24 hours in Miami in the time of Omicron
February 9, 2022 1:12 AM   Subscribe

I unexpectedly have 24 free hours in Miami on Monday. I'm boosted and have N95s but am still relatively risk averse when it comes to spending time in enclosed space with people who aren't wearing masks. What might be a good set of activities to consider? I will be by myself and not have a car.

I will have late Monday afternoon/evening and Tuesday morning/early afternoon available. I generally like art and nature stuff.

The Perez Art Museum, Vizcaya, Wolfsonian, Coral Castle, and ICA will be closed.

Frost Science is something I might be interested in during a normal year but probably not during the pandemic.

It looks like Wynwood Walls, Erotic Art, and Art Deco Museums will be open.

I would do a food tour but I'm not interested in eating indoors at this point unless you know of one that is outside focused. Any suggestions for a nice meal that will both be open Monday night and have outdoor dining? Most the the places on one the Eater lists I went through are closed on Monday. La Mar is one of the few that is open and has outdoor seating. Fine dining is of interest but fabulous Cuban would also be fine. I enjoy just about everything other than most seafood.

Le Jardinier might be an option for lunch Tuesday if I don't do something fancy Monday night.

Is there a practical way to do a day trip to the Everglades without a car and without a ton of Covid exposure?

The beach is, of course, the easy fallback plan.

Bonus question - what's the best way to get from FLL to near the south side of Miami Beach these days? I see I can take the Tri-Rail from FLL to MIA and then grab a cab to my destination. Given that I'll have luggage with me to wrangle and will eventually have to take a cab regardless, is it worth just picking one up at FLL and doing a direct trip?
posted by Candleman to Travel & Transportation around Miami, FL (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Any suggestions for a nice meal that will both be open Monday night and have outdoor dining?

You'd have to check to see if it is open, but the last time I was in Miami Beach, I went to an Israeli (specificlally: "Tel Avivian") restaurant called Abbalé that was excellent. They had a small outdoor patio. Their location is great for a starting or ending point in the South Beach area too.
posted by theorique at 5:33 AM on February 9, 2022

You could rent a kayak in Oleta River State Park and paddle through the mangroves. The park is on the north side of the city, so taking a cab or Lyft to get there wouldn't be super expensive. You'd probably still have to pay the $6 vehicle entrance fee, though.

If you fall back to the beach option, you might consider heading down to the southern tip of Key Biscayne where Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is located. The beaches there tend to be somewhat quieter, with less of a party atmosphere compared to Miami Beach. Also you won't have to contend with the annoyingly loud prop planes flying back and forth just offshore, pulling aerial banners advertising nightclubs.

Unless you sign up for an expensive tour, the Everglades will not be possible without a car.

The restaurant scene has probably changed a bit since I lived there a few years ago, but a couple of my favorites with outdoor dining options are Ariete in Coconut Grove and Michael's Genuine Food and Drink in the Design District.

I tried to make public transport work for me as much as possible when I lived in Miami, truly. Getting from FLL to Miami Beach by train (Tri-Rail and Brightline) is one of those things that seems doable on paper, but just ends up being a waste of time. If you can afford other options, I'd recommend getting a cab directly from the airport to your hotel ($75-ish), or a shuttle service ($25-ish).

If the train is something you really want to do, the better of the two for your purposes is probably Tri-Rail. First you'll need to take the free shuttle bus from FLL to the actual FLL train station. Then take the train to the MIA Airport Station. Then transfer to the Miami Beach Airport Express Bus (aka bus route #150, aka the Airport Flyer). This is actually a great bus. It runs every 20 minutes and does't make any stops between MIA and the Beach. Once you get to the Beach, it can drop you very close to your hotel as long as it's south of 41st Street and on the ocean side (as opposed to the bay side).
posted by theory at 5:51 AM on February 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

If the weather's good, I'd recommend Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. There's plenty to see outdoors in almost any season. However, it looks a bit of a pain to get to without a car. Starting from the South Miami Metrorail Station you have to take a bus (#57) and STILL walk 1.7 miles from the closest bus stop. (Route #136 goes right by it but doesn't have midday service, just mornings & evenings). Ride hailing from the Metrorail station would likely work better, it's only a 3.3 mile drive.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 6:33 AM on February 9, 2022

Is the local art preservation group still doing tours of all of the art deco buildings near the beach? If so, definitely check it out.
posted by ElKevbo at 6:53 AM on February 9, 2022

It was a long time ago that I was in Miami Beach, but I will say that sitting at a hotel pool bar with views of the ocean, sipping an umbrella drink while reading a book was very delightful.
posted by mmascolino at 7:42 AM on February 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

I rented a Revel scooter/moped with the app to drive around Wynwood Walls, and loved it. It was about $6 to register and took a few minutes, and then you pay by the minute
posted by andrewzipp at 8:50 AM on February 9, 2022

I did this recently for a quick 1-day trip. We went to Little Havana and ate, shopped at the farmer's market (Saturday only), ate more in Little Havana, swam at Cape Florida State Park, cleaned up, had a drink and watched the sunset at the Biltmore Hotel, had a sushi dinner at Makoto (open Mondays and a great experience). We ate using outdoor seating, and Makoto had the option to eat in the open-air atrium.

For Cuban food, you cannot go wrong with Cuban bakeries, especially for lunch or breakfast. I would recommend Gran Paris, Miramar, or Vicky Bakery. El Palacio de Jugos has locations all over Miami; they have amazing fruit juices, good croquettes, and a really nice cafeteria-style spread. There is Cuban fine dining for sure, but the food is better at the local dives.

If you want to go to the Glades I would definitely rent a car.
posted by Alison at 10:04 AM on February 9, 2022 [1 favorite]

Wynnwood is one of the most lovely places I've ever been to. It's packed with food options, too.
posted by foxtongue at 5:23 PM on February 9, 2022

superblue is open! it's an amazing tech+art exhibit from the teamlab geniuses. be sure to add the "massless clouds" experience... i went in having no idea what it was, and it turned out to be the best part.
posted by bruceo at 1:21 PM on February 10, 2022

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