Where to find Miami’s best music spots from Cuban beats to modern vibes

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THERE’S more to Miami than just its Instagrammable beaches and fancy cocktails – it is also a melting pot of music, from Latin and Cuban influences to modern pop and rap.

In fact, music is at the heart of this Florida city.

Miami is home to all kinds of music from Cuban salsa to Spanish flamenco
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Miami is home to all kinds of music from Cuban salsa to Spanish flamenco[/caption]

Restaurants and bars all over the city showcase Miami’s musical offerings with Little Havana and South Beach among some of the best places to experience it.

So for everything from Cuban beats to best places to spot rappers, read on to find out the best places to go in Miami to find music…

Cuban beats in Little Havana

The Cuban population in Florida soared between the 1950s and 1970s, when many fled to the US to find better opportunities for their family.

During a six month period in 1980, known as the Mareil boatlift, approximately 125,000 Cubans entered Florida.

The influence this has had on Little Havana is hard to ignore.

Cuban and Latin songs are played at most bars and restaurants day and night, spilling out onto the famous Calle Ocho road

The most iconic spot to visit here is Ball & Chain, which first opened in 1935 for black singers who were unable able to perform elsewhere.

Ball and Chain has a rich history of music, and is now the home of live music every night
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Ball and Chain has a rich history of music, and is now the home of live music every night[/caption]

It closed in 1957 before opening again in 2014, and is now the home of live salsa and jazz every night.

Those brave enough to try it for themselves can enjoy the free classes for both beginners and experienced dancers.

Locals, however, seem to know all of the steps, so sitting back with a mojito to watch them dance the night away is also a great way to spend the evening.

To get the most out of your visit, go with a guide who can explain the history and the culture.

On a good tour, you’ll also get to try the local food and drink, including sugar cane juice, Cuban coffee, chicken empanadas and the classic Cuban sandwich.

During the day, a visit to Domino Park, where residents over 55 compete in the classic game, is a must.

Afterwards, walk down the Latin Walk of the Stars, which celebrates Latin musicians including Mr Worldwide Pitbull.

A lot of the artwork is changed every few years, making it a new experience every time
A lot of the artwork is changed every few years, making it a new experience every time
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Modern vibes in South Beach

For flamenco lessons, Espana Way is where everyone heads at night for a mixture of restaurants and bars to choose from.
Tapas y Tintos has live flamenco on Thursdays, for example.
Want some modern music? Try Basement Miami – a neon rainbow bowling alley with a live DJ, which turns into a nightclub and ice rink late into the night.
Just be sure to request Will Smith’s iconic song ‘Miami’ – because if you can’t in Miami, where can you?

Other top spots for music

If an evening of musicals is what you’re looking for, Ziff Ballet and Opera House has Broadway shows such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Hamilton.

Wynwood Yard is also great for live music with everything from modern to older tunes.

If you stay in Wynwood, head over to Gramps as well, which has drag nights, karaoke and live DJs.

A trip to Basement Miami includes bowling, neon signs and pumping tunes well into the morning
A trip to Basement Miami includes bowling, neon signs and pumping tunes well into the morning
Instagram/KaraWillow

Restaurants owned by celebrity musicians

A visit to Miami isn’t complete without spotting one of the many dedications to rapper Pitbull, who was born in the city.

Head to his restaurant Ilove305 in South Beach for the chance to see him – he visits at least once a month.

With 16-cocktail sharing drinks, steaks as large as your head and a chocolate pinata filled with fruit and sweets, the opulence leads into the evening when the restaurant opens up into a bustling bar, complete with live DJ sets and dancers performing on the bar.

Miami is also home to Gloria Estefan, best known for her song Conga.

In Miami, she owns the restaurant Estafan Kitchen where you can sample the local food.

Plantain pizza, seafood platters and strong cocktails are all on the menu, ranging between $30 (£23) and $50 (£39) for large main courses, which will keep you full for the rest of the evening.

The chocolate pinata at ILove305 is a party pleaser
Instagram/KaraWillow

The chocolate pinata at ILove305 is a party pleaser[/caption]

Other places to visit in Miami

When you’re in Little Havana, a visit to the Domino Park is a must – there, residents over 55 compete against each other in the classic game every single day.

Little Havana isn’t the only destination in Miami to have seen a revival, with the iconic Wynwood Walls being another tourist hot spot.

Formerly an industrial estate, artists from around the world now use the walls to create street art and graffiti, which change completely every couple of years.

Now it features mojito bars tucked behind trees, such as the Miami Mojito Company, where happy hour includes $6 (£4) mojitos, or Coyo Taco, a hole in the wall for the juiciest steak and fish tacos.

On the other side of the city is South Beach, known for the Ocean Drive strip and the stunning Art Deco buildings.

It’s best explored on a tour with the the Miami Drive Preservation League.

Domino Park is the best place to people watch and learn how to play
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Domino Park is the best place to people watch and learn how to play[/caption]

Ocean Drive is iconic with the Art Deco protected buildings along the beachfront
Photographers Choice – Getty

Ocean Drive is iconic with the Art Deco protected buildings along the beachfront[/caption]

The Wynwood district is becoming popular, having once been an industrial estate
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The Wynwood district is becoming popular, having once been an industrial estate[/caption]

Streets and streets of local and international artwork adorns Wynwood
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Streets and streets of local and international artwork adorns Wynwood[/caption]

Where to stay

While hotels and Airbnbs are yet to catch up, staying in Little Havana is now possible with the opening of boutique hotel Life House.

Sustainability is on the menu, thanks to refillable glass water bottles and breakfast delivered in brown paper bags.

The rooms are also key-cardless thanks to the immersive app, with an on-site cafe and a palm-tree filled back garden nestled away to enjoy an iced coffee.

Additional quirks include the Le Labo toiletries and Marshall radios in the rooms.

Rooms there start from from $99 (£78) per night.

Little Havana is still limited on hotels, although Life House it a great option priding itself on sustainability
Little Havana is still limited on hotels, although Life House it a great option priding itself on sustainability
Life House is just one of two chains with the boutique hotel
Life House is just one of two chains with the boutique hotel

Otherwise, to stay in the hustle and bustle of South Beach, the luxury of the Mondrian South Beach hotel is a must.

Designed as an homage to Sleeping Beauty’s castle, guests are greeted with a welcome drink token, as well as cookies and milk in your room.

However, it is the pool area where you’ll be spending your time, thanks to the pristine white loungers and cabanas, and a swimming pool that overlooks the harbour.

An outdoor bar and a hammock are welcome additions to make sure you stay out until the party starts.

Rooms here start from $279 (£197) per night.

The Mondrian Hotel offers a luxury swimming pool overlooking the harbour
The Mondrian Hotel offers a luxury swimming pool overlooking the harbour

 

GO: Miami

GETTING THERE:

British Airways offers flights from London Heathrow to Miami from £315.22 return www.britishairways.com

OTHER INFO:

Learn about the musical history with at www.visittheusa.co.uk/music with the best restaurants and tours found at www.miamiandbeaches.com


Other places to go in Miami include the Malibu Farm Restaurant or Nobu Miami for world-renowned Japaneses cuisine.

A stay at the four-star Eden Roc Miami Beach is perfect for tourists staying in the Florida city.

Rather shockingly, Miami is now twinned with Southampton in the UK.

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