Famous Movie Hotels Where You Can Live Like A Star

Hotels have played a prominent role in movies throughout the years, from the glamorous places where James Bond stayed to the exotic resorts. Let’s discover the iconic hotels that were featured in famous films where you can stay and be treated like a star!

10. Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles, California

Maybe because of the proximity to Hollywood or maybe because it is a beautiful hotel full of grandeur and luxury, either way, the Millennium Biltmore in Los Angeles has been featured in a lot of movies. In fact, the hotel has a list of movies, TV shows and other appearances listed on their web site that is 15 pages long. Some of the more famous movies shot all or in part here include Jersey Boys, The Italian Job, The Dark Knight Rises, Iron Man, Rush Hour 3 and Rocky III. When not starring in movies the Millennium Biltmore has hosted celebrities, presidents, and dignitaries for the last 90 years. The 27 suites range from 900 sq. ft. one-bedroom suites to the 4,600 sq. ft. Presidential Suite that encompasses 2 floors, has 3 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, and an antique elevator. Rounded out by a piano, full kitchen, dining room, and library it is truly majestic.

9. The Fontainebleau, Miami, Florida

Since opening in 1954 the Fontainebleau Hotel has popular with the rich and famous. You might remember the swimming pool from the movies Scarface starring Al Pacino and the James Bond classic Goldfinger. Parts of the movies The Bodyguard as well as Police Academy 5 were shot on location here as well. The hotel occupies 22 acres of prime oceanfront property in the heart of Miami’s Millionaire’s Row and offers luxurious accommodations along with a touch of the glamorous golden era. The hotel offers guest rooms ranging from the standard room at 300 sq. ft. and luxuriously appointed to the six luxury penthouses. For $3,000 a night you can book the La Baie Presidential Suite with its polished marble floors. The hotel has a marina where yachts can dock for the day and enjoy the award winning restaurants at the hotel or the famous pool and beach.

8. Hotel de Paris, Monaco

Long thought of as a playground for the ultra-rich, Monaco is still one of Europe’s premier destinations. No hotel exemplifies the opulence and luxury of Monaco more than the Hotel de Paris. Built in 1864 the hotel is still the standard for others to try and copy. Movies such as Iron Man 2, The Red Shoes from 1948 and the movie Monte Carlo from 2011 were shot here. What would a luxurious European hotel be without James Bond? Two of the famous spy’s movies were shot in part here, Never Say Never Again and Goldeneye. This 5-star hotel has 182 rooms appointed in European style and luxury to include Louis XVI chairs and heated floors in the bathrooms. The hotel has three restaurants where gentlemen must wear jackets and a private wine cellar holding over 400,000 bottles of wine, some dating back to 1850. Free entry into the famed casinos and 24-hour concierge service await you at the Hotel de Paris.

7. The Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills, California

Originally opened in 1928 the Beverly Wilshire sits across from Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills. The hotel made an appearance in movies like Escape From the Planet of Apes and Sex and the City: The Movie. The world really came to know the hotel when it served as the setting for the blockbuster movie Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. With 395 rooms and 137 suites, the hotel has hosted celebrities, political figures, and royalty. The guest rooms are big, 400 sq. ft. and just get bigger from there. The Presidential Suite is 5000 sq. ft. has a media room and a huge walk-in closet in the master bedroom. Enjoy a meal at the Wolfgang Puck restaurant CUT where you can get some of the best steaks in the country including True Japanese 100% Wagyu Beef from Japan.

6. The Plaza, New York, NY

The Plaza Hotel in New York has been featured in several movies. The hotel was featured in the 1974 movie The Great Gatsby, featuring Robert Redford and in the 2013 version as well. The Plaza also appears in the Hitchcock thriller North by Northwest as well as Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Sleepless in Seattle and Scent of a Woman. The Plaza Hotel is the ultimate in New York style and sophistication. The hotel has 282 guest rooms and 102 suites including the Royal Plaza Suite. The three-bedroom suite overlooking 5th Avenue comes with a fitness room, baths with marble mosaic tile complete with 24-carat gold plated fixtures and butler services. The Plaza Food Hall is a culinary dining and shopping venue popular with guests and locals. Chef Todd English prepares award-winning meals in the European style food hall featuring rustic Mediterranean food.

5. Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada

The Bellagio in Las Vegas and its iconic fountains have played a prominent role in movies about Las Vegas. The movies Oceans 11, Oceans 13, were shot there. Besides the fountains which attract thousands to the musical dancing waters, the hotel continues to be a favorite destination for Vegas visitors. Cirque du Soleil makes its home at The Bellagio and the conservatory and botanical gardens are a favorite. From the Fiori di Como chandelier containing 2,000 hand-blown glass blossoms that adorns the lobby to the fine art gallery The Bellagio strives to provide the utmost in luxury. The concierge can obtain those hard to get show tickets and the staff goes out of their way to make you feel special. The resort rooms are 510 sq. ft. and have marble floor entries, sitting areas, and mood lighting. The Executive Parlor Suite is 2,500 sq. ft. and features a billiard lounge, theater room, and wet bar. For the most discriminating an 8,000 sq. ft. three bedroom, seven bathroom villa is the ultimate in luxury. Featuring a fitness center, massage room, dry sauna and private hair salon the villa comes with a 24hr butler service.

4. The Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco, California

This 5-star hotel on famed Nob Hill in San Francisco sets the standard for luxury and elegance. The movies Hotel and The Rock use this as a filming location along with the 1958 classic Vertigo, starring Jimmy Stewart. The hotel has 592 guest rooms and suites, three restaurants and bars and a culinary garden where the hotel maintains honey bees that serve up over 800 pounds of honey each year. The Fairmont Hotel has 62 suites with the main building suites containing a parlor, bedroom and marble floors. The Penthouse Suite is 6,000 sq. ft., has three bedrooms and four bathrooms. Complete with a fireplace in the living room, formal dining, library, billiard room and terrace overlooking the city.

3. Waldorf Astoria, New York, NY

The 47 story Waldorf Astoria Hotel has over 1,400 rooms and is one of the largest luxury hotels in the world. The hotel has welcomed presidents, celebrities and royalty throughout the years. Movies have been using the Waldorf since the 1940s because of the grandeur and location on Park Avenue. The 1970 comedy The Out of Towners with Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis was filmed at the hotel along with The Great Gatsby. Remember the scene in The Godfather Part III where George Hamilton, who plays the Corleone family lawyer, negotiates with the crooked Arch Bishop? Yep, filmed at the Waldorf. Rooms range from luxury guest rooms in the tower to suites, including two-bedroom apartments where figures such as Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, and Marilyn Monroe have all stayed. No word on whether JFK and Marilyn were staying there at the same time.

2. Turtle Bay Resort, Oahu, Hawaii

The movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall was filmed at the beautiful Turtle Bay Resort in Hawaii. What most people don’t know is that Turtle Bay has been the setting for over 150 movies and television shows. The original Hawaii Five-O filmed there as well as Magnum PI, the movie Soul Surfer and a host of others. There is no wonder why. I mean come on you have the beautiful tropical setting, great beach and of course the resorts impeccable attention to detail. Instead of a fussy concierge, you get a staff that is friendly and willing to do whatever is needed for you to have the ultimate resort experience. You might find yourself enjoying a cocktail with a local or a well-known pro athlete or celebrity. The resort is situated so you get an ocean view from every room whether it be one of the suites, beach cottages, villas or rooftop premier rooms with walk-in stone showers and soaking tubs.

1. The Savoy, London

The Savoy in London has long been an iconic Hotel and one known for elegance and style. Located on the Thames River, near the shopping and theater districts, the Savoy has attracted politicians, celebrities, and visitors from around the world seeking luxurious amenities. The movie industry is no exception and has the Savoy for settings in several movies dating back to 1921, including The French Lieutenant’s Woman in 1981, Notting Hill in 1999 and Made of Honor in 2008. The 5-star hotel has 268 rooms decorated in either Edwardian or art deco styles featuring luxurious marble bathrooms. Suites also have the luxury of having a dedicated butler. The Royal Suite covers the entire 5th floor and was recently refurbished at a cost of over $3.7 million.

The 12 Best Rooftop Bars in America

Rooftop bars continue to pop up all over America year after year and as this trend continues to grow, rooftop patios continue to get bigger and better. Although many assume that rooftop bars can only be accessed in the summertime, or in warm weather states, they would be mistaken, as shown by the sheer number of four-season rooftop bars, even in cold places such as Chicago. From rooftop bars that feature crystal-encrusted pools to those featuring incredible Latin-American street food, we have rounded up 12 of the best rooftop bars in America.

12. SODA Bar, NYLO Hotel, Dallas

Visitors can unwind and relax at this ultra modern rooftop bar complete with foosball tables, faux grass, and Texas brews. Located on top of the century-old Dallas Coffin Co. building this rooftop looks out onto the twinkling lights of downtown Dallas. Relax near the rooftop infinity pool; pull up a seat at the unique blue lighted bar or stretch out around the glowing fire pit.

Make sure to try one of the specialty cocktails such as the Black Forest Martini or their signature Nylorita. Handmade sandwiches, thin crust pizzas and a variety of delicious appetizers accompany their expanding bar menu. SODA Bar is open to the public, not just guests of the NYLO Hotel and is perhaps the perfect place to spend an evening relaxing under the twinkling stars.

Via Pintrest

11. I|O Urban Roofscape, Chicago

It boasts itself as the highest indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge in the city of Chicago and this unique bar features a state of the art retractable roof that allows visitors to enjoy the lounge all year round. This 10,000 square feet space features uninterrupted views of the city’s skyline. Chic modern furniture sets the stage, along with ultra-modern umbrellas, splashes of color and superior service.

Other amazing features include a video wall, shimmering water elements, a fire pit and retractable roof. A menu that includes eats such as black truffle fries and grilled pork belly skewers goes perfectly with the handcrafted cocktails that are sure to wow any guest. Visitors should be sure to dress to impress if they plan on visiting this bar at night, as it is located inside a 4-star luxury hotel and requires upscale casual attire.

