Having fun in the winter sun: A guide to Miami

Written by layla haidrani

Beautiful people, cool clubs and lai

Beautiful people, cool clubs and laid-back vibes, Miami has a reputation all over the world. Lucky enough to live here for the past four months as I’ve been on a study abroad exchange at the University of Miami, it’s not hard to see why. Sexy, captivating and charismatic, this vibrant city is an ideal destination for sun worshippers, clubbers and those seeking to soak up Miami’s laid-back vibes.

But the Miami lifestyle is so much more than partying and sunbathing – fans of fashion and art will be spoilt for choice. Here is my guide to exploring the sexiest city in the world.


Spend a few days topping up your tan on South Beach. There are plenty of water activities to do or if you’re feeling lazy, just sit back and watch all the beautiful people. If you prefer a quieter area, head to North Beach for a guaranteed lounging spot. Alternatively, Key Biscayne is one of the nation’s finest beaches and is perfect for a family day out.


Nikki Beach, described by the London Observer as the ‘sexiest place on earth’, is a South Beach party playground for visitors. During the day, drink cocktails and eat its famous Sunday brunch and during sunset, it turns into a VIP club where people dance on the beach. 


Top tip: Parking is a nightmare in South Beach so either head early or use public transportation.



Miami’s nightlife has an international reputation and it’s not hard to see why. If you’re a fan of EDM (Electronic dance music) you’re in luck, Miami is home to the most famous EDM artists who regularly play in its clubs.

If you fancy upmarket clubbing, ensure to visit LIV situated in the Fontainebleau Hotel, voted one of the best nightclubs in the world. Story and Mansion also boast great artists, a great crowd and beautiful people. Additionally, Club 50 is located in the swanky Viceroy hotel in Brickell, boasting spectacular views of the city visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows or on the pool deck. Beware, drinks don’t come cheap!


Music junkies will be sure not to be disappointed with Miami’s under-the-radar Miami nightlife scene. Bardot, described by Miami New Times as the number one bar in Wynwood, is a smoky, intimate venue with killer music and a fabulous ambience. It’s my favourite place in Miami – don’t leave town without taking a trip here! Electric Pickle is also a must-visit – featuring international artists and local music, it’s famed for its leading underground house music. If you’re a student and fancy cheaper drinks, head to Coconut Grove on Tuesday and Thursday nights and mingle with University of Miami’s beautiful crowd.


Top tip: South Beach is the best place to party where you’ll find the coolest bars and clubs. Soak in the beautiful people of Miami with an electric ambience second to none. Miami have a very strict over 21s policy so don’t leave your ID at home.





Fans of fashion should ensure to visit Bal Harbour, the South’s capital of high couture shops. The equivalent to LA’s Rodeo Drive, Miami’s Bal Harbour shops boasts designer boutiques such as Chanel, Jimmy Choo and Oscar de La Renta. The trendy Miami Design District also boasts upscale designer stores as well as furniture stores. Make sure to visit Louis Vuitton for its stand-out graffiti walls and safari chic interiors. If you can’t shop in the Miami heat, malls are probably your best bet. There are many malls situated around Miami including Aventura, Dadeland, Merrick Park and Sunset. Aventura boasts a two-story Forever 21 and an exclusive Lebron James UNKWN store. Cocowalk, situated in Coconut Grove, houses over thirty stores, a movie theatre and multiple restaurants.  


Top tip: The best place for outdoor shopping is Collins Avenue and Lincoln Avenue, located directly on South Beach. Lie on the beach and tan in the morning, drink a huge cocktail (or three) at one of the many restaurants situated on the beach and people-watch before heading to Collins and Lincoln for a huge shopping splurge.





Zoo Miami located in Kendall is the only tropical zoo in the US, housing elephants, hyenas, gorrilas and flamingos among its 2,000 animals. Feed the giraffes yourself and rent a bicycle to take you around. The Miami Seaquarium is also a fun family day out with exhibits including the Dolphin Show.

Miami has a thriving arts scene – Wnywood boasts one of the world’s largest outdoor street collections. There are several walking and art gallery tours in Miami. Every Second Saturday of every month in Wynwood is the evening Art Walk featuring openings at art galleries and art institutions where thousands of people crowd the streets to have a great night out and enjoy the Miami Art Scene. There is also the daily Art Deco District Walking Tour on Miami Beach. If you’re in Miami during December-January, ensure to check out Art Basel Miami.


Sport is huge in Miami – if you’re in town during the football season (winter) make sure to attend a game at Sun Life Stadium and watch the Miami Hurricanes, University of Miami’s football team. Tailgating with the locals (partying, drinking and eating fried foods) before the game is an absolute must. The Miami Dolphins, the national football team, also play at Sun Life. Buy tickets and cheer them on for some Sunday Funday football.


American Airlines Arena is home to the world-famous Miami Heat, reigning champions of the NBA, playing in their home court. The Arena also attracts big name performers such as Drake, Macklemore and Beyoncé to name but a few.


If you have time, make sure to check out University of Miami, Florida’s number one university – at a whopping $60,000 a year to attend, it’s one of the priciest universities in the world. With picturesque views and a university campus that rivals a beach resort, you’ll wish you attended university here!

Top tip: if you’re on a short visit, ensure to take a Miami sightseeing bus tour to take in the city’s best views. The bus tour also travels to Millionaire’s Row and Fisher Island, the priciest postcode in the entire world.


Getting out of the city


If you want a break from Miami, there are plenty of other things to do outside the main city. Orlando, four hours away, is home to Disneyland and Fort Lauderdale is home to the Everglades Holiday Park where you take an exciting airboat ride to the country’s largest subtropical wilderness. The river of grass is home to alligators and other wildlife including the Florida panther.


Miami’s Sea Port also offers cruises to stunning destinations including Jamaica, Dominican Republic and the Bahamas in just a few hours. I spent Fall Break in the Bahamas, soaking up beautiful scorching temperatures instead of shivering in a poorly heated student house!


Top tip: If you’re in Miami for a few days and pressed for time, you can still do a one-day trip to the Bahamas.


So if you’re looking for a destination with gorgeous weather, endless beaches and a lively nightlife, look no further than Miami! It’s little wonder that some people never leave…