Miami. Just the mention of the word brings about all sorts of mental images. Beaches, notoriously sweltering weather, traffic that will make the average New Yorker have pity on you, and plenty of opportunities to ingest more calories than you'll burn while there. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the real Miami, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.
Today's Miami is vastly different than the Miami portrayed in nostalgic films, but bits and pieces of that old world remain. If you've come to South Florida in search of bona fide Cuban cuisine, you owe it to yourself (and your clients) to head over to Miami Beach. If you're already in the area due to a meeting at the Miami Beach Convention Center, you'll be happy to find Puerto Sagua Restaurant, which has become something of a landmark as the years have passed. The more Miami changes, the more this place stays the same. It's set up like a diner, is almost always busy, and utterly lacks a "relaxed" atmosphere. In other words, it's the perfect place to turn for a lightning lunch.
If you're aiming for a bit of homestyle cooking situated in Midtown Miami, Morgan's Restaurant is a top choice. Serving up brunch, lunch, dinner, and a host of world-class desserts, this place is about as scrumptious as it gets for the price. You'll also feel right at home in your casual wear – useful for those times when you just can't spend another dinner wrapped up in your business attire. Miami is sometimes disassociated with the "Deep South," but one bite of of the grilled cheese or meatloaf will take you right back to grandmother's kitchen.
If you find yourself with a free evening and a yearning to see something other than condos, office buildings, and flashy automobiles, Key Biscayne is just a few miles away. You'll need a rental car, but once you arrive, you'll find Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, as well as the northern tip of Biscayne National Park. The entire key is a magical place to watch the sunset, and it's a wonderful place to interact with some of the outstanding nature that surrounds one of America's largest cities.
Aside from the obvious – beaches! – those with one full day to spare in Miami should do everything possible to reserve a convertible at the rental car desk. The trek from Miami to Key West on Florida's historic Highway 1 is easily one the best day trips in the entire country. Unlike most roads in Florida, this one is devoid of tolls. Just head south to Homestead, and keep pushing on US-1 until you leave the mainland and approach Key Largo. From there, you'll hop from one key to the next, finally approaching Duval St. at the very end – some 90 miles from Cuba. As charming (and bustling) as Key West is, it's hardly the destination that's the focus. Take your time and enjoy the serenity on the drive there and back.
For those looking to blow off steam after a long day of meetings, Jazid is a solid option in Miami Beach. You'll get live music every night of the week while downstairs, but the upstairs section is reserved for those just looking to converse, enjoy a drink, and talk smack about one's rivals.
This is a recurring feature exploring must-visit locales in a variety of cities. If you find yourself traveling to a place for business, why not venture out and enjoy your surroundings?