We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we tell you that “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. Should I go for Ivar’s chowder or Beecher’s mac ‘n cheese at SeaTac? Do I have time to do yoga at SFO’s Terminal 2? How long will it take to get to ATL’s Concourse E for a cocktail at One Flew South?
If you’re anything like us, then these are probably the types of questions you have that perhaps you don’t get push notifications for. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to America’s airports. Today we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Miami International Airport (MIA).
Located eight miles west of downtown Miami, MIA is the largest U.S. gateway for Latin America flights and one of North America’s busiest airports for international flights. It’s served as the hub for a long list of domestic and international airlines, but is currently the main Latin American gateway hub for American, and a focus airport for Avianca, Frontier, and LAN. Miami International Airport has three terminals and several concourses, including the North Terminal’s Concourse D, which houses many of American’s Latin America and Caribbean flights. MIA has a couple different people movers, one of which transports travelers through the North Terminal, Concourse D, and another that connects Miami International Airport with Central Station, where guests can access public transportation (Metrorail and Metrobus) and the Rental Car Center. Complimentary Wi-Fi is offered throughout the airport for 30 minutes and for additional time increments for a fee.
First and foremost, Miami International Airport is home to an outpost for Café Versailles (multiple locations in Concourse D), one of Miami’s most famous Cuban restaurants, where you can order many of its staples, including empanadas and the Cuban sandwich. Another Cuban restaurant Ku-Va, also located in Concourse D, has a long list of traditional Cuban dishes, particularly known for their ropa vieja (stewed beef with vegetables). Many of the airport’s other restaurants are also internationally-inspired, including Sushi Maki (Concourse D) and Lorena Garcia Cocina (Concourse D) for tapas. Other local restaurants in MIA include Bongos Cuban Café (Concourse J) and La Carreta (Concourse D) for Cuban, and Ice Box Café (Concourse D), which specializes in healthy, fresh dishes. Other spots include The Counter (Concourse D) for burgers, Famous Famiglia (Concourse J) for pizza, and Gilbert’s Food Bar (Concourse J), a long-standing bakery in Miami.
Many of MIA’s best bets for food are also your best bets for drinks, including Ku-Va, which is known for its selection of freshly-made mojitos. Casa Bacardi (Concourse E), which also features mojitos, as well as a full bar, specializing in rum. For wine lovers, there’s Beaudevin (Concourse D), which has multiple airport locations, where you can order wine by the flight, glass, and bottle, but can also order food. The Bacardi rum trend continues with Lorena Garcia Cocina’s own Bacardi Mojito Bar, which is part of its tapas restaurant. Clubhouse One (Concourse D) has a full bar, with a drink menu that includes some craft beer options and morning cocktail choices, such as a mimosa or Bloody Mary. Corona Beach House, also in Concourse D, is Corona’s first flagship bar and restaurant, which among other drinks, includes a margarona–a margarita with a Corona bottle flipped upside down inside it.
Like many international airports, Miami International Airport has its own art program, which features Florida artists in rotating exhibits, galleries, and art programming. If you have time to work out any knots and stresses from traveling, there’s Jetsetter Spa in Concourse H, as well as an XpresSpa in Concourse D. Each of the concourses also have a variety of designer and local shops, including Books & Books, which is an independent South Florida bookstore. One of the most unique features to Miami International Airport is that it has its own hotel, Miami International Airport Hotel, which is located in Concourse E. Or, if you have a few hours of downtime, MIA is convenient to a number of nearby attractions, such as Melreese Golf Course, which is adjacent to the airport.
As a major hub for American, MIA features a couple of American lounges, both of which can be found in Concourse D. Other airline lounges include the Premium Lounge (American, Iberia, and British Airways) in Concourse E and Delta Sky Club in Concourse H. The VIP Lounge (operated by LATAM) is a private lounge in Concourse J, accessible by invitation only, and typically for first and business class passengers. New to MIA is the American Express Centurion Lounge (Concourse D), which is available complimentary to those who hold an American Express Centurion Card, American Express Platinum Card, or Business Platinum Card (or for a $50 day pass fee).
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he’s not traveling, he’s perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.