Via Libart USA

10. Six Feet Under, Atlanta

It is one of Atlanta’s most popular rooftop bars and with two locations one simply cannot be in this city and not visit here. Known for their locally made beer, chilled out vibe and extensive seafood menu, Six Feet Under is always hopping with action. We suggest heading to the location on Memorial Drive as the rooftop bar overlooks the Oakland Cemetery, another must see if you are in the city.

Locally crafted beer is not the only drink you should try here though; make sure to sample themed cocktails that the talented bartenders craft every day. Catfish tacos, an alligator appetizer, and raw oysters are just a slice of what you will see on this menu. Don’t expect to see any art-deco or chic furnishings here as this place is truly a reflection of the South. Do expect friendly service, incredible seafood, and great company.

Via 10best.com

9. Three Sixty, St. Louis

Electric colors of bright yellow and green set the stage for this rooftop bar that is located nearly 400 feet above downtown St. Louis. Three Sixty offers sweeping views in all directions, hence the name, and includes a bird’s eye view right into Busch Stadium. In addition to the Cardinals-themed cocktails, Three Sixty offers a variety of wine, beer and handcrafted small plates such as roasted BBQ oysters.

This stunning 6,000 square-foot space features indoor and outdoor seating, multiple indoor bars, an open kitchen, dramatic wine wall, fire pits and a giant outside bar. On Friday and Saturday nights visitors should expect to see a DJ spinning the beats and on all Cardinal home games, this bar is the place to be. Open after 4 pm, every day of the week, this is truly the hottest place to be in the city.

Via uk.businessinsider.com

8. Stars Restaurant & Rooftop Bar, South Carolina

This rooftop bar is a haven away from the hustle and bustle that makes up Upper King Street in Charleston, South Carolina. It also happens to be the only rooftop bar in Charleston with 360 degree views of the surrounding area. The location is unique in itself, the bar housed in a restored Arts and Crafts building that features 1930’s décor and views of the city’s beautiful historic district. With a large selection of international tap wines, specialty cocktails, and craft beer; there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Lunch and dinner are served here seven days of the week and feature both classic and innovative dishes. The furnishings include seagrass planters filled with fresh herbs, recycled wicker furniture, a reclaimed Tigerwood Bar and space heaters for the cooler nights. Make sure to try one of the bar’s original cocktails before you leave, we recommend the “Southern Belle Bathwater”, an innovative spin on the traditional Southern spiked lemonade.

Via Pintrest

7. Bar 54, New York

There are a plethora of rooftops bars in New York to choose from but the one that stands out from all the rest is Bar 54. Located on the 54th floor of the Hyatt Times Square, visitors shouldn’t expect loud music, excessive crowds or cheaply made cocktails like many of the rooftop bars in the city. Instead, visitors here will find a calm and unpretentious environment, with some of the absolute best cocktails in the city.

The views aren’t bad either: the Chrysler building, both rivers, and Manhattan’s southern skyline. Visitors can choose to sit inside or out, both offering the incredible views, the high windows run the length of the establishment. Expect superior service, an excellent snack menu and unforgettable cocktails. It will cost patrons at least $20 and up for a cocktail, but hey this is Times Square in New York City after all.

Via Time Out

6. Perch, Los Angeles

It hails itself as an elevated resting place, a rooftop bistro located on the 15th-floor that oozes with unique ambiance and is inspired by vintage French restaurants. Visitors to Perch may, in fact, feel as though they have been transported to the South of France; if it weren’t for the nearby skyscrapers that surround them. Antique-inspired furniture, detailed woodwork, intricate fireplaces, wicker chaises and plush lounge couches greet patrons as they arrive.

Whether you want to sit outdoors and enjoy one of the many fireplaces, lush landscaping, and gorgeous L.A views; or choose to sit indoors, with its intimate bohemian like atmosphere with stretching 30-foot ceilings; you won’t be disappointed. Head up to the 16th floor on cooler evenings to experience live jazz music, fire pits, and incredible cocktails, with names such as the “French Maid”.

Via Amanda Mills Los Angeles

5. Frol!k Kitchen + Cocktails, Seattle

It is one of Seattle’s most beloved destinations, featuring expansive outdoor seating, colorful modern furniture, and beautiful outdoor fireplaces. Whether you are meeting a group of friends or on a hot date; there are plenty of things to do for everyone, including shuffleboard courts. Or why not try your hand on one of the bright orange ping pong tables throughout the bar.

Seasonal hand-crafted cocktails are the favorite here and patrons will want to try one of the Pacific Northwest-inspired drinks, such as the “Marionberry Smash”. Several heat sources will keep visitors warm from the Pacific Northwest chill including an amazing tabletop fireplace. Although this rooftop bar doesn’t offer sweeping views of the city, it does offer an incredible ambiance and chilled out vibe, perfect for those relaxing nights.

Via ankrommoisan.com

4. Juvia, Miami

With a motto like “our penthouse is your penthouse”, visitors to Juvia should expect great things. It is one of Miami’s most popular rooftop bars due in part to its South Beach views and ultramodern décor. Striking colors of purple set the stage for this hip venue, along with an incredible vertical garden designed by an internationally renowned botanist. Juvia offers a variety of seating options, ranging from comfortable couches to high tables.

This dining oasis hands high in the sky above Miami Beach and patrons have the choice to sit indoors or out; while indulging in the French-Asian fusion menu. With a handful of award-winning chefs and designers; it is no surprise that locals and visitors to this area flock to this rooftop bar night after night. Insider tip- make sure to make a reservation ahead of time if you want to sit at an outdoor table as this rooftop bar gets crowded quickly.

Via Thirsty Mag

3. ABH, Sixty Beverly Hills, Los Angeles

This exclusive rooftop terrace is set high above Beverly Hills and remains one of the most sought-after drinking spots in the city. This two-level rooftop space offers full meals, snacks, and incredible specialty cocktails. The bar is open to both hotel guests and visitors although if you want to take a dip in the crystal-encrusted pool you have to be a guest of the hotel.

Elegant yet simple wooden furnishings adorn the patio and lanterns hung above to create an intimate setting. Later into the night the bar shifts into a more club-like atmosphere with fireplace lounges and DJ’s spinning beats, along with a plethora of people dancing to the tunes. Being the only rooftop al fresco bar and restaurant located within walking distance of Rodeo Drive, this rooftop attracts high-end clientele who are willing to drop serious cash on the specialty cocktails and fantastic small plates.

Via PartySlate

2. Legal Harborside, Boston

This expansive restaurant and bar feature over three floors of dining areas but if you are looking for the best rooftop bar in Boston it is up to the third floor you will head. The promenade deck here offers a four-season rooftop lounge and bar, complete with retractable walls and ceiling. During the winter months, visitors can enjoy the views of the harbor and skyline from the fully enclosed glass wall space.

Summer months the walls and ceiling are pulled back and visitors can drink under the sun and stars. An expansive wine menu, hand-crafted cocktails, and pitchers of punches pair perfectly with the incredible sushi menu. Plush lounge seating, incredible décor and the twinkling lights of the harbor create the perfect atmosphere in the city. A must visit for any visitor to the city.

Via Liberty Wharf

1. El Techo de Lolinda, San Francisco

Famous for its incredible views that stretch all the way from Mission Street to the Bay, El Techo de Lolinda is one of the best places to grab a tequila cocktail and some Latin-American inspired street food. This rooftop bar is located above the Lolinda Steakhouse and is famous in the city for being one of the best rooftop bars around. Whether you happen upon this bar during the day, or at night, expect great things.

Make sure to indulge in one of the famous pina coladas or margaritas, made with fresh coconut. Come from brunch on the weekends and keep cool under one of the umbrellas or saunter over here at night, where the heat lamps will keep you warm and the kitchen is open until 1 am. Whenever you decide to visit, enjoy these unique tequila cocktails, fresh food, and incredible views.

Via Eater SF

The 6 Worst Luxury Hotel Openings of 2015

Luxury Travel Intelligence (LTI), a members-only luxury travel organization aimed at high rollers and those with deep pockets has released their annual list of the Worst Luxury Hotel Openings of 2015. While most of us would probably give our right arm for a chance to stay in these high end establishments, the company described many of the properties to make this years list as underwhelming and disenchanting. Maybe they’re being a little harsh or perhaps you just come to expect certain things when paying these kind of nightly rates… either way, here are the six worst luxury hotel openings of 2015:

6. Lanesborough, London

The 5 star, 93-room Lanesborough Hotel was re-opened this year in central London after being closed for renovations since December 2013. The renovations cost a reported £80 million, but bucking the trend for simplistic, pared-down style hasn’t won them any praise.

Photo by: Luxury Hotel Experts
Photo by: Luxury Hotel Experts

5. EDITION, Miami Beach

The Mariott/Ian Schrager owned EDITION Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida was closed for renovations for nearly four years and officially re-opened at the beginning of 2015. After that kind of time, you expect it to have been worth the wait, but according to reports, it lands on this year’s luxury worst list as a result of terrible service.

Photo by: Edition Hotels
Photo by: Edition Hotels

4. Zaya Nurai, Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi’s Zaya Nurai Island resort touts itself as “the most sought-after luxury beach resort” according to the resort website, but finds itself in the number four spot on this years worst luxury hotel opening list. Reports say the hotel just isn’t on par with the amazing beauty of it’s island location.

Photo by: Expedia
Photo by: Expedia

3. St. Regis, Mumbai

Coming in third is the St. Regis Hotel in Mumbai, India. Normally a very highly regarded hotel brand, this St. Regis property seems to have landed itself on this years worst luxury hotel list as a result of “a rushed and badly executed takeover of an existing (and troubled) property – The Palladium” reports LTI.

