We are a traveling family. So we’ve hit all the traditional spots. Often. Yearly passes to Disney World. Check. A car packed with tents, chairs, and coolers for countless beach trips. Check. A rotating list of family-friendly restaurants, kid-captivating museums, and enthralling zoos. Absolutely, check. But we hadn’t yet experienced a fun-filled family trip to Miami.
We are always on the hunt for great, family-friendly experiences throughout the state. So being approached by the Intercontinental Miami was an intriguing slam dunk. We’ve been to Miami a handful of times over the years to visit family. But we’ve never been there with the intent of taking in what the city has to offer families. This was an exciting adventure that we were happy to take on.
Full disclosure, when we received the itinerary, a wave of giddiness flowed through us that could have carried us the entire ride down I-75. However, more traditional methods are required to get to Miami. So we packed the car and headed on down the highway for our family trip to Miami.
We arrived at the Intercontinental, checked in, and had our bags whisked away to our room. Then as soon as we walked inside our room, all of the Biscayne Bay lay before us. It was incredible. And our lodging? Beautifully appointed, incredibly comfortable, and filled with goodies, our room made for the perfect launching point for an epic family weekend in Miami.
As luck (and traffic) would have it, we arrived in Miami just in time to drop our daughter off at her evening stop, Frost Science. Frost Science gives children the experience of a lifetime and parents a much needed night off with Kids Night at the Museum. Our lovely daughter, Harper, (an unabashed STEM girl) enjoyed Frost Science’s Aquarium and other exhibits, participated in hands-on activities, saw a super-cool science show, and watched a show in the Planetarium. Of course, they provided food for the kiddos and a movie in the latter part of the evening. She loved all the hands-on activities and being able to run around the museum.
Date Night Done Right
With a little extra time on our hands, it was time for a proper date night. So we changed quickly and headed down to Toro Toro, which is located in the lobby.
If you are going to have a date night, do it right. Toro Toro has a warm, alluring vibe that you feel as soon as you cross over into the restaurant. Our server, Gabrielle, was outstanding. Amazingly pleasant and made great recommendations, especially in terms of cocktails. Our first, the Encierro, featured Woodford Reserve, carpano antica, luxardo maraschino, and walnut bitters, all in a smoked glass. It feels like a richer version of an Old Fashion. Tasty, and dangerous!
Mixed in with other cocktail highlights such as the Negrita and the Can’t Beat the Heat, were delectable small plates such as Chicken & Chorizo Croquettes and the Lomo Saltado Empanadas. The empanadas were particularly satisfying with delicious beef tenderloin encased in a delicious fried wrapping with a creamy avocado sauce to accompany it. The hypnotically tantalizing drinks and scrumptious small plates were merely a precursor to our outstanding main course, the Charcoal Adobe Half Chicken. This delectable dish features a lip-smacking combination of juicy chicken, rice, sofritos, baby artichoke, and piquillo pepper. Every bite delighted my tongue.
Dessert with Style
All that alone, along with hanging with the love of my life would have been enough, but then they brought out dessert. The best way that I can describe the La Bomba Tropical is with this video. Keep in mind, everything you see here is edible and delicious.
For those scoring at home, the dessert features a passionfruit sphere, mango pineapple tartar infused in Tahitian vanilla, pabanango sorbet, coconut lime ice cream, coconut lime crumble, passion caramel sauce, vanilla sauce, and dark intense chocolate sauce.
Needless to say, we had an amazing time at Toro Toro and whether you are staying at the Intercontinental or not, it makes a solid choice for a date night or any celebration. After a couple of Negritas, you may even decide to get a room for the evening…
Authentic Mexican for Lunch
The next morning we enjoyed a leisurely start to our morning, which is incredibly easy to do when you’re awoken to stunning views and the promise a fun-filled day. Our day started with lunch (no judgment, we’re on vacation) and our first stop Bakan Wynwood. Bakan Wynwood pops with energy. A crowd filled with families, twenty-somethings kicking off a fun Saturday and foodies gathered to partake in some of the most authentic Mexican cuisine you can find in Miami.
