With its white sands, blue waters, pulsing nightclubs, and hip vibe, Miami is one of the country’s top tourist destinations. Visitors tend to flock to the same areas along South Beach’s Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road, but not everyone appreciates the high prices, heavy traffic, and throngs of people. In fact, it’s rare to find local Miamians visiting these spots. Locals appreciate good food and a day at the beach as much as anyone, but they know where to find these things without the crowds. If you’re looking for the best of Miami without the hubbub, consider some of these top local hangouts.
Pubbelly Noodle Bar
Located in the heart of the Sunset Harbour neighborhood (where South Beach locals love to hang), Pubbelly debuted in 2010, offering small plates of Asian fusion food. Its popularity exploded, and the Pubbelly Group now has several companion Pubbelly Sushi locations, including one right next door to the noodle bar’s 20th Street address.
Cuban restaurants are a dime a dozen in Miami, but many Miamians gladly drive to the city’s outer reaches for a bite at Rio Cristal. This unassuming diner on Bird Road has a history that dates back more than four decades and a following that has remained steady throughout the years. Favorite dishes include steak topped with hand-cut fries and flan for dessert.
When Miami locals want to enjoy rooftop dining with panoramic views, they don’t head to the ritzy Juvia. Instead, they prefer Area 31 Restaurant on the 16th floor of the Epic Hotel. From the dining area, guests enjoy panoramic views of the beautiful Biscayne Bay and Miami River while feasting on a meal that includes local ingredients from the restaurant’s on-site garden.
A La Folie
Tourists don’t head to Miami thinking of crepes and French cuisine, but that’s one of the reasons locals love to dine at A La Folie, a hidden gem with the feel of a Parisian sidewalk café. Patrons sip coffee and eat homemade foie gras while French accordion music serenades them over the speakers. With a variety of crepes on the menu, the restaurant is also a popular destination for anyone looking to satisfy a sweet tooth.
South Beach is Miami’s waterfront hotspot, but not everyone loves the bustle and activity of this famous area. When locals want to stretch out on the sand, they head to North Beach, a charming vintage neighborhood with a low-stress attitude. Locals love that it isn’t full of tourists, traffic is manageable, and prices aren’t inflated. The area also has a heavy South American influence and is home to many authentic eateries like Manolo and Moises Bakery.
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