Photo by: CNN Traveler
Photo by: CNN Traveler

2. Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok, Mauritius

The Shangri-La Le Touessrok Resort on the East African island of Mauritius re-opened in November of this year after an extensive 6 month renovation. Despite these efforts to upgrade, LTI named the property as #2 on this years list due to customer reports of “poor service and inadequate staff training plus a distinct impression that management is not present.”

Photo by: CPP Luxury
Photo by: CPP Luxury

1. Nobu, Manilla

Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro won’t be please to see his Manila, Philippines property ranked as this years number one worst luxury hotel opening of 2015. The American Actor co-owns the Nobu Hotel with chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Hollywood producer Meir Teper. While the 312-room City of Dreams property only opened in May of this year, reports say the 5-star hotel underwhelms at every turn and LTI reports “some questionable developments and over expansion.”

Philippines New Casino

15 Amazing Film Locations From the James Bond 007 Franchise

Since 1962, the suave secret agent known as Bond has been thrilling cinema-goers with his climatic action sequences, high-tech gadgets and steamy romance scenes. Everyone loves a good action movie (after all, these films have been in production for over 50 years) but one of the best parts of any 007 film is seeing all the magnificent scenery on the screen as Bond tours around the world chasing evil villains. But did you ever wonder where exactly were these amazing films shot? In fact, these beautiful locations do exist in real life. Here are 15 amazing real life locations featured in the Bond films:

15. Altausse Jagdhaus Seewiese, Austria

Aston Martins. Designer suits. The rugged beauty of the Austrian mountains in the background. High stakes espionage never looked so good. In Spectre, follow James Bond (Daniel Craig) on his globetrotting adventures across Europe. As he tracks down an international criminal conspiracy, he finds himself at Altausse Jagdhaus Seewiese for a daytime spy rendezvous. The historic mountain cottage is nestled in a small village with a stunning backdrop of the Austrian mountain range. Dating back to the Triassic and Jurassic periods, the hills of the quaint mountain town are dotted with houses for postcard perfect surroundings. The cozy log cabin is a favorite spot for hearty food and beer with a view of the waterfront and surrounding mountains. A bit of fresh mountain air, a high-speed chase through the forest, and a snack at this gastropub is the perfect combination to keep 007 in top form.

Photo by: Mi6 Community
Photo by: Mi6 Community

14. Blenheim Palace, United Kingdom

As 007 suits up and jet sets his way across the globe, he stops by the Blenheim Palace in hot pursuit of dangerous villains. In Spectre, he dodges bullets and combats criminals at the Blenheim Palace, an Oxfordshire country house in the United Kingdom. Built in the early 1700s, the palace is a rare example of English Baroque architecture and is considered one of England’s historical treasures. Over the centuries, it has been home to dukes of Marlborough, a prestigious group of aristocrats whose family still owns the revered palace. Plan for an unforgettable day in the English countryside at the World Heritage Site, which consists of an impressive 12,500 acres of grand estates, gardens, and ancient forests. While touring the exquisite and well-preserved grounds of the palace, get ready to imagine the dukes and ladies of the Old World sipping top shelf brandy in the parlor while the butlers and maids did the dirty work.

Amra Pasic / Shutterstock.com
Amra Pasic / Shutterstock.com

13. Vauxhall Bridge, London

In the world of high stakes espionage, James Bond (Danile Craig) returns to his old stomping grounds of London in his latest feature Spectre. In between high-speed chases and sniper rifle shootouts, we catch a glimpse of the historic Vauxhall Bridge, a steel and granite arch bridge situated along the River Thames. Built in 1906, the historic bridge stands out with its original ornate detailing and bright red color. Often used in establishing shots for films set in London, the bridge is featured in a daytime establishing shot right before 007 gets entangled in a deadly spy tryst. Formerly known as Regent Bridge, Vauxhaull Bridge still retains its early 20th century splendor and continues to serve as a main artery of London’s highway system, carrying the A202 over the Thames.

Vauxhall Bridge, London

12. Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

Follow in the footsteps of the legendary 007 as he suits up for a dangerous mission in Casino Royale. First stop is the historic Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, Italy, for a spy meeting and deadly combat, because in the world of espionage, anything could happen. In this case, the setting is the ancient and revered water city that contains some of the world’s best-preserved buildings, including the San Giorgio Maggiore that dates back to the 16th century. While Bond gets entangled in a deadly showdown with international criminals, the cherished church sits in the background with its unique Renaissance architecture. Get ready to travel back in time to the Old World in a city that still retains its original magnificence of centuries past. Venice is also rare in that it is one of the few remaining walking cities in the world.

Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
kavalenkau / Shutterstock.com

11. Kaiserbad Spa, Czech Republic

Set in a world of backstabbing, deadly combat, and death-defying stunts, James Bond (Daniel Craig) heads to the heart of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic for the final showdown at Casino Royale. Standing in for the exterior of the high-end gambling palace is the Kaiserbad Spa, the lavish and opulent former spa that is considered the crown jewel of the historic village. Although it is now closed to the public, it is worth seeing its preserved neo-Baroque architecture up close on a stroll down the nearby Goethova stezka and Marianskolazenska near the Tepla River. Once inside the high stakes casino, Bond has one chance to take down Le Chiffe as he hedges his bets on the poker game of a lifetime. In this deadly game, Bond either wins or dies, but for travelers to the spa town of Karlovy Vary, it’s a leisurely stroll through a charming old-world village.

Photo by: Panoramio/Sergey Brandys
Photo by: Panoramio/Sergey Brandys

10. Venetian Lagoon, Italy

After completing his death-defying mission in Casino Royale, James Bond (Daniel Craig) follows up with M (Judi Dench) with his latest espionage intel while cruising around the Venetian Lagoon on a luxury speed boat. Travelers to the historic water city of Venice, Italy can opt for a more traditional tour of the famous lagoon in an authentic gondola ride. Making up part of the Adriatic Sea, the enclosed bay stretches from the River Sile in the north of Venice. Visitors have the option of booking a tour of the Lagoon or making their own trip in a rented speedboat. Another option is hopping on a cheap water taxi mostly filled with locals who work or live on one of the islands. With hundreds of islands in the Lagoon, get ready to explore the glass-making center of Murano, the cemetery in San Michelle, and the colorful painted houses of Burano.

Venetian Lagoon Italy

9. Grand Hotel Pupp, Czech Republic

In the next generation of the Bond Franchise, 007 (Daniel Craig) puts on his best dinner tux and gathers his high tech spy gadgets for the final showdown between Le Chiffre, a deadly arms dealer. In Casino Royale, the dangerous mission takes him to the historic spa village of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. In between combat with deadly assassins, the luxurious old world Grand Hotel Pupp stands majestically in the background. Dating back to 1701, the hotel is a unique example of neo-Baroque architecture in all its well-preserved splendor. Today, the luxury hotel offers vintage style opulence and world-renowned spa treatments in the heart of the popular spa village. After some rest and relaxation, wander around the historic town full of ancient gems like the famous hot springs, the Thermal Spring Colonnade, and Church of St. Mary Magdalene. Bond may fight dirty, but he does it in style.

Irina Burmistrova / Shutterstock.com
Irina Burmistrova / Shutterstock.com

8. Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

Top secret missions, spy rendezvous, exotic locales. Looks like James Bond is back to take out some deadly assassins in Casino Royale, the latest installment of the blockbuster franchise. Along the way, he makes a stop at the Santa Maria della Salute, a well-preserved historic landmark. Situated in the celebrated water city of Venice, Italy, the Roman Catholic Church dates back to 1681 and is quite an impressive structure with its domed ceilings, intricate and opulent Baroque details, and exclusive works by Titian, a celebrated artist of the Italian Renaissance. Designed by Baldassare Longhena, the church was built as a dedication to Our Lady of Health in the desperate hope that it would end the devastating outbreak of the plague. Although the holy structure didn’t curb the deadly disease, Venetians continued to pray and offer sacraments to the saints on the steps of the magnificent Santa Maria della Salute, the gem of Venice.

Santa Maria della Salute

7. Big Ben, London

For international secret agent James Bond, London is spy headquarters in the 1964 Goldfinger, a classic of the blockbuster franchise. As 007 (Sean Connery) gears up for a risky espionage mission involving an international criminal conspiracy, the Big Ben is featured in a daytime establishing shot. One of the most iconic and recognizable symbols of London, Big Ben is the nickname for the clock situated at the north end of the Westminster Palace. Established in 1858, Big Ben holds the honor of being the world’s largest four-faced chiming clock. The best way to get an up close look of the clock tower is a walk on the footpath of Westminster Bridge where you’ll get a breathtaking view of Big Ben, the House of Parliament, and the Lambeth and Vauxhall Bridges nearby. It might be a classic from the 60s, but the historic icons still retain its original splendor.

Big Ben, London

6. Fontainebleau, Miami

In the classic 1964 Goldfinger of the James Bond franchise, the first scene opens up to a sky view of Miami Beach and an establishing shot of the Fontainebleau, one of the most iconic and recognizable hotels in the world. Established in 1954, the hotel has seen stars like Jackie Gleason, the Rat Pack, and other celebrities throughout the decades come through its doors, lounging in swanky jazz clubs and oceanfront cabanas. In the 50s, Miami experienced an economic boom and quickly became the Hollywood hotspot for celebrities on vacation. The hotel has also been featured in several movies, and in the case of Sean Connery’s 007, he’s busy getting some massage action with a cute blonde, and with the pool and a martini close by, of course. After a cocktail and a swim, Bond is ready to talk shop with Felix before suiting up for his next mission.

Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock.com
Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock.com

5. Swiss Alps, Switzerland

Channel your debonair spy swagger and head for the hills, literally. In Spectre, Bond (Daniel Craig) finds himself speeding in his vintage Aston Martin along winding roads of the Swiss Alps in pursuit of deadly international criminals. After arriving in Zurich by train or a direct international flight, hop in a rental car and head to the Klausen Passis, the first large alpine pass and also the passageway directly into the heart of the Central Alps. Another benefit of the Klausen Pass Highway is that it isn’t typically busy, just a few locals, driving enthusiasts, and the occasional suave secret agent. Once inside the Alps, get ready for breathtaking scenery, including ancient forests, and granite plateaus and peaks typical of the Swiss Alps. Along the way, there are several waterfalls, which are the most powerful in the spring and early summer.

Swiss Alps, Switzerland

4. Barbican Center, London

Set in the glamorous but deadly world of international espionage, 007 (Daniel Craig) makes a stop at spy central in London. In Quantum of Solace, the Barbican Center is featured in a daytime establishing shot right before James Bond meets with his MI-6 handlers for intel on his next mission. Standing in as the main office of the Secret Intelligence Service is the Barbican Center, a major cultural venue located on Silk Road. Home to the London Symphony Orchestra, plus several art galleries, theaters, a concert hall, and cinemas, the Barbican Center is a popular hotspot for upscale shopping and entertainment. One of the largest culture centers in Europe, it is easy to spend a day and evening filled with films, concerts, and art exhibitions that are offered almost every night of the week.

Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock.com
Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock.com

3. Instituto Nacional de Cultura de Panama

Standing in for the Andean Grand Hotel and the setting of James Bond’s showdown is the Instituto Nacional de Cultura de Panama, a popular building in San Felipe. As he battles deadly assassins with spy gadgets and designer suits, you might catch a glimpse of the San Felipe neighborhood in a high-speed chase sequence in Quantum of Solace. Housed in a white colonial style mansion, the institute is located in the old courthouse and is responsible for promoting arts and culture of the Republic of Panama. The building is also home to the Anita Villaluz theatre, a popular space for film exhibitions and performances relating to the history of Panamanian tradition and the voices of the future. In the case of 007, it’s just another day of espionage in paradise.

«Instituto Nacional de Cultura Panama» por Mel Ortega - http://www.flickr.com/photos/melortpanama/4294352559/in/set-72157618470965651. Disponible bajo la licencia CC BY 2.0 vía Wikimedia Commons.
«Instituto Nacional de Cultura Panama» por Mel Ortegahttp://www.flickr.com/photos/melortpanama/4294352559/in/set-72157618470965651. Disponible bajo la licencia CC BY 2.0 vía Wikimedia Commons.

2. The Langham Hotel, London

Get ready to enter a deadly world of the elite class and James Bond in hot pursuit of criminal masterminds. In Golden Eye, Pierce Brosnan has a license to kill but first he needs a relaxing evening with a femme fatale. In this case, he finds himself at the Langham Hotel in London, one of Europe’s finest historic hotels. Since 1865, the grand hotel has attracted royalty, celebrities, and high-class villains of 007 fame. Feel like an English aristocrat in the same hotel where Charles Dickens, Prince of Wales, and high society of the Victorian era flaunted their wealth and prestige. If you’re feeling especially extravagant, splurge on The Sterling Suite, an opulent palace fit for a king.

"Langham london" by The Langham, London - The Langham, London. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Langham london” by The Langham, London – The Langham, London. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

1. Regent Street, London

In the mid 90s, the Bond franchise was still going blockbuster with non-stop action, and Golden Eye (1995) was no exception. Follow Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond as he tracks down an international criminal conspiracy on a high-speed chase through Regent Street, a major shopping area in the west end of London. He’s driving his BMW 73 at lightening speed but visitors can take a more leisurely stroll to get a closer look at the streets bustling with locals or tourists who are busy shopping or lounging in stylish cafes. Close by the Picadilly Circus and Oxford Circus underground stations, the historic neighborhood dates back to the early 1800s with its well-preserved Georgian architecture as a magnificent piece of old London. Although it took a few centuries to break ground, the result was Regent Street and its stately elegance of Neo-Georgian style.

pisaphotography / Shutterstock.com
pisaphotography / Shutterstock.comslideshow

The 12 Best Food Truck Cities in America

There is no denying it; we are living in a glorious age where food trucks have become the hottest places to grab some grub. Cities all over America are host to hundreds of food trucks that offer everything from the typical taco to over the top gourmet meals. What makes a city better than another in terms of food trucks? We looked at how many food trucks operate in the city, how diverse the selections are and how friendly the cities are to these trucks. Without further ado, these 12 cities are the ultimate food truck cities in the country:

12. Honolulu, HI

Lunch wagons have been part of the landscape in Hawaii for generations and used to serve the same thing, a couple scoops or rice, some macaroni salad and gravy based main. But things have come a long way in recent years and innovative trucks have popped up all over Honolulu and visitors should be sure to check at least a few of them out. Melt Honolulu became an instant hit when it hit the streets in this city serving up incredible grilled cheese sandwiches, including one called the “Melt of Shame”. Fresh wood fired pizzas can be found at the Inferno’s truck or if you are in the mood for shrimp and grits, head to Soul Patrol. Warm weather all year round, awesome new food trucks popping up all over the city and the ocean at your fingertips; sounds like a pretty amazing food truck city to us!

Theodore Trimmer / Shutterstock.com
Theodore Trimmer / Shutterstock.com

11. Seattle, WA

Seattle has always been overshadowed by Portland in terms of being a food truck city but as the years tick by they are holding their own and home to some of the best food trucks in America. For some down home New Orleans cooking make sure to check out Where Ya At, a food truck that continuously rates as one of the best in the country. It is here where you will find Creole soul food, hot beignets and fried-oyster po’boys. Marination is another truck in this city that has garnered press country wide for its Hawaiian-Korean cuisine and attitude towards delivering incredible flavors and a dose of “Aloha” to the city. Seattle’s Largest Independent Food and Craft Festival happens yearly in the summertime and if you have a chance to check it out, we highly recommend it. One of the best cities in America for food trucks, yet highly underrated.

Photo by: Urban Beer Hikes
Photo by: Urban Beer Hikes

10. San Francisco, CA

This city is teeming with food trucks, new ones popping up every day and no matter where you are headed you are sure to find one that absolutely blows your mind. Although this city wasn’t the birthplace of the food truck craze, they have upped their ante by offering food of new gastronomic levels. Fried oyster and bacon sandwiches, curry goat tacos and Vietnamese caramel ribs are just a slice of what you can find here. The SoMa Streat Food Park is a popular place to head, especially for visitors looking to get a variety of trucks. The lineup here changes daily and features a dozen or so trucks, entertainment and picnic tables to eat at. If you are looking for sustainable meat and veggies make sure to check out Go Streatery who is famous for serving up their famous handmade brisket sandwiched piled high and topped with an incredible savory jam.

Photo by: Carlos Muela
Photo by: Carlos Muela

9. Tampa, FL

This city is all about food trucks and getting them out on the road. They even are home to a Food Truck Rally, a company that specializes in promoting local cuisine and connecting the public with the food trucks, hosting seminars for potential food truck owners and staging events all over the city. Tampa Bay’s Florida State Fairgrounds also holds the World’s Largest Food Truck Rally on a yearly basis! Wicked Wiches is one of the most popular food trucks in the city, offering gourmet sandwiches including a fried chicken sandwich served on jalapeno waffles. If you are after vegetarian or vegan seek out the Taco Bus who are known for their awesome menu and the fact they only ever use fresh ingredients.  But if there is one thing to try in this city it is the famous Gorilla Balls from the Fire Monkey Food Truck. Gorilla Balls are balls of mushroom risotto stuffed with beef and blue cheese, then deep fried to crispy perfection.

Photo by: Bay News 9
Photo by: Bay News 9

8. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta is an up and coming city when it comes to food trucks and there is no better time to experience these awesome trucks than now. This city is where you will find down home southern comfort food mixed with Mexican and Asian influences. Head first to The Good Food Truck where “the Poodle” is served from a lipstick red carriage. The Poodle is actually a hot dog, sandwiched between a French toast bun and loaded with apple-maple slaw and spicy mustard. If you are more in the mood for something a little more Mexican, head to the Blaxican where you will find Buffalo chicken tacos and collard green quesadillas. New laws in Atlanta have made it easier for trucks to operate on public roads and expect to see even more as the years go on.

Photo by: The Good Food Truck
Photo by: The Good Food Truck

7. Miami, FL

South Florida loves their food trucks and you will find hundreds of trucks lining the streets, with offerings you won’t find anywhere else. The Latin Burger is one of the most popular trucks in this city, serving up something they call the Macho Burger, created out of a combination of chorizo, chuck and sirloin, topped with caramelized onions and Oaxaca cheese. If you are looking for Asian fare there is only one food truck to seek out that that is Dim Ssam a GoGo who serves up gourmet sandwiches with ingredients such as foie gras, kimchi and pork. But the real hit in this city is HipPops, a truck that offers handcrafted desserts. Hugely popular, this truck offers the chance for customers to create their own custom dessert. Choose from gelato, sorbet or frozen yogurt, and three kinds of premium Italian chocolate dips. Top your POP with finely crushed pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts or pecans. And ta da; an incredibly delicious creation.

Photo by: The Latin Burger
Photo by: The Latin Burger

6. Denver, CO

Denver boasts over 100 food trucks and there is seemingly no bad place to grab a bite to eat. Whether you are looking to grab a green-chili cheeseburger, pizza or barbecue; you can find it in this city. If you are looking to try some delicious made from scratch tacos or quesadillas make sure to search out the pink food truck named Comida, the best of its kind in town. If you want to get back to your childhood there is no better food truck to visit than HEY pb&j, a truck that puts an innovative spin on the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Combinations such as The King (peanut butter, applewood smoked bacon, sliced bananas, clover honey) and the Mother Clucker (mo’ pecan-peanut butter, fried chicken, homemade green tomato jam, goat cheese, spicy hot honey) are true favorites.

