48 Hours In Miami

(Photo: Courtesy of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitor Bureau)

If you’ve only been to Miami to party in South Beach and to seek out some sun and surf, it’s time you returned to this South Florida metropolis to explore its stellar art and design scene. The city’s buzzing every December for Art Basel but you can plan your trip anytime of year as there is plenty to enjoy outside of the renowned show.

Where to stay
In Brickell, book at the very modern East Miami, where if you score a room facing the bay, you’ll enjoy the twinkling city lights beneath you, sunrise views and, of course, the beautiful Biscayne Bay. Decked out with balconies (so you can enjoy your Nespresso in the fresh air as you take in that break of dawn), floor-to-ceiling windows, a soaker tub and a lush Frette robe, the bright and spacious room will be hard to leave each day. If you prefer to be in Miami Beach, design and car fanatics will get a kick out of the historic art deco Cadillac Hotel and Beach Club, where the original tower is designed to look like the front of a Caddy (so the upper floors have fewer and fewer suites given the silhouette of the car). Fresh from a multimillion-dollar reno, the Cadillac Hotel (which is part of the Autograph Collection) has an adults-only infinity pool (fist pump!) and is steps from the sparkling Atlantic Ocean.

Where to go
Get up early to explore the Wynwood Arts District before the sun makes being outdoors too unbearable and the crowds of sightseers show up. Wander this arts hub on your own or book a tour with Wynwood Buggies to learn the ins and outs of street art and graffiti and the artists behind some of the major pieces in the neighbourhood. Stop into Wynwood Walls, too, the outdoor museum of street art, which was conceptualized by developer Tony Goldman (and which is credited with revitalizing this once industrial neighbourhood). If your art tastes lean towards modern and contemporary, The Bass, Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Institute of Contemporary Art all feature artists and work that will feed your soul, including Paola Pivi, Christo and Jean-Claude, and Louise Bourgeois respectively. (Tip: the ICA is free admission, should you be looking for something cheap and cheerful to do after splurgin in the Design District).

Where to eat
Award-winning Brad Kilgore is the darling of the Miami food scene where he’s serving up playful dishes at Alter and sophisticated plates at Brava (we feasted on an incredible bone marrow appetizer before a night at the ballet at the adjoining Adrienne Arscht Center for the Performing Arts). In Fall 2018 he’s set to open Kaido in the Design District, where the focus will be on inventive street food and cocktails. Also opening in the Design District is Swan and Bar Bevy, the debut restaurant from singer/producer Pharrell Williams, which will serve up French-American fare in a swish 13,500-square foot dining room and lounge space.

Where to shop
While you can buy your Prada, Fendi and Balenciaga at any of their flagship stores or at luxury department stores, shopping in the Design District is a cultural tour in itself. Complete with a Fly’s Eye Dome produced by the Buckminster Fuller Institute, the shopping area boasts all of the luxury brands in boutiques primped with stunning architectural features. At Christian Louboutin, the exterior is made from tree bark, and at Dolce Gabbana, the store in inspired by a famous opera house in Milan, Teatro alla Scala. Inside the boutiques, you’ll often find exclusive pieces that have come here directly from the runway. Save some cash, though, because you’ll want to pick up some Cuban cigars and espresso beans in Little Havana at Guantanamera Cigars for yourself and your crew.

Tags: Miami, travel, Travel Guide, travel tips

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