To say that Bakan is authentic Mexican food is an understatement. Bakan focuses on traditional fare, much of which dates back to pre-Hispanic days, and the freshest ingredients. To start, we tried the guacamole, which had a slight kick thanks to the serrano chile included in the recipe. Next, we tried the Queso Fundido, which included Oaxaca and Chihuahua cheese and pico de gallo. This is particularly good for picky young eaters during a family trip to Miami.
The main event of the meal was three-fold. First, I tried Cochinita Pibil, a savory roasted pork dish that encased in a crispy, open shell. It was hearty, saucy, and delicious with each bite. Next, Bakan has a thorough selection of Mezcals. So it was only fitting that I tried one in the traditional way. Mezcaleando is a term used at Bakan to describe the pairing of the right Mezcal with your meal. The mezcal is served with lemon and a slight dusting of spices. It was a perfect fit for a delicious meal. Our meal concluded with amazingly delicious churros, which Harper loved and devoured in 2.8 seconds.
Outside of the doors of Bakan is a vibrant neighborhood, driven by a love of art. There are colorful, eye-popping murals everywhere but follow the streams of people and you’ll find yourself at the Wynwood Walls. Wynwood Walls is a curated, section of incredible murals that have transformed this area from warehouse district to highly-sought-after arts enclave.
It was the brainchild of the late Tony Goldman, who saw potential in the rows of windowless warehouses that lined the streets of the Wynwood neighborhood. He felt that graffiti and street art was underappreciated and desired to use the warehouse walls to give it the attention it deserved. He also wanted to develop the area into a more walkable locale.
We accomplished all of our goals at the Wynwood Walls. It has become not only a place to take Instagram-worthy photos but to connect with the raw beauty of the street art form. Artists from the United States, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, France, England, Belgium, Spain, Singapore, Ukraine, and Germany have contributed to the Wynwood Walls making it a truly international experience.
After this tremendous experience, it was time to head back to the Intercontinental, relax, and take a dip in the pool before the evening’s festivities.
The Sugar Factory
For dinner, we headed over to South Beach for a sweets bonanza at The Sugar Factory. With locations throughout the world, the Sugar Factory has a long roster of famous patrons from Drake to Pitbull and now can add our family to their list of satisfied patrons. It’s with good reason, the Sugar Factory’s service was impeccable and fun from the moment we walked through the door. I started with the martini glass filled with candy (did I mention Harper loves sweets). Then we were presented with their signature goblets. For adult kids, goblets come with the potable of your choosing. I enjoyed the Ocean Blue… For kids, they have big fun versions of their goblets with lots (seriously lots) of candy included.
From there began an onslaught of appetizers. All of which, amazing, and a meal by themselves. Even for three people. The sliders come in fun, Super Mario Bros.-like colors. The saucy goodness of the meatballs left me full before the main course arrived. However, I pressed ahead and tried the chicken and waffles which provided the salty-sweet combination I craved. Full disclosure, I was super full, but just when they were about to roll me down Ocean Drive, the richest, most decadent milkshake arrived. Words can’t describe this milkshake. You’ll literally have to go there and try it for yourself.
Needless to say, eating such an amazing and filling meal induced a great night’s sleep, which left us rested for packing up and for one more great meal before hitting the highway back to Tampa from our family trip to Miami. Boulud Sud is the answer to the sometimes frenetic pace of downtown Miami. It’s elegant, relaxed, and filed with well-prepared and satisfyingly delicious food. The brunch features standards such as pancakes, along with traditional dishes such as the shakshouka, which is Manouri Cheese, kale, and a slow-poached egg. Both were mouthwatering and served with impeccable class and warmth.
And it’s with a belly full of great food and a mind full of tremendous memories that we hit the road and headed back home. Miami is filled with a variety of treasures for families. These treasures demonstrate a deep and vibrant culture as well as activities that are just plain fun. At the center of it all is the Intercontinental Miami. This luxury hotel has beautifully appointed rooms, many with amazing views, fine dining, and a delightful spa. It’s also a short drive from many of Miami’s attractions and restaurants so it makes it very convenient for a family trip to Miami. Make them a part of your family trip at 305-777-1000.