miami staycation

Have a cheap staycation in Miami

If you live in Miami, chances are you spend the majority of your week working your ass off and in never-ending traffic on I95. As depressing as that sounds, Miami can be really great if you get out of your usual routine. And it doesn’t have to cost you much. Here’s how.

Friday Night

After a long week, you need a drink. Start off your Miami staycation with two-for-one drinks at Blackbird Ordinary from 3 to 8 pm. This is one of the only times during the weekend that it won’t be incredibly packed so you can enjoy the music, the board games, and get sloshed without getting crushed by a crowd of people.

Don’t miss the signature Blackbird cocktail!

If you’re looking for an even cheaper Happy Hour, you can opt for The Bar in the Gables, where ladies drink the cheapest alcohol on earth for free until 7 pm. But the Gables has indefinitely become a desolate construction site, so Brickell might be a nicer option.

After drinks, it’s time for dinner. There are a lot of options in Brickell from casual and cheap to classy and expensive. I recommend Fado, where you can get some good Irish fare and keep your buzz going with a Guinness.

If you’re looking for an after party, Uber to Wynwood (which is now Zika-free) and enjoy the fun outdoor atmosphere of Brick House, which is now inexplicably called just Brick. The music is always great and it will probably be crowded, but not as much as Wood Tavern. If you’re looking for a calmer Friday evening, grab a table at nearby Lagniappe and enjoy wine and cheese.

wynwood miami staycation
Wynwood is also a great place to enjoy the clever street art while you bar hop.

Important note: Both Brickell and Wynwood should be avoided during Critical Mass unless you’re on a bike. Don’t let all that traffic ruin your staycation.


When you roll out of bed on Saturday morning, take advantage of Miami’s best attribute that you probably take severely for granted: the beach. The beach is an essential part of any Miami staycation. You should have a light breakfast so that you can get there early enough to find parking, and so that you’re not too bloated and full to lay out.

miami beach staycation

Pack a cooler full of beer and water and head to Miami Beach for some fun in the sun. If you intend to be there all day, I recommend bringing (or buying) a beach umbrella or a canopy, depending on how many people you’re going with. Without any shade, you’re going to last 2 to 3 hours tops. You’ll also end up with third degree sun burns.

If you’re looking for a more active day, go kayaking at Oleta River State Park. If you’re choosing that route, make sure you go early so you don’t have to wait for a kayak. Kayaks cost $25-70 to rent, making this a more expensive option. But it’s your staycation so treat yourself! Kayak out to the bay with a cooler and party with all the yachts. Take cash so you can buy ceviche from the nearby food boats (they’re called food trucks, so I’m guessing here).

miami staycation

Don’t get so wrapped up in drinking and paddling that you forget to apply sun block. This is an easy way to become a lobster.

Regardless of whether you choose the soft sand of South Beach or an outdoorsy afternoon at Oleta, you should have enough of a tan that your coworkers think you went on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas.

If you really want to party it up like you’re not from around here, go home and take a nap before getting ready for a Saturday night out at LIV or E1even. But really, who has money for that? Just throw on something that doesn’t smell like sweat and sunblock and go to Purdy Lounge. They’ll let you drink there until morning even if you’re homeless.


miami staycation

It’s Sunday. You know what that means… brunch. Don’t get too wasted. You have a full day of Miami staycation activities, and you don’t want bottomless mimosas to ruin that for you. Get nice and full on eggs benedict and chicken and waffles at Yardbird on the beach, Morgans in Wynwood, or Blue Collar on Biscayne.

After brunch, it’s time to be a real tourist. When was the last time you went to a museum in Miami? Never? Sure, who wants to pay $18 to go to Vizcaya? Well, if you get a library card, you can go for free to some of Miami’s top attractions including the Perez Art Museum, the Deering Estate, Vizcaya, the Bass Museum, Miami Children’s Museum, and the zoo.

miami staycation

The museum pass is good for two adults and two children, so you can take the whole family without spending a dime. The city is practically begging you to get some culture. So leave the Ale House for another day and take advantage.

If you go to the PAMM, you can enjoy an early dinner at Verde, which offers one of the best views in the city (even though the food leaves a lot to be desired). But if you want to cap off your weekend in true Miami fashion, have a palomilla steak at Versailles before calling it a day.

You’ll get back home on Sunday night after a fabulous Miami staycation with no unpacking to do, no jetlag, and a renewed appreciation for your beautiful city.

miami sunset

Get the GPS-guided version of this and other articles about Miami on GPSmyCity here.


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