Living in South Florida I will admit I take for granted all the Miami attractions that the out of town tourists flock to. I figured why not take a day to be a tourist in my own city. I wanted to experience what out of town people come to Miami for. The beaches, the nightlife, the beautiful weather. I was going to be a tourist for once and check out all the things to do in downtown Miami and Miami Beach.
One brisk Saturday, my son and myself bought two tickets on travel around on an open top double decker bus that departs from Downtown Miami. There were multiple routes available but we opted for the downtown Miami and Miami Beach routes, naturally. Each route was about an hour and half so it seemed like a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
The first route we took was the one for Miami Beach. We pulled out from Bayside and took I-395 into South Beach. The views of downtown were stunning. When I drive I would normally see the barrier walls and other cars. On top of the bus we had clear views of everything. Since the weekend we went was also the South Beach Food and Wine festival the traffic was quite heavy which worked out great for me as it gave me more time to compose my photos as the bus idled in traffic.
While the majority of tourists flock to South Beach for the beautiful beaches as well as people and the trendy restaurants my love for South Beach has always been the Art Deco architecture that adorns the streets. The colors, the patterns and the style has always been fascinating for me. While on the bus I was able to see the Art Deco from a different vantage point and really find new ways to appreciate it.
The bus made it’s way through the crowded South Beach streets. We meandered through Washington Street and Collins Ave mostly. The bus worked it’s way from 5th street all the way up to 45th street before turning around. It was a pleasant trip around Miami Beach and we were ready for what the downtown tour had to offer.
Lucky for us the downtown tour was on the same bus and we didn’t have to disembark and wait for another bus to arrive. The bad part was that the clouds were beginning to become thick and blocking the sun and making a brisk day even brisker. It was chilly when we were on the highway and the wind was slapping us in the face. Typical South Floridian, the weather gets to be 65 degrees and it’s too called.
The interesting part about the downtown route was that it would bring us by buildings that I did not know even existed. These buildings are some spectacular architecture and I’ve lived here since 1993 and I didn’t even know about these buildings. So much for a local knowing everything about the town they live in.
The trip through downtown was brief as we headed through Coconut Grove and then through Coral Gables. We drove by the beautiful Biltmore Hotel and by beautiful homes with lush and vast greenery. The type of homes I would buy when I win the lottery. The last leg of the downtown route was through the fabled Little Havana neighborhood, more specifically Calle Ocho. We went by Domino Park and by all the smells of the Latin food being cooked as well as the Latin music echoing through the neighborhood. It was a nice way to wrap up the day.
It was fun being a tourist in my own city for the day. I was able to see Miami and South Beach in a different way and it made me appreciate my home that much more. If you ever have the opportunity to be a tourist in your city, I recommend it. I’m sure you’ll learn something new.