This Travel Writer’s Guide To Miami focuses on a guide to travel with the specific needs of a writer in mind. A traveling writer needs to know the history, where to find inspiration, a great place to write, and a great place to lay their head. That way all your energy can funnel into creating!
Miami is known as a party destination and has what you could call a colorful history. Before all of that, in the late 1800s, the land that is now called Miami beach was just a sandbar. It wasn’t until Henry Lum and his son Charles bought the land for 15 cents per acre that it became anything more. After a failed attempt at growing coconuts, it was sold to John Collins who had better luck. He partnered with Carl Fisher to drain the swampland and fill in the land with soil to make it liveable.
Over the years it seems that Miami has attracted its fair share of criminals. As early as the mid-1900s Al Capone bought a house on Palm Island despite petitioning against it. During the early 1980s crime began to take hold on the Beach. Things were made worse by the fact that Fidel Castro was shipping over tons of prisoners.
It wasn’t until the early 1990s when Gianni Versace bought his home on South Beach and brought A-list celebrities that Miami became the place to be. Unfortunately, all that is left of the home is a tourist attraction of a restaurant after Versace was murdered on his own front steps.
It’s no surprise that Miami has inspired countless shows, books, and movies such as Scarface, Dexter, Versace, Startup, Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel, Miami Babylon by Gerald Posner, and Miami by Joan Didion.
The city is said to be built on drug money, the decor is from another era, and the people are from all over the globe. You will have no trouble finding inspiration in this strange and beautiful city, but here’s a list of some especially inspiring locations:
1. News Cafe
A place to peruse international magazines while enjoying the full bar. This cafe was frequented by Gianni Versace prior to his murder in the late 1990s.
2. Ocean Drive
There’s no better people-watching than taking a walk down Ocean Drive or having a seat at any of the beachside cafes. You’ll notice from popular films like Scarface, the strip has been virtually untouched in decades.
3. Miami Beach Boardwalk
A close second for strolling and people-watching is the boardwalk along Miami Beach
1. Shepherd Artisan Coffee
Some of the best coffee to be found in Miami is at Shepherd Artisan Coffee. A great place to set up shop at their indoor or outdoor seating
2. Carlton Room Cafe
A beautiful cafe with very comfortable seating
3. Joe & The Juice
While it is a chain, this cafe is known for being a great place to do some work in comfortable chairs with great options for food and drinks
Located at the most aesthetic hotel in Miami, The 1 Hotel, this cafe is every bit as aesthetic. A fantastic place to have coffee and set up for a day of writing.
Another beautiful hotel on the beach, there is indoor seating available as well as outside at the covered cafe by the pool. There is even a to-go coffee and snack cart located in the lobby.
Where to stay: If you absolutely never plan to go to the beach or anywhere near it then you might want to just stay in Downtown Miami or Brickel. While Uber is always readily available in Miami, just be aware that traffic and surge prices can be unbearable so you will want to stay where you want to spend most of your time. You can find nicer accommodations outside of Miami Beach, however, you won’t get nearly as much character.
Likely, you will want to settle for less just to be in this location. There are many Airbnb and hotels to stay in Miami Beach. If you can swing it then we highly recommend staying at the 1 Hotel. It is easily the most beautiful hotel in Miami with a huge amount of different locations for setting up your laptop to spend the day. If you’re staying for an extended amount of time you can even contact The Roney Palace which is are condos attached to the 1 Hotel that is usually less expensive but you will have access to all of the 1 Hotel facilities.
Getting around: Getting around Miami is incredibly easy with Uber, however you can also walk to most places. In downtown Miami there are even many electric scooters to use for a small fee. Just be aware that the traffic going across the bridge to and from Miami Beach can be very bad, especially during rush hour.
When to go: The best time to go to Miami is anywhere from late September to early May. After this time it tends to become very hot however the prices will be lower in the summer months.