Headed to Miami to cheer on the Dawgs as they face off with Florida State in the Orange Bowl? Check out this travel guide for all the best places to stay, eat and sightsee for your weekend in the sunshine state.
This guide includes recommendations from Akil Kalathil (BS ’14), a Miami-based UGA alumnus.
Where to stay
Just one mile from Hard Rock Stadium, the Stadium Hotel is perfect for fans looking to be in the center of the action. The hotel offers event shuttles and has plenty of opportunities for family fun, including a large outdoor pool, mini-golf, a basketball court and an on-site sports bar and grill.
Hard Rock Stadium is a little outside of Miami’s city center, so the nearest beaches are in the North Beach and Sunny Isles areas. Travelers on a budget can get the resort experience at the Ramada Plaza Marco Polo Beach Resort, a family-friendly resort with direct access to Sunny Isles Beach. The newly renovated Waterside Hotel, another beachside option, is decorated in a colorful retro-chic style. Lounge in their sunny pool courtyard or grab a drink at their daily free happy hour.
Where to eat
Miami Gardens, the neighborhood around Hard Rock Stadium, is known for having an excellent Caribbean soul food scene. Experience the local flavors at a no-fuss diner like Arline’s Restaurant & Seafood or have a more upscale experience at Yarumba, which becomes lively on weekend nights with live music and Latin DJs.
The Licking, another casual Caribbean comfort food spot, is beloved by music industry celebrities including DJ Khaled, Flo Rida, Diddy and Nas–even Kylie Jenner has been spotted there!
For a quick carry-out meal or sweet treat, make sure to stop by Hammond’s Bakery, a family-owned joint for Jamaican patties and freshly baked Caribbean pastries. Their special includes six patties with four pieces of coco bread, a sweet and starchy bread made with coconut milk, or you can take home some of their delicious pastries and cakes.
On game day
If you’re traveling to Miami but don’t have tickets to the game itself, enjoy watching it with other alumni at the alumni game watch party at American Social Brickell. The restaurant’s extensive menu features everything from bar classics like pretzels and beer cheese to upscale steaks, seafood and craft cocktails.
Another excellent game day option is Moxies, a globally inspired upscale casual restaurant with plenty of TVs to keep up with the game. The restaurant’s menu is sure to please every appetite, with dishes in many different culinary styles and vegetarian and vegan-friendly options.
In addition to enjoying Miami’s natural beauty at the beach or taking a trip outside the city to see the Everglades, visitors to Miami have plenty of opportunities for action-packed fun and exploring the city’s arts and culture.
Topgolf, a golf gaming and dining experience, is located near Hard Rock Stadium. Paddleboards and jet skis are also available for rent throughout Miami Beach and are an exciting way to experience the city’s famous beaches from the water.
For a more laid-back experience, consider immersing yourself in history and the arts at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a waterfront Gilded Age mansion built in the Italian style. Surrounded by lush gardens, the beautifully preserved historic home also has a café and gift shop with items inspired by the mansion and grounds.
Visitors to the Ancient Spanish Monastery have a unique chance to encounter European history in the heart of Miami. The monastery, which was originally built in 1141, was disassembled and shipped from Spain to Miami after it was purchased by newspaper titan William Randolph Hearst in 1925. The cloisters and outer buildings were painstakingly rebuilt brick by brick and reopened in the 1960s as a museum, and today the monastery has become a popular tourist attraction and wedding venue.
Not making the trip to Miami and looking to connect with Dawgs in your own area? Find your local UGA alumni chapter and cheer on the Dawgs with fellow alumni at a game-watching party near you.