Miami

Overview

Miami is the American city of the future. A gloriously diverse paradise that serves as the gateway to the Americas, over the years its appeal was unfairly reduced to the Four S’s of all tropical idylls: sun, sand, surf, and sex. Body-conscious Miami, the joke went, was where dreams went to diet and where the cultural offerings were as skimpy as a Speedo. But the old saw simply does not ring true. In addition to the eminent fairs Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami/ (arguably the best examples of their kind anywhere in the world), the city’s gallery scenes in Wynwood, Little Haiti, and Design District —and, increasingly in mid Beach—are thriving. Elsewhere, starchitects like Herzog & de Meuron are adding to the city’s rich design legacy; local and carpetbagger celebrity chefs are reinvigorating the cuisine with a focus on seasonal produce from Miami and the Caribbean (Floribbean, anyone?) and every other month seems to bring news of another ambitious mixed-use development promising to kick-start a cultural renaissance. Miami’s moment is now.

Best Time to Go

With the exception of parts of summer, when the temperatures get ¡muy caliente! and humidity can resemble South East Asia, Miami offers year-round tropical climate. November through May is technically high season, but March-May means daily temperatures in the mid-70s and discounted hotel rates while the rest of the country defrosts.

Airport Info

Most major airlines fly into Miami International Airport, located 15 to 20 minutes by car from a lot of the places you want to get to on the beach. American Airlines has a hub here so there are plenty of options regarding flights and prices. In recent years the airport has undergone several expansions, so while it is still walkable (for a New Yorker, at least) the Sky Trains makes sense. The culinary offerings have also been updated: in Terminal D, near Gate D8, there’s an outpost of Miami’s famous Icebox Cafe, and near D24, Beaudevin cheese and wine bar is great for delays.

Getting Around

Miami is not a walking city. Public transport is sketchy at best and over the years the taxis here have rivaled Paris for the honor of being the worst anywhere. It’s really all about Uber and miRide— the apps have transformed the city.

Can’t Leave Without

1. Taking a boat out on the water. Propel Yachts has an impressive selection of private yachts to charter for the day or rent for the week. (786-610-6767; propelyachts.com)

2. Stepping back in time to the glamour of pre-revolutionary Havana with the riotous neo-Cuban cabaret at El Tucán in Brickell. (1111 SW First Ave.; 305-535-0065; eltucanmiami.com)

3. Spending a few hours in Sunset Harbour, a buzzy three-block neighborhood located just before you get onto the Venetian Causeway. Hypertoned locals pop in and out of the area’s many gyms, restaurants (most with sidewalk dining), and chic boutiques.

Deserves the Hype

Art Basel Miami Beach. Few cultural events on the international calendar highjack the attention of its host city in the way ABMB does, with multiple points of entry for art wonks and novices alike. As for the complaints that ABMB has become too commoditized? It’s a commercial art fair, people!

Local Dish to Try

Go for the stone crabs at Joe’s and stay for the perennially grumpy waiters at this local institution. (11 Washington Ave.; 305-673-0365; joesstonecrab.com)

Local Drink to Sip

Café con leche, of course. Anywhere in Little Havana in and around Calle Ocho will do nicely. Carino’s is an eyesore but has a cult-like following (901 NW 17th St.; 305-324-1122), but we recommend Versailles (an iconic Cuban restaurant that’s part tourist trap, part cultural center), where you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s quinzeñera season all year round. They also have a chapter at the airport, if you run out of time. (3555 SW Eighth St.; 305-444-0240; versaillesrestaurant.com)

Seasonal Highlights

WINTER: With daily highs in the mid 70s, it’s a great time of year to visit—and not just for sun-worshippers. Culture vultures head south for the city’s many worthwhile highbrow offerings, including Art Basel Miami Beach, Design Miami/, and the International Book Fair.

SPRING: March-May brings with it more than spring breakers: foodies come for the SoBe Wine and Food Festival (which, in 2017, technically falls on the last weekend in February); tennis fans converge on the Miami Open in Key Biscayne, one of the most manageable and intimate unisex stops on the tour; and the EDM-obsessed descend on South Beach for the always-jumping Ultra Music Festival.

SUMMER: Miami's June-August temperatures are generally very hot (in the low 90s with lots of humidity). It’s also the start of the dreaded hurricane season. Super storm or not, this time is Miami's rainiest. One the upside: hotel rates hit rock bottom; the city’s best restaurants all offer Miami Spice menus, with three-meal courses created by world-renowned chefs at reduced prices (lunch $23; dinner $39); and nationally renowned models (and the men who love them) arrive in town for Miami Swim Week.

FALL: Average daily rainfall and temperatures drop only slightly during the autumn months. The Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s annual Fall Festival in November is one of the city’s most popular family events. The November tradition has become synonymous with its most popular component: the Ramble, which showcases art, antique and rare book dealers; garden vendors, a furniture design show, and the largest plant sale in South Florida. It’s also a great time to catch a Heat game at the American Airlines Stadium in downtown. Or hire a paddleboard or canoe on Purdy Avenue for a one-hour trip that takes in the sumptuous homes on the easily navigable Sunset Isles.

