Stay and Play in Spendy Miami for Less

by  Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | Updated on Feb 16, 2023
Miami Beach skyline
Miami Beach skyline / Lady-Photo/iStock

Stay and Play in Spendy Miami for Less

Beach views, Latin American glamour, and upscale events like Art Basel and the Miami Film Festival make Miami a perennial travel destination favorite. Touted as the world’s playground, Miami visitors can enjoy tropical vistas, exceptional meals, eclectic culture, as well as glittering nightlife. For a mid-sized area of 2,000 square miles, this city covers all the bases while still managing to offer good value for your vacation dollars, if you know where to look.

Check out our guide to a luxe-for-less Miami getaway.

Where to Stay in Miami

In Miami, it's all about the ocean views, and luckily, dozens of properties hug the Atlantic shoreline. But here, the key is staying at a hotel in the city's trendy Mid-Beach area. You'll not only avoid hours of traffic between downtown and South Beach, but save money, too. Churchill Suites Monte Carlo Miami Beach offers pretty views, sleek furnishings, and a prime location, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies, a fully-equipped kitchen, a Jacuzzi, and two pools. 

For a more luxe selection, consider Fontainebleau Miami Beachwhich supplies ‘50s era elegance and a buzzy ambiance. The property's scene-y hotspots include an array of haute drinking and dining offerings plus swanky poolside lounges that attract all the action. Don’t miss the Lapis Spa or LIV nightclub for a rarified experience of bespoke playlists and A-listers.

Where To Eat and Drink in Miami

Whether you’re craving an authentic cubano sandwich or a multi-course dinner with wine pairings, you'll easily find it in Miami. Start with an all-out South Beach extravaganza at RED The Steakhouse. This upscale restaurant specializes in refined classics, such as a roasted rack of lamb; a signature 40-day, dry-aged prime ribeye; and whole Maine lobster. The sides, including wild-foraged mushrooms and Brussel sprouts with pancetta, are also winners. And, although it's on the pricier side, the big portions and quality make it well worth it.

If you're looking for something a bit more informal, check out El Palacio de Los Jugos, which provides a casual take on Cuban classics like roasted pork sandwiches, suckling pig, and fresh tropical fruit juices in a buzzy outdoor space. Cielito Artisan Pops is ideal for the steamy Miami afternoons, where handmade, locally sourced ice pops are crafted from fresh juices like tamarind, hibiscus, soursop, and dragonfruit. You can also get them dipped in toppings including chocolate, pistachio, and even cotton candy. 

What To See & Do in Miami

Miami is packed with lots of activities and attractions to lure you away from the beach. Stop at the Perez Art Museum to browse contemporary art work representing the city’s colorful international culture. For a more organic art experience, go see the famous open-air art gallery at the Wynwood Walls. The outdoor murals reflect the visions of local graffiti artists and the wider international art community. And you can’t visit Miami without checking out the vibrant Cuban community of Little Havana. Here, stroll down the main boulevard of Calle Ocho and drop in shops, galleries, and restaurants along the street. Foodies will especially love the Little Havana Food Tour

Want to take that trip for free — and score some valuable miles for your next excursion? Check out our top pick travel credit cards for the best welcome bonuses, perks, and plenty of cash back. 

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