THE TALLYHere's how we budgeted $999 for our family weekend in Miami and still managed to have $150.70 (yep, that's right) left over.
The Essex House Hotel & Suites, (800) 553-7739 or (305) 534-2700, www.essexhotel.com.
Rooms from $89 (June to September), $125 (October to December), $159 (January to March).
Big Pink, (305) 532-4700, www.bigpinkrestaurant.com.
Ample service and selections, from a bucket of fries ($4.25) to baked meatball hero ($9.25).
David's Cafe II, (305) 672-8707, www.davidscafe.com.
Cuban sandwiches and coffee to chicken fingers, from $5.50.
11th Street Diner, (305) 534-6373.
Chocolate shakes to Greek omelets and sandwiches from $4.95.
Joe's Stone Crab Take-Away, (305) 673-4611, www.joesstonecrab.com.
Fresh seafood and key lime pie from $4.25.
News Cafe, (305) 538-6397, www.newscafe.com.
Fantastic yogurt, fruits, nuts, and specialty omelets, from $4.50.
Shorty's BAR-B-Q, (305) 670-7732, www.shortysbbq.com.
Sandwiches from $4.99; killer coleslaw, $1.19. Coupons available on website.
We're tempted to linger, but a downtown museum that we're curious about opens its doors for free on Sundays.
The nine-year-old Miami Art Museum (MAM) and the adjacent Historical Museum of Southern Florida are part of downtown Miami's startling rebirth. Thanks to a massive five-year initiative aimed at redeveloping Miami's core, it has evolved in the past few years from an urban wasteland into a blossoming family excursion spot (as well as a thriving nightlife alternative to South Beach).
D'Vine Lounge, (305) 534-1414, www.dvinelounge.com.
$3/hour to hook up on your own computer; $5/hour to use theirs. Free with some food or drink purchases.
Lincoln Road Antiques & Collectibles Market.
Between Lenox and Washington avenues, $35.50 for goods.
Lowe Art Museum, (305) 284-3535, lowemuseum.org.
Adults $5, students and seniors $3.
Miami Art Museum, (305) 375-3000, www.miamiartmuseum.org.
Free admission on Sunday, and the second Saturday of every month is free for families.
Miami Beach Bicycle Center, (305) 674-0150, email@example.com.
$8/hour or $20/day.
Parrot Jungle Island, (305) 258-6453, www.parrotjungle.com.
$24.95 for adults, $22.95 for students and members of the military, and $19.95 for children three to 10. $6 for parking.
Venetian Pool, (305) 460-5356. Adults $9, children three to 12, $5.
The Wolfsonian Florida International University, (305) 531-1001, www.wolfsonian.org.
Free admission from six to nine p.m. Fridays.
Hertz Rental Car, (800) 654-3131, www.hertz.com.
Weekend rental rate, gasoline purchased.
Local phone charges: $12
Parking: $33 (two days in a garage and three hours on the meter)
Tips for hotel personnel: $12