Trek America | Me Time In Miami

miami beach photo standing outside sign

Me Time in Miami…

So I thought I’d start off with a cultural/lifestyle travel post. Writing this up whilst feeling the stinging winter chill and the typically dismal, cold British weather, it’s hard to believe that just over a month ago I was in Miami, Florida for a bit of festive fun. Writing this makes me want to go back and relive everything all over again…

I’ve been struck with a serious case of wanderlust. So at Christmas, I decided to head to the States for a unique festive experience.

I decided to indulge in a Florida and Louisiana cocktail, sprinkled with a little Alabama and Mississippi along the way.

With the mind of an adult and the same level of eagerness as a child stepping into Hamley’s for the very first time, I set off on the Florida Xmas New Orleans NYE tour with Trek America.

Here’s a bit of background on Trek America. They run various small-group adventure tours across America, Canada and even some parts of Central America for 18-38 year olds (even though for this particular tour, you had to be 21 or over).

miami art deco building hotel shelley

Before the actual tour began, I decided to spend an extra few days in Miami beforehand to do some sightseeing and of course, some shopping. On the tour itself, we couldn’t get to spend much time in Miami as it was just a meeting-up point before the journey to Key West.

miami marlin art deco building florida

After a long-haul fight and six hours transit in Detroit Wayne County Airport, Miami had already stolen my heart within a few moments of arriving.

No wonder Craig David relocated there and Will Smith recorded a catchy song about it. Miami is such an amazing place. Having a bit of free time before the tour proved to be useful as it gave me extra time to do some shopping and a bit of sightseeing.

It’s hardly surprising that it’s a film and TV producer’s ultimate hotspot for an audio-visual masterpiece.

The next morning after some much needed sleep, I took a stroll around the Collins Avenue Shopping District and Ocean Drive and did a bit of shopping in Sephora and Victoria’s Secret.

miami collins avenue victoria's secret

miami collins avenue sephora store

miami street art aldo store collins avenue

I actually  feel like starting a petition to bring Sephora to the UK as it’s basically the cosmetics equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and the promised land of any makeup maven out there.

There’s so much more to Florida than just sun, sea and sand. There’s such a huge fascinating culture and history around it.

Exploring the Art Deco District…

trek america ocean drive miami art deco district walking tour flyer

One of the best ways to familiarise yourself with the culture and background of Miami is to do the Art Deco Walking Tour. The best thing is that you don’t need reservations – just turn up and pay on the spot.

As the price of the tour included entry into the museum, I visited the museum beforehand. You’ll get to learn about everything that made Miami the fashionable place that we know it to be.

trek america ocean drive art deco welcome center, miami art deco district

art deco welcome center museum mimo architecture details

art deco welcome center barbara baer capitman

Art Deco District welcome center miami vice mannequin and photos

art deco district welcome centre 1970s display

art deco district welcome center museum 1980s display

art deco district welcome center 1990s display as if

art deco welcome center museum gianni versace

Most people will associate the Art Deco District with the cult TV show Miami Vice, as it provided the backdrop for the show. After hours of browsing through pictures of the buildings on Pinterest during lunch breaks, it felt so amazing to see them up close and personal.

art deco district tour miami beach patrol headquarters

We walked along Ocean Drive and saw some of the Art Deco District’s street art and most iconic buildings, including Park Central Hotel, the backdrop for the movie Scarface and the TV show Miami Vice, and the Breakwater Hotel. The Breakwater Hotel was the location for Calvin Klein’s iconic Obsession perfume ad in the 1980s.

miami art deco district breakwater hotel in the daytime

 

art deco district miami congress hotel

We also saw the Versace Mansion where the fashion designer Gianni Versace famously lived and where he was eventually brutally murdered on the front steps. You can only book reservations for the restaurant inside. It still has the signature Versace Medusa head on the railings.

versace mansion

versace mansion miami

If it wasn’t for the Preservation League and its founder Barbara Baer Capitman, then we would never have had these amazing candy-coloured buildings.

art deco district walking tour busy street miami

The best thing about the walking tour was that we also got to have a peek inside the interiors of some of the hotels, like The Tides for example. (FYI, no turtles were harmed during the decoration of the wall in the lobby!!)

the tides miami art deco district

the tides interiors

It’s just so difficult to believe that it was once an area being threatened with demolition. Not to mention a million miles away from the colourful, vivid, glamorous district we all know it to be today.

municipal parking art deco district walking tour

la flora hotel miami

collins avenue art deco district walking tour

We’ll always be forever thankful to Barbara for devoting her time and energy to preserving and protecting these amazing buildings, allowing us to really appreciate and recognise the value of the architecture in Miami.

the webster miami

collins avenue art deco walking tour 2

miami art deco district tudor hotel florida 11 street leonard horowitz place

Ocean Drive at nighttime in particular is so breathtaking at night as the bright neon lights and buzzing atmosphere really brings the whole district to life.

ocean drive miami at night time

art deco building on washington avenue miami south beach florida at night time

Have you ever been to Miami? What are your top suggestions for things to do in Miami? Until next time…

2 Comments

  1. 25th March 2016 / 10:59 PM

    The walking tour sounds amazing! I’ve never been to Miami but will definitely keep it in mind if I do go one day 🙂 xx

    • Laura
      9th April 2016 / 1:28 AM

      Miami is definitely a must visit place! I’d give anything to go back right now! The walking tour is amazing and so fascinating – make sure it’s on your to-do list! 🙂

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