In the different travel forums I visit, I find a lot of people asking questions about what to do or where to go the day before leaving for a cruise that departures from either Fort Lauderdale or Miami. I believe that being stuck in a hotel for hours watching bad cable movies is no way to start a wonderful vacation, so I have created a list of places you can go for fun the day or night before your cruise.
Since I live in South Florida, I am very familiar with all these places and I have been to every single one of them, so my recommendations are first hand.
401 Biscayne Blvd., R106
Miami, Florida 33132-1924
Bayside is a beautiful marketplace in Downtown Miami. You can find everything in there from free live music, to restaurants, shops and nightclubs. There are also a couple of party boats that take you out to the intercostals waters for two hours. From these boats you can see Star Island where many famous artists such as Gloria Stephan, Julio Iglesias and other have their homes.
If you want to experience latin cousine, Bayside is the place to go. They have several Cuban, Brazilian and Argentinean restaurants right by the water. Their prices are very reasonable. American food is also available. The place is kids friendly and full of fun.
The place is very safe, however you shouldn’t wonder around the downtown area at night.
Bayside is right next to the Port of Miami. Most shops close around midnight, but the nightclubs and restaurants are open until 1:00 AM.
Bayside Market Place is also open during the day.
Miami has several places you can visit during the day, and they are all relative close to the Port of Miami.
Here are some suggestions:
Miami Children’s Museum
980 MacArthur Causeway
Miami, FL 33132
Driving Distance: 10 minutes drive from the Port of Miami/Downtown Miami
Parrot Jungle Island
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail
Miami, FL 33132
A fun place for kids. The children can interact with many of the parrots and other animals at the park.
Driving distance:10 minutes drive from the Port of Miami/Miami Downtown
4400 Rickenbacker Causeway
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
Driving Distance: About 15 minutes from Port of Miami/Downtown Miami
Miami is well known for its international cuisine. If you want to experience the flavor of Cuban, Spain, or any Latin American food, then you must visit Calle 8 (SW 8th Street), a long street that if full of restaurants and shops. Calle 8 extends all the way to Downtown Miami, however I don’t recommend the area closest to downtown, as it is not well kept and you see a lot of homeless people roaming the streets. Drive a little bid farther to the West and after you cross 17th Avenue the area is much better. On both sides of the street you’ll find plenty of Latin restaurants at very reasonable prices. (NOTE: Calle 8 is a one way street from 27 Avenue to Downtown, so if you are driving West, you must take SW 7th Street, then turn left on 27the Ave. One block later you can make a right or left to take Calle
Driving Distance: About 10 to 15 minutes.
If you have never eating Cuban Pizza, I recommend you visit Rey Pizza. Their address is 6340 S.W. 8th Street
Miami, FL 33144 (305) 265-2040. Rey Pizza is on Calle 8, but farther West, about 25 minutes drive. Well worth the extra drive.
The best place to visit in Fort Lauderdale at night is Las Olas Boulevard. In the heart of Fort Lauderdale, you can find plenty of entertainment there. Restaurants, shops, nightclubs, bars and much more open every night. Las Olas also have several galleries that are open until late at night. Most night you can find live music and local artist playing in the different restaurants, so you can enjoy your meal while listening to live music.
Take the Broward Boulevard exit east to SE 3rd Avenue.
Make a right (south) onto SE 3rd Ave. and proceed to 2nd light. (Las Olas Blvd)
Make a left (east) onto Las Olas Blvd.
Take Broward Boulevard west to SE 3rd Ave.
Turn left on SE 3rd and continue south to Las Olas Blvd (2nd light)
Turn left (east) onto Las Olas Blvd.
Driving Distance: 10 to 15 minutes from Port Everglade
Hard Rock Café and Casino
This place is more than a Casino or a hotel; it is a whole entertainment complex full of shops, nightclubs, and much more. If you have children, you can certainly go during the day as it has a small Seminole Tribe museum on the site, and many kids friendly restaurants, but the real action is at night. The place is packed during the weekends, where you can see live bands playing in the plaza, and party goers flocking the place.
Driving Distance: About 15 minutes from Port Everglade.
Jungle Queen Cruise
This boats takes you sightseeing along the intercostals waters of Fort Lauderdale. They also have diner cruises with all you can eat buffet included
If you want to go for something different, I recommend the Mai-Kai restaurant. A Polynesian restaurant beautifully decorated with different Pacific Island themes. Dinner includes a very well created show with dancers, singers and performers. The restaurant is a little pricey. Show and dinner is about $45.00 per person, but well worth it.
You can find more information, including menu, show times and driving direction at their website: http://www.maikai.com/
Driving Distance: About 20 minutes from Port Everglade