Miami! Miami!: Tonza’s Travel Adventures

Miami will definitely be seeing me again and again! What a great vibe!

The most challenging part of planning this trip was deciding where to stay. I was initially determined to try to recreate my Airbnb Atlanta experience but had no luck finding an affordable, beautiful space such as the one I stayed at in Ansley Park. After consulting with my nephew, who had been to Miami a time or two, I decided to stay at the JW Marriott on Brickell Avenue in Miami City. The room was clean, spacious, and comfortable, and the views from my window were amazing.

Wanting to take advantage of our short time in Miami, the girls and I (this was a weekend adventure for me, my teenage daughter, and her roommate, one of my bonus daughters) decided to get a pass that would allow us to tour the city via the Hop On Hop Off Bus, tour Millionaire’s Row via a boat, and do the Panoramic Night Tour. Prior to heading to Bayside Marketplace to hop on the bus, we walked to the Latin Cafe and enjoyed breakfast al fresco.

With breakfast complete, we jumped on the city’s Metromover (a free service) at the 10th St. Promenade station and headed to Bayside Marketplace, where we were able to begin our hop on hop off tour! Determined to have the best view from the bus, we boarded and quickly ran upstairs to the open deck. To say that I was inappropriately dressed with my long-sleeved shirt and North Face jacket is an understatement. As we sat there waiting to begin our tour, the temperature quickly rose to at least 80 degrees forcing me to take off my jacket, roll up my sleeves, and put my hair in a ponytail.

Despite the blazing sun, I greatly enjoyed our tour around Miami. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, making the experience even more rewarding. After a loop around Miami City, South Beach, and the Mid Beach area, we decided to enjoy a daiquiri at an outdoor daiquiri shop at Bayside Marketplace before we boarded the boat for our Millionaire’s Row tour. The homes that we were able to see during the tour were absolutely breathtaking; however, the intercom system on the boat made it almost impossible for us to understand what our fast speaking tour guide was saying.

Following our Millionaire’s Row tour, we decided to jump in an Uber and return to Wynwood so that we could have more time enjoying the neighborhood’s beautiful street art. Our first stop in Wynwood was at Miami Supercar Rooms owned by Elo. Although he was helping his staff prepare for an event that evening, Elo patiently shared his story of transitioning from London to Miami to begin this innovative business for car enthusiasts.

Following our chat with Elo, and after admiring his car collection, we walked through the vibrant Wynwood neighborhood to Coyo Taco, anxious to experience tacos from the place that President Obama visited just a few months before our trip to Miami. While the vibe of the restaurant was exciting, the food was rather disappointing. After experiencing Coyo Taco, I would highly recommend that President Obama visit a bartaco whenever he gets a chance. The food and margaritas at bartaco make you look forward to returning over and over again.

As for the nightlife, after walking around and exploring all day, I decided to pass on an evening at the reggae club since my twenty-something travel buddies couldn’t fathom going out before 11pm (the time I would be looking forward to crawling in my comfy bed).

On Saturday, we headed to the University of Miami in Coral Gables to cheer on our favorite team, The Carolina Tarheels! Of course, The Tarheels did not disappoint. Following their victory, the young men were gracious enough to take photos with me, a.k.a. Ally’s mom :-).

I am looking forward to returning to Miami again with my little one in tow! There is still so much left for me to explore and see in this beautiful city.

Some interesting things I learned in Miami:

  • US 1 stretches 2209 miles from Key West to Canada.
  • Fisher Island is the most expensive zip code in our country and can only be reached by ferry or private boat.
  • Miami Beach is surrounded by 22 man-made islands.
  • Philip Frost owns the largest property on Star Island with an estimated value of $58 million.

If you are looking for a cool place in the U.S. to visit, you should consider Miami.

Much love,


Published by Tonza D. Ruffin

Perfectly Imperfect but VERY PROUD WOMAN, MOM, LAWYER, and AUTHOR, but most importantly...LIFE LOVER! I laugh loud, I work hard, I play hard, I am adventurous, I am curious, I am driven, I have moments of deep insecurity, I am loving, I am vulnerable, I am explosive (not one of my finer qualities), I dance around my house alone, I am an awful perfectionist which makes my insecurity worse, I sing out loud in my car without any concern for whose watching, I have trust issues, I do not live through my children, I no longer try to force my children into the mold that I created so that I could feel validated as a mother, I am a risk-taker, I am guarded in my personal life, I am kind, I am grateful. I am so excited about the rest of my life!

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