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Miami Getaway: Best Things to Do for Those Over 50

Ah, Miami! With its sun-kissed beaches, vibrant cultural tapestry, and endless opportunities for adventure, it’s no wonder this Florida gem is a bucket-list destination for many, especially for the seasoned traveler over 50.

Whether you’re soaking in the scenic beauty of Biscayne Bay, taking a leisurely stroll through the lush landscapes of Coral Gables, or exploring the historic streets of Little Havana, Miami offers a delightful blend of relaxation and exploration.

Let’s dive into the ultimate 2024 guide to making the most of your Miami getaway, where the Atlantic Ocean meets endless fun under the Florida sun.

Embrace the Vibrance of Miami Beach and South Florida

Miami Beach isn’t just a great place; it’s the epitome of Florida’s vibrant beach culture, famous for its beautiful beaches, iconic Art Deco Historic District, and lively Ocean Drive.  Here are some hightlights and things that we did. 

 

Beach Day

 Start with a walking tour of the Art Deco Museum to marvel at the colorful Deco buildings, then unwind on the famous South Beach with its crystal-clear waters and access to luxury hotels offering free Wi-Fi and outdoor pools. It’s the perfect itinerary for a day under the sun, complete with palm trees swaying in the breeze and a great spot for watching the world go by.

Menu in Little Havana

Dive into the Cultural Melting Pot of Little Havana

For those looking to add a cultural twist to their vacation, Little Havana awaits with open arms.  If you go to Miami, try one of their Cuban Sandwiches. It’s the best!

A tour guide can lead you down Calle Ocho, where the sounds of live music fill the air, and the smells of authentic Cuban cuisine tempt your taste buds. We took Uber all arouond so we could enjoy the sights without worrying about parking. 

Participate in a walking tour to truly immerse yourself in the area’s rich history and vibrant street art, making it a memorable part of your day Miami itinerary. Little Havana is not just a place; it’s an experience that echoes the humble beginnings and the spirited heart of Miami’s Cuban community.

clothes store in Little Havana
Shopping in Havana

I found some unique clothes, and the people were incredibly friendly and helpful in assisting me to pick out the perfect outfit that fits me well.

As you explore, you’ll find local galleries displaying amazing art by Cuban artists, quaint cafes serving the finest Cuban coffee, and vibrant venues pulsing with captivating rhythms.

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Dominos

Stop by the famous Domino Park to watch the locals masterfully play dominos, a beloved pastime in this community. With each step, the cultural fabric of Little Havana offers a deeper understanding of its unique heritage and vibrant daily life, inviting you to connect with its people and traditions in a profoundly personal way.

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Explore the Natural Wonders of Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park

A visit to South Florida isn’t complete without exploring the Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park, two of the United States’ most treasured natural habitats. 

Start with an airboat tour of the Everglades, where you can speed through a World Heritage Site and get up close with Florida’s unique wildlife. Afterward, take the adventure underwater at Biscayne National Park. Here, you can snorkel or dive among vibrant coral reefs and explore a mesmerizing aquatic world.

Additionally, both parks offer a variety of other activities. In the Everglades, you can hike scenic trails, watch for numerous bird species, and maybe even spot an alligator basking in the sun.

Meanwhile, Biscayne offers kayaking and paddleboarding opportunities that let you glide over the clear waters, providing a different perspective of the park’s diverse marine life. Whether on land or water, these parks provide incredible opportunities to connect with nature and witness ecosystems that are unlike any other in the country.

Wynwood Art District Street Art

Discover the Artsy Side of Wynwood Walls and Surrounding Areas

For art enthusiasts and lovers of the eclectic, the Wynwood Art District offers a canvas of street art and galleries that showcase the soul of Miami’s creative scene. Wynwood Walls, a great spot for those who appreciate the vibrancy of urban art, provides a backdrop of ever-changing murals by world-renowned artists.

The art featured in places like Wynwood Walls typically includes vibrant street art and murals.

Street Art black girls

Here, every corner and alley bursts with color and creativity, inviting you to lose yourself in the rich tapestry of visual storytelling.

Beyond the walls, the district pulses with a dynamic array of art galleries, each presenting cutting-edge exhibitions from both emerging and established artists. This area is not just about viewing art; it’s about experiencing the full spectrum of cultural expression through gallery talks, live painting, and interactive installations.

The art is incredible! I’ve never seen wall art quite like this before. The art featured in places like Wynwood Walls typically includes vibrant street art and murals. 

stick people Wynwood Art District

These works are often created by internationally renowned and local artists alike, showcasing a wide range of styles from graffiti and abstract art to realistic portraits and social commentary. This type of art is celebrated for its dynamic colors, large-scale formats, and the way it transforms urban environments into open-air galleries.

