For those of you who have never been, Miami is a once in a lifetime experience. The different cultures blending into the area accompanied by the free spirit of the city itself (which may or may not have something to do with the drug money helping fund the initial infrastructure. But Vegas did. the same and everyone loves this place!) makes Miami feel unique compared to almost every other city you can visit.
Ideally, I recommend spending more than a weekend in Miami to fully enjoy the city. For a Georgia Tech game, you’ll probably spend more time traveling than you think once you get here, for reasons I’ll explain shortly. Try to plan accordingly and be prepared for long evenings.
How to travel: Getting to Miami
The problem with traveling for a game in Miami is that there are three places you can target as part of your trip. There’s Coral Gables, where the University of Miami campus is located. There is the city of Miami itself (which is expanding and dividing in its own way). Finally, there’s the Hard Rock Stadium, which is technically closer to Fort Lauderdale than it is to Miami.
My first comment would be to avoid the campus. Usually this blog wants to highlight the unique sites of other school campuses, but Miami is the exception. Coral Gables is a private community, which means parking nearby is hard to find without a permit. Additionally, campus security is generally not important by letting random people who are not students roam the campus. There are ways around this, like going on a tour, but it might be more difficult than it’s worth. With this we will focus on the city and the stadium.
Flights from Atlanta to Miami are pretty darn cheap. In the fall (off season for Miami) most, if not all, tickets are under $ 150, with airlines like Spirit and Frontier even offering flights for under $ 100, just keep in mind. that the flight may be a little less comfortable for the price drop. Fort Lauderdale costs about the same for flights, so if you want to stay closer to the stadium, you need to book your flight and stay there.
The drive from Atlanta to Miami takes 9Â½ hours without stopping if you take the Florida Turnpike which will cost you a few extra bucks. The other option is to go straight on I-95 which takes 10.5 hours to drive. This will leave you with a car, but if you are only staying on weekends it will probably be too exhausting to cover the entire round trip distance.
In that case, I absolutely recommend taking the flight and finding transportation when you get into town. There are many inexpensive carpools out there where you can hire a car with the expense you save on the flight.
Accommodation: Fort Lauderdale or Miami
Miami is a big city, so instead of focusing on specific hotels, we’re talking about places in the city to stay.
South Beach is Miami’s big name neighborhood. This is the beach that appears in the movies set in Miami. It’s not the most family-friendly place, with topless areas and strip clubs nearby, but it’s definitely a tourist attraction for some segments of the population. The beach is beautiful, lots of restaurants and bars, lots of nightlife. Staying on South Beach is surprisingly inexpensive in the fall. Hotels range from $ 60 to $ 150 per night. Most of them are older properties that don’t offer much beyond the room you’re staying in, but if you want the ‘Hollywood’ style Miami experience (don’t confuse it? along with the Hollywood neighborhood of Miami), this is the place to stay.
Wynwood is a good option for a more hipster vibe in Miami. It is the arts district with many unique cafes, restaurants and brasseries. Airbnbs are more available in this area, but hotels will start at around $ 100.
If you decide to stay in Fort Lauderdale to be closer to the game, this is more of the traditional tourist spot. Many chain restaurant establishments with beautiful beach walks nearby. Hotels near the airport offer affordable options starting at around $ 100 per night. Fort Lauderdale has a bit of it all, but is definitely still geared towards an adult audience.
The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is close to the Hard Rock Stadium. Staying at the hotel is like staying at an all-inclusive resort. The Hard Rock offers shows, restaurants, clubs, bars and other attractions on campus. It is probably the best stay for the game, but also the most expensive. Staying at the Hardrock Hotel over the weekend can cost you up to $ 700 a night. Maybe if you feel like yourself you can earn enough at the casino to cover the cost, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Las Olas beach and boulevard are more suitable for families. This area is further north in Fort Lauderdale, it includes discovery museums, a nature reserve, and a beach near an inland canal. Honestly, I don’t have a lot of experience in the area, but I’ve heard this is one of the best places to stay if you want a great family experience in Miami.
Must see: City of Miami
One of the essential things to remember about Miami is that it is a city of different cultures due to the ports and its location near the islands of the Gulf of Mexico. That said, if you or one of your fellow travelers can speak Spanish, it will help you see a side of Miami that you wouldn’t normally know. I was also told that knowing Cuban slang is also beneficial.
Since I don’t speak Spanish and my translator Grant isn’t there to help me, I’m going to completely screw up some of these words as I type.
If you are looking for good Cuban food, try the Versailles restaurant or La Carreta for the traditional Cuban. Versailles is one of the most famous places in the city. Apparently when people head to Versailles after a big Heat win, then they can get some coffee and some food. Carreta is a chain, but it’s a well-known chain that prides itself on its Cuban cuisine.
Speaking of Cuban cuisine, there are many cafes in the area that specialize in Cuban pastries and coffee. Be especially on the lookout for Pastelitos, Quesitos, and Cafe con Leche for a more traditional Cuban morning experience.
If that’s not your thing, you can always check out Mojo’s Donuts in Miami and Salty Donuts in Fort Lauderdale. These are some of the high quality donut places similar to Sublime donuts in their quality.
Getting back to natural beauty, Virginia Key and Crandon Park are worth a visit just south of Miami. This offers many outdoor activities besides going to the beach or walking in nature. golfing, swimming, kayaking and fishing are all popular in the area.
If you can sit down, try Joe’s Stone Crab off South Beach. This is one of the biggest restaurants in America (not in terms of a chain, the restaurant itself is just huge). Despite this, Joe’s is always busy and is one of the best seafood restaurants in the area.
As previously stated, Wynwood offers you breweries, bars, restaurants and artwork. Just spending time walking around the Wynwood area could keep you busy for your entire trip.
You will need a parking pass if you want to get to the stadium itself. the car park opens as the day progresses, only certain sections will open as the morning progresses. The stadium is full of bars and restaurants nearby. Try El Rey des las Fritas if you find them for a good burger with mixed Cuban pulled pork.
The stadium has sections 122, 153 and 154 listed as being for visitors. Try to get tickets in this area, although I’ve found that just because you’re sitting in this area doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be surrounded by rowdy Miami fans. Either way, try to enjoy your gaming experience and your experience in Miami itself. Have a good week, Go Jackets !!!