Miami is known for its vibrancy: the colorful people, picturesque destinations and dazzling nightlife. If you're looking for the best bars, festivals or beaches to enjoy, then look no further than Best of UMiami – The Miami Hurricane's guide to discovering new campus hangouts and the city that lies beyond UM's perimeter.
As friends and family come into town for Family Weekend, and with Fall Break right around the corner, students will have plenty of opportunities to explore the city. The Miami Hurricane staff selected the top destinations in Miami. So chart your personal tour using Best of UMiami as your guide.
Best Restaurant ($): Shake Shack
On South Dixie Highway, about a 10-minute walk from campus, sits a diner decked out in Art Deco chrome. With a handful of locations around the country and internationally, Shake Shack has great food, moderate prices and a trademark retro style that makes it one of the most popular off-campus dining destinations. Their crispy, thin-cut cheese fries and well-portioned, off-the-grill eats will leave you craving more. Of course, you won’t want to miss out on their namesake hand-spun milkshakes or their signature custard ice creams. Shake Shack is an ideal place to visit for a casual yet delectable meal. Prices for a full meal range from around $10 to $20.
Shake Shack is located at 1450 S. Dixie Highway, Coral Gables, Fla. 33146.
Best Restaurant ($$): Whisk
Traditional Southern comforts with a twist abound at Whisk Gourmet Food & Catering. Menu favorites such as cornbread are infused with Whisk’s distinct, savory style. The must-haves include the maple Brussels sprouts, the fried green tomato sandwich and the barbecue grilled pork chop.
Whisk is located at 7382 SW 56th Ave., Miami, Fla. 33143.
Best Bar: Bougainvillea’s Old Florida Tavern
The quaint allure of Bougainvillea’s Old Florida Tavern draws in crowds from the moment they spot the house-shaped venue. The decor resembles that of a vintage Southern home, complete with outdoor seating, string lights and old wooden panels. Affectionately known as Bougie’s, this bar has a laid-back, retro vibe. If you’re craving a throwback night, head over to Bougie’s on a Saturday. You’ll be sure to dance the night away to reggae, rhythm and blues, pop and rock’s greatest hits.
Bougainvillea’s is located at 7221 SW 58th Ave., South Miami, Fla. 33143.
Best Music Venue: Fillmore Miami Beach
The Fillmore Miami Beach at Jackie Gleason Theater, just a few steps from Lincoln Road, is both a modern rock mecca and a tribute to its ‘50s roots. Now operated by Live Nation, the Fillmore underwent extensive renovation, giving the theater its signature purple chandeliers and lush red carpeting that scream timeless rock ‘n’ roll. Upcoming shows include some of the biggest names in alternative and indie rock; Foster the People, Brand New, and Jason Derulo will all grace the stage within the next month. If you’re looking for intimate concerts in a chic yet historic venue, head downtown and check out the Fillmore.
The Fillmore is located at 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, Fla. 33139.
Best Dessert: Chocolate Fashion
Chocolate Fashion at The Shops at Sunset Place serves up elegant, European-style pastries. The tarts have rich custards and buttery crusts, the mousses are light, delicate and flavorful, and the chocolate pastries are absolutely stunning. The bistro ambience is cheerful and warm, and the prices are definitely student friendly. It is a must-visit for Canes with a sweet tooth.
Chocolate Fashion is located at 5868 Sunset Drive, South Miami, Fla. 33143.
Best Happy Hour: Yard House
Yard House is more than just an upscale restaurant to attend with friends. From 3 to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 p.m. to close Sunday through Wednesday, Yard House offers happy hour. With cheap drinks and half-priced appetizers, pizzas and discounted sliders, this restaurant becomes a fun and affordable place to eat. With more than 100 items on the menu, such as their Surf and Turf Burger, Asada Street Tacos and Salted Caramel Butterscotch Pudding, there is something for almost everyone and a lively atmosphere that welcomes all.
Yard House is located at 320 San Lorenzo Ave., Coral Gables, Fla. 33146.
Best Place to Take a Date: Miami Beach SoundScape
At 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, and sometimes Thursdays, free movie screenings in South Beach make for a fun and creative date option. Classic films and new releases are projected on a 7,000-square-foot wall outside of the New World Center, home to a symphonic orchestra. Bring a blanket and pack some snacks for a picnic under the stars with that special someone. Catch “The Fault in Our Stars” on Oct. 22 or Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” on Oct. 29.