Types of Art

Visitors to Wynwood Walls can expect to see a diverse array of street art styles. The area is renowned for its vibrant murals that cover a wide range of themes and artistic expressions, including:

  1. Graffiti: Bold, colorful tags and stylized word art that are staples of the street art genre.
  2. Abstract Art: Complex patterns and shapes that may not represent reality directly but evoke emotions and ideas.
  3. Realistic Portraits: Lifelike depictions of people, often larger than life, which can be deeply expressive and connect emotionally with viewers.
  4. Pop Art: Works that incorporate elements from popular culture and mass media, often using bright colors and recognizable imagery.
  5. Social and Political Commentary: Murals that address social issues, political messages, or cultural critiques, providing thought-provoking content.
  6. Surrealism: Imaginative scenes that blend dream-like qualities with realistic details, creating fascinating, bizarre visuals.

Wynwood Walls Museum

Although you can enjoy lots of wall art for free on the outside, the Wynwood Walls Museum offers much more on the inside. The cost is $12 for adults and cheaper rates for kids and seniors. 

This iconic spot is located in the Wynwood Arts District and features large, colorful murals painted by some of the world’s greatest street artists. It was established in 2009 by the late Tony Goldman, a visionary developer who wanted to transform the warehouse district of Wynwood by showcasing incredible works of street art on their large, blank walls.

Popye Mural Miami Florida

These murals not only beautify the area but also serve as a canvas for artists to convey their messages, making Wynwood Walls a dynamic and culturally rich destination.

Ice cream

Ice Cream Break

Right across from the museum, there’s an ice cream shop with really tasty ice cream. They’ve got lots of flavors, and the staff is super friendly. You can try as many flavors as you want. My top pick was the chocolate gelato.

Ice cream favors, shop in Miami

One portion of the many unique variety of Ice cream

Inside the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, located in Miami, Florida, is a stunning example of preserved history and cultural heritage. This National Historic Landmark was originally the winter residence of James Deering, a wealthy industrialist, and was constructed between 1914 and 1922. 

The estate offers a glimpse into the opulent life of the early 20th century and is a testament to the lavish architecture and design tastes of its era.

Stairs at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Wear comfortable shoes

You’ll need to climb stairs and walk a lot indoors and in the garden. I work out regularly, so it was fine for me. But my husband visited other places, while I chose to sit and enjoy the view. Being over 50, I was pretty tired from all the walking!

Paid Tour

The guided tours are led by knowledgeable docents who provide insights into the history, architecture, and art collections of Vizcaya. It is not necessary to take but we did one of them. It was good because we leaned detailed information and was able to interact with the host. 

General Tour included with your ticket

The general tour is included with your ticket and you can listen to audio on your smartphone. Simple scan the code. If you have any problems the host will assist you. 

Architecture and Design

Vizcaya was designed in the style of Italian Renaissance villas and is an elaborate mixture of European luxury and subtropical natural elements. The architecture blends Italian Renaissance and Mediterranean Revival styles, with elaborate details and craftsmanship evident throughout the property. The main house features 34 decorated rooms, showcasing a collection of European furniture and decorative arts from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

The Vizcaya gardens

Gardens

The Vizcaya gardens are as spectacular as the mansion itself, covering approximately ten acres of the estate. These gardens are beautifully landscaped in both Italian and French styles and are adorned with sculptures, fountains, pools, and architectural structures. The gardens feature a range of flora, designed to thrive in South Florida’s climate, creating a tranquil environment that invites leisurely exploration.

Art Collections

The museum houses an impressive array of European art and furnishings. James Deering collected significant European artworks, including tapestries, paintings, decorative arts, and furniture, which are all displayed throughout the estate. The collection provides insights into the artistic and cultural tastes of the Gilded Age elite.

Educational Programs and Events

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens also serves as a cultural hub in Miami, offering a variety of educational programs, community events, and cultural activities. These include guided tours, gardening workshops, art exhibitions, and even moonlight garden tours, which provide a different perspective on the estate’s beauty.

Visiting Information

The museum and gardens are open to the public, and tickets can be purchased online or on-site. The admission fees vary, with discounts available for children, students, and seniors. The estate also offers annual memberships that provide unlimited admissions and other benefits.

Overall, Vizcaya is not just a museum but a rich historical experience, offering visitors a window into the past and a peaceful retreat from the modern world. It’s a must-visit for those interested in architecture, history, and beautiful landscapes.

Celebrity Voyages

Boat tours showcasing the luxurious homes of celebrities and high-profile personalities in Miami, Florida, are a popular attraction, especially in areas like Biscayne Bay and along the Miami Beach waterfront. These tours offer a unique glimpse into the glamorous lifestyle of the rich and famous, providing a waterfront view of stunning properties that are otherwise hidden behind gated communities or lush vegetation. I just loved the boat ride, feeling the breeze and soaking up the warm, beautiful weather.

