Updated: Jun 29, 2022
Last year, right after I launched the Social Musings by Austin website, I spent a virtual, visceral evening in Miami for Spring Break.
That evening I was transported to a live DJ set on top of a Miami skyscraper, and I had a revelation about social justice.
You can find that post here.
This year, there are new challenges besides COVID, namely Russia's invasion of the Ukraine, which made it feel like an absolute privilege to be able to spend Spring Break in Miami in person.
Similar to Austin, Miami has experienced a significant amount of interest as a post-COVID global hotspot, and I was finally able to visit Miami in person for Spring Break to see what all the fuss was about.
Specifically I was staying in Miami Beach at 37th and Collins, nearby the Faena Hotel (if you can visit their lobby and outdoor area are amazing, which is where you can find this gold-plated skeleton below).
Let me discuss the three highlights of what I believe Miami Beach has to offer.
We ate at Gitano and Macchialina for dinner and Gianni’s (at the former Versace Mansion) for lunch.
The atmosphere at Gianni's was downright sexy, and you really feel like you are on South Beach when you are dining there (see pictures below):
Overall, I was highly impressed with the quality of the food, especially at the dinners. A real highlight was our 5-course chef tasting menu at Macchialina, which recently made Thrillist’s list of top 34 Italian restaurants in America, which you can read here.
Here is what Thrillist had to say about Macchialina:
Macchialina Miami, Florida Nobody makes you feel more convincingly like you’re in Italy than former-Scarpetta chef Michael Pirolo does at Macchialina. This cozy Alton Road hideaway not only survived the volatile Miami restaurant industry, it survived the demolition of Alton Road, a global pandemic, and last year’s Spring Break. It’s persevered thanks to the richest red sauces, freshest pastas, and most inventive cocktail menu on this list. And while dozens of transplants boasting northeastern pedigree have come to town thinking they’ll impress us, Macchialina still outdoes them all.
You can check out my TikTok video of the culinary adventure I had a Macchialina here:
Many of you know I spent a lot of time every year in Aruba, so I am kind of a beach snob. Unlike Aruba, the water was somewhat cloudy and the surf was rough (in fact there was a rip current warning for the duration of my entire trip).
However, the beach on Miami Beach is broad, and the boardwalks are beautiful to walk all the way down to Ocean Drive and then return to the Fountainbleu.
Even with it being Spring Break, the beach never felt busy. Furthermore, my Airbnb had beach chairs and towels and was located one block away from the beach, all of which made for an ideal beach vacation.
While there were a few spotty showers, the mornings were in the 70s and afternoons in the 80s. However, when the sun went down, there was a cool ocean breeze and no humidity which made dining al fresco extremely comfortable.
ARTS AND CULTURE
I would also say that Miami has a strong arts and design culture. I hope that one day I do get to attend Art Basel, but in the meantime, I visited Showfields and the Bass Museum for my arts and culture fix.
Also, when walking around the streets of Miami Beach, you are constantly reminded of the Art Deco architecture mingling with the modern world.
My one gripe would be transportation. In my opinion the best way to get around up and down Collins Avenue in Miami Beach would be the bus or the free Miami Beach Trolley.
You can find more information on the trolley here.
The trolley runs from 8am until 11pm daily and usually arrives every 15 minutes depending upon the route. You can download an app to track the trolley’s location.
Uber was not a great option. Waits were at least 10 minutes (if you were lucky) and were expensive, especially in the evenings.
Given the current geopolitical climate, I was thankful that I got to do Spring Break in Miami.
By the way, in case you missed it, please read my feature story in Texas Monthly Magazine. I have never been more proud to be a "Texas Quitter."
You can find the link here.
We are making things happen!
Until next time.