There were the beach chairs equipped widely over the beach. You don't have to ask someone before use one of them. You can use any of them if it is not occupied. Great facility indeed!
But not free!!! Sometimes in the day, a girl with a checking list in her hand will shows up to you with a lovely similing face. She is a chair maid and you have to pay some.
Fun Alternatives: Lie directly on the burnt sandy beach.
This mansion must undoubtfully be THE MOST photographed building in South Beach! Every single time I walk by it there are tourists taking pictures of or in front of it.
Realistically though, if Versace had not been shot here, do you really think this house would be so interesting to photograph? After all, it is not all that, especially with all the very cool art deco buildings that surround it....
Located on Ocean Drive and 12th Street.
Cocowalk and Mayfair in Coconut Grove are both BIG tourist traps, with touristy overpriced shops and restaurants which only fool the tourists.
Unique Suggestions: There is one restaurant worthwhile however, such as Tu Tu Tango, which serves international "tapas" like meal in an artsy atmosphere and has a nice bar on the outside terrace.
Also my suggestion would be to walk around Cocowalk, taking Main Highway and its side streets. Do NOT take Grand Avenue however: that will lead you to an unsafe and dangerous neighborhood! And now I need to watch my language as I have been accused of racism in the past trying to say this. It is a crack-addict neighborhood, and it so happens to be an African-American community, just as it could be any other, so please don't take this description personally: I have absolutely nothing against African-Americans, I am simply describing the neighborhood....
Fun Alternatives: In Coconut grove, these would be the places I suggest:
To eat, either Anokha, located at 3195 Commodore Plaza which serves Fine Indian Cuisine at very reasonable prices; or Greenstreet Cafe on 3468 Main Hwy
which serves international cuisine.
To hang-out, drink, and play pool go to Barracuda's, a nice local's hang-out bar on 3035 Fuller St, or try to international tapas at Tu Tu Tangos (2nd floor Cocowalk.)
Bayside Marketplace is yet another place that was built solely for tourists. Yet it does have its charm because it overlooks the bay and it is mainly an outdoors mall.
Unique Suggestions: So, if you are looking for a touristy place in Miami by all means visit Bayside. Sip a Margarita on its main square, listening to live music, and shop around where you will find all the franchise stores you find everywhere.
Fun Alternatives: Surprisingly enough, they have a great Lebanese and Greek food stand in the food court on the second floor. "The Middle Eastern Connection" actually serves the best tabouleh and lamb Sish Kebab in Miami at very interesting prices. Unless of course you prefer fast food which is all that you can find around it.....
I don't care what they say, cover charges are a trap. These places are charging $400 for a $125 bottle of alcohol, they can afford to let you in for free, but, would they really want someone would couldn't afford the 25 or 30 cover? I have been lucky enough to have very cool hotel staff help me out with VIP passes and reservations. Nearly everyone knows promoters in South Beach, and they know owners and other VIPS, so talk to your hotel staff, even the bell-boy, they live there, and free passes and your name on the lists can save you $$$!!!
This is not a tourist trap to those who don't care about money, but it was a trap to me. The first time I laid my beach towel on a beach chair, some guy came up and tried to charge me $20. Yes, those do cost money, you have to rent them.
Unique Suggestions: If you happen to be an attractive female you can talk these guys down to like $5. A girl I was with did this one time. Sorry guys, we lose again.
Fun Alternatives: Just lay on the beach without renting these chairs! ... I prefer just to spread out on the sand and spend the $20 on a martini.
ok, so i was staying at the shore club on march 14. and on march 16 the concierge told me "nikki beach IS the place to be on sunday" i read a few reviews on websites like southbeach411 ect saying "must go, must see, great party" well let me give it to you straight:
apparently,you should arrive on sunday around 2 pm, thats when the party starts getting hot. they describe it as a saint tropez in miami, but i have been to la voile rouge and niou largo in saint tropez and well, nikki beach aint no saint tropez... is more like cancun or tijuana. seriously!
this is what it looks like: you arrive, the place is massive *(that should have been my first hint!) i told them that my friend and i had booked a mattress for the day (i knew it was 300 dollars minimum for bottle service, which was fine) we arrived at the mattress and ordered a bottle of moet, a bottle of orange juice and a bottle of water) then they said they have a buffet and that it was 35 bucks each we said thats fine. they gave us something to put on the wrist so they could identify who was eating. the buffet was below average.
now here is the worst part: it wasnt until we were there about 1 1/2 hours later that we started noticing all these er, how should i say: girls of unknown provenance (aka, cheap, loud, rude, and probably working) girls all over the mattresses. i am talking about girls showing up with towels that were 10 years old, and one glass of wine, sharing the beds next to us, while we had forked over all and all over 600 bucks.
