Miami: Packing, Buying, Eating, Visiting

This time of year when you’re utterly over the cold and just need some warmth and sunshine in your life, Miami is the ultimate destination from New York. Direct flight, only a couple hours of travel and you stay in the same timezone—all the makings of a quick weekend escape to a few amazing days of summer. I was lucky enough to make this exact trip a few weeks ago. As I hear of more and more people making this escape, I’m sharing my favorite spots to visit, places to eat + drink, and of course my outfits to make the most of your weekend. First up, my packing must-haves!

What to pack

Going somewhere in a completely different season usually throws me for a loop. Here I am snuggled in chunky sweaters packing bikinis. It takes a major brain shift and usually results in my overpacking. I did manage to fit everything into my carryon, but I also ended up doing some shopping (next section!)…it was my birthday after all!

Below are some items I couldn’t have gone to Miami without. Also check out my shots below to see my entire packing list.

Beach Essentials

When I’m home I have a massive beach bag tote that I stuff with my sunblock, a good book and fluffy towel. When you’re flying to a beach location, you don’t have the same luxury of bringing everything, so time to get creative. This is where my new BAGGU came in. It starts off as a tiny square that takes up no room in my suitcase and unfolds into the perfect size bag to carry my essentials to the beach. This is my third BAGGU bag. You know it had to be magenta!

Swimsuits and I have had a love-hate relationship over the years, so I decided to try a new retailer this time around to lean closer to the love side! A friend recommended Aerie and I was pleasantly surprised to find so many styles I really loved and at very reasonable prices. My favorite part of the Aerie website is that they use real girl models to see how the suit looks on multiple body types. Because of this, I felt great about ordering this wrap-around one-piece. I particularly like that I can get the perfect fit in the bust by adjusting the tie.

Movie Night

What I love about Miami is that anything goes. Thong bikinis, neon colors, midriff baring everything…it’s all fair game. Admittedly, I also found this quite daunting when packing, especially trying to pick a dress for the opening night party for the Miami Film Festival. I didn’t know how fancy the party would get, so I chose a dress that would work with anything from sneakers to flats to heels and the associated accessories for each. The wrap style of this dress is universally flattering , and it comes in almost a dozen colors. From day to night in the most versatile dress of the trip! Shop it below.

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What I bought

Once I got the vibe for Miami, of course I wanted to do some shopping. I ended up doing the most damage in Madewell. Their spring collection is dangerous because I want it all. I walked out with three items I wore later in the trip:

Birthday Present to Myself

This requires a brief back story. When I made my investment purchase last year, I received a gift card for Neiman Marcus. I knew immediately what I would use it for: a Gucci belt! It’s something I’d likely not buy for myself unless I’d had the gift card. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it in stock in my size anywhere near me for months. I checked the stock in Miami upon arrival and found my size! How perfect to finally get my belt my birthday weekend.


Where I Visited

Lincoln Road

Our hotel was right in the heart of South Beach and walking distance to Lincoln Road, which is where we headed after landing and spent the vast majority of our time for all things eating, drinking and shopping. If you’re from the Northeast, I’d compare it to an outdoor mall with tons of outdoor eating options, your standard slew of mainstream mall stores and the most amazing people watching ever. I was happy our hotel was within walking distance so I’d also know I could do some damage eating, drinking or shopping here!

Design District 

On the first full day in Miami we did lots of exploring. I was lucky enough to have an awesome local to show me around and happily take photos! Our first stop was the beautiful Design District full of super upscale stores and adorable cafes. The architecture is stunning and the sights were picturesque at every turn. Blogger heaven here. It’s a great place for a stroll, bite to eat and a few photos. This is a drive out of South Beach to Miami Proper (we Ubered just about everywhere, which was easy and cheap) but worth the trip.

Wynwood Walls

Next stop was one of my favorites. Wynwood Walls is a collection of urban graffiti art that you can walk amongst. Each wall tells a story from some of the best in class artists that have created pieces. Across the street from the main walls display is the cutest boutique full of local jewelry and other creations. We spent lots of time in here and I walked out with two pairs of earring that screamed Miami—I’m wearing the pink tassels below! We also ate amongst the art, sitting outside at the Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.  


Where I Ate

Night out with friends

One of the funnest nights we had started at the Broken Shaker. In a town that can be described as over the top, I loved the chill, laid back vibes of the loungey backyard. They also had amazing cocktails; I got the best Paloma of the trip here! We sat poolside, sipped cocktails and laughed loudly for a couple of hours before we set off for dinner.

We took a short Uber ride to Espanola Way, which I knew was going to be amazing the moment we got out of the car and saw the celebration in the street. Similar to Stone Street in downtown Manhattan, multiple restaurants have seating that take over the street and create a fun dinner vibe. We had just enough to drink to join in with the napkin swinging and cheering before we sat down to an amazing Mexican dinner at Oh! Mexico.

We finished off the night with one more cocktail at the Loews a short walk from Espanola Way. In fact, I turned 33 at midnight sitting at Bar Collins!


Birthday Brunch

I’ve learned that many of the fancy hotels on South Beach are also amazing food destinations. My plan on my birthday was to brunch with the hubs outdoors. We strolled down Lincoln Road yet again and headed to the National hotel for brunch by the pool. Amazing view and delicious food to start my birthday off right. Does that button down cami + belt + jeans look familiar?!

Date night

For my birthday dinner we started at Smith and Wollensky for drinks. Walk through the restaurant to the bar on the water for beautiful views. Bonus points if the boats are coming in/going out while you’re there.  As it got closer to your dinner reservation we strolled through the park towards my favorite restaurant in Miami a short distance away.

Seriously, don’t eat anything all day then gorge yourself on the largest portions of the most delicious foods at Prime Italian. The cheesy bread they serve upon arrival is to die for and the main reason I’ve never finished a meal here. 


Now you’re all set to book your own Miami getaway! Share your favorite places and packing lists with me so I have another reason to go visit soon!

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