It’s no secret that I will always be Miami’s cheerleader, always rooting for home. I mean, who doesn’t love the constant sunshine and high 20s?! (…that’s in Celsius btw) But when you say Miami (especially South Beach), most people picture overpriced resorts and drunk college kids on spring break. Trust me, the SoBe I know is not (entirely) like that. I see the beautiful Caribbean blue water, the Havana vibes embedded in the vibrant architecture, the proud Latin culture of the locals and the feeling of home at Freehand (and of course Publix, but that’s something to rave about another day). I’ve been here three times now and it’s already my go-to place in Miami Beach.
So why is this place so good? There’s a list.
This is first because it’s not a given at every hostel and it’s something you should never take for granted. Never. Solid wooden bunks with a thick mattress AND privacy curtains are things to write home about! I always have a great night’s sleep here.
Literally a backyard. Jungle vibes in a tropical paradise complete with palm trees, a pool, plenty of seating and twinkly lights. It’s the hangout of your dreams. During the day it’s your private poolside lounging space for you and about 30 fellow travelers where you can curl up with book in an Adirondack chair, work on your tan on a poolside lounger or scroll through your Insta feed with your feet in the pool (shout out to all you social media addicts!). By night, this magical backyard turns into the hottest bar in South Beach, always playing chill (non-mainstream) music and offering the best (and affordable) drink specials. This is my favorite place to sip mai tais and make new friends. It’s so friendly and laid back that it makes it super easy to strike up a conversation with the person next to you.
The Broken Shaker.
It’s a bar. My favorite bar in South Beach (well, tied for first place with the Clevelander and Bodega). As I mentioned above, not only does it have the most chill vibes with its stunningly lit (literally) backyard, but it seems to be the kickoff to everyone’s evening. As the sun goes down, cabs and Ubers flood the tiny side street out front as all of South Beach begins the evening in this tropical oasis.
There’s a blackboard by the check-in desk that highlights activities offered each week, both provided by the hostel such as yoga on the beach or just things going on in the community such as salsa night at Ball & Chain (not to be missed!).
I’ve heard many people say “always stay at a hostel that has breakfast included” and what a difference it makes! It doesn’t have to be over the top and the buffet style spread here is just the thing! Grab your morning coffee and toast by the pool and make sure to snag an orange or banana for the day!
That location though.
Not only is it directly across the street from the beach, but also has my favorite Cuban cafe on the same block. Their sandwiches are seriously to die for! Just next door to that you have a convenience store (because sometimes you forget your padlock or just need a snack), a souvenir shop and a liquor store. If the hostel coffee doesn’t cut it for you, Starbucks is also just down the street. There’s even a car rental place just around the corner where you need to rent a mustang for your day trip to the Keys (yes, you must.)
Not headed to Miami anytime soon? No worries. Thankfully (yes, this place is a blessing) Freehand has hostels in L.A., Chicago and now in N.Y.C. for you to experience. I look forward to visiting Freehand New York this summer!