Boat tour Miami

Key Features of Celebrity Home Boat Tours

  1. Route and Scenery:

    • The tours typically navigate through the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay, offering views of Star Island, Palm Island, Hibiscus Island, and sometimes the Venetian Islands. These islands are known for their opulent homes owned by celebrities, sports stars, and other high-profile individuals.
    • Tourists are treated to panoramic views of Miami’s skyline, the Port of Miami, and the pristine waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

Duration and Cost

  • Most tours last between 90 minutes to two hours, providing ample time to enjoy the scenery and snap plenty of photos.
  • Prices can vary but generally range from $25 to $35 per person, depending on the type of tour and the amenities offered, such as refreshments or audio guides. I am not sure how much the smaller boat tours cost. 
  • Heads Up: The best deal for the cruise is around $25. Watch out—some vendors might try to convince you their $35 offer is the lowest, but that’s not true.

Narration and Entertainment

  • These tours are often narrated by knowledgeable guides who provide fun and sometimes juicy anecdotes about the celebrities whose homes you pass by. This can include historical tidbits, current gossip, and information about the architecture. 
  • Some tours might feature music or other forms of entertainment to enhance the festive atmosphere. Our tour guide asked for a donation afterwards. Didn’t we just pay for the cruise? SMH

Comfort and Accessibility

  • Boats used for these tours are typically comfortable, with both shaded areas and sun-exposed decks, allowing for an enjoyable ride regardless of the weather.
  • Many of these tours are accessible for individuals with mobility issues, although it’s always best to check with the tour operator in advance.

Booking and Availability

  • These tours are highly popular, especially during tourist season in Miami, which is roughly from November to April. Booking in advance is recommended to ensure availability.  We went in February and did not book a tour. Boats were leaving every hour but it was full. 
  • Tours are offered by various companies, and many depart from locations like Bayside Marketplace, which is easily accessible and a popular spot for shopping and dining.

Popular Tour Operators

  • Companies like Island Queen Cruises and Miami Aqua Tours are well-known for their celebrity home tours. Each offers a slightly different experience, so it might be worth comparing a few to see which meets your interests and budget.

Celebrity home boat tours in Miami offer a fun and relaxed way to see a different side of the city, filled with luxury and celebrity glamour. Whether you’re a fan of celebrity culture or just looking for a unique way to experience Miami’s beautiful waterways, these tours are a great choice.

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Enjoy the Serenity of Miami's Gardens and Parks

For a breath of fresh air and a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle, Miami’s Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and the state parks around Key Biscayne offer lush landscapes and serene environments.

These spots are ideal for those seeking a day trip filled with natural beauty, outdoor activities, and the tranquility of South Florida’s flora and fauna. Whether you’re enjoying the outdoor pool at the Hyatt Centric Brickell Miami or taking a leisurely stroll through Coral Gables, the city’s green spaces are a testament to its beauty beyond the beaches.

Bayside Marketplace Miami

Exploring Bayside Marketplace in Miami: A Vibrant Waterfront Shopping Experience

Nestled in the heart of downtown Miami, Bayside Marketplace offers a dynamic shopping and entertainment experience right by the water. This bustling outdoor-style mall isn’t just a place to shop; it’s a hub of activity that caters to both locals and tourists alike.

Marketplace Marvels

As you stroll through Bayside Marketplace, the scenic views of Biscayne Bay offer a splendid backdrop. The marketplace hosts over 150 specialty and tourist shops, featuring everything from local artisan products to well-known international brands. Whether you’re searching for fashion, souvenirs, or unique art, Bayside has something to catch your eye.

pinapple drink at Bayside Marketplace Miami

Foodies will find plenty to celebrate as well. The marketplace boasts a wide array of eateries and restaurants. You can savor everything from fresh seafood at traditional waterfront spots to international cuisines that reflect Miami’s diverse cultural tapestry. Don’t miss trying some local Cuban dishes, which are a must when in Miami.

Boat Tours

For those looking to experience Miami from the water, Bayside also serves as a departure point for various boat tours, including sightseeing cruises around Biscayne Bay and trips to nearby Star Island.

Whether you’re shopping, dining, or just soaking in the lively atmosphere, Bayside Marketplace encapsulates the vibrant spirit of Miami. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy both the energy of the city and the tranquility of the waterfront.

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Navigating Miami: Tips for a Smooth Experience

Public Transportation and Walking

Miami’s public transportation system and pedestrian-friendly areas, like Downtown Miami and Coconut Grove, make exploring the city a breeze. Google Maps and the official website of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau are great resources for planning your routes. Don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes, as there’s much to see on foot!

Uber

We only stayed for a few days so we decided to Uber everywhere. Uber comes pretty quick. Our wait times was less than 5 minutes. Most of the drivers spoke Spanish. 

