I was pretty happy to start the month off with a brand new destination – Fort Lauderdale, Florida! The flight over from Dubai is long, around 15 hours, but since it departs in the middle of the night most of our passengers in first class went straight to sleep. Leaving us to somehow power through and stay awake!
With plenty of tea and coffee and chats getting to know the rest of the crew, we finally made it. Approaching Florida we were greeted by these gorgeous views below, which made all of us excited to finally touch down!
After landing into Fort Lauderdale, we drove the short drive to the hotel and arranged to meet a few hours later for some drinks and dinner. Since we land around lunchtime, we actually have the whole afternoon free, and usually I’m dead after US flights but despite laying down in bed for a few hours, I barely managed to sleep. Lesson learned for next time – use the afternoon and do something! 😉 (Even if it means being awake for more than 24 hours…haha!)
Since we had the whole of the next day to explore, we decided to head to downtown Fort Lauderdale for the evening. I was happy that we had 2 other Brits, Grace and Lucy, and an Irish girl, Aisling, as it’s nice to have some similar nationalities especially on a long trip!
We got an Uber to Las Olas Riverfront, a nice area with some bars and restaurants.
Since it was Friday night it was fairly busy which made for a nice atmosphere. The first bar we chose for a cocktail didn’t want to serve us because none of us had taken our passports as ID (despite all having UAE national ID, driving licenses etc….) so we popped next door to Grille 401, where we had a delicious dinner!
The next day all of us were up bright and early (thanks to Dubai being 8 hours ahead!) so after breakfast ordered another Uber to take us to Miami!
It was the first time for all of us, so we wanted to make the most of it and see what we could fit in. Luckily we had the whole day ahead of us. First stop was the infamous South Beach, which goes on for miles and miles!
We strolled along the gorgeous white sandy beach, soaking in the sun (thankfully we all had hairbands, as it was way too hot to have our hair down!). Of course we couldn’t resist taking a few pictures with all of the colourful lifeguard stands. Don’t you just love how patriotic Americans are?!
After a good long walk along the beach, we were starting to get a bit hot and sweaty, so stopped off for an iced coffee. Next on the list was a walk along Ocean Drive.
Supposedly famous for its Art Deco Hotels, we wandered along and saw pretty much nothing but restaurants and bars serving up giant cocktails!
So obviously we had to treat ourselves to a cocktail 😉 and picked a bar that had a rooftop terrace, perfect for people-watching and getting a good breeze.
Thankfully the cocktails weren’t as giant as the ones we’d seen strolling along Ocean Drive, as they were pretty sickly and none of us could actually finish them! We continued walking around the area, popping into a few shops along the way. After all, is there any layover where you can send 4 girls to a city and they won’t go shopping?! 😉
After stopping for lunch in an unremarkable Cuban restaurant, we hopped on over to see the Wynwood Walls.
Since the area at Wynwood is full of large warehouse buildings, mostly without windows, the founder, Tony Goldman, had an idea in 2009 to transform it into an area full of beautiful graffiti and murals. It’s now home to over 70 art galleries, museums and collections…and we loved it!
It was honestly fascinating looking at all of the murals, and we spent ages admiring them all. There are also art galleries you can pop in and out of for free, which we did. Artists from all around the world have contributed to the Walls, so there is a lot of variety in the murals – I won’t post all of my pictures here or we’ll be here all day!
After strolling through admiring all of the awesome artwork, we stopped off for a drink at a super cool bar called Brick House, which we happened to pass by, which had huge outdoor games like giant jenga and connect four. It turned out to be happy hour so we had a cocktail in the shade and played a good few games of jenga!
After having cooled off with a drink and some shade, we continued our walk through town, passing by so many more awesome murals and walls.
Our last stop of the day was to Little Havana, a Cuban neighbourhood.
The girls and I wandered the streets, starting to feel a bit exhausted from a combination of jet-lag and a long day out in the sun. We saw so many awesome looking little restaurants and bars, and were annoyed at ourselves for not doing more research as we were still full from our late lunch, but would have loved to try some of the delicious food we saw!
Since the sun was starting to set, we decided to call it a night and order another Uber to take us back to Fort Lauderdale. It’s only around a 40 minute ride, and cost $40 each way, which split between the 4 of us made a lot more sense than hiring a car for the day.
The next day we had some time to chill out before the long flight home, and I even managed a trip to Walmart for some grocery shopping to take home.
Super excited to be heading back to Fort Lauderdale again and to do some more exploring!