i said to the fat manager (who was totally rude) and asked him if they were so strict about the 300 dollar bottle minimum why were all these people next to us that were obviously spending about 10 bucks each. his answer: "everyone on the beds is paying"
i called the party promoter who booked my mattress and he came to see me and guess what he said? i swear i wanted to puke:
he said "i m sorry but this is a public beach and we cannot deny access to people so what we do is that we rent the mattresses where you are for 300 and rent the inside mattresses (i couldnt see a difference between theirs and ours) for 20 bucks a person. thats it. 20 bucks for them, 300 for us.
the atmosphere of the place just went down hill, loud, rude, even dirty looking people just laying 10 to a bed and "sharing one glass or two of wine" we left and poured the rest of our champagne on the floor. we werent going to leave it for them to reuse.
this place sells itself as upper class, but its far from that.
Unique Suggestions: even the waiter told us he was sorry and that he wishes the place wouldnt let so many "strays" walk in because he gets no tips from those 20 a bed no drink minimum crowd. i told him i would never go back to nikki beach and he said he didnt blame me, that in fact, things get pretty nasty at around 6 when "the working gals" start showing up
if you must go, dont eat, dont get a bed, just pay your 20 bucks and drink a glass of something. trust me, people cant tell a difference from the 300 or the 20 they are all piled next to each other.
if i were you, skip that place all together...
If you are cheap by nature, I would not recommend South Beach as a vacation spot. Not if you really want enjoy what it has to offer. Though it seems the people vacationing here have become cheaper and cheaper (classless), the prices of drinks and food are constantly rising. If you find your way into the A crowd, expect to pay big money for drinks, whether you are buying a bottle of beer ($6+), a glass of wine ($10+) a cocktail ($9-$20), or bottle service ($175-$400). Some places will not let you in without bottle service.
Unique Suggestions: If you do not want to pay for the high prices drinks, you can always trek to one of the many liquor stores on South Beach. (Though I would still recommend trying at least a few of South Beach's tasty spirits.) This way, you can have a few in the room before you hit the clubs! There are a couple of liquor stores on the East (ocean) side of Washington Ave.
Fun Alternatives: If the liquor stores are too pricey for you, you might want to ask yourself if perhaps you shouldn't be vacationing in Tennessee instead of Miami.
Although with some exceptions, Ocean Drive restauants are generally tourist traps and offer lower quality service/food than establishements found elsewhere in sobe. Locals tend to frequent restaurants on Washington Avenue and Linclon Rd. Mall, offering unique menus and wider variety of cuisines.
If you're a tourist, you've seen it on t.v. and you'll want to see it while you're here. Its worth an afternoon of walking on the beach, window shopping in the tacky tourist spots and sipping a Rum Runner at Wet Willies, but don't waste your time (or money( at the Ocean Drive restaurants.) There are so many better places within a block or two.
Unique Suggestions: Rollerblade on the beach and have a drink at Wet Willies
Fun Alternatives: For nightlife or restaurants, see my tips for suggestions other than the Ocean Drive hangouts. Also, I'd make an exception for Breeze on 15th and Ocean and for Billboard (same location) if you're under 21 and like loud clubs.
There are a number of street hustlers that come out in the AM to get drunk partiers to spend the rest of their cash on a hustle. DO NOT entertain them with your time. Walk on.
Unique Suggestions: You'll find these guys on Washington Ave after midnight
Fun Alternatives: Take a cab home
There are guys selling roses all along Ocean Drive. They'll ask you if you want to buy a rose for the lady, and then pop you for $20, at least thats what they did to me. Luckily the girl I was with said fk the rose, buy me a martini, but some girls make their guys look cheap.
Unique Suggestions: Just tell the rose guys you're not interested. There's a better way to spend $20.
This has happened to me twice- I pay the valet when I pull in, and then they try to charge me at the desk when I check out. $20 a day becomes 40 a day, thats more than some domestic cars cost to rent even.
Unique Suggestions: If you do rent a car, or drive into South Beach, prepare to pay a valet or parking fee. Just call ahead to clarify whether you pay the desk or pay the induvidual valet.
Fun Alternatives: Fly in and cab it. Renting a Stretch Limo is fun, too.
Bayside off of Biscayne Blvd. is ok if you are into super commercialized mall-type atmospheres. I'd rather stay on Ocean Drive for overpriced things because at least things on the beach have that South Beachy feel to it, this place is nice but, other than the ocean and the Heat Arena, the things you find here you can find at your nearest mall.
Fun Alternatives: Check out Bayside and then go into downtown and find some authentic restaurants. Or turn back around, go back across the bridge and have some fun on SoBe.
CocoWalk it’s anything but exciting. It’s supposed to be an important tourist attraction, but for me, it just looks like another mall, and trust me, I didn’t cross the Atlantic just to see that place ;-)