Miami’s party culture has been immortalized in song, film, television, and art! Home to Art Basel Miami Beach and the famed Wynwood district, Miami is also a link between North America and the Caribbean, South America, and, more broadly, the Southern Hemisphere. Here a guide to all Miami has to offer:
Where to sleep
Like any major city, there are tons of accommodations in Miami, so why not head away from South Beach? From what I was told, real Miami folks hardly go there anyway. Here are some suggestions:
WWDD (short for What Would Drake Do)? In his song “The Motto,” Drake had “a condo up in Biscayne.” So I thought, “Why not live like Drake?” Kimpton EPIC Hotel did not disappoint. High-rise Miami-lavish at its best, Kimpton EPIC also offers condo units, and its residents seem to be Miami’s glitterati: at any given hour the entrance is dotted with Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and other expensive cars. Plus, its position on the Miami River and proximity to the bay provide amazing views of shiny yachts to ogle in the mega-yacht marina. But Kimpton EPIC isn’t just razzle-dazzle; the amenities and staff are excellent.
For a fun touch of old-school Miami in a 1930s Art Deco building, check out Freehand Miami, located in the former Indian Creek Hotel. The crowd here definitely skews younger and hipper; it is a hostel after all, and it has a—dare I say it—Brooklyn vibe in Miami. It also helps that the award-winning bar, Broken Shaker, is right downstairs. I can’t think of a better place for a nightcap than overlooking the lit-up pool. Even if you’re not staying here, check out delicious new restaurant 27 for dinner and head to Broken Shaker for post-dinner drinks.
What to eat
You really can’t go wrong at a mom-and-pop restaurant in Little Havana or Little Haiti, the enclaves that grew from communities of Caribbean immigrants. But, here are two restaurants downtown that you simply must try:
Named after the local fishing region that extends all the way to South America, Area 31’s specialty is seafood, prepared with globally inspired flavors from the Caribbean to China, and they are passionate about sustainability and supporting their local sources. Everything on the menu is mouthwatering, including the meat. And on top of it all, the 16th floor location of both the restaurant and lounge offers incredible views of downtown Miami, the Miami River, and the Biscayne Bay.
Located in the InterContinental Miami hotel, Toro Toro is an amazing option for a working lunch. Toro Toro’s delicious cocktail program only rivals their amazing lunchtime buffet. That’s right, I said buffet. This isn’t your grandma’s buffet though. This Latin steakhouse is serving up delicious cuts of steak, plantains, pork shoulder, ceviches, and so much more. But don’t get too full. There’s a signature dessert, La Bomba, that you’ll want to save room for.
WWDD (short for What Would Drake Do)? In his song “The Motto,” Drake had “a condo up in Biscayne.” So I thought, “Why not live like Drake?” Kimpton EPIC Hotel did not disappoint.
What to do
You may have seen pics on Instagram of the Wynwood Walls, those brightly colored murals in the Wynwood Arts District, a revitalized area of downtown Miami, and it’s something you should check out in person. Make it worth your while and book a bike or walking tour with the company Miami’s Best Graffiti Guide—tell Ryan the Wheelbarrow I sent you—and delve deep into the revitalization of the neighborhood and the cultural ramifications.
The identity of Miami is evolving from its party-all-the-time past, and downtown Miami and the arts and design district are definitely at the helm of it. There’s no better example of this than the Adrienne Arsht Center, a cultural institution celebrating its 10-year anniversary. Designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the building itself is a marvel, with the concept of art in public spaces integrated into the building. From a world-class opera house to a black-box theater, the Arsht Center spaces seem to have it all. They even host an annual Flamenco Festival—it is Miami after all.