There are three things that Miami residents love in particular: bright sun on the beach, strong Cuban coffee, and dogs.
Locals take their dogs everywhere—there are “no dogs allowed” signs, but everybody ignores those just like they ignore those pesky “stop signs” on street corners. Besides being a loving companion, a cute pooch is a great fashion accessory, and it’s guaranteed to start a conversation with a cute stranger.
So if you are a dog traveler, here are some of the ways to enjoy Miami with your dog:
1. Go shoppingYou’re taking your dog out for a walk, and you see a pair of shoes in a shop window. You must have them. What are you going to do, not buy the shoes? Don’t be ridiculous. Pick your dog up, and go into the store. Everybody will just think your dog is spoiled, and they’re probably right, right? Have no doubts about it, people carry their dogs into stores when they go shopping in Miami. The ultra-upscale Shops at Bal Harbour openly welcome pets, although your dog will need a collar with lots of bling to fit in. Lincoln Road is the perfect place to visit with your dog, where you can walk down the pedestrian-only street, enjoy the public art, grab a cafe con leche from one of the little coffee windows, and rest in a shady spot while watching the outrageous fashion show of South Beach people pass by. The third Thursday of every month is Yappy Hour at Lincoln Road, where dog owners converge for playtime and free dog treats, near Euclid Road, and who doesn’t love a dog party?
2. Eat with the hipster crowd
The Design District and Wynwood are Miami’s artsy neighborhoods where hipsters roam free, and of course, that’s where to go for some of the city’s best food. The finest restaurants in Miami are Peruvian, the champion of South American fusion cuisine and dog-friendly GKB Wynwood serves a great lunch special with tender, delicious Peruvian ceviche. Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink is a Miami institution, the spot that championed locally-sourced cuisine for the masses, and they welcome dogs with free house-baked doggie treats. Sugarcane exudes Miami culture: stylish, noisy, a little sexy, it’s also a playful place that welcomes dogs to join the fun on the patio.
3. Check into a pet-friendly hotel
No Miami vacation is complete without a gorgeous room for sleeping in late. Although sleeping in can be hard when your dog wants to go outside for a walk. At Miami’s three Kimpton properties—the Epic downtown, and The Angler’s Hotel and The Surfcomber in South Beach—pets are allowed throughout the hotel, even the pool, and the Pet Getaway package includes daily walks by hotel staff, dog shampoos, nail treatments, and toys, all with no pet surcharge or extra cleaning fee. (Even without pets, all three Kimpton hotels are fantastic places to stay.) The big Miami Beach glamour palaces like The Delano, The Mondrian, W, The Fontainebleau, Eden Roc, and SLS are pet-friendly, but be sure to ask about additional fees. Of course Hotel Gaythering welcomes pets, and they charge just a $25 cleaning fee.
4. Bark BeachesBringing your dog to lunch is easy in Miami. Bringing your dog to the beach, there are a few rules about that. The stretch of sand at South Beach is, sadly, off-limits to pets, so using your dog to chat up cute guys at 12th street Beach won’t happen. But the city government created this handy guide for dog beaches in the Miami area, with instructions of exactly where to go. Good news: one of Miami’s best gay beaches, Haulover Beach, has dog-friendly areas including access to the water, although they are separate from the nude sunbathing section.