Photo by: Comida
Photo by: Comida

5. Minneapolis, MN

Residents of the Twin Cities can certainly get their fill of any type of cuisine they are looking for in this city with its multitude of food trucks. Dozens of choices are parked along meters, outside the breweries and setting up shop at the farmers markets. Fans of tater tots will want o head directly to the TOT BOSS food truck where you can find anything from tater tot nachos to tot and beer burritos. If it is something like a burger you are after make sure to head over to Butcher Salt, where small town restaurant meets sustainability meets four wheels. Here you will find grass-fed beef sliders, candied maple bacon and a whole lot other deliciousness. If you are looking for something more gourmet head to Get Sauced, where you will find locally sourced and organic foods, all transformed from scratch into gourmet dishes.

Photo by: TOT BOSS
Photo by: TOT BOSS

4. Washington, DC

This city boasts more than 150 food trucks, many of them roaming the streets, many of them with permanent spots and a whole lot of them turning out for festivals. Washington stands out due to the unique and creative foods these trucks are seen serving up. Food truck pioneers The Fojol Bros are well worth a visit with their colorful trucks and carnival like costumes, not to mention the delicious food they are serving up including butter chicken and beef berbere. On a cool Washington day make sure you head over to Red Hook Lobster Pound where you can get a steaming cup of authentic New England clam chowder or delicious lobster roll. With all these food trucks it seems hard to keep track of but luckily the Food Truck Fiesta app has you covered with its real time map that lists where the trucks are and whose serving up what.

Photo by: Mobile Cuisine
Photo by: Mobile Cuisine

3. Austin, TX

Austin is a city which has been supporting food trucks at a time when no other city was, and it’s no surprise they have maintained that level of support. Featuring over 250 food trucks, this city is the perfect place to take a culinary tour. Visitors will want to head to the East King Side truck, a vibrant and colorful display of artwork that happens to serve up an incredible serving of beet home fries. The most famous food truck in this city though is Hey! You Gonna Eat or What?, a truck that is known for its snarky chefs and large sandwiches. The Shiner Bock Monte Cristo is the sandwich to order here and is loaded with cheddar, provolone, mesquite-smoked turkey and pit-smoked ham. It is then fried in batter, topped with powder sugar and served with a side of cherry-fig jam. Anywhere you turn in this city there is surely going to be a food truck to suit your needs.

Photo by: Hey!. You Gonna Eat or What?
Photo by: Hey!. You Gonna Eat or What?

2. Portland, OR

This city has been at the forefront of the food truck revolution and despite their reputation for being vegan hippies; you can find just about any food you want at one of their awesome trucks. With over 350 food trucks throughout the city, deciding which ones to visit will be your hardest choice. It is imperative that you head to the Grilled Cheese Grill where you can get your favorite childhood meal reinvented. The Cheesus is perhaps the most famous of dishes where a burger is served with grilled cheese sandwiches acting as the bun. Weenies from Another World is another truck you shouldn’t miss as this awesome looking vintage truck serves up homemade dogs, bread and incredible tater tots. If its southern food you are after head to Ms. Kate’s Southern Kitchen for homemade mac n’ cheese, pumpkin spiced waffles and buttery fluffy biscuits.

Photo by: Reddit
Photo by: Reddit

1. Orlando, FL

There are almost 200 food trucks in Orlando and counting, and this city wins in terms of having the most food trucks per capita in all of the United States. The good weather, the incredible creativity and the outpouring of support from citizens of this state all contribute to the number of them. One of the best food trucks to check out is Twisted Plates where you can get gourmet food without dolling out a ton of cash, or having to get dressed up. The menu here changes regularly depending what is in season. Dixieland Diner is where you will find Cajun and the best of southern food including shrimp and grits and jambalaya. The winning combination of southern hospitality and generous portions means this truck gets big lines, but it is well worth the wait. Natural juices, shaved ice, waffles and chicken, gelato, burgers and pizza are available state wide at a number of food trucks.

Photo by: Dixieland Diner
Photo by: Dixieland Diner

Anthony Bourdain’s 10 Favorite Hotels in the World

Beloved American writer, traveler and culinary curator Anthony Bourdain recently published a list on his Facebook account listing his 10 favorite hotels in the world. He describes himself as a “Hotel Slut” having stayed in so many different places over the years. Certainly his busy lifestyle as a traveling foodie has taken him to some far flung places and required a lot of nights away from home. The star says “A hotel where I know immediately where I am when I open my eyes in the morning is a rare joy.” Here are his favorites:

10. The Murray Hotel -Livingston, Montana

Bouradin says that if you stay at The Murray, make sure you try to book the Peckinpah suite.

Photo by: Panoramio/juan234x
Photo by: Panoramio/juan234x

9. Raffles Grand Hotel D’Angkor -Siem Reap, Cambodia

Grand colonial-area hotels in Asia have a certain spot in Bourdain’s heart and this one in the ancient city of Siem Reap, Cambodia is no exception.

Photo by: Kiwi Collection
Photo by: Kiwi Collection

8. Hotel Metropole -Hanoi, Vietnam

Bourdain says he’s a huge fan of English novelist and author Graham Greene and says if the writer has stayed at a hotel (like The Metropole) chances are he will stay there too.

Photo by: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi
Photo by: Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi

7. The Edgewater Hotel -Seattle, Washington

The luxury Edgewater Hotel in Seattle’s downtown sits right on the waterfront. Bourdain loves watching ships slide right past your room as you look west over the water.

Photo by: The Edgewater
Photo by: The Edgewater

6. Park Hyatt -Tokyo, Japan

This posh Tokyo hotel was featured in the 2003 film Lost in Translation and as a film geek, Bourdain can’t pass up the opportunity to stay here when he visits the city.

Photo by: Park Hyatt Tokyo
Photo by: Park Hyatt Tokyo

5. Hotel Oloffson -Port au Prince, Haiti

With all his television series, books and other entrepreneurial endeavors, Bourdain can afford to stay pretty much wherever he wants. But the star appreciates more than just 5-star accommodations, ambiance is everything and he describes Hotel Oloffson as “Sagging, creaky and leaky but awesome.”

Photo by: pizzo cipria e bouquet
Photo by: pizzo cipria e bouquet

4. Hotel Continental Saigon -Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Bourdain appreciates history along with his good nights sleep, and for this reason he loves to stay at Hotel Continental Saigon; Vietnam’s very first (and consequently oldest) hotel.

Photo by: Artful Rooms With a View
Photo by: Artful Rooms With a View

3. The Raleigh -Miami, Florida

Bourdain can’t stress it enough; stay at The Raleigh for the best pool in Miami. Period.

Photo by: The Raleigh Hotel
Photo by: The Raleigh Hotel

2. Chiltern Firehouse -London, England

This old Victorian firehouse turned hotel is owned by the same team as Bourdain’s number one pick and he describes the London hotel as “pretty much perfection.”

Photo by: Chiltern Firehouse Hotel
Photo by: Chiltern Firehouse Hotel

1. Chateau Marmont -Los Angeles, California

Bourdain’s love of Chateau Marmot is clear: the author says “if I have to die in a hotel room, let it be here. I will work in LA just to stay at the Chateau.”

Photo by: Chateau Marmont
Photo by: Chateau Marmont

The 10 Best Happy Hour Spots in Miami Beach

Being a tourist can be exhausting so by 5 pm you’ll be ready to check out these happy hour spots in South Beach for half price cocktails and apps. It’s also a great way to try out upscale restaurants without shelling out regular prices. Get ready to ease the stress of the day and curb pre-dinner hunger at the best happy hour spots on the beach.

10. The Sandbar

With its laid back vibe and floor filled with ocean sand, The Sandbar is almost like sipping cocktails or having a beer on the beach. It might be a dive bar, but they do it in sunny, tiki bar style. Stop by the watering hole in North Beach at 6752 Collins Ave, a local favorite. Get there between 4 and 8 pm for $2.50 draft beers and if you’re really brave, two for one shots. Don’t forget the complimentary buffet of chicken wings, pasta, and finger foods. After a day at the beach, stop in and chat with locals, business travelers, or sports fans watching the game.

Photo by: Sandbar Grill - Coconut Grove
Photo by: Sandbar Grill – Coconut Grove

9. Piola Alton Road

At this Italian pizza joint, get ready for double the happy hour delights with complimentary bruschetta and other traditional finger foods, plus $4 beer, $5 wine, and $6 caipirinhas, the popular Brazilian ex-pat beverage. During the week from 5 to 8 pm, you’ll find a more local South Beach crowd at this laid back but trendy spot on Alton Road. If you’re near the Lincoln Rd shopping district, grab your friends for a cheap after work man soda and al fresco appetizers.

Photo by: Piola SoBe
Photo by: Piola SoBe

8. Segafredo L’Originale

At the fashionable Lincoln Road shopping district, stop in Segafredo L’Originale, a lively European style café with beautiful expats sipping cocktails and cappuccinos at the plush patio seating by the fountain. With its house music and peacocks in their casual, pre-clubbing outfits, it’s the perfect place for a pre-dinner snack and round of drinks. Plus, if you go on a weekday from 6 to 8 pm, they don’t have discounted drinks, but free small Italian plates like bruschetta, watermelon and feta salad, and a variety of charcuterie. Just like in Italy, now is the time to enjoy an aperitivo between lunch and dinner. After a day of shopping, sunbathing, and sightseeing, take the edge off your hunger and stay cool by the fountain with a decadent marshmallow martini.

Photo by: Segafredolr
Photo by: Segafredolr

7. Rosa Mexicano

For modern, upscale Mexican fare, head to Rosa Mexicano at 1111 Lincoln Road on the west side of the popular Sobe shopping district. Besides their fresh guacamole handmade at the table, Rosa Mexicano’s other strong suit is their excellent happy hour. Between 4 and 7 pm on weekdays, join locals after work or the occasional tourist for half-priced margaritas, sangria, and tequila shots, $3 import beer, plus tacos de pollo, and queso fundido ($3.90 – 6.40) for alcohol-induced munchies.

