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Welcome to Bal Harbour. You probably know this area as the unbelievably luxurious stretch of coastline you drive through to get to Sunny Isles or South Beach. While it’s barely a mile long, this neighborhood is mighty—with designer shopping aplenty, plus enough fancy-shmancy restaurants and state-of-the-art spas and hotels to keep us relaxed (and borderline broke) until the end of time. But you don’t have to be a millionaire to spend an entire day here. Here’s everything you need to know.

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bal harbour village beach
Courtesy of Bal Harbour

Get Acquainted With the Village

The land that makes up Bal Harbour was first purchased in 1929 but spent years as a U.S. military base during World War II. By 1946, Bal Harbour Village was finally incorporated, andits first luxury hotel made its debut a few months later. By 1956, our favorite place in all of Miami (that would be the Bal Harbour Shops) opened, though there was quite a bit of resistance to the idea of an open-air mall. More than 60 years later, the rest is history and Bal Harbour has become one of Miami’s most elegant communities. To keep things new and fresh, the mall is inthe midst of a 350,000-square-foot expansion, which will soon make room for Florida’s first Barneys New York location.

bal harbour shops
Courtesy of Bal Harbour Shops

Go (Window) Shopping

Speaking of the Bal Harbour Shops, we could spend hours walking around this luxury playground. (Prada! Fendi! Chanel! Balenciaga!) We love ogling at koi fish and walking in and out of high-priced designer haunts. And if you’re into celeb spotting, you’re almost guaranteed to see someone famous here.

bal harbour food
Courtesy of Atlantikos

Eat at the Shops

Bal Harbour knows a thing or two about dining. The mall itself is home to four unique restaurants, including Stephen Starr’s delightful French brasserie Le Zoo and chef Makoto Okuwa’s Asian-inspired Makoto. The Grill at Bal Harbour makes a mean chargrilled cheeseburger, topped with marinated onions and arugula on a soft brioche. If you’re one for afternoon tea, pop into Neiman Marcus’s restaurant, Zodiac. You’ll dine on a selection of finger sandwiches, warm scones with marmalade, petits fours and a glass of Champagne. We also can’t get enough of the Greek cuisine at Atlantikos. (Psst… Order the Champagne salt–crusted branzino and the lobster linguine.)

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bal harbour ritz carlton
Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour

Treat Yourself at the Ritz-Carlton

Hey, it’s not a trip to Bal Harbour without a little splurge, right? Swing by the best spa in the area, which just so happens to be the Exhale spa at the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour for a Z Peel facial (with detoxifying Japanese mushroom enzymes), a fragrant Tahitian body scrub or a stress-melting shiatsu massage. Looking to really supercharge the self-care? Book a two-night “Restore & Recharge” package, which includes a tailored nutrition plan, a one-on-one guided moonlight meditation session, daily fitness classes, your choice of spa treatments and even the option to add a private cooking class.

bal harbour shops books
Courtesy of Bal Harbour Shops

Peruse Reads at Books & Books

We still can’t get over the fact that a branch of our fave homegrown bookstore is hidden inside the Bal Harbour Shops. Located on the third floor, Books & Books stocks a lineup of new releases, hardcover art and design books, and a selection of classic fiction and nonfiction.

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