Is Miami an overpriced city?

Travel report Miami

Travel report Miami: 2 days through Miami Beach and Downtown Miami

Miami was the start of our trip through Florida in September. We stayed here for 2 days and took with us the most important impressions of this sometimes contradicting metropolis.

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Travel period: September 2012 (+ November 2016)
Written: December 2012
UPDATE: April 2017

Top tips travel report Miami
- Miami Beach by day: Art Deco and boardwalk
- Miami Beach at night: trendy bars and party area
- Miami Downtown, Bayfront Park: Park and high-rise facades

Content of this travel article

Getting to Miami

We came to Miami like most holidaymakers: by plane. At the large Miami International Airport our bird from Virgin Atlantic landed on time, so that the tour could start after immigration, customs control and uncomplicated (and this time very quick) rental car pick-up (from Alamo). If you are interested in the details of the flight, you can look up details and pictures in the flight report Virgin Atlantic II.

Meanwhile, as of 2017, immigration is pretty fast anyway thanks to automatic entry controls. On my last 5 entries I was always "in" within 10 minutes - the former annoying queues are no longer necessary, which makes entering the USA much more convenient. I remember, for example, Mexico or Chile from the past for a much longer time.

From the airport it went straight to Miami Beach. We immediately felt like we were on vacation, because the view of a typical American skyline in connection with palm trees and the prevailing 30 degrees are a nice welcome.

Arrival in Miami Beach

We drove to Miami Beach for about 30 minutes, always with the skyline and later the ocean in mind. Since we only had to drive straight east from the airport, Miami Beach was not to be missed. We also found our booked hotel, the Room Mate Waldorf Towers Miami Beach, pretty quickly. Here, too, the same recipe: just drive straight to the end, after all, the hotel is on Ocean Drive, the geographically last street on Miami Beach.

My Travelworld Info
If you don't like the Room Mate Waldorf Towers Miami Beach that we have chosen, you can take a look at (~). The established booking portal, which I use very often, has over 300 accommodations in Miami Beach alone on offer.

Ocean Drive, Part 1 (overview)

Speaking of Ocean Drive - there are still a few words to lose about THE institution in Miami Beach, after all, this is the flagship of the entire city. On this 2 kilometer long section, which is promenade, street, pub mile, nightlife district and tourist hotspot, the whole life of Miami Beach actually takes place.

Hotels, restaurants and bars are lined up in the historic Art Deco buildings, especially between the intersections on 5th and 14th Street, and thus attract a large number of visitors. A typical structure is the restaurant with a large outdoor area extending to the sidewalk, behind it the entrance to the hotel, whose rooms are on the upper floors.

Some of these hotels located directly on Ocean Drive are, for example, the Bentley Hotel South Beach, Avalon, The Beacon, Casa Grande Suite, The Colony, Deco Walk Hostel, Edison, Clevelander, the Hotel Ocean or our Room Mate Waldorf Towers.


Even 4 years later, nothing has changed. When I visited Miami in 2016, Miami Beach was just as hip and there were still plenty of photo opportunities.

Opposite this "Art Deco flank" is the beach promenade and Lummus Park. This is mainly used by walkers, but also by many cyclists, joggers, volleyball players and skaters and thus offers an ideal opportunity for people-watching. After all, the famous saying “see and be seen” also applies in Miami Beach.

The mile-long sandy beach of Miami Beach lies behind a small dune.

Ocean Drive, Part 2 (at night)

So much as a small description of Ocean Drive. After our arrival at the hotel (more on that later) and a fixed shower, we discovered what was just described ourselves. As it was shortly before sunset, we went straight to the beach. Unfortunately, Miami Beach is (of course, like the entire American Atlantic coast) on the east side, so at least we couldn't marvel at the classic sunset in the sea.

Then hunger drove us back to Ocean Drive. The restaurants here all advertise very aggressively for guests. You are approached almost everywhere, everyone has pinned specials and the outside decoration and the seating are very inviting.

Due to the aforementioned hunger, the decision for a restaurant was made pretty quickly. I can't even tell you the name, in any case it was somewhere on 11th Street. In order to finally ring in the USA vacation in proper style, I ordered a beef steak - even if only a small one. Yammy, the inclined meat lover is simply waiting for something like this. :-)

We also ordered a cocktail for drinks, after all, it was “happy hour”. As we passed the numerous restaurants, we saw these beautifully decorated and attractive glasses for 2 people at almost every table, without knowing the full extent. When the waitress asked us if we would like something like that and also 2-for-1 (because happy hour), we hit it right away. However, we didn't know at that time that this was a "small" 2.2 liter cocktail.

So we had just ordered 4.4 liters of cocktail - and that after we had been on our feet for 24 hours due to the early departure in Stockholm that same morning (getting up at 04:00).

Be that as it may, the fish bowl tasted really delicious and, contrary to some Caribbean combinations, it only contained a light version of alcohol. At the latest after the second came, it was more of a fight than a pleasure, because about 2 liters per person want to be drunk first.

After the "2.2 liter surprise (x2)" there was the next "excitement" when looking at the bill. Usually I always ask beforehand what certain things cost, but here I just let it be emotional - after all, it was happy hour. But then we got a little laugh when the cocktail fun alone cost us US $ 59 + tax - mind you, this would be the regular price for one of these fish bowls. Ok, maybe I should have been puzzled when the happy hour is practically 24 hours. ;-)

So be it, although I'm otherwise quite allergic to (tourist) rip-offs, we left our table pretty happy. Somehow it was worth the fun for us, because when do you get back to drinking two (completely overpriced) fish bowls in one of the most relaxed neighborhoods in the USA? Just! And that's why this around 65 US $ didn't hurt as much as I would have imagined, even for a tight holiday budget, but made us look back on a really very interesting first holiday evening.

Ocean Drive, Part 3 (by day)

The next morning we took a closer look at Ocean Drive in daylight. The numerous Art Deco buildings along the street are very impressive and, above all, beautiful to look at.

The beach at Miami Beach was also quite impressive today - thanks to the sun and the blue sky. The quality of the sand (very firm) and the water (not very clear) could not keep up with the conditions in the Caribbean at all and would be a clear disappointment for me if I only went to Miami Beach for a beach holiday.
By the way, the small Baywatch houses are very interesting on the beach and also typical of Miami.

The same applies here as mentioned above: even after 4 years, the photo motifs are still great and the colorful houses are a real eye-catcher.

South Pointe Park is located at the southern end of Miami Beach. From here you not only have a beautiful view of Fisher Island (photo above) and the southern skyscrapers of Miami Beach (photo in the middle) but also a good overview of the entire coastline (photo below).

A walk to this southern tip is definitely worth it.

Of course there is also life “next to” Ocean Drive. This is then much more normal and also not as exciting and glamorous as directly on the promenade. There is a very nicely designed pedestrian zone between 16th and 17th streets, but there was absolutely nothing going on during our visit in the morning and half of all shops were closed or empty anyway.

Directly behind and parallel to Ocean Drive is Collins Avenue. In contrast to the chic and glamor “right at the front”, everything here runs in a much more regulated manner. So on Collins Avenue there are mainly bistros, souvenir shops, down-to-earth restaurants and, among other things, a store of the brand that was opened during my last USA