Day Trip: 24 Hours to Explore Miami

Erica Simas @filmandpixel will show you how to explore and photograph Miami, Florida in less than 24 hours.

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Miami is not only a place I call home, but also a rapidly evolving city — very different now than the city I knew as a child. Anyone who lives in Miami or has visited in the last few years will tell you that this city is thriving, which makes it a must-see destination for any photographer.

Every year, more buildings populate the skyline, the art scene grows exponentially, and the parties never stop. For a visitor, the list of must-see sights are endless. So I decided to focus on what one person could easily cover in a day.

Here it is: your 24 hr Miami itinerary!

#1 – Begin at Wynwood Walls

Wynwood is definitely a place to visit for both newcomers and locals alike. I have seen this place develop over the years and become the largest street art collection, comprising no more than a few blocks.

In 2009, the world of Wynwood Walls was born. A man named Tony Goldman brought the life and love of Wynwood to fruition. This urban industrial area went from warehouses and failed businesses to exterior canvases for some of the most incredible pieces of art I have ever beheld. So far, the Wynwood Walls have brought more than 70 artists from 20 countries to cover these 85,000 square feet of wall.

These days, restaurants, shops, and bars line this creative neighborhood. The artwork here is always changing too, so you’re sure to see new work every few months, which makes it impossible to get tired of this place. If you can, come on the second Saturday of the month for Art Walk. The whole town shows up to turn Wynwood into a block party with open galleries, food, drinks, and fun.

#2 – Head Downtown

One of the best places to shoot is Downtown Miami. The gorgeous combination of city and sea is perfect for capturing the real feel of Miami. In this city, we balance both urban and beach life simultaneously. Exploring the different corners of Downtown, it’s just as easy to see the ocean as it is to see the skyscrapers. And with each year, more and more highrises go up, giving you new viewpoints of the metropolis. Try finding some cool rooftops to get a stellar “look down” shot.

There is also a certain color palette that comes with the downtown area. It’s usually a bit more subtle than some of the other parts of town, but it’s still colorful in its own way, with bright whites and extraordinary hues of blue.

The hustle and bustle of the downtown area is not as much as you might see in other cities such as NYC or Chicago, but you are sure to get some good street shots of both Miami architecture and people.

#3 – End at South Beach

The first place most people envision when they hear “Miami” is South Beach. With its iconic Ocean Drive, Art Deco decor, restaurants, clubs, and beach access, this place is definitely on the top of everyone’s to do list. (If you have ever seen Scarface or anything on TV related to Miami, you have definitely seen South Beach.)

When you grow up in Miami, you take this place a bit for granted. You don’t really see the true charm of Miami’s South Beach until you leave and come back, experiencing it like a tourist. South Beach is beautiful, colorful, and full of history.

You don’t have to act like a tourist though, spending all your time between the sand and Wet Willie’s. The best parts of South Beach are the ones you don’t see as often, unfortunately. The pastel buildings that hide in the neighborhoods and alleys of the beach are incredible. The Art Deco designs of homes and businesses are so intricate. Every sunrise and sunset off the South Pointe pier is warm and inviting. Even the street markets that pop up and shut down the main strip are worth it. These are the best ways to see and experience South Beach.

As any true Miamian will tell you, if you don’t have a car, you won’t get far in Miami. That’s why the best part of this itinerary is the fact that these locations are all close to one another. It’s definitely achievable in 24 hours and hopefully it will leave you wanting to visit the southern peninsula more than once.

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