South Beach Miami on a Budget
If you are a visitor like me, every time you go to South Beach Miami, you will discover something new. This time it is a Hop On Hop Off Tour of Miami.
The Hop On Hop Off tour is, actually, a brilliant idea, perfect for a city like Miami. Miami is very spread, and you need a car to visit different places.
Just buy a ticket at any hotel in South Beach for one flat fee. The ticket is valid for two days and allows you can hop on a bus and hop off the bus on any stop.
Usually, buses run every 30 minutes. The tour allows you to stop and walk around many areas which you would have missed with a regular three hours Sightseeing Miami Tour. The bus makes many stops in South Beach Miami, so the chances are the stop is in front of your hotel or the hotel next door.
On my Hop On – Hop Off tour, I decided to stop, explore and take pictures of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Little Havana, Coconut Grove Coco Walk, and Virginia Key Beach Park.
Built in 1924, the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables is very exquisite. This hotel is known for its Mediterranean architecture, hand-painted frescoes, and brilliant travertine floors.
Before WWII, the hotel was hosting royalty of both the European and Hollywood variety and attracting many jazz lovers. During WWII, the Biltmore was converted into a large military hospital. The hotel went through a full restoration in 1983.
Today the Biltmore hotel is known for a great place to hold a business conference, a place to play golf or maybe both.
Every Sunday after 1 PM, the hotel offers free tours.
Little Havana today has many cute art galleries that display the art – paintings, wooden sculptures, murals of Cuban artists.
I spent there at least an hour walking from one gallery to another and enjoying very authentic art.
At Little Havana, you can eat authentic Cuban food, have a drink, or browse the art galleries.
Famous Domino Park is a place where you can watch people playing Domino. They play very seriously, by the way. They play to win.
The Coconut Grove Coco Walk is a lovely place to visit. You can find at Coconut Grove many elegant shops and a real books store – so rear these days. Or you can sit on a bench and watch the crowd. Coconut Grove is a very relaxing and elegant place to spend an hour or two.
Located next to Miami Seaquarium, Virginia Key Beach Park is the beach where local people go to spend a day.
Many Miami residents feel that South Beach of Miami is very commercial or suitable only for party-goers.
The Virginia Key Beach Park is different. It's a very laid-back place.
At Virginia Key Beach Park, you can rent a canoe or a motorboat, bring your food and eat lunch on fresh air, swim in the ocean, or relax. Plus, there are many hiking trails around.
The Wynwood Walls is an upcoming area where many artists have their studios in the old factory buildings or warehouses.
The Wynwood Walls area is still searching for its identity. Yet, overall the Wynwood Walls is known for its graffiti art on the walls, unique art galleries, cute coffee shops, and super expensive condominiums.
1. Bring with you a suntan lotion on a Hop On Hop Off Tour bus, at least 30 SPF or more - you will be sitting on the top of the bus, and you will be exposed to the direct sun plus, sometimes, the wind a lot.
2. There two buses involved – one that goes around Miami Beach and the City of Miami and another that goes to Brickell/Miami Seaquarium and Wynwood. They both stop at the Bayside Main Station, but in different places.
If you came from South Beach Miami, you have to walk a long block back to get to the bus going to Brickell/Miami Seaquarium, Virginia Key Beach Park, and Wynwood. Your ticket is valid on both coaches, just be prepared that they don't stop at the same place.
3. It is always good to be prepared. Before the tour, get a Miami Hop On Hop Off map at your hotel and select the places that interest you.
There are close to 40 stops between the two bus lines.
Where do you want to stop?
Overall, the Hop On Hop Off Tour of Miami is a good thing, and I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about Miami. I felt that the money I spent on the Hop On Hop Off Tour ticket very well spent.
By Jessica Gale, hipstyleandvalue.com