Quick Tips

Car Service to Know

Aventura Limo
305-770-5466

Extended Stay

Villazzo Villa Hotels
305-777-0146

Extended Stay

East, Miami in Brickell
305-712-7000

Same-Day Dry Cleaning

DryeCo
305-933-2400

Tailor to Know

Carolyn at Sew on Set
305-409-4206

Hair Stylist to Book

Sheenon Olson at Atma Beauty
786-216-7510

Hair Stylist to Book

Franck at IGK
305-455-1431

Makeup Artist to Book

Aileen Quintana

Personal Shopper

Elsyze Held
305-215-3145

Best Spa

Tierra Santa Healing House at Faena Hotel
786-655-5570

Best Beauty Boutique

Gee Beauty
305-868-3533

Best Spray Tan

Fabiola at Atma Beauty
786-216-7510

Best Brunch

Bazaar at SLS South Beach
305-455-2999

Gym with Week Pass

Anatomy at 1220
786-213-1220

Best Hotel Gym

Four Seasons Hotel Miami
305-533-1199

Best Souvenir

A bib from Joe’s Stone Crab
305-673-0365
Hotels

1 Hotel South Beach

This eco­conscious luxury resort offers guests a calm refuge above bustling Collins Avenue.
South Beach
FH&R

Miami Beach Edition

This Ian Schrager boutique hotel, set in a revamped midcentury building, is situated on 3.5 private acres between Miami’s North and South Beaches.
Miami Beach
FH&R

Faena Hotel Miami Beach

This property from hotelier Alan Faena and billionaire Len Blavatnik tapped the talents of award winning film director/producer Baz Luhrmann for a modern take on 1950s glamour.
Mid-Beach

Soho Beach House

It’s easy to spend a whole day here, given that amenities include two pools, a beach operation, three restaurants, a members’ bar, a spa, and a screening room.
Mid-Beach

Acqualina Resort and Spa on the Beach

The Sunny Isles Beach hotel feels more Mediterranean than Miami with a sophisticated look from designer Isabel Tragash.
Sunny Isles Beach
FH&R

The Setai, Miami Beach

This Asian-inspired Collins Avenue hotel attracts a fashionable international crowd to its palm-shaded pools, beach, and Sunday brunch.
City Center
FH&R

The Betsy

Done up in grand old Florida-Georgian style, the hotel is a rare South Beach boutique option with just 61 rooms.
South Beach

Mandarin Oriental, Miami

This property on Brickell Key has a tropical-island feel, yet it’s convenient for business travelers.
Brickell Key
FH&R

St. Regis Bal Habour Resort

Opened in 2012, this hotel is more or less flawless.
Bal Habour
FH&R

W South Beach

Even standard rooms, all of which face the water, at this hotel are South Beach large at 574 square feet.
City Center
FH&R
Restaurants

Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink

Restaurateur Michael Schwartz is often credited with kickstarting local, seasonally focused dining in Miami with this flagship spot, open since 2007.
Design District
New American

Cecconi’s Miami Beach

The courtyard of the chic Soho Beach House is the setting for this classic Italian favorite. At dinner, its lavish outdoor tables are the place to see and be seen.
Miami Beach
Italian

Casa Tua

Tucked away in a Mediterranean-style villa just a couple blocks from the beach, this Northern Italian restaurant has a secluded, exclusive feel.
South Beach
Mediterranean

Zuma

A favorite for their Japanese-inspired brunch, this izakaya spot overlooking the Miami River is a must-visit.
Downtown Miami
Japanese

Naoe

Lauded by Ferran Adria and serving only sixteen guests a night, this omakase-style Japanese restaurant is one of the most sought-after reservations in the country.
Brickell
Japanese

Joe’s Stone Crab

No trip to Miami is complete without a visit to this South Beach institution, famous for its meaty crab claws.
South Beach
Seafood

Mandolin Aegean Bistro

Opened in 2009 by husband and wife team Anastasia Koutsioukis and Ahmet Erkaya, this Design District hotspot serves fresh, Greek-inspired food.
Design District
Mediterranean Bistro

Pubbelly

The 16-table spot serves up small and large plates with an Asian flair, but is really known for its way with all things pork.
Sunset Harbour
Asian-Inspired Gastropub

Prime 112

Miami culinary kingpin Myles Chefetz oversees a series of restaurants in the city, but Prime 112 is his standout.
South Beach
Steakhouse

The Bazaar By Jose Andres

Located in South Beach’s SLS Hotel, The Bazaar offers imaginative Latin cuisine from the James Beard Award-winning chef.
South Beach
Latin
Bars + Lounges

Broken Shaker

This small but lush cocktail bar has been a favorite among spirits aficionados ever since it opened as a pop-up in 2012.
Miami Beach
Cocktail Bar

