How to have a laid-back visit to Miami, Florida—from where to stay, what to eat, where to drink, and what to do.
Hot and chiseled beachgoers, deceptively sweet (and highly potent) cocktails, clubbing to oonce oonce beats for hours on end: the things a trip to Miami appears to be made of is a dream for wily spring breakers, but a nightmare for the introverted traveler.
But this South Florida city is so much more than meets the eye, and even those who want to avoid partying can still experience the true best of the city. The art scene, made famous by Art Basel, is ever-expanding; its Art Deco design and Latin influences give the city a vibe entirely its own; and—perhaps best of all—it’s arguably one of the greatest foodie getaways in the USA.
Although it’s difficult to imagine a quiet weekend in Miami, believe us: it can be done. Whether you’re in town for a quick weekend getaway or simply need an escape from the crowds on South Beach, these chilled-out refuges in Florida’s party city will help any low-key vacationer breathe a sigh of relief.
Get the sun and sand to yourself at Palihouse Miami Beach
The latest property from hotel collective Palisociety, this stylish boutique hotel is the stuff of any Instagram-lovers dream (see: an Art Deco-inspired exterior, ultra-charming pastel decor, oversized sunny rooms, and a pool surrounded by leafy palms). Located two blocks from the water in up-and-coming Mid Beach—close enough to the action in South Beach, but far from loud and overcrowded sands—you’ll never struggle to find a quiet spot on the water to chill out and work on your tan any time of year. Bonus: they provide rides down to the beach when you want to take it easy from start to finish, and the bar concocts cocktails sure to keep you feeling chilled out.
Explore an Asian food market at 1-800-Lucky
Located in Wynwood, the only thing overwhelming about this Asian food hall is the abundance of delicious dishes to choose from. Home to seven stalls with everything from Japanese and Chinese to Thai, the meals here are nothing short of perfection. Not to miss: the Hybrid OG with ahi and salmon from Poke OG, the Lost in Translation and vegan Tigre sushi rolls from B-Side, and the Phat Thai from Wayla.
Escape to the Greek isles at Mandolin Aegean Bistro
Little did you know that by visiting Miami, you could also visit Greece. On a sunny day, this beautiful restaurant, reminiscent of someone’s home, will transport you to the Greek isles—white walls with blue decor, space decorated with plants, glass bottles, and plates, an open-air dining room, and the cheese and seafood-heavy Mediterranean food we all love included.
Avoid FOMO at El Dorado
With locations both in Miami and Las Vegas—two cities most introverts would think to avoid—El Dorado is a pro at saving the introverted among us from FOMO, balancing the look of a party spot with a completely laid-back atmosphere—a relief after a long day of venturing through South Beach. Here, the guac is the claim to fame, but we also recommend the fried snapper with plantains and rice, as well as their unique ceviche trio.
[Check out our Introvert’s Guide to Las Vegas here.]
Experience Mexican street food at COYO Taco
The taco spot. With tortillas handcrafted in house, guac made fresh to order, and locally-sourced, all-natural ingredients, you’ll crave tacos for days after your visit. There’s a little of everything on the menu—from varieties like al pastor and carne asada to quinoa and grilled cactus—and there are several locations found throughout the city, including in Wynwood, where introverted art-lovers can escape to check out some of the city’s best work, whether in galleries or on the walls of the neighborhood’s buildings.
Sip slow at Blackbird Ordinary
The aviary-themed drinks are delicious (and the clever names seem even better after you’ve had one or two), and the candle-lit books and nooks to chill out in will help you ease into the night (and do so until night becomes morning; they’re open until five every night.)
Trade cocktails for craft beer at The Abbey Brewing Co.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the mixed drinks that tend to fuel weekends gone wild, visit the Abbey Brewing Company, the only brew-pub in Miami Beach. Contrary to many of the neon-lit bars found throughout the city, this cozy drinking hole resembles a traditional European pub and offers a range of their own craft beers.
Lounge poolside at The Broken Shaker
Located inside The Freehand boutique hotel, this poolside bar inside this boutique hotel in Miami Beach gives off the same energy as a backyard pool party: friends laughing and chatting on lounge chairs, music playing. Along with its chilled-out vibes, the bar is well known for its expert mixologists: sip on seasonal drinks made with ingredients like matcha, mango puree, or grapefruit foam.
Make yourself blush at the World Erotic Art Museum
Home to the world’s largest collection of erotic artwork, this museum may stun the prudish into silence. With an array of paintings, sculptures, photographs, and more that document the history of erotic art—including work from artists like Picasso and Rembrandt and artifacts dating back thousands of years—the World Erotic Art Museum is much like Miami itself: flashy at first glance, but more to it than meets the eye.
Get a taste of Miami’s art world at the ICA Miami
Although this institute is one of Miami’s most popular museums, even an introvert will find themselves too lost in thought among the eccentric and unique contemporary artwork on display to mind. With three floors of gallery space, a 15,000 square foot sculpture garden, and free admission every day, make a quick stop here to get a taste of the art world both in Miami and internationally. (Pro tip: Go later in the evening to avoid crowds.)
Make the most of the vintage shopping scene
Miami may be a playground for the fashionable and rich, but the two aren’t mutually inclusive; the city’s secondhand shopping scene has been going strong for decades. For starters, head to the cleverly-named Miami Twice, Flamingo’s Vintage, Mill’s Vintage, The House of Findings, and Fly Boutique.