How to Experience Miami Beach Like a Local

When most travelers picture an escape to Miami Beach’s sun-soaked shores, they probably envision South Beach, the region’s indisputable tourist hub. What few fail to realize is that SoBe is clogged with visitors, and what they find is often a cross between MTV’s Jersey Shore and a bad episode of the Real Housewives. Picture a sea of $50 margaritas (no exaggeration), drunken shenanigans and frat bros driving rental Ferraris.

If your ideal beach vacation involves a decidedly more chill scenario, consider a stay in North Beach, just a few miles north (imagine that!) of South Beach. The oceanfront neighborhood lies a mere 15-minute drive from the thrum of SoBe, between 63rd Street and 87th Terrace, but feels a world away.

The stretch of beach here is classic Miami: wide swaths of soft, white sand, sparkling turquoise waves and lined with small, grass-covered dunes. You can stroll a palm tree-lined promenade, and play volleyball at the sand courts along 73rd Street.

It’s largely a residential hub, and prominently Latin American — Spanish is the first language of most people you’ll meet. Though there aren’t as many hotels as you’d find in South Beach, the Hilton Cabana Miami Beach is an excellent bet (with a fab beachfront bar), The Carillon is a luxe respite with an amazing spa, and the many apartment buildings contain Airbnb rental units.

Hilton Cabana Miami Beach, Florida

Valerie Conners

You won’t go hungry in the ‘hood. Within a 5-block stretch, you’ll encounter Argentinean, Colombian, Peruvian, Cuban, Mexican, Ecuadorian and Brazilian restaurants — plus a juice bar, sushi and Chinese takeaway. Don’t leave North Beach without a visit to these neighborhood highlights:

Buenos Aires Bakery

This authentic Argentinian bakery is a neighborhood staple and buzzes from early morning until closing with chatty locals. Pop in for a strong cafecito and a small, sweet croissant called a medialuna. If you visit on a Saturday or Sunday, prepare to take a number and wait to order. It’s totally worth it.

Lou’s Beer Garden

Skip the nearby (and decidedly shady) On the Rocks bar, and seek out Lou’s Beer Garden, a cocktail and craft brew oasis. Tucked behind a boutique hotel, you’ll be wooed by the lights draped across the patio, firepits and an excellent music playlist. Hungry? Order from a complete menu, though the pizzas are a definite win.

North Beach, Miami, Florida

Valerie Conners

Sazon

When the urge to eat too much Cuban food comes calling — and in Miami, that feeling is inevitable — Sazon satisfies your craving with hearty portions and reasonable prices. Order the Pan Con Lechon Desmenuzado sandwich, a pile of shredded pork, sauteed onions and garlic marinade on Cuban bread. It’s la bomba.

North Beach Bandshell

Recently taken over by Miami’s Rhythm Foundation, the North Beach Bandshell has morphed into a hipster hub. Concerts and events are held almost nightly, like the monthly Dance Band Nights and food truck gatherings, plus performances by indie bands, like Beirut.

O Cinema

Get a cinematic culture fix at O Cinema, which shows indie films and documentaries. The best part? You can order wine or beer, as well as snacks, to enjoy during the movie.

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On TV

Food Paradise

Food Paradise: Deli Paradise

8am | 7c

Food Paradise

Food Paradise: Chili

9am | 8c

Food Paradise

Sausage Paradise

10am | 9c

Food Paradise

Food Paradise: Buffet Paradise

11am | 10c

Food Paradise

Food Paradise: Deep Fried Paradise 3

12pm | 11c

Mysteries at the Castle

Faust, Pirate Queen, First Versailles

1pm | 12c

Mysteries at the Castle

Irish Art Heist, Dickens Affair, Prince of Porcelain

2pm | 1c

Mysteries at the Castle

Battle to Cross the Channel, Royal Matchmaker, Boettcher Kidnapping

3pm | 2c

Mysteries at the Castle

Dracula, Queen and the Mistress, King Arthur

4pm | 3c

Mysteries at the Castle

Jack The Giant Killer, Last Emperor of Mexico, Saving Britain’s Art

5pm | 4c

Mysteries at the Museum

Skylab, Apollo One Tragedy and Space Monkey

6pm | 5c

Mysteries at the Museum

The Man Who Sold a Million Rocks, a Party That Started a War and the Umbrella Man

7pm | 6c

Mysteries at the Museum

Cleveland’s Tumor, Man-Eating Lions, Meteorite

8pm | 7c

Titanic: Mysteries at the Museum

Titanic: Mysteries at the Museum

9pm | 8c

Mysteries at the Museum

Stolen Strad, Fall From Space, Czech Dream

10pm | 9c

Mysteries at the Museum

Psychic Horse, Strange Story of Rubber, Pulaski Axe

11pm | 10c

Titanic: Mysteries at the Museum

Titanic: Mysteries at the Museum

12am | 11c

Mysteries at the Museum

Stolen Strad, Fall From Space, Czech Dream

1am | 12c

Mysteries at the Museum

Psychic Horse, Strange Story of Rubber, Pulaski Axe

2am | 1c

Mysteries at the Museum

Cleveland’s Tumor, Man-Eating Lions, Meteorite

3am | 2c

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SOURCE:http://www.travelchannel.com/roam-blog/great-stays/local-s-miami-beach-vacation-in-north-beach