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The only locals guide to Miami you’ll ever need

A man in a blue hat is singing in front of a group of locals.

JennyLee Molina is the definition of #girlboss.

Founder of JLPR, and one of the city’s most influential communications professionals, JennyLee placed Miami on the social media map when she founded 3:05 Cafecito, a social media campaign that proclaimed Miami’s area code as the official time for a coffee break in the Magic City.

Born to Cuban parents and raised in and around Little Havana, we caught up with JennyLee to steal her brain on how to see the real Miami…

Where is your favourite spot in Miami to have a cafecito break? (and how do you have your coffee?)

I love Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop. It is on the outskirts of Wynwood Arts District in the Midtown Miami / Edgewater area and has been there for years before the area boomed. They are a family owned Cuban restaurant run by two sisters and their father, who know everyone’s name and call me out when I haven’t been in a while. They always know exactly how I take my Cuban coffee, with just enough sugar.

A local enjoying a sandwich in Miami.

How big of an influence has Cuba had on Miami, and where in the city can this best be seen?

The Cuban immigration exodus brought dreamers seeking freedom and opportunity. Miami is dubbed “the Magic City” because its rapid growth almost seemed to happen overnight. Many Cubans have opened successful businesses and have made positive contributions to the Miami community.

Best place to get Cuban food in the city? And what should we be ordering?

The best place to get Cuban food is usually at my mom’s house but I take it you want to know which restaurant is best?! Versailles Cuban Restaurant is a staple in Miami and the epicentre of the Cuban community. Another great spot is Old’s Havana in Little Havana, for authentic Cuban recipes. You can never go wrong with ordering “croquetas de jamón” (ham croquettes) as an appetizer, a traditional Cuban sandwich, or “Masitas de Puerco” (fried pork chunks) and rice and black beans with a side of boiled “yuca” (cassava) or fried plantains.

A woman enjoying a plate of food at a local Miami restaurant.

What is your favourite way to spend a weekend in Miami?

There is something for everyone here, from our beautiful beaches, restaurants and nightlife, to art galleries, museums, performing arts and live music. I love to start the weekend at the beach or take a walk on the Miami Beach boardwalk. After a day at the beach, drinks at Broken Shaker or Employees Only are in order. For dinner, Marion in Brickell, Ariete in Coconut Grove or Upland in Miami Beach are top of my list. For some late night Latin dancing and the best live music, Ball and Chain never disappoints.

After waking up later than usual on a Sunday, brunch is in order. On the high end, Zuma and La Mar are great spots, followed by a massage at the Mandarin Oriental Spa. If shopping for unique finds and enjoying a day outdoors is the mood, The Miami Flea, (which happens once a month in the Arts & Entertainment District) is a Sunday must-do. I always stop for a “Miel Latte” at Vice City Bean, a delicious latte sweetened with honey from Florida. To close out a fabulous Sunday, the Wynwood Yard is one of my favorite spots with plenty of options for delicious food from various vendors and food trucks, a great outdoor bar and live music.

A truck parked in front of a building in Miami.

What would only a local know about Miami?

Miami locals know we’re so much more than how Miami is usually perceived. There is more to Miami than our beaches and nightclubs, beautiful models and luxury sports cars.

How has tourism had a positive impact on Miami?

Tourism is essential to Miami’s economy and one of our most profitable industries. Travelers venture to Miami eager to enjoy our beaches, experience our nightlife, take in art during Miami Art Week, shop at our world class stores, and explore our cultural enclaves. I feel fortunate to live in a city that so many tourists frequent.