I Heart My City: Sonia’s Miami

Sonia Gil is host and co-creator of Sonia’s Travels, the weekly web show that cracks the code behind peoples and cultures around world. Winner of the 2012 People’s Voice Webby Award for “best web personality,” Sonia has been hailed as the “next Bourdain.” A biologist by training and beach lover by choice, she speaks five languages and has lived abroad in China, France, and Venezuela. Here are her favorite things about living in Miami. Add your own two cents by leaving a comment below.

Miami is My City

The first place I take a visitor from out of town is the beach.

When I crave a perfect lunch I always go to Michael’s.

To escape the world I paddle board to the middle of Biscayne Bay.

If I want to go to the beach, the perfect spot is between 3rd and 4th Streets.

For complete quiet, I hide away at the Fairchild Tropical Garden.

If you come to Miami, get your picture taken with Lebron James, star basketball player for the Miami Heat.

If you have to order one thing off the menu from Juvia it has to be the Crudos (their delectable selection of appetizers).

NE 125th Street in North Miami is my one-stop shop for great vintage modern furniture.

Locals know that to enjoy the most beautiful art deco they have to skip Ocean Drive and check outMeridian Avenue instead.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped I go watch the ships go by at South Pointe Park.

For a huge splurge I go to the galleries in the Wynwood Art District.

Photo ops in Miami include the bay, the beach, the Art Deco District, and the city skyline. The best vantage points are from 1111 Lincoln Road and the Rickenbacker Causeway (and, if you can swing it, from a boat in the middle of Miami Bay).

If Miami were a celebrity it’d be Shakira.

The most random thing about Miami is the way people drive: Stop signs become yield signs, and red lights mean “three more cars.”

Miami has the most fit, fun-loving men.

Miami has the most sexy, beautiful women.

In Miami, an active day outdoors involvesso many things I can’t even start, but let’s say that it will include a lot of water…

Miami’s best museum is the Miami Art Museum.

My favorite jogging/walking route is the Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne.

For a night of dancing, go to Score. Or, for live music, check out Bardot in the Design District.

Gigi’s is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, Thrillist Miami.

You can tell a lot about Miami from listening to WVUM (90.5), the University of Miami‘s student-run radio station.

You can tell if someone is from Miami if they need to go to the beach at least once a week.

In the spring you should hit the beach — it’s summer already.

In the summer you should enjoy the tropical Caribbean breeze at sunset and well into the night.

In the fall you should go to Rabbit Hole and get yourself a great outfit for the biggest party season in the country.

In the winter you should head out to the pool with an Aperol Spritz in hand because it’s the sunniest late spring you’ve ever seen.

A hidden gem in my city is Little Haiti (and its great markets).

For a great breakfast joint try Jackson Soul Food.

Don’t miss the Winter Music Conferencein March.

Just outside Miami, two of America’s most amazing national parks actually meet: the Everglades and Biscayne (in the Florida Keys).

The best way to see Miami is from a boat.

If Miami were a pet it would be a warm-water-loving dolphin.

If I didn’t live in a city, I’d live on a Caribbean island.

The best book about Miami is Miami Blues by Charles Willeford.

When I think about Miami, the song that comes to mind is “Moon over Miami.”

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss the Cape Florida Light(house).

Art Basel could only happen in Miami. (Okay, it could happen in Basel, Switzerland, where it started, and in Hong Kong, but nowhere else — yet.)

Miami should be featured on your cover or website because it’s everyone’s dream city and a few us actually get to live here.

If you’re hungry for more of Sonia’s take on Miami, check out her videos at Sonia’s Travels. You can also follow her story on her personal blog, and on Twitter @Sonia_Gil.


  1. Kate
    February 17, 2013, 4:01 pm

    I’m such a big fan of Miami, we go every single year in Feb for the kid’s vacation week to escape the cold and snow that we get here. It’s so much fun to spend time on the beach and visiting our favorite places like the Tropical Gardens. Everyone at our favorite Miami Beach hotel even knows us by name! http://www.miamibeachresortandspa.com

  2. Nikole Fairview - ExploringLifesMysteries.Com
    Washington, DC
    September 2, 2012, 9:38 pm

    You know, I think Miami gets a bad rap when it comes to people that are into art and culture. Even though we know that there’s a lot of it there, just like any metropolis, I think there’s some discrimination there. I mean when you hear Miami, the first thing that you think of is J-Lo and P Diddy and then Ben Affleck later slapping her bottom on that boat, and beautiful Latino women in general and mixed drinks and the sun and the beach.

    If someone gives you a free ticket, I mean you’re not going to turn it down, but if you’re paying, you know you’re taking a trip where you can, “learn something.” I really like that you bring Miami’s cultural offerings to light here. Even though we all know it exists, I think it’s great for people to know what they could be missing if they’re biased.