When I’m seeking a beach holiday with all the excitement of a city break, I look to the buzzing metropolises of Miami and Los Angeles. With year-round good weather, easy beach access, and cool city character, both destinations are top of my list for a trip filled with sun, food, and masses of fun. So, which is my top pick when comparing these two exciting destinations?
Both Miami and Los Angeles are well known for being the setting of countless cinematic creations, but they are even more exciting to visit in person. From celebrity spotting, and shopping in high-end neighbourhoods to beach parties and food markets, there is so much to explore in both destinations.
If the beach is your focus, Miami is known for breezy beach swimming in the warm and tranquil Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, Los Angeles sits on the slightly chillier and choppier Pacific Ocean. Enjoy long and leisurely swims from South Beach in Miami or opt for a day of surfing on Venice Beach in Los Angeles.
Both cities are populated and diverse in culture, whilst also boasting modern architecture, cosmopolitan areas, and impressive shopping opportunities.
Whilst both have an atmosphere of A-listers and exclusivity, there is also a pulsing undercurrent of alternative and creative energy in these places. Arts and culture have a huge influence on the character of both Miami and L.A. and it isn’t just cinema that reigns.
Miami Beach is the heart of creative arts in Miami, where visitors can marvel at striking Art-Deco architecture, visit landmark museums, or watch everything from ballet to live music. Miami is also warmly nicknamed the ‘Capital of Latin America’, due to its large Latin and Hispanic population.
You may find it surprising to learn that alongside its thriving music scene and hundreds of art galleries, L.A. has more museums and theatres than any other city in the U.S. So, there is plenty to explore on a day away from the beach. Why not head out to Hollywood and catch a movie in the hometown of cinema at the Rooftop Cinema Club.
Both Miami and Los Angeles. have so much on offer when it comes to exploring. L.A., wins this round for me, with 9/10. There is so much to do and exciting energy about this place compared to the slower and more laid-back air of Miami, coming just behind with a score of 8/10.
Food and Restaurants
Both Miami and L.A. have incredibly diverse and vibrant food scenes showcasing global influences and a focus on flavour. From impressive high-end and Michelin star restaurants to sizzling food trucks and street food, both destinations have something to feed every kind of craving.
L.A. however is the undeniable home of cooking innovation when it comes to both flavours and flair. It’s a telling sign that the street food stalls and food trucks have as much of a reputation as L.A.’s top tier restaurants. Try Bestia for multi-regional Italian dishes that always impress, or Hayaot is a Two-Michelin-Starred treat for the senses with its transportive kaiseki dinner. Head to Koreatown and try the unmissable barbeques and a street party to wash it down.
L.A. wins this round for innovation and style with a score of 10/10, but Miami comes close behind with 9/10 for its unbeatable Cuban food scene.
Miami and L.A. both have fabulous nightlife scenes with everything from swish and swanky bars to barefoot beach parties.
Whilst L.A. is best explored by car, there is no shortage of dazzling drinking spots from high-end establishments to dive-bars. Just make sure you catch a lift or a taxi to really enjoy your night! Whether it’s cocktails in Downtown, or suns-downers on the waterfront, or even a spot of champagne in Beverly Hills there are plenty of evening options in L.A.
Sip on sumptuous cocktails at the rooftop bar EP&LP and watch day sink into night as the terrace turns into a club after sunset. For something different head to the dive bar Barney’s Beanery, known for being Janis Joplin’s drinking spot. West Hollywood is best for a lively nightlife scene and some of the best LGBTQ+ bars.
Whilst L.A.’s nightlife is fantastic, the excitement of L.A. is felt more in the activities of the day. Miami, meanwhile, comes alive at night. Miami’s nightlife is one of the main reasons people visit, and it doesn’t disappoint.
For the dancers, head to La Havana for some salsa, or groove to the beat in the nightclubs on South Beach, where Twist is known for its incredible LGBTQ+ scene. E11EVEN Miami is impressively open 24/7, so you can party at any hour, or dance the night away at Mid Beach.
Miami wins this round with 10/10, for its world-renowned party scene, and L.A. comes behind with 9/10, boasting cool bars for every kind of evening.
Accommodation options in L.A. and Miami range from the unsurprisingly lavish to beautifully boutique.
In L.A there are luxury hotel options for every kind of style. Shutters on the Beach is best for breezy-chic rooms, seaside views and celebrity spotting. While Casa del Mar offers casual elegance and style with a 1920s twist. For a more laid-back option, the boutique Hotel Figueroa boasts rustic Spanish architecture and affordable rooms.
For sea views, amazing facilities, and food by a celebrity chef, The Miami Beach EDITION offers stunningly designed rooms and dinner by Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Both Miami and L.A. have so many fabulous accommodation options, they come out equal in this round with 9/10, with something to suit everyone.
So, which comes out as my top pick for beach and city break? They score very closely, with L.A. winning at 9.3/10, and Miami just behind at 9/10. Both are fantastic and exciting places with plenty to eat, drink and explore. If I had to pick one to visit for my next trip it would have to be L.A. for its unbeatable food scene and stunning vistas. However, Miami’s beaches are something to behold, and you really can’t beat warm ocean swimming. Whichever you chose, I know you will have a marvellous time!