Photo by: Rosa Mexicano Restaurants
Photo by: Rosa Mexicano Restaurants

6. Books and Books

Among the many chain retail stores along Sobe’s popular Lincoln Road, the trendy indie book shop Books and Books is the best place on the beach to inspire your intellectual side. At 927 Lincoln Rd you’ll find a selection of limited edition art books, fiction, and a travel section with an entire shelf dedicated to Miami. Owned by Mitchell Kaplan who organizes the Miami International Book Fair (November), grab a seat on the patio for people watching and two for one import beer or sangria.

Photo by: Books & Books
Photo by: Books & Books

5. Lou’s Beer Garden

At this upscale but laid-back gastro pub beside the pool at North Beach’s The New Hotel, enjoy dining al fresco with food and beer pairings on the weekends from 11:30 am to 4 pm. For an early after work respite, stop in for the Garden Social weekdays from 5 to 8 pm. They’ve got two for one craft micro brews, wine, and cocktails plus scrambled eggs, toast and bacon for $6. Surrounded by friends, spirits, and tasty food, you’ll be able ward off the stress from the everyday grind. But keep in mind, if Lou has a hangover, the kitchen might not be open for a few hours, although it’s well worth the wait.

Photo by: Lou's Beer Garden
Photo by: Lou’s Beer Garden

4. Balans

For more international style food and drinks, try Balans, an upscale, European style brasserie at 1022 Lincoln Rd. With their posh outdoor patio seating and new Roots menu, this hip bistro ups the ante for Sobe happy hours. Indulge in something decadent like spinach dip with parmesan, fresh garlic, and tortilla chips ($6) or the Prince Edward mussels marinated in white wine and served with garlic toast points ($6). Another favorite is the tuna avocado tartare ($7). Sample their global menu specials Monday through Saturday from 3 to 7 pm, or Sunday through Thursday 10 pm to close, and Sunday 4 to 7 pm.

Photo by: Balans Miami
Photo by: Balans Miami

3. Tongue and Cheek

Further south on the mainland is South Point’s Tongue and Cheek, a modern, upscale bistro at Washington Ave and 5th St. For an imaginative menu inspired by local, seasonally available ingredients, try the family meal ($10), a gourmet dinner served in a cafeteria tray. It’s like fine dining, Orange is the New Black style. They also have bar snacks like warm pretzels with purple mustard or lettuce wraps with crispy pig ears, Florida oranges, spring onions, and peanuts ($8). If you need to calm the nerves, a handcrafted cocktail with bourbon, fresh herbs and bitters should do the trick ($5). Plus, if you have a hipster in your entourage, they have craft beers like Sunshine State of Mind or Betchy Brown for $5.

Photo by: Tongue and Cheek
Photo by: Tongue and Cheek

2. Meat Market

Celebrate the end of a busy workweek or vacation at Meat Market, a Lincoln Rd favorite. Situated at 915, the upscale steakhouse is a sleek, upscale spot to mingle with Miami elite and take advantage of the drink and apps specials on Fridays starting at 5 pm. If you’re still humming from your retail high after an afternoon of shopping, add another layer of fun with premium cocktails ($7) and a selection of ceviche from their Florida Fresh Raw Bar ($9).

Photo by: Meat Market
Photo by: Meat Market

1. Doraku

If you find yourself indulging in retail therapy on Lincoln Rd between 5 and 7 pm, dip into Doraku near Alton Rd for one of the most rockin’ happy hours in South Beach. Local business types typically fill the bar by 6 pm, talking boisterously with colleagues and drinking away the stress of the day with a two for one lychee martini or sangria. Doraku is the perfect after work watering hole to mingle with friends and show off that new business suit. Grab some friends because there is something about tuna tataki ($7) and fried rock shrimp ($6) that makes work gossip more fun. Sit in a dark booth among the swanky interior or on the patio for people watching in the bustling shopping district.

Photo by: Doraku
Photo by: Doraku

15 Fantastic Free Events in Miami

As the veritable playground for billionaire types, Miami might not seem like the cheapest place for entertainment, but beyond the glitter and glam of VIP rooms and velvet ropes there are lots of events in Magic City that are absolutely free. Just bring your own snacks, a blanket and drink of choice for a cheap but fun night (or day) out.

15. Blackbird Ordinary

Blackbird Ordinary is a laid-back bar in downtown Miami and a favorite watering hole for locals who live or work in the neighborhood. People come for the chill atmosphere and cocktails with fresh muddled herbs straight from the giant wall gardens on the terrace. The outdoor area is a great place to relax with friends over some after work drinks or to get your dance groove on with DJs spinning electronica. They don’t have big acts, but they do frequently host FREE concerts featuring indie bands like Rob Riggs, Pase Rock, and Gerry Co. Concerts typically start at 10 pm, making it the perfect pre-clubbing spot before heading to the downtown clubs like Steam or E11even.

Photo by: Blackbird Ordinary
Photo by: Blackbird Ordinary

14. Museum of Contemporary Art

Situated in the heart of North Miami at 770 NE 125th St., the Museum of Contemporary Art is a great place to take a break from partying under the hot Miami sun and get some culture of the international postmodern variety. Cool off in the AC and peruse their exhibitions of Ars Memoria, which features favorites from MoCA’s permanent collection. Even better, view the sublime sculptures of Polish artist Jerry Kedziora. Best of all, they have free live jazz or folk music starting at 8 pm every last Friday of the month. Ocean Drive might have cocktails served in giant fish bowls and an all night party scene, but for a serene respite from party central, MoCA is the perfect antidote. Built in 1996 in a postmodern design by Charles Gwathmey, the museum also has art programs for the little ones throughout the year to inspire future artists.

Photo by: Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami
Photo by: Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami

13. Free Yoga in the Park

Miami might attract people from all over the world for its legendary upscale debauchery, but if you need a break from the all night party scene, head to the Tina Hills Pavilion at Bayfront Park for a free yoga class. Starting at 6 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, get ready for some downward dogs and sun salutations in front of the beautiful views of Biscayne Bay. It doesn’t get much better than free yoga in paradise. If you happen to be in Miami Beach, Green Monkey Yoga hosts a free yoga class in Collins Park every Monday at 6 pm. All you need is a yoga mat, some water, and an hour to unwind and stretch stiff muscles. After a yoga class, you’ll be ready to take on Miami with full force.

Photo by: Green Monkey
Photo by: Green Monkey

12. Perez Art Museum

With its spectacular postmodern addition that was added in 2013, the highly anticipated Perez Art Museum is finally open and with rave reviews. Located downtown off Biscayne Boulevard, the museum boasts an eclectic collection of 20th and 21st century art that captures the essences of Latin America and the cosmopolitan influence of Miami. They offer free admission every second Saturday of the month, a great time to get out of the heat and discover the diverse cultures of local and international artists in the ongoing and seasonal exhibitions. If you have kids, even better because the art classes are perfect for inspiring potential artists of the future. The new building is also a hit with its shaded veranda and three-story structure situated on a platform below a relaxing canopy perfect for outdoor events and receptions.

mariakraynova / Shutterstock.com
mariakraynova / Shutterstock.com

11. Free Metromover

Serving the Downtown/Brickell area, the free Metromover stops at all the popular tourist destinations for locals and visitors. With a series of three one-way loops that arrive every five to 10 minutes, hop on and off to hotspots like the Performing Arts Center for a ballet performance, Broadway show or to the American Airlines Arena for a concert or Miami Heat game. It also stops at Bayside Marketplace, a nice spot for upscale dining and the Miami Herald building. A popular route to follow is a quick bike ride over the Venetian Causeway along the bike path, which will lead you right to the Metro. That way, you can easily get to all the downtown spots without the hassle of overpriced parking fees. Plus, it’s got WiFi in case you need to do some research on the go.

Metromover, Miami

10. King Mango Strut

A beloved Coconut Grove tradition for over three decades, the King Mango Strut is a lively parade that starts at Commodore Plaza and Main Highway in South Miami. Every December, locals and tourists kick off high season with street side cocktails and food truck snacks while cheering on the girls competing in the Little Miss Mango Pageant. With live music, free drinks, and dancing in the street, the King Mango Strut puts the nut back in Coconut Grove. The parade also features local artists selling their wares and bands playing jazz, blues, and rock. And of course, it’s not an event in Miami without a DJ. December is also a great time for outdoor events because with the crisp air, it’s the perfect time to take your stylish jacket out for a walk.

Photo by: Bob B. Brown via Flickr
Photo by: Bob B. Brown via Flickr

9. Wolfsonian

If you happen to be in the art deco district in Miami Beach, cool off at the Wolfsonian Museum at 10th and Washington Ave. Even better than the cold AC is the free admission every Friday after 6 pm. The FIU museum, library, and research center features rotating exhibitions of internationally renowned artists and historical artifacts, depending on the season. The space is an art lover’s delight, but the Wolfsonian’s strong suit is the building itself. Founded in 1996, the Mediterranean revival building was formerly the Washington Storage Company in the 20s and still has its original, well-preserved exterior and vintage elevator. With its peacock feather sculpture and detailing over a fountain, it’s an elevator ride that will transport you to the 1920s.

Photo by: Wolfsonian-FIU
Photo by: Wolfsonian-FIU

8. Fire on the 4th Festival

Time to get out the sparklers and flag t-shirts because every 4th of July, the city of Miami hosts their Fire on the Fourth Festival. Starting at 73rd and Collins Ave and then all the way to South Point, take advantage of free beach yoga, DJs spinning your favorite Top 40 dance jams, and free concerts at Ocean Drive. Miami’s favorite food trucks will also make an appearance, including the famed gourmet grilled cheese at Ms. Cheezious and Cuban comfort food at Latin Burger. Then after sunset around 9 pm, pack up your beach blanket, champagne, and snacks, and settle in for the spectacular fireworks show on the beach. Linger a little longer and drink bubbly under the stars with your family and friends.

