Heading to Miami for Super Bowl LIV? Relax – you’re in exceptionally good hands. This will be the eleventh time the Magic City has hosted the big game, more than any other municipality in the US. They’ve learned what works, what doesn’t and how to throw a heck of a party.
More good news: game viewing conditions should be downright delightful. February is one of the best times to visit Miami, as temperatures hover around a balmy 75°F (24°C) with very little chance of rain; a fact that undoubtedly plays a huge factor in getting selected as host city by the league.
But before you start packing your sunscreen and favorite jersey, you’ll want to get the lay of the land. especially if it’s your first time in Miami. From scouting out the best Cuban sandwich (practically a requirement) to guzzling celebratory or conciliatory cocktails by the pitcher, here’s a first-timer’s guide to exploring Miami during Super Bowl LIV.
Watch the roads
With the seemingly never-ending construction on Miami’s major expressways, traffic is a hot-button issue among locals. Add thousands of visitors to an already congested mix and you have the makings of gridlock hell.
Expect delays all around the city – sometimes upwards of an hour added to the typical commute time. Special events don't stop road closures, so be sure to keep an eye on Miami-Dade County’s Twitter feed for the latest updates. The best rule of thumb is to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, whether you’re driving yourself or opting for a ride-share. The well known rule applies here: early is on time, on time is late.
Where to eat
Miami is a town you’ll want to save your appetite for because there’s something to tempt the palate around every corner. On your food bucket list: a Cuban sandwich, the best of which can arguably be found at Sanguich in Little Havana or at Luis Galindo’s Latin America Cafeteria & Restaurant.
Fortuitously, Super Bowl comes right in time for stone crab season. For an iconic Miami experience, make reservations at Joe’s Stone Crab, which has been serving up the sweet, succulent crustacean since 1913. Those with more beefy appetites are well-served at Edge Steak & Bar, Red, the Steakhouse or the scene-y Prime 112.
Breakfast is usually quick and simple affair of Cuban coffee and croquetas at one of the many ventanitas (a walk-up, to-go window) around town, but if you really want to fill up, the Biltmore Hotel’s legendary Sunday brunch spread is the way to go.
Where to celebrate
Get ready to pop a few bottles, because Miami’s nightlife behemoths – like E11even and Liv — are almost certain to host world-renowned DJs and their fair share of celebrities during the big event. Sports bar fans will appreciate the expansive waterfront digs at Duffy’s Sports Grill in North Miami Beach or the boozy poolside pitchers at Monty’s Sunset and Tap 42.
If elevated cocktails with a side of field goals are more your thing, The Broken Shaker, Sweet Liberty Drinks & Co and Gramps are more than happy to accommodate.
What to avoid
Two words: Ocean Drive. Yes, it’s the backdrop to countless Miami postcards and cinema b-roll, but purveyors on the strip are known for their price-gouging tactics and shady up-charges.
Certain neighborhoods in Miami require extra caution late at night, including the areas of Liberty City, Overtown and Downtown Miami. In general, increased awareness of your surroundings during the Super Bowl rush is advised.
A word on Miami etiquette
As a city, Miami is fairly lax when it comes to three things: service, being on time and adhering to driving rules. A little bit of patience and a go-with-the-flow approach will go a long way to keeping frustrations to a minimum.
When going out, locals dress to the nines – and it’s expected. Some venues are known to refuse service to patrons wearing shorts and flip-flops. Call ahead if you’re unsure.
As always, the tip for most food and nightlife venues is to make reservations as soon as possible to avoid being turned away at the door.
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