Sweet Liberty

Bartender John Lermayer presides over a substantial menu of classic and new drinks at this Collins Park spot.
South Beach
Cocktail Bar

MO Bar & Lounge

The sleek bar inside the Mandarin Oriental, Miami is known as much for its attentive service and view of the Brickell skyline as for its elegant, impeccably made drinks.
Brickell
Cocktail Bar

Boxelder

Owners Nicole and Adam Darnell opened this beer market and bar in Wynwood in March 2015, and it’s fast become a destination spot for suds lovers.
Wynwood
Craft Beer

The Forge

For wine lovers, the extensive eight-room cellar of The Forge is a can’t-miss.
Miami Beach
Wine Bar

Wall Lounge

Whether enjoyed from the dance floor or the reserved banquets, this boîte at the W South Beach is the place to be.
South Beach
Club

El Tucán

This chic live music venue from French duo Mathieu Massa and Michael Ridard brings dinner-and-a-show to Brickell.
Brickell
Nightclub

Regent Cocktail Club

This 1940s-style bar and lounge within the Gale South Beach hotel is a dimly lit, sophisticated, elegant nook to enjoy classic and reinvented cocktails.
South Beach
Speakeasy

Rec Room

This literally “underground” bar and lounge at the Gale South Beach hotel feels like a 1970s-style basement, complete with leather banquettes and more than 3,000 vinyl records lining the walls.
South Beach
Cocktail Bar

Bay Club

The delicious Lucali pizza place’s adjoining bar and social club feels like a laid-back secret hideaway.
South Beach
Cocktail Bar
Shopping

Design District

Once a run-down part of the city’s Buena Vista neighborhood, this 18-square-block area, now known as the Design District, has blossomed into a true destination for art, design, and high-end fashion.
Design District
Men + Women’s Clothing

Luminaire Lab

Luminaire Lab, the Design District outpost of the contemporary furniture and lighting design company, isn’t your typical showroom.
Design District
Lighting + Design

Alchemist

While the original Alchemist was for women only, this one lets guys get in on the Rick Owens and Chrome Hearts, too.
Miami Beach
Men’s + Women’s Clothing

The Webster

A little bit concept shop, a little bit diminutive department store, this is an emporium for all things luxe fashion.
South Beach
Men’s + Womens Clothing

C. Madeleine’s

In-the-know fashion and film types flock to this 10,000-square-foot vintage clothing mecca.
Miami Beach
Vintage Clothing + Accessories

Bal Harbour Shops

The most exclusive shopping mall in Florida is anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, and is chock-full of boldfaced designer shops.
Bal Harbour
Men's + Women's Clothing

Del Pozo

The 40-year-old Madrid-based line of elegant, whimsical women’s wear chose Miami as home to its first brick-and-mortar store outside of Spain.
Design District
Women's Clothing

Wynwood Cigars

The expert rollers are from Honduras but both the setting and the product at this homegrown cigar factory are pure Miami.
Wynwood
Cigar Shop

Holly Hunt

Holly Hunt showrooms are synonymous with modern, best-of-class luxury designer home furnishings collections. This one is no exception.
Design District
Home Furnishings Showroom

Ralph Pucci

The Miami outpost of the New York-based, high-end contemporary design showroom—known for being at once edgy, simple and well-crafted—features lighting, furniture, and art.    
Wynwood
Design Showroom
Things To Do

Perez Art Museum Miami

Aside from the excellent exhibitions of international contemporary art, the Herzog & de Meuron–designed building is itself a showstopper.
Downtown
Art Museum

Institute of Contemporary Art

Located in the landmark Moore Building built in 1921, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) offers one of the best reasons to visit the Design District.
Design District
Art Museum

Calle Ocho

Rich with history and fiercely authentic, Calle Ocho is the Cuban-American heart of this culturally diverse city.
Little Havana
Neighborhood Tour

The Marguiles Collection at the Warehouse

Under the aegis of longterm curator Katherine Hind, this major private collection is one of the most important of its kind.
Wynwood
Art Gallery

Rubell Family Collection

A common contender on Miami short list's, the Rubell Family Collection is an essential pit stop any time of the year.
Wynwood
Private Art Collection

Faena Forum

This groundbreaking new arts space in the nascent Faena District brings a much-needed dose of culture to a burgeoning area.
Mid Beach
Art + Performance Center

Wynwood Walls + Art Walk

In addition to being a center for local galleries, the Wynwood neighborhood is home to an outdoor graffiti program showing works by dozens of artists.
Wynwood
Art Tour

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Founded in 1936, this 83-acre urban oasis is known for its collection of rare tropical plants and palm trees.
Coral Gables
Botanic Garden

Villa Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

The Villa Vizcaya is a Jazz Age mélange of Italian Renaissance and Baroque architecture, with formal gardens and a “village” of outbuildings.
Coconut Grove
Museum

South Florida Flats Fishing

Feeling daring? Adventure awaits only fifteen minutes away from Miami Beach.
Biscayne Bay
Bonefishing