To actually get to the beach, go back to Collins, then south to 15th Street, then back east to the actual sand and surf.

Two more bits about South Beach

Post 14

JininTonix (Confusion is best taken with a wedge of Lime!)

I have to agree with "most" of what is said here and 'the two bits' is right on target.

Miami has groan out of control and to enjoy it means either
1)getting plastered to the point that the desity of poeple/m2 doesn't matter.
2)you try and avoid the mass of poeple which is getting more nad more difficult by the minute.

First avoid anyplace where peolple tell you to go if it involve heading West (unless you are going to the West Coast or the Everglades), South (past South Beach or 1st street or I-395) except for a small part of Coconut Grove and Key Biscayne that I have to say is beautiful but very congested, North past Arther Godfrey (I-195) 42nd st (expext to go to somebodies house-party who live either on the ocean or on Pine Tree or La Gorce, East is OK because the water is there to make everything OK. Now as far as Coconut Grove goes - Senor Frogs and a Small Place next to the Citty Hall called Scotty's Landing (not to be confused w/ Scotty's grocwery store) are good places. If you go to Scotty's Landing (this is a real Miami plkace that still survives thank god) get a dozen of something probably Oysters and anything els ewhile you look out over the Bay and don't blow a wad of Money... Ask for a pitcher of beer and tell them to give you the h2g2 special. Now Senor (spanish ennay) Frogs is a Mexican place that has been here since I started drinking and has some of the bast Margarita's around (top shelf only please!) If you go there ask for Louis (tell him your a friend of a friend of Glenn's and say hello). More Later...

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