Miami trip planning

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Feb 1st, 2013, 08:40 PM
  #1
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Miami trip planning

Hi, all.

Headed to Miami next weekend, arriving at 12:30 pm Saturday and leaving at nearly 7 pm on Monday. Wondering if people can help me figure out the best order or grouping of some of my sites, as well as help me fill in some dining and bar hopping options.

Here goes:

I'm staying Saturday at Courtyard Miami Downtown and Sunday at JW on Brickell, so both will be downtown. I plan to take Metromover to and from the airport and walk between the two hotels. I presume this is possible ...

I'd ideally like to visit the following sites:

South Beach walking, and also to do an art deco walk around Collins/Ocean
Biltmore Hotel tour - I guess on a Sunday
Viscaya
Spanish monastery - is this really that exciting?
Calle Ocho - I presume I could walk from my hotel?
Some kind of art museum - I strongly prefer European, especially Impressionistic art, and much of Miami's art scene seems very modern to me. is there a museum that fits the bill?

But I'm finding that transportation seems difficult. I will not have a car. Also, all of these sites seem fairly spread out.

Are there other good areas to walk around/to? Maybe even some shopping at Brickell or some beach walking?

Restaurants:
I have written down a la follie in South Beach and The River downtown, as it is near my hotel. I strongly prefer French/Mediterranean, and seafood. Ideally 20-30 dollars for dinner.

Odds and ends:
1) I typically like a tall building with a new view when I travel. Are there any such observatory-type sites?
2) What about a nice wine bar where I can have a drink?
3) Any thoughts on the gay "scene" - I typically like to go to a bar or two, not the dance club/image-conscious type, though. (Twist and/or Score, maybe?)

I realize this is much more scattered than my usual queries here are. Any advice would be helpful - thanks very much!
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Feb 2nd, 2013, 02:14 AM
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TTT
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Feb 2nd, 2013, 12:35 PM
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Anyone?
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Feb 2nd, 2013, 08:10 PM
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Bumping
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 04:24 AM
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Not much action here, is there?
I am not an expert, but here goes:

1. 'spanish monastery' -- new to me
2. Vizcaya is wonderful but I don't know how you would get there from downtown without a car.
3. design district is becoming very interesting, but you will again have to ask at your hotel about getting there
4. Calle Ocho looks to be about an hour from the Courtyard on foot. It is not exotic when you get there.
5. I really don't think you can miss out in Miami Beach
6. there is apparently much shopping and eating along Brickell and Miami Avenues, though I have only stayed at the Beach or in Coral Gables, so I am not very knowledgeable.
7. I am also not very knowledgeable about the gay scene since I am straight, but my gay friends who have been there seem to have found things that were enjoyable to do, and they aren't much the club type. Sorry

Maybe this will at least provoke people to write back with "he doesn't know what he is talking about."
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Feb 3rd, 2013, 07:08 AM
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You can get to Vizcaya via the metromover/metrorail so that would be a good option. Keep going on the metrorail and you'll be at Dadeland/South Miami for shopping.
One of my favorite French restaurants (low key bistro style) is La Bouchon du Grove in Coconut Grove. The Grove Circulator bus would pick you up from the Coconut Grove or Douglas Road stationand take you there. You might want to see the Barncle when you are in the Grove.
Look also at the restaurants at Mary Brickell Village (walking distance from hotels)
For that "drink with a view" go to the Conrad Hotel (13th and Brickell). They have a bar on the 25th floor.
Next door to the Conrad is a new Spanish quick food restuarant - 100 Montadidos (little, and interesting, sandwiches - you'll need more than one)
Across the street from that is Novacento - An Argentinian bistro.
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Feb 5th, 2013, 09:16 PM
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Thanks for the tips. Seems like even staying around downtown/Brickell would be nice, with other excursions to SB and Coconut Grove. May be less of a sightseeing trip than normal for me and more just enjoying being outdoors and the nice weather!
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Feb 5th, 2013, 10:24 PM
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Okay I'm thinking the following:

Saturday - arrive MIA at 12:35. Cab to hotel, then cab to South Beach.
- do a self-guided art deco walking tour on my own. What streets should I be sure to hit
- drink at score
- early dinner at either a la folie or cafe at books and books
- drink at twist
- cab back to hotel

Do I need to actually walk on or near the beach?

Sunday:
- change hotels to JW
- Cab to Biltmore for a tour at 1:30
- Cab back to Brickell for shopping and walking
- drink at Conrad
- dinner at The River or OTC

Monday:
Lazy day at hotel
- Metrorail to Vizcaya
- Metrorail back to hotel to chill before flight out

Monday seems a bit light, though ... am I trying to do too much on any of the other days?
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Feb 6th, 2013, 03:47 AM
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Check the hours at Vizcaya to make sure you really can do that in the morning and still get back to your hotel and airport.

I would walk on the beach (or rather on the blacktop path that goes along it, set back from the street). There is often a major scene along here. Start at the south end of Ocean Drive and walk north to see the Deco District. Then walk back on the beach side. You can certainly walk down on the beach if the spirit moves you, and it may. I once saw a woman in full Islamic dress happily walking barefoot down the beach amongst the largely naked throngs. My experience is that Miami Beach is very often surprising.
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Feb 6th, 2013, 08:36 AM
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I think Vizcaya is open from 9:30 to 4:30, so with a 6:30 pm flight I think that seems doable. How much time should I allot for the home and grounds/gardens?
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Feb 7th, 2013, 07:03 AM
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On the note of art....
There are 3 museums in the area you will be in...
1. Downtown - Miami Art Museum - http://www.miamiartmuseum.org/
2. South Beach - The Bass Museum of Art- http://www.bassmuseum.org/
3. South Beach - The Wolfsonian - https://www.wolfsonian.org/

The collections in all 3 change so I cant comment on modern vs. non - modern art. Check their websites to see what is on display.

The Spanish Monetary is in the North Miami/Aventura area. I pass it almost daily and I have never been inside - its a big event venue (weddings, etc.) Not sure its on the top 10 list.

Make sure to hit the Al Capone Suite while at the Biltmore tour - its definitely haunted!!! You may also want to spend a little time on Miracle Mile while near the Biltmore. Its a cute shopping district with lots of restaurants and shops.
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Feb 7th, 2013, 08:54 PM
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Thanks. Looked like the best art museum for my interests was actually on University of Miami campus. Thinking I may pass, though. Monastery did seem quite far, so that's a no-go. Thanks for the Miracle Mile suggestion - I will investigate further.
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