When most people think of Miami, they picture white sand, palm trees, bronzed bodies, and glitzy parties. And that’s on point: the beach city is as buzzy as ever, and it has an amazing art, culinary and nightlife scene to boot. While you could spend a week weaving in and out of the towns that make up Miami, with only two days on the books, we’re going to focus on Miami Beach – and especially, sultry South Beach.
Good morning, Miami! Fuel up with brekkie at Bacon Bitch, or a coffee and cheeky pastry at Rosetta Bakery. Or, if you’re feeling virtuous – warning: the rest of your weekend will not be described as that – grab a smoothie bowl at Pura Vida, the kind of surfy joint that’s never not sandy.
While the sunkissed city is still waking up, tick off those ‘CCs’ – compulsory cultural items. Miami is an art and architecture hotspot, so there are plenty of places to check out. Depending on your vibe, pop into ArtCenter for cool paintings and performance pieces, or the ultra-modern Perez Art Museum. Save the sculpture garden, with its hanging, hammock-style chairs, for the end. Wynwood Art District is worth the 15-minute venture out of South Beach. Wander past the Wynwood Walls, which are splashed with street art by Miami’s best until you reach the David Castillo Gallery, or take a peek at the Miami Supercar Rooms. Home to a collection of flashy vintage cars, it doubles as a club on weekends. Not an arty person? Get tickets to the Museum of Ice Cream, a bubblegum-pink, dessert-themed funhouse and Instagram sensation.
Hungry? Head to Bird and Bone for brunch. Part of The Confidante hotel, the rustic-chic restaurant serves up Southern-style classics. Order the apple cider sangria and the Chef Hales Hot Chicken sandwich, and thank us later. What’s Miami without a vice?
The hotel backs onto the beach boardwalk. When you’re done brunching, stroll to South Beach – and there’s no judgement if you’re unfit/dying to get into the water, and hop an Uber halfway.
Sure, there are signs, but you’ll know when you get to South Beach. ‘SoBe’ is famous for its crystal-clear water, stripy sun loungers, and scantily-clad bodies – the itty-bitty bikini reigns supreme. This is what you’ve been waiting for, so nab a spot on the sand and soak up the sun – and the scene – for the rest of the afternoon. Trust us when we say the people-watching is insane.
Now that you’ve topped up your tan, go back to your hotel to freshen up (and maybe sneak in a nap), and then make your way to the Broken Shaker, inside The Freehand. Miami is a cocktail kinda town, and this bar is one of the best. If you can, score a seat by the pool or in the courtyard, and then sip on the city’s unofficial cocktail – the mojito – under the twinkling lights. Stay there for tacos and bar bites, or relocate to the restaurant next door for fancier fare. 27 Restaurant & Bar dishes up Middle Eastern delights and next-level seafood.
The night’s in full swing, so it’s time to tick off another CC: a Miami club. Basement is our plush pick. Tucked inside the seriously sleek Miami Beach EDITION, it’s a club, skating rink and bowling alley in one, and decked out Studio 54-style: think technicolour lanes and bottles served in disco balls. PS. It’s open til 5am…
24 hours to go! To perk up after last night, first things first: get some food into you. If you’re in the mood for a sit-down meal, make a beeline for Orange Blossom. Get the quinoa fried rice – with sautéed quinoa, kale, bacon and two fried eggs, it’ll take the edge off nicely.
The city’s foodie scene is strongly influenced by Cuba, which is a hop, skip and a jump from Miami. For a taste of Havana (and the opportunity to keep your sunglasses on), opt for a cheesy Cuban sandwich, aka a ‘cubano.’ Puerto Sagua and Las Olas Café serve up the best in South Beach – just don’t expect to look as sexy as Camilla Cabello while you’re demolishing it. 😉
After you’ve eaten, there are a couple of activities to choose from. You could pick up a bike at Lummus Park (Ocean Drive and 7th Street), and then cruise past the Versace Mansion, and countless swimmers, roller-skaters, and buff dudes doing pull-ups at jungle gyms. If you’re not so keen about pedalling, sign up for the Art Deco Tour, which takes in the beautiful pastel buildings that put the coastal city on the map in the 30s and 40s. During the 90-minute tour, you’ll spot sights like the Tides Hotel and Gloria Estefan’s Cardozo Hotel. When it’s done and dusted, you could pop into the shops that line Lincoln Road Mall, but if you don’t, you’re not missing out too much.
When lunchtime rolls around, go to Yardbird for freshly-baked biscuits (a kind of savoury scone) and its famous fried chicken. It takes 27 hours to prepare, and it’s as succulent and juicy as you can imagine. For seafood, head to Joe’s Stone Crab, and skip the restaurant in favour of the takeaway joint next door – same food, friendlier prices. If tacos are calling your name, Tacquiza is cheap, cheerful and delish.
Did someone say pool party?! If your hotel pool isn’t popping, buy a day pass to The Standard or The National, and lounge like you’re a local. The Standard is a guaranteed good time any day of the week, while The National’s infinity pool is the longest and most glamorous in Miami. You have nowhere else to be this afternoon, so swim, tan, and sip on smoothies or cocktail slushies on repeat.
It’s your last night, so let’s make it a memorable one. Dress up, then wander down Espanola way, a fairy-lit, pedestrian-only street that’s lined with alfresco restaurants, bars and cafes. Pop into Havana 1957 for a Cuban cocktail, then go around the corner to Pane e Vino for dinner. This place will blow your mind – try to book a table ahead if you can. There’s a pasta-maker working his magic at the front, and the spaghetti is finished in a giant parmesan wheel before landing on your plate. It’s beyond good.
Post-dins, head to Bodega, a hip-hop speakeasy hidden behind a fake porta-potty door. (Yep, the only hint you’re in the right place is a sign that says ‘banos!’) It’s packed on weekends, so you’ll have to put your name down and pass the time at Ricky’s next door. It’s a glorious grind fest, with incredible DJs and some of the most amazing dancing you’ll ever see, so believe us when we say you won’t care too much. Then, when you get the text, you’ll be ready for the swanky, two-storey Bodega.
If you want to turn it up at a Miami mega-club, go to Story, Nikki Beach, or the queen of the scene, LIV. With velvet ropes, bottle service, international DJs, and hedonistic dancefloors, these clubs will light up all your senses. Sure, they can be wanky, but they’re a lot of fun! And if a star is in town, chances are they’ll stop by these spots.
Words by Katia Iervasi.