We spent 48 hours in Miami at the beginning of January and, as anyone who knows me can tell you, that’s the perfect time for me to head to the Sunshine State. Not because I want to escape the cold and wind up north, but because I cannot handle temperatures above 80 degrees. An overcast, mild January weekend in South Beach, where I never even broke a sweat and had to wear layers on the beach, is exactly what I want.
Travel Guide: 48 Hours in Miami
We went to Miami with Adam’s parents and his dad made two fabulous dinner reservations and a great brunch reservation. Honestly, those were reason enough to travel south, but let’s get into the details.
As a heads up, we were traveling during the height of the Omicron outbreak, so we chose to dine exclusively outside.
How to Get to Miami from DC and Get Around
There are so many direct flight options, but we took the Southwest flight out of BWI. We have Companion Pass, so this one just makes sense.
We didn’t have a car, which was fine, but, in retrospect, both Adam and I wished we’d rented a car. It would have been nice to be able to travel over to Wynwood and the Design District and explore on our own terms.
Where to Stay in Miami
On previous trips to Miami, I’ve stayed in Coconut Grove, but this trip took us to South Beach. Adam’s parents had Marriott points and we stayed at the Pulse Vacation Club. Definitely a different vibe, but I’d stay there again for sure.
When to Go for a Winter Weekend in Miami
January was perfect! I was in Miami in January right before the pandemic started and it was a bit warmer, but we lucked out with the weather this time. I hate heat, so overcast and 70s was amazing.
One and Only Stop: Late Dinner at the Hotel Restaurant
Here’s a fact about me and my husband. He always wants to take an extra day or two for weekend trips, while I firmly believe in timing getaways so that I don’t miss work or life obligations. It’s the most efficient and stress-free way to travel. On this trip, I won out. We left for the airport shortly after 4 PM on Friday (I worked en route and from the airport/plane) and we landed shortly after 9 PM following a slight delay. Plenty of time to hop in an uber to South Beach, drop our bags in the room, and head downstairs for a late dinner al fresco at the Havana 1957 located at the hotel.
Havana 1957 has multiple locations around Miami and it’s a solid choice for an array of Cuban food. We decided to dip our toes into the diversity of the Cuban Combo, with ham croquetas, bite size fried pork, plantain chips, and crispy yucca. I foolishly ignored my waiter’s suggestion to bypass the Pan Con Bistec (look, I wanted steak!), for a Cubano, but I’ll know for next time. I swore I’d drink my weight in Cuban Coffee while in Miami, so, of course, I had to order one après dinner. I slept terribly that night but we’ll never know whether it was the strong coffee or the pounding Miami party beckoning outside our window.
Stop One: Get Up Early and Go For a Beach Walk
A forecast of two days straight of rain was threatening us prior to our trip, but we were fortunate that intermittent showers and cool clouds accompanied us for most of the days. We woke up early Saturday morning and went out for walk along the beach — it’s the perfect time to grab photos of the technicolor beach chairs, umbrellas, and lifeguard stands (but, of course, I didn’t bring my camera).
Stop Two: Start the Morning with a Cuban Coffee
Spoiler: I actually didn’t have time to fit this in, but, in my dream itinerary, I would have. There’s a Panther Coffee near South Beach and, I swear, once you try their coffee, you’ll never, ever go back. It’s the one place I visit on every Miami trip and I’m tempted to stock up on beans online as we speak.
Stop Three: Explore Wynwood Walls
While it can veer into made-for-Instagram territory, Wynwood is a legitimately cool neighborhood with shopping, eating, and more murals to ogle than I imagine you’ll find anywhere else in the country. We spent an afternoon popping in and out of ~incredibly expensive~ boutiques, I picked up an artisan ice cream pop at Cielito Aristan Pops, and we killed an hour or so hanging out at Veza Sur Brewing before heading back over to South Beach — mainly because I was on a mission to locate guava pastries and all possible outlets in Wynwood had closed for the day.
