4 Tips for Visiting Miami on a Budget

by  Karen Gardiner | Feb 19, 2014
Miami Beach
Miami Beach / Sean Pavone/iStock

With a reputation for glamor and parties, it's not surprising that a trip to Miami can be hard on your wallet; those cocktails and cover charges add up. However, with just a few adjustments, you can save yourself a few dollars without missing out on the fun. Here's how.

Know (and Avoid) Peak Travel Times
Miami is busiest from January to April when the rest of the country is suffering through winter. In other seasons, the beaches are just as inviting (and less crowded), and prices are usually lower. For example, one of Miami's chicest properties, the Epic Hotel is offering rates starting at $440 per night in February but come July, the rate goes down to $230. Similarly, starting rates at the Delano South Beach go from $526 in February to $348 in July.

It also goes without saying that, unless you have your heart set on attending, you'd best avoid Miami during high-profile events, such as Art Basel (December 4 - 7) or the Winter Music Conference (March 21 - 30), when affordable hotel rooms are rare.

Don't Rule Out Hostels
Gone are the days when settling for a hostel meant sharing your depressingly nondescript space (and bathroom) with a handful of strangers. At the Freehand, you'll find brightly decorated interiors, local artwork, and 15 private rooms (with their own private bathrooms). Rates for a room with a king bed start at $190 in April and include complimentary WiFi and breakfast.

Take Advantage of Dinner Deals
Located in the arts district, the bistro and wine bar Bin 18 offers a $35 pre-theater dinner that includes a glass of wine and choice of appetizer, main course, and dessert. Also in the arts district, the Peruvian-influenced Jean-Paul's House offers a set menu for $30, including an appetizer, entrée, and shared dessert. Nearby Design District restaurant The Cypress Room offers perhaps the best value prix-fixe menu in town. For $49, you get a choice of three appetizers, three entrées, and two desserts. Given that main courses usually cost between $24 and $49, the pre-theater menu offers an affordable approach to the creations of James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz.

Start Your Night on the Cheap
Miami is famous for its nightlife, and it would be a shame to forgo a night out to save money. Back at the Epic Hotel, as with all Kimpton Hotels, you can start the night with a free wine hour every evening from 5 - 6 p.m.. If you miss that, you can head up to the hotel's 16th-floor lounge, Area 31, for $6 beer, wine, or well cocktails during happy hour on Monday and Tuesday from 5 - 7 p.m., and Wednesday through Friday from 5 - 10 p.m..

With $3 well drinks, $3 drafts, and half-priced appetizers from 3 -7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, happy hour at Brother Jimmy's BBQ is hard to beat. Half of you are in even more luck, as Thursdays from 8 p.m. - 12 a.m. is "ladies night," with $3 wine and frozen margaritas for women.

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