Miami Beach Soundscape is located at 500 17th St. Miami Beach, Fla. 33139.
Best Mall: Dadeland Mall
Dadeland Mall is a conveniently located shopping destination with a great atmosphere and an excellent selection of stores, including Zara, Sephora, Fossil, Express, Gap, Apple and many more. The mall is a great place to update your wardrobe, buy a gift or treat yourself at a salon. You can stop by and eat at Earls Kitchen & Bar’s beautiful second floor terrace, The Cheesecake Factory or even the food court. The mall is easily accessible by the Metrorail and is the perfect place to go on a rainy afternoon or for a weekend outing with friends.
Dadeland Mall is located at 7535 N. Kendall Drive, Miami, Fla. 33156.
Best Famous Alumnus: Jason Kennedy
Alumnus Jason Kennedy graduated from the University of Miami in 2004. Kennedy graduated with degrees in broadcast journalism and theater. He is best known for his work as a correspondent for E! News. Since joining E!, Kennedy hosted The Daily 10 and has become a weekend anchor for E! News. Kennedy visited UM’s School of Communication during the spring 2013 semester to talk to students.
Follow Jason Kennedy on Twitter: @JasonKennedy1.
Best On-campus Hangout: Steps by Lake Osceola
The Green and the Rathskeller are two obvious go-to spots on campus, but the opening of the Student Activities Center last fall introduced students to a new recreational option: the steps by Lake Osceola. After grabbing coffee from Starbucks or a smoothie from Jamba Juice, you and a friend can find a spot on one of the lower steps, hidden from plain view. While everyone at ground level is hurrying about, you can chat with each other on a grassy step. Alone? Lie down and lounge solo. When the weather is right – sun shining, air cool and breezy – watch the waterbirds fly by and the mullet fish jump; that’s when you’ll realize that the lake steps are the most underrated on-campus hangout location.
The Steps are located by the Student Activities Center.
Best Food Truck: Ms. Cheezious
When you get a hankering for a childhood classic with a gourmet twist, it’s time to find Ms. Cheezious, a food truck serving up the classic grilled cheese sandwich in more than 10 ways. Their barbecue pulled pork melt delivers their house-made pork and sharp cheddar cheese on Texas toast. Go for The Grilled Bleu to taste crispy bacon, tangy bleu cheese and green onions on sourdough bread. Can’t get enough of this comfort food? Rest easy, because Ms. Cheezious offers a dessert sandwich – you read that correctly. Soft ricotta mixed with tangy marmalade served with a chocolate dipping sauce will satisfy your sweetest craving.
Find out where Ms. Cheezious is by following the food truck on Twitter: @MsCheezious.
Best Takeout/Delivery: My Ceviche
This summer, beloved casual spot My Ceviche opened up shop in South Miami. That means UM students now have My Ceviche’s delivery as a convenient option for fresh, healthy and affordable food that doesn’t require stepping a foot off campus. The restaurant serves up ceviches (fish, shrimp or octopus) in six different styles, including aji amarillo, coconut and Asian, or you can order a ceviche burrito or bowl. Think of it as the Chipotle of ceviche, and the best part is that takeout or delivery orders can be placed online through Eat24.com.
My Ceviche is located at 5900 SW 73rd St., South Miami, Fla. 33143.
Best UM Facebook/Twitter Account: Humans of UM
Humans of UM has transformed campus by giving students an insight on the diversity of the people, interests and views on campus. It has shared inspirational quotes, special moments and deep thoughts that have showed students how much there is to learn from those on campus, from fellow students to professors and staff. The Twitter page has shared quotes that then lead to the complete Facebook story, sharing bits about the lives of individuals on campus. Through its presence, Humans of UM has connected the campus community.
Reader's Poll Winners
You let your voice be heard, so here's the Best of UMiami according to our readers:
- Best food truck: Ms. Cheezious (31% of 95 votes)
- Best bar: Blackbird Ordinary (46% of 103 votes)
- Best music venue: Fillmore Miami Beach (49% of 88 votes)
- Best day trip: Key West (62% of 107 votes)
- Best free or cheap event: Wynwood's ArtWalk (56% of 111 votes)
- Best UM Facebook/Twitter account: Humans of UM (53% of 125 votes)