The Insider’s Guide to Miami
The vibrant city’s most amazing (and Instagrammable) hot spots
Frozen cocktails in coconuts, the teeny-tiniest bathing suits, the ostentatious nightclubs on Collins Avenue (and the inevitable lines to get in). Confession: When we used to think about Miami, these were the things that first came to mind.
Luckily, we recently discovered that Miami extends way, way beyond its South Beach borders. But before you run off and pack, take a peek at our insider’s roundup of Miami’s hidden gems in this travel guide. Don’t worry: We’ll save you a mojito.
THE ART MUSEUM THAT RIVALS ANY OTHER
Rotating art exhibitions in the stunning Herzog and de Meuron-designed Pérez Art Museum Miami are just the beginning: A canopied veranda extends beyond the museum’s walls and creates a perfect little park, complete with hanging gardens and swings that overlook the Miami Beach overpass. The ultimate spot for people watching and celeb sightings. (Hint: On a recent day, Russell Simmons was spotted teaching meditation to schoolkids in the courtyard.)
Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Downtown Miami
THE TOP-SECRET LUNCH SPOT THAT LOCALS SWEAR BY
When you slip off the beaten path and into “La Petite Haïti,” you venture into Anthony Bourdain-approved territory. The gastronomically inclined should head straight over to B&M Market, an unassuming bodega that serves up spicy jerk chicken, curried goat stew and that totally unique cow’s foot soup in the very back (there are only four seats, by the way). While you’re digesting, take a slow stroll over to Sweat Records, the legendary vinyl shop offering indie music, local espresso and an occasional pop-in from Iggy Pop.
B&M Market, 219 NE 79th St.; Sweat Records, 5505 NE 2nd Ave., Little Haiti??
THE MIAMI BEACH EXPERIENCE (THAT IS ACTUALLY REALLY COOL)
OK, remember when we said that Miami was more than just a beach-party cliché? That doesn’t mean we don’t need some Q.T. in the sun and sand (we’re human, after all). Head to North Beach (South Beach’s funkier, calmer cousin) and stretch out with a good read and watch the waves for a bit. Then take a casual stroll along the waterfront, where you’ll be charmed by the very distinct “MiMo” (Miami Modern) style, NoBe’s funky take on art deco architecture (what are “cheese holes” and “bowties,” exactly?). Grab a to-go box of spicy beef empanadas from HalfMoon (hey, we all need to refuel).
HalfMoon Empanadas, 860 NE 79th St., North Beach
THE ONE GARDEN THAT WILL MAKE YOU SWOON (PLUS A GREAT VIEW OF BISCAYNE BAY)
A mini version of Versailles right here in Southern Florida, the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is a fave hideaway for those wistful for something Euro. Skip the stuffy antiquities inside and opt instead for some fresh air: Get lost in the playful Maze Garden or the romantic Secret Garden (if you can find it). Later, get out on the water for a few hours with a chartered catamaran tour and then dock at Dinner Key Marina, where the Bahamas meets Bohemia. End the day at laid-back Monty’s Raw Bar for oysters on the half shell and live music.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, 3251 S. Miami Ave.; Dinner Key Marina, 3400 Pan American Dr.; Monty’s Raw Bar, 2550 S. Bayshore Dr., Coconut Grove
THE SPA EXPERIENCE THAT WILL MAKE YOU BLUSH (IN A GOOD WAY)
The gorgeously designed hamam (the Turkish-style bath that’s part hydrotherapy playground, part detox center) is co-ed, so things can get a little bit cheeky. After your communal soak, book a “Four Hands Massage” (in which two massage therapists give you 60 minutes of total bliss) and follow it up with an astrology reading for a dose of inspiration.
The Standard, 40 Island Ave., Miami Beach
THE PLACE WHERE YOU CAN WATCH PAINT DRY AND STILL BE INSPIRED
Thanks in part to the city’s multicultural communities and its annual arts show, Art Basel, Miami is like honey for international culture vultures. But where it’s all bursting is Wynwood, Miami’s creative heart and soul. World-famous and unknown street artists both converge here to create bright, bold, vibrant murals. Catch them in action by taking a walking tour (download this map) of Wynwood’s many galleries. Don’t forget a detour to Coyo Taco for charred octopus tacos on hand-pressed tortillas. Follow it up with a double shot of a Guatemalan single-origin espresso at super-cool Panther Coffee or an IPA at hipster-centric Wynwood Brewing (Miami’s first).
Coyo Taco, 2300 NW 2nd Ave.; Panther Coffee, 2390 NW 2nd Ave.; Wynwood Brewing Company, 565 NW 24th St., Wynwood