Weekend in Miami

Any weekend in Miami is a good weekend as far as I am concerned. Miami is a city I’ve been to countless times. In fact it was the first city outside of the northeast I ever visited when my college roommate and I drove down to Miami for Spring Break 1997. I swore I would live there! It’s funny how life happens and you change your perspective as you get older and see and do more things. But I still love to do a weekend in Miami, particularly one where my beloved Miami Hurricanes are playing the hated Notre Dame in a top 10 college football matchup.

weekend in Miami, Gates South Beach, Miami, South Beach

Gates South Beach Hotel

I met my buddy in Miami. We stayed at the Gates South Beach Hotel. It was my first time staying there and it was nice enough and really affordable compared to some of the other resort hotels across the street on South Beach itself.

weekend in Miami, Gates South Beach, Miami, South Beach, lobby

Lobby renovations at the Gates South Beach Hotel were almost done

The Gates South Beach Hotel had a great location at 24th and Collins. The hotel was undergoing renovations when we stayed so I didn’t get to see the finished lobby and I didn’t get a chance to use the pool. The rooms were identical to an Aloft Hotel (which it used to be) and the staff was nice but to be honest we were hardly in the hotel at all. Such is life during a weekend in Miami.

weekend in Miami, Gates South Beach, Miami, South Beach, view

View from the Gates South Beach Hotel across Collins Avenue

Friday we played golf at Miami Shores Country Club. It was my first time playing the course and it wasn’t that nice. I played like crap even though the course was pretty easy. The clubhouse itself was really old and not that nice either. It looked like it was built in the 50’s or 60’s and I am pretty sure it was. The good news was it was only a 20-minute Uber from the Gates Hotel South Beach.

weekend in Miami, Miami, South Beach, Sweet Liberty

Old Fashioned at Sweet Liberty

Miami is known for its nightlife and restaurants. While I don’t party like I once did, I do enjoy good cocktails and company. I was pumped to check out a few bars, namely Sweet Liberty just a few blocks from the hotel. It was recently names one of the 50 best bars in the world. I thought it was fantastic. The cocktails were awesome, the ambience was what you wanted and the cauliflower nachos were off the charts-trust me!

weekend in Miami, Miami, South Beach, Macalusos

Meatball Salad at Macaluso’s

Another favorite of mine is a little known Italian restaurant called Macaluso’s.  It’s at 17th and Alton and I’ve been going there for years.  The meatball salad is one of my all-time favorite meals anywhere in the world.  Everything is good at Macaluso’s but the meatballs and the Staten Island style food are off the charts!

Rooftop pool at 1 Hotel South Beach

Rooftop pool at 1 Hotel South Beach

We also checked out the rooftop bar at the 1 Hotel across the street from the Gates South Beach. The hotel itself was recently names one of the 10 best in the world and I concur it was pretty sick. The lobby bar was packed with overpriced drinks and a cool vibe. But the rooftop bar is where it’s at. That’s the best new trend in Miami and most major US cities, rooftop bars.

I love the elevator up to Sugar in Brickell

I love the elevator up to Sugar in Brickell

Another great rooftop bar we went to in Miami was over in Brickell at a place called Sugar. I had been a few times before and I’d argue it’s one of the top rooftop bars in the world that I’ve been to. We loved it. Brickell is a hot new part of town that is almost completely built. I had a good friend who lived there for years and it was always a construction zone. Now it’s pretty darn nice.

Pre-Game at Notre Dame vs Miami at Hard Rock Stadium

Pre-Game at Notre Dame vs Miami at Hard Rock Stadium

As with any weekend in Miami, you are up late and sleep late so on Saturday we basically woke up and headed out to Hard Rock Stadium to pregame for the Miami vs. Notre Dame game. It was literally the biggest game for Miami in 15 years and the place was rocking! I hadn’t seen that type of energy at a Miami game since the old Orange Bowl back in the early 2000’s.

The National Anthem at Hard Rock Stadium

The National Anthem at Hard Rock Stadium

The game was sold out, the fans were hyped, it was the national TV game of the week, everybody who’s anybody in Miami was there and the Canes delivered and crushed the Irish. I loved every second of it and lost my voice screaming most of the game. My buddy, who is a Notre Dame fan, sulked like a baby the whole night and I loved it.

Miami about to score a touchdown right in front of us

Miami about to score a touchdown right in front of us

The biggest probably with Hard Rock Stadium is that it’s far from Miami proper and if you Uber there for like $50, it takes forever to get an Uber back to South Beach. The move would be to spend extra money to hire a driver to wait for you. This’ll cost you but you won’t have to wait. It was a little stressful because my flight was at 6am the next morning to Cabo and we didn’t get back to the hotel until 2am.

Flying into and out of Miami is always fun to look out the window

Flying into and out of Miami is always fun to look out the window

So that was basically my weekend in Miami. A very typical weekend in Miami I may add with food, drinks, hotels, friends, beach, golf, sports and great weather. Gotta love Miami!

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