Visit During the Best Time

The best time to visit Miami is during the spring break or just before the hurricane season, when the weather is pleasant, and the prices are lower. However, Miami’s allure is year-round, with indoor options like museums and galleries offering a respite from the occasional rain.

Stay Connected

For those wanting to share their experiences or stay in touch with loved ones, most places offer free Wi-Fi. Don’t forget to check the privacy policy of public networks, though, and maybe even share some of your great times on social media!

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Places to Eat

Cuban sandwich at Casa Juan in Miami
plantains from Casa Juan in Miami

Casa Juan

I really enjoyed dining at Casa Juan. Right after we arrived at our hotel(Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Miami Airport South – Blue Lagoon), we headed there since it was just across the street. We walked over and ordered their Cuban sandwich, which was deliciously moist with soft, tasty bread. We also tried both the sweet and green fried plantains. Everything was superb. I highly recommend this place.

Sakura Sushi Bar & Restaurant

Sakura Sushi Bar in Miami is a well-regarded Japanese and sushi restaurant located at 1180 SW 57th Ave in West Miami. The restaurant is known for its fresh sushi offerings and attentive service.

dish at sakura restaurant in Miami

Popular dishes include the Chicken Teriyaki, Caterpillar Roll, and the Special Dragon Roll. Patrons have praised the friendly staff and the creative sushi menu.

fried Orea with Ice cream Sakura resturant Miami F

The place is cozy and small, making for a homey dining experience. The local spots here seem to serve much better food than some more well-known places. With its welcoming atmosphere, it’s definitely a great place to eat when in Miami. This delicious desert was fried oreo cookie with ice cream.

dish at Omakai in Miami

Omakai in Wynwood

This was one of my favorite places to eat. We went here for lunch. Omakai in Wynwood is an excellent spot for enjoying omakase sushi without the steep price or the hassle of long reservation waits. This casual restaurant offers a range of omakase choices starting at $20 for six courses and up to $84 for more than ten courses.

Dish at Omakai in Miami Florida

They provide several menu options ranging from a basic six-course menu to more extensive offerings that include eight pieces of sushi, sashimi, an appetizer, and a couple of hand rolls.

Cheesecake with orange sauce at Omakai in Miami Florida

At OMAKAI, their dessert menu includes a unique take on cheesecake. They serve a Burnt Cheesecake with a yuzu flavor, offering a twist on the classic dessert by incorporating this citrus fruit known for its distinct and fragrant aroma.

Omaki's Decor

The design is modern restaurant with a  chic, urban vibe. The seating arrangement is a mix of booth seating along the walls, upholstered in a deep blue, and freestanding tables with sleek wooden chairs in the center of the space. It’s a very clean place to eat. 

Overall, the atmosphere feels contemporary and relaxed, with a touch of sophistication—ideal for a casual lunch, a business meeting, or a cozy dinner date.

Cvi.Che 105

CVI.CHE 105 is a prominent Peruvian restaurant in Miami known for its extensive selection of creative ceviches and other traditional Peruvian dishes. It has been highly acclaimed for over 15 years and is considered a pioneer in introducing Peruvian cuisine to Miami.

Jalea Mixta

My favorite dish was the Jalea Mixta! This delicious- plate is a popular Peruvian dish that features a mix of lightly breaded and fried seafood such as calamari, shrimp, and sometimes fish, served with fried yuca (cassava), and topped with a salsa criolla, which is a Peruvian onion relish made with red onions, lime juice, cilantro, and tomatoes. 

They also had very delicious desert.

desert1

Versailles

Versailles in Miami is a celebrated Cuban restaurant, bakery, and cultural touchstone located in Little Havana. Founded by Felipe A. Valls Sr. in 1971, it has been a staple for Cuban cuisine and a gathering spot for the Cuban exile community.

The restaurant has an ornate interior with etched glass and statuettes and is known for dishes such as “cafecito,” “cortadito,” Cuban pastries, “croquetas,” and traditional Cuban main courses.

My husband enjoyed this place, but I didn’t. I think it was just my dish. I ordered a cuban sandwitch which was dry and the bread was hard. So maybe it was a bad day for the chef? On the other hand my husband had a very tasty dish.

my dish versailles
husband dish at Versailles

Final Thoughts

Your 2024 Miami getaway promises great things, from the sunny shores of Miami Beach to the cultural heartbeat of Little Havana, the natural splendor of the Everglades and Biscayne Bay, to the artistic alleys of Wynwood. Miami is more than a destination; it’s a journey through the vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality of South Florida. Pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and prepare for an unforgettable adventure in the Sunshine State. Miami awaits to offer you the time of your life, with every day promising a new discovery and a treasure trove of memories to take back home.