Fireworks on a Beach

7. Wynwood Art Walk

In the last five years or so, Wynwood, the trendy Design District in Midtown Miami, has put the city on the map as one of the hottest places for contemporary art and design. Every second Saturday of the month at the Art Walk, shops and galleries open their doors for an evening of art, drinks, and dancing in the street. New bars and restaurants are constantly popping up in the neighborhood but don’t forget about the football field off of 2nd Ave full of food trucks with all types of homemade junk food. A local favorite is gourmet ice cream pops dipped in chocolate. If you keep walking down the avenue, you’ll know it when you see it. After your fill of refreshments, the Wynwood Walls is a must see. The outdoor space features street art by Lady Pink and Shepard Fairey among others, plus local DJs spinning dance jams all night.

Photo by: Wynwood Art Walk
Photo by: Wynwood Art Walk

6. Carnaval on the Mile

Locals and tourists flock to Miracle Mile in Coral Gables for upscale dining, bridal boutiques, and European style cafes in the lively village-like area of South Miami. Every March, the city hosts the Carnaval on the Mile, an epic street fair with live music and local artists. With over 120 artists and 40 performers playing funk, rock and folk jams, head to Coral Gables for a day of free fun and entertainment for the whole family. Kids and pets are also welcomed and should be well entertained with art activities and even a Canine Café. What a glorious, and free, way to kick off the end of high season.

Photo by: Carnaval On The Mile
Photo by: Carnaval On The Mile

5. Art Deco Weekend

For history buffs and vintage design aficionados, Art Deco Weekend is a little slice of heaven on Ocean Drive. Every January, step back in time and take in the live swing music and large tents filled with well-preserved furniture and knickknacks from the 20s and 30s. Thanks to the Miami Design Preservation League, the event has been a Miami tradition for decades. After perusing art deco treasures from back in the day, head down the strip between 13th St and 5th and immerse yourself in the heart of the action. Keep walking and you’ll find lots of food trucks selling comfort food from around the world, plus local artists and designers selling accessories, clothing, and unique artwork. For the interior designer with discerning taste, the Art Deco Weekend is a chance to update your space with some classic pieces.

Victor Maschek / Shutterstock.com
Victor Maschek / Shutterstock.com

4. Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum

Situated on the FIU Campus, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum always offers free admission. On a rainy day or one of the many sweltering Miami afternoons, find serenity in the cold AC and the 2008 postmodern building designed by internationally renowned architect Yann Weymouth. The huge three-story glass atrium and suspended staircase should get you in an artsy, intellectual mood. And then there’s the art, which consists of artists that capture the heart of the diversity of Latin American culture, including photographs from around the world and postmodern art inspired by remote locations in Cuba.

Photo by: The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum
Photo by: The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum

3. Beachwalk

A Miami vacation isn’t complete until you’ve tried fresh coconut juice right off the tree. If you walk along the Beachwalk, an oceanfront foot and bike path starting at Niki Beach in South Point, you will find locals selling coconuts from shopping carts for a buck or two. The path goes all the way to 23rd St where it turns into a foot only path on a wooden boardwalk. Sunset is the perfect time to meander along for people-watching, an after work run, or a pre-dinner stroll. Take the path all the way to South Point Park and watch the cruise ships embarking from Port Miami to the new pier. Along the way, stop off in Lummus Park to take in Ocean Drive and its iconic Art Deco hotels. For a day in paradise, the Beachwalk is a great place to start.

Photo by: David Berkowitz via Flickr
Photo by: David Berkowitz via Flickr

2. Free Movies at New World Center Lawn

For the cheapest date in Miami Beach, head to the New World Symphony park on Washington Ave near Lincoln Rd, the popular shopping district in South Beach. Starting in October, the peak tourist season, Citibank hosts its free Soundscape Cinema series featuring new releases and classic movies on the symphony’s 7,000 square foot projection wall. Sit back in a comfy lawn chair, cozy up with friends on a blanket, and break open that bottle of vintage red to enjoy a movie under the nighttime stars. For a schedule of upcoming movies, visit http://www.mbculture.com/scroll.aspx?id=81 for updates.

Photo by: The Miami Foundation
Photo by: The Miami Foundation

1. Botanical Gardens

After a day of shopping or sunbathing, enjoy a break from the asphalt jungle and hustle of the city at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden in South Beach. Across the street from the Convention Center at 2000 Convention Center Drive, the 2.6-acre green space was designed by landscape architect Raymond Jungles. Under the shade of palms and flowering trees, explore the edible garden filled with herbs and the many orchid varieties near the fishpond. The garden also features a gazebo in the woods and a small Japanese style garden, a serene place to get centered and hide out from the sweltering Miami sun.

Photo by: Daniel X. O'Neil via Flickr
Photo by: Daniel X. O’Neil via Flickr

The Miami Nightclub Guide: 13 Clubs for Serious Partiers

Time to get out your dancing shoes and war paint because Miami is party central. In fact, this town is famous for it. Get out your gold bling, come hither heels, and perfume because South Beach is the place to be seen and this party is just getting started.

13. Blackbird Ordinary

Miami is famous for its legendary nightlife. By day it’s all about sun and fun at the beach and by night, it’s an all night party till the sun comes up. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to pace yourself and Blackbird Ordinary in downtown Miami is a good place to start. With their fresh herb-infused cocktails and an impressive herb wall garden in the courtyard, it’s a chill spot for the entourage to gather. After loosening up with a few cocktails, head over to the Fillmore and rock out.

Photo by: Blackbird Ordinary
Photo by: Blackbird Ordinary

12. Fillmore

From Jay-Z and Brit Floyd to Brandon Flowers and David Grey, Fillmore at the Jackie Gleason Theatre on Washington Ave. has a world-class line up. Although it’s not considered a historic building because of its substantial renovations to the interior, the façade is classic art deco from the 60s and it’s Jackie Gleason television series heyday. Depending on the act, tickets range from $25 to $150 with mezzanine and balcony seating. Shows usually run till midnight, leaving plenty of time for more late night clubbing.

Photo by: The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Green Theater
Photo by: The Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Green Theater

11. Gramps

Put on your best hipster outfit and sense of irony, and then head to Gramps, a local indoor/outdoor watering hole in Wynwood, the Design District. While sipping on an herb-infused artisanal cocktail (or beer for the budget conscious), you’ll look cool while drinking away the stress of the day. Even better, they have two happy hours so it can fit any income bracket or tourist schedule. Gather your friends, munch on free chicken wings, and keep cool on hot summer nights with some bubbly, because the night is young and you never know where you might end up.

Photo by: Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flickr
Photo by: Ines Hegedus-Garcia via Flickr

10. Mac’s Club Deuce

Before heading to the late night clubs, dip into Mac’s Club Deuce at 14th St. and Washington Ave. for a taste of historic South Beach circa 1950s. Ask any bartender and they will tell you that the place hasn’t changed, not even the décor, since the Jackie Gleason days. With its pool table and rustic interior, it’s like traveling back in time to a classic dive bar. The crowd is also predictable. Besides the constant influx of wandering tourists who can’t handle the giant martinis on Ocean drive, you’ll always find a few local bar flies to keep things interesting. Look for the legendary Keith Richards type in flag jeans and a fringed leather jacket. He’s usually parked at the bar for their happy hour specials. As the Miamians say, only in South Beach.

Photo by: Mac's Club Deuce
Photo by: Mac’s Club Deuce

9. Kill Your Idol

Across from Club Deuce is the hipster dive bar Kill Your Idol. Situated on Washington Ave and 15th St., the place has all the hipster standards like kitschy décor, cheap drinks, and a stripper pole upstairs just in case. It’s the ideal place to hit up for a few pre-clubbing drinks and to catch a few tunes of local DJs or an amateur garage band. And if you get alcohol-induced munchies, they have some pretty slutty sandwiches or pizza next door at Lost Weekend. If it’s past midnight, you’ll run into some interesting local characters hell bent on late night debauchery and mayhem.

Photo by: Zanda
Photo by: Zanda

8. Spazio at Segafredo Brickell

If you want a taste of the upscale Latin expat crowd, head to Spazio behind Brickell’s Segafredo. After a few drinks at the trendy, late night café, duck into the back room that opens up to a neon light dance floor, and after a few shots, work the liquid courage and get your dance on. The dance floor gets bumping around 1 am, after people loosen up with an hour or two of bottle service. At Spazio you’ll find all the beautiful Latin exports who are typically self-made Miamians hustlin real estate, restaurants, or law. In Miami, it’s all about working hard and playing hard. Here’s to the playing part. Salute, mi amigos.

Photo by: Spazio Nightclub
Photo by: Spazio Nightclub

7. Grand Central

Miami doesn’t have that many concert venues, which is why locals and well informed tourists revere Grand Central. People come for indie bands like Phantogram, Icona Pop, and Cat Power to enjoy the smaller, less corporate vibe than its Fillmore neighbor in South Beach. This trendy venue is a quick ride over the bridge to 697 N. Miami Ave in downtown Miami. The retrofitted train station from the old days will dazzle history buffs and architect aficionados. Once inside it’s got a light show, side table VIP section, outdoor area, and large dance floor. Go ahead and channel your inner rock star. You know you want to.

nightclub dj

6. Mansion

If you’ve still got some steam to blow after a show at Grand Central, head back over the bridge to Mansion at 12th St. and Washington Ave. in South Beach. You’ll feel like a rock star with bottle service and velvet chaise lounges plus the scantily clad models, porn stars, and celebrities slinking around every corner. Come with your Saturday night clubbing formal wear because they have a strict no sneakers or shorts policy. Come for the music, stay for the insanity. Over-priced and decadent, this is the place to be seen in Sobe.

