Take yourself on a vacation…to Miami! The joy of living in Miami is multilayered. You don’t have to wait for a friend to visit or a relative to come to the Magic City to live it up. Take yourself on a “staycation” and explore beyond what you already appreciate about Miami. Leave the limits of your comfort zone and try something new even if it’s just for a couple of hours and discover new places. Here are some great ways to feel like you’re on vacation in your own backyard:

Research

First thing I do when planning a trip is research. Check out some of our local maps designed by Miami illustrator, Beth Rhodes and custom made by Culture Crusaders. Have you been to Little River recently? Have you explored the newest museums in Design District? When was the last time you walked around Downtown or headed to one of the many parks in Coconut Grove?

Feast Local

Second thing I do when traveling is go where the locals go. Steer clear of tourists and shoppers anonymous and do as the locals do. Miami Spice is currently happening and the best way to make the most out of your vacation time in the 305 is to go to the swankiest hotel of them all and have a 5-star meal for $23. Read our reviews and devour the best dishes Miami has to offer.

Photo by Mandolin

Change Your Outlook

Look at Miami from a different perspective; explore a neighborhood you don’t get to frequent. Coral Gables resembles some European destinations; the size is relatively on the smaller side, but the old town feeling is historic and worth walking around. Find new spots, new adventures, new perspectives, new food, a culture you haven’t gotten to know that much about, try a dance you’ve been wanting to try out on Giralda Plaza. For this experience, Calle Ocho is ideal with its salsa flare and Cuban heritage.

Photo by FujiFilmGirl

Discover New Cultures

If you’re looking for artists’ studios, spicy food and Haitian culture, go to Little Haiti for lunch and to purchase a souvenir a.k.a. art work. You might as well splurge on contemporary art work before Art Basel crowds get their first-class flights from three time-zones away. They have nothing on us locals since we get ocean views, cultural activities and all of the above all year-round. You can even take in something different in Little Haiti with the many dance opportunities at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex.

Photo: Trip Savvy

Get a Good Read

Step inside Books & Books and get lost in the different rooms full of books to read. The local bookstore owner records the podcast, The Literary Life with Mitchell Kaplan at the Coral Gables location. The podcast is a gift to locals who care so much about all the authors whose books are available at Books & Books. For years, I have been purchasing books from my favorite local bookstore and buying the recommendations by the booksellers on staff. Recently, I’ve bought the books of author’s that have been on the podcast. It’s a great insider’s way of getting the best recommendations. I’m currently reading Autumn Light by Pico Iver who was on the podcast. Check out the recommendation’s wall at each location or on their website and tune into the podcast. You may still be home in Miami, but pick up a book and let your mind travel far far away.

Photo: FujiFilmGirl

Take Advantage of the Activities

Take solace in knowing we live where others vacation. The crême de la crême of hotels happen to be in Miami. They are attached with a dollar sign too many, but as a local you should know of the benefits of weekly activities that are affordable to all. 1Hotel has been voted number one hotel in the world and they have some of the best activities in the city. A couple of months ago I participated in a free yoga class at the Ritz Carlton in Key Biscayne and they gift yoga mats, yoga pants and other goodies. Lululemon also holds free running clubs every week at their many locations in Miami. Beginners to experts can walk, jog or train hard with this group. Their events are amazing; Run club include bites by Dirt, Reset Cryothreapy and you get to join a local community. Check their different events out on Eventbrite, Project: Run Miami or find their bulletin boards inside their stores with events from bootcamps, yoga, running and more. Give a local a hotel name of your dreams and they’ll tell you the best activities you can partake in on any given day.

Photo: The New Tropic

Explore the Streets

Last but certainly not least, sightsee. You may have become accustomed to seeing sights with a peripheral vision while driving around, but during your staycation take a better look at Art Deco. Visit the Art Deco Historic District and check into the 1930s Miami hotels. If it weren’t for local heroes at the Miami Design Preservation League we wouldn’t have much history to gloat about. “The Unsung Women of Art Deco” is just one of the monthly talks they give and should be on your calendar of new things to attend. There are so many ways to enjoy every inch of Miami. It belongs to all of us, so treat yourself. Live it up with a piña colada or mojito, invite your friends to join you for a spa session, paddle board from The Standard, Modern OM mediation at Faena, yoga at The Mondrian.

Photo: Matador Network

One more piece of advice, if you are living in Miami and never get to go to the beach, go to the beach. If you are living in the same district as a museum and still haven’t been to the current exhibition, go see it! Don’t put off seeing a local’s side of Miami anymore and withhold complaints that there’s nothing to do here. Stop and think how lucky we are to call Miami home.

Cover photo: Miami in Focus.