Stop Four: Pick Up Pastries at Charlotte Bakery
I have so many good food recommendations from this trip, but if there’s one that takes the cake, it’s Charlotte Bakery. I walked over here solo, promising to bring back a haul of goodies, and I think I blacked out upon seeing the pastry case. Whatever they had, I got it. Empanadas, tequenos, guava pastries, something dipped in chocolate. It was a, “I’ll take one of everything!” moment. But have I ever been more in my element than strolling down the streets of South Beach carrying two large bags of Cuban pastries? Absolutely not.
Editor’s Note: we ate them all in one sitting.
Stop Five: Dinner at Byblos
A fabulous thing about South Beach: there are so many restaurants in quick walking distance. This is why we didn’t need a car, it just would have been a nice-to-have to go beyond our immediate vicinity. But, two blocks from our hotel was a fantastic Mediterranean restaurant, Byblos. Its garden patio has a sexy, sultry ambiance that felt as close to a club as I’m ever going to get in Miami. Thunderstorms tempted us all evening, but we stuck it out, and tasted our way through the menu in the cool evening breeze. You must get the Duck Kibbeh, Turkish Manti Dumplings, and Hummus Royale. Skip the Middle Eastern Fried Chicken. Get the Loukoumades for dessert.
Stop One: Brunch at Abbale
While I learned hard into Cuban pastries in my snacks, we immersed ourselves in Mediterranean in our meals. We had brunch at Abbale Telavian Kitchen, which has the most incredible ambiance. We didn’t eat inside, but I had to snap this photo of the dining room when I walked in to use the restroom. How gorgeous is this space? It’s as if they’ve transported a garden inside.
We could have ordered everything on this menu, but we used restraint, and, yet, we still walked away perhaps a bit too full. We got the Labneh, Matbucha, Charred Baby Carrots, and Tahini Hummus to share for the table, with a smattering of Laffa and Jerusalem bagels. I ordered the Ceviche, a fresh dish I’d absolutely recommend as a foil to all the spice, and I had more than a few bites of Adam’s savory Egg and Feta Bureka pastry.
Stop Two: Take a Long Stroll
After brunch, we took the long walk back to our hotel and then down the boardwalk, and I finally brought out my camera for 90% of the photos you’ll see in this post. Adam and I split off for an hour or so spent sitting on the beach and the wannabe spiked seltzer influencer next to us provided ample entertainment.
Stop Three: An Afternoon Snack at Cortadito Coffee House
Wanting to squeeze in one more coffee and pastry break before we headed home, I dragged Adam along to Cortadito Coffee House, where I tried the incredible Cafe Bon Bon (what I’ve now made every morning, two weeks in a row) and yet another guava pastry. No regrets.
We didn’t take the time to shop, but we stumbled upon the Lincoln Road Antiques and Collectibles Market, where I quickly realized my style may be South Beach Bubbe Chic. I swear, if I’d been in driving distance, we’d have gone home with perhaps an entire living room of treasures.
Stop Four: Early Dinner at Yuca 105
With a 7:30 PM flight, we had time for one last dinner in South Beach before departing. The Cuban-Peruvian Yuca 105 was the perfect spot to fit in some last minute people watching and delicious cuisine. There were so many items I wanted to order, but when it came to apps, the Ceviche Tradicionale was excellent, as were the Bocado de Reyes. The true standout, though, was the sushi. I believe it was the Inka Maki that we got and it was life changing. You won’t regret ending with the dulce de leche.
Stop Five: Adíos Miami!
With that, we headed to the airport and back to the snow in DC. 48 hours. 7ish meals. One wonderful weekend trip. And back to our Evening One, Stop One, all you need is a Friday night to Sunday night, right?
Recommendations by Category | 48 Hours in Miami
Where to Eat and Drink in Miami
Where to Get Pastries and Cuban Coffee
Where to Visit in Miami