Photo by: Phillip Pessar via Flickr
Photo by: Phillip Pessar via Flickr

5. Radio

If you’ve had your fill of intimidating bouncers and velvet ropes of the VIP, head to Radio at 814 1st St in South Point. It’s a small venue but with that coziness comes a laid back clubbing atmosphere that makes it a great place to dance. Plus, there’s no dress code so you’ll fit right in with shorts and flip-flops, although most people show up in their club wear. The music line up is a fun mix of old school hip hop favorites from the 90s and Top 40, which inspires a full dance floor by midnight. The dancing, reasonably priced drinks, and relaxed atmosphere is a welcome break from the red carpet gauntlets of the bigger Miami nightclubs like Live or Mansion.

Photo by: Radio South Beach
Photo by: Radio South Beach

4. Steam

Steam has the best of both worlds. In some ways it’s like Radio and minus the VIP hierarchy of Miami nightclubs. But it’s still just as classy and posh as Mansion and Story but on a smaller scale. Plus, if you get there before 11 pm there’s no cover. They also have a unique, interactive circus vibe with odd-looking characters in costumes mingling with the crowd. Bottle service also has a little extra spice with party enthusiasts in black burlesque gear bringing bottles of Grey Goose back and forth. Fist pumping electronica will keep your dancing feet happy till the early hours of the morning. But don’t blow off all your steam because there are still a few more stops along the way.

Photo by: Humans Alike Miami
Photo by: Humans Alike Miami

3. Story Nightclub

With its magical, neon-lit ambiance, Story Nightclub at 136 Collins Ave. radiates upscale debauchery. Get swept away in an all-night party wonderland with semi nude go-go dancers, a state-of-the-art light show, and world class DJs. Rock star access is also an fun excess with bottle service and plush couches. But with fist pumping music and a bumping dance floor, there probably won’t be much time for sitting. Don’t forget your sunglasses, because it will most likely be sunrise when you stumble out of this place.

Photo by: STORY Miami
Photo by: STORY Miami

2. Cameo

Cameo has been a nightclub fixture in South Beach for decades. In fact, the original façade is featured in Miami Vice with Don Johnson creeping down a much rougher Washington Ave of the 80s. Today it’s a melting pot of all things decadent and excessive, because as they say in South Beach, you only live once. Time to live it up and enter a twerking contest or at least watch, because why not? And don’t forget the pole dancing, VIP and bottle service, light shows, and hip hop DJs. Leave your virtues at home because it’s going to be a long night of legendary debauch.

Photo by: Cameo Nightclub
Photo by: Cameo Nightclub

1. LIV

LIV Nightclub is so Miami. It’s trendy, wonderfully decadent, and unapologetically over the top. If you roll up in a Hummer-escalade limo or two-seater Lambo, you’ll fit right in. This massive palace is party central and at the top of the nightclub food chain. In other words, now is not the time to think about your budget. In fact, it’s the upscale fortress of excess. Hot women, bubbly, music all night, celebrities, and VIP. It’s the kind of night legends are made of. When you step outside with the sun coming up, the walk of fame will be well worth it.

Photo by: LIV Miami
Photo by: LIV Miami

10 Lunches Under $10 in Miami Beach

Listen up budget travelers. If you want to avoid the overpriced food and cocktails of the Ocean Drive tourist trap, here is a guide to cheap, quick lunches that won’t put you out more than 10 bucks. From falafels and sandwiches to the best pizza in South Beach, these local eateries will keep you off the well-grooved tourist track while keeping your taste buds happy and your budget healthy. Whether it be a late night snack or a bite to eat after a full day of shopping, sun and fun at the beach, these local joints will hit the spot.

10. Pizza Rustica

If you find yourself on Lincoln Road for some retail therapy, give your wallet a rest and grab a quick lunch at Pizza Rustica at 667. Situated among the string of expensive restaurants in the popular South Beach shopping district, this pizza joint is a refreshing and inexpensive spot for a quick bite. Even better, they are open late in case you get a case of late night munchies. They have the classics like margherita and pepperoni, but if you’re feeling adventurous, try the spinach and blue cheese slice or the con vegetable for vegetarians or health conscious. A drink and a large slice will only set you back about $8.

Photo by: Bob B. Brown via Flickr
Photo by: Bob B. Brown via Flickr

9. Naked Taco

After a few cocktails on Ocean Drive or a sun-filled day at the beach, head two blocks west to 1111 Collins Avenue for some cheap and very creative Mexican food at Naked Taco. Situated within the Dream South Beach Hotel, the tacos are all five bucks, leaving you with plenty of cash for margaritas. You can either stick to more traditional fare like the L’american with ground beef and all the usual trimmings or test out the local seafood with the Key West shrimp taco covered in toasted coconut, lime Sriracha aioli and jalapeno. With its central location and quick service, it’s the perfect place for some respite and a small snack. Plus, you’ll get to check out the sleek lobby of South Beach’s posh boutique hotel.

Photo by: Nakd Taco
Photo by: Nakd Taco

8. Maoz

A few minutes walk from Lincoln Road is Maoz, a laid-back falafel joint on Washington Avenue. On those sweltering dog days that Miami is notorious for, Middle Eastern food is the perfect antidote. A falafel sandwich in a pita pocket goes for around $7 and that includes fresh toppings like carrots, slaw, pickles, and tabouli, hummus, feta, or baba ganoush for a buck extra. Add a drink and you’ve got yourself a refreshing lunch for under $10. Don’t forget the sauce. Their garlic, tahini, or yogurt sauce completes a tangy, savory meal. Sweeten the deal with a side of sweet potato fries or rice pudding for dessert.

Photo by: Peanut99 via Flickr
Photo by: Peanut99 via Flickr

7. La Mexicana Cantina & Grill

It’s easy for Mexican restaurants to make the cheap lunch list with $5 tacos, but La Mexicana stands on its own because of their excellent fish tacos. Naked Taco might have their local seafood delicacies, but La Mexicana has fish tacos that will keep you coming back for more with their delightful combination of fresh red cabbage, tangy jalapeno tartar sauce, and house made corn tortillas. Just past Espanola on Washington Avenue, two tacos are $8. It’s also the only place that serves horchata, a traditional Mexican beverage made with cinnamon, sugar, and rice milk. Yum. That should help on the walk to your next South Beach adventure.

Photo by: La Mexicana Cantina & Grill
Photo by: La Mexicana Cantina & Grill

6. Sriracha House

After a day of sightseeing and roasting in the sun, sometimes a hot, Asian noodle bowl is the perfect remedy. It really sticks to the bones, which is a good thing because being a tourist is exhausting, especially in South Beach, party central. Under the neon street signs, sit at the picnic tables and enjoy a large to-go box of a customized noodle bowl. Start with the blend of fresh vegetables and stir-fry egg and then add customized toppings and sauce. Try the Thai peanut sauce with rice noodles, cilantro, and roasted peanuts ($8.50).

Photo by: Sriracha House - Miami Beach
Photo by: Sriracha House – Miami Beach

5. Go-Go Fresh Food

For design-your-own salads and house made empanadas, head to Go-Go Fresh Food at 926 Alton Road. This modern style counter-service café has a tasty mini shrimp salad ($6.70) with mixed greens, and zesty cilantro-lime dressing. Savory pies ($2.75) like spinach and feta, chicken potpie, with guava and cream cheese will make you think of smiling abuelas and warm ovens. It’s comfort food, Latin style with a twist of fresh vegetables. Whether you’re courting a hangover or just in need a hardy pick-me-up, this local spot fits the bill.

Photo by: GoGo Fresh Food
Photo by: GoGo Fresh Food

4. Hua Hua’s

If La Mexicana has the best fish tacos on the beach, then Hua Hua’s strong suit is their elote, a traditional Mexican favorite. It’s sweet yellow corn on a stick sprinkled and smothered with spicy mayo, cotija cheese, and cilantro ($3.69), the perfect combination of tangy, sweet, and salty. Add a side of fresh made guacamole and chips ($3.39) and then wash it back with a Mexican Coca Cola ($2.69) for a tasty midday snack. Try the patio for people watching on busy Alton Road or beat the humidity at an inside table or bar stool in this casual, cozy taco joint.

Photo by: Huahua's Taqueria
Photo by: Huahua’s Taqueria

3. Juice and Java

On hot Miami days, Juice and Java is an oasis in the middle of Washington Avenue. Right next to La Mexicana, this little juice bar and café has the best and most interesting juice combinations on the beach. And even better, everything is fresh and made to order. There are 36 juices to choose from but a favorite is the basil, strawberry, and mango ($4.50). They also have savory crepes ($7.95) that come with a side of mixed greens.

Photo by: Juice and Java South Beach
Photo by: Juice and Java South Beach

2. Ocean Deli

People come to South Beach for the ocean, the nightlife, and good vibes. But half the fun is the Cuban food. This corner bodega is a local favorite, especially among the hotel workers coming in on their lunch break from Collins Avenue. They line up in front of the deli, order a Cuban sandwich ($7.50) or fill up a to-go container with as much rice, plantains, chicken, and vegetables that will fit. Like the USPS, if it fits it ships ($5). Really take it up a notch by adding on homemade bread pudding ($1.50) and you’ve got the cheapest Cuban lunch on the beach. This is also the place to try your first Cuban coffee. What a perfect way to start the day, Miami style.

Cuban Coffee

1. La Sandwicherie

After eating one of these glorious French sandwiches, you’ll never be able to walk into a Subway again. La Sandwicherie at Washington Avenue and 14th Street has, hands down, the best sandwich on the beach, even in South Florida proper. The secret is in their fresh ingredients and quality meat and cheeses. The baguettes are pretty tasty too, but the real stars of the show are the cornichons and their secret house made vinaigrette. This stuff is so good you’ll want to buy a bottle. A local favorite is the SOBE club with turkey, brie, and avocado ($9.60). The place is usually bumping, but people are in and out pretty quick, so you should be able to grab a stool at the bar. What’s even better? It’s open till 5 am.

Photo by: La Sandwicherie
Photo by: La Sandwicherie