As the temperature drops, there’s one destination that always beckons: Miami, Florida. With its crystalline waters, art deco architecture, and lively atmosphere, it’s America’s perennial warm-weather getaway, attracting generations of visitors to its South Beach shores, Wynwood walls, and Coral Gable casas.
But with so much to explore, and so much to choose between—do I stay in Miami Beach, or the Design District? Do I want a cultural experience or, erm, a club experience?—journeying to the urban oasis can be overwhelming. So we asked Vogue staffers to share their favorite haunts in Miami, from hotels to restaurants to nightlife. Below, our recommendations.
Where to Stay
Faena, Miami Beach
When in Miami, I like to lean into its excessive, chaotic glamour—which means the Faena, a maximalist fever dream, is my hotel of choice. The bold red and turquoise color scheme in all the rooms? 100 percent yes. Animal print coaches with gilded chandeliers in the lobby? Here for it. Plus, it’s an art lover’s paradise: Damian Hirst’s “Gone but not Forgotten,” a gold leafed wooly mammoth skeleton, sits on its grounds, and during Art Basel, they always have an avant garde installation. (Last year? A carousel by Raúl de Nieves.)
-Elise Taylor, Living Writer
Palihouse, Miami Beach
The east coast’s first Palihouse, opened in October, manages to be both tucked-away and centrally located, just around the corner from The Faena in Mid-Beach. With most of its 71 rooms including kitchenettes, it’s designed to be a home away from home—if you lived in a restored Art Deco building with coral-colored walls and a perfect view of Indian Creek, that is. Like all Pali properties, this one is well-stocked with charming details, from an all-pink elevator to a tiny TV playing Ace Ventura in the lobby. During the day, take advantage of the hotel’s Beach Butler program, for which the staff will pack chairs, towels, and an umbrella along with a picnic, then shuttle you in a bespoke golf cart to whichever beach you choose. At night, order the bar’s “Falling Up” drink, which comes in an adorable puffer fish mug. (It’s meant for two, but when in Miami…)
-Ella Riley-Adams, Senior Living and Beauty Editor
1 Hotel South Beach, Miami Beach
My absolute favorite place to stay is the 1 Hotel South Beach. Not only is it absolutely stunning and relaxing, I love the little touches like their recycled wood room keys.
-Anny Choi, Editor
The Miami Beach Edition, Miami Beach
I’ve stayed at the Edition a few times and never want to leave. It's steps from South Beach and the plant-filled lobby is super chic—but the private pool and private beach (with your own personal chaise, towel, and umbrella!) is even chicer.
-Christian Allaire, Fashion and Style Writer
The Standard, Miami Beach
I love staying at The Standard Miami Beach, not only because they have an amazing spa and pool, but I like that it feels a little off the beaten path. It's close enough to South Beach proper without being completely in the mix of the crowds and bigger hotels and resorts.
-Brooke Bobb, Senior Fashion News Writer
Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, Surfside
The Four Seasons recently took over Miami's famed beachside Surf Club, adding to it several must-visit restaurants like Le Sirenuse (which evokes a lush solarium with indoor palm trees lining the terra-cotta floors) and the Surf Club (featuring frescoed and trellised walls by It interior designer Martin Brudnizki). The rooms are as pristine as you'd expect, and then there's the hammam-themed spa with modern Morrocan tilework. Yes, the hotel is far away from Miami's more frequented attractions, but you'll want for nothing.
-Lilah Ramzi, Features Editor
Who says you need a beach? Located in Miami’s booming Brickell neighborhood is East, the first U.S. outpost of Swire Hotels—the group behind the endlessly cool Middle House in Shanghai. Modern design is at the forefront for this downtown property: the glass prism exterior is meant to look like cascading water, and feng shui methods were used for all the interiors. Their rooftop bar, Sugar, with its teak bar and overflowing greenery, looks straight out of Bali—but its panoramic views of Biscayne Bay gives its true geographical location away.
Where to Eat
Le Sirenuse, Surfside
Tucked away in the Surf Club is the American outpost of Positano mainstay, Le Sirenuse. The food is unsurprisingly exquisite and the ambiance commands attention.
Byblos, Miami Beach
Byblos' airy and bright atmosphere sets the tone for the Mediterranean delights that await. This is the perfect spot for a happy hour drink (the "Marrakech Garden" delights), brunch (the manoushi never fails), or even a family feast (the "no hungry kids” menu comes in handy!).
-Ian Malone, Experience Associate
Joe's Stone Crab, Miami Beach
There's always a line because Joe’s Stone Crab is a bonafide institution. Joe's founder Joe Weiss is actually said to have "discovered" stone crabs. He and his wife opened a lunch stand in Miami Beach in 1913. In 1921, a visiting ichthyologist from Harvard brought him a stack of the strange looking crustaceans. At first, Joe thought nobody would eat them, but after he boiled and chilled them, they were a huge hit. The signature claws are a must order. Fresh stone crabs are in season from October 15th to May 15th. But the huge menu means there are lots of other seafood options as well. (The restaurant does so much business it's actually the number two highest grossing restaurant in the United States. The number one spot goes to Tao Las Vegas.) And, after eating all of the claws you can, be sure to order the key lime pie—you won't regret it.
-Alexandra Macon, Contributing Living Editor
Los Fuegos, Miami Beach
The best steak I ever had was at Los Fuegos by Francis Mallmann—the Argentinian celebrity chef is a true grillmaster. The ambience, with its cheetah print banquets, mood lighting, and outdoor terrace truly sets the mood for a special evening worth savoring.
Taquiza, Miami Beach
This traditional Mexican taqueria is definitely a local’s spot. Specializing in authentic tacos and street fare, it's a casual place where you can eat good food al fresco. Blue masa is used to create their homemade gluten-free tortillas and chips, and to be honest, my trip to Miami was almost a year ago, and I still think about how good they were on a regular basis!
If you're wandering around Wynwood, 1-800-Lucky is the ultimate casual lunch spot that's not to be missed between gallery hopping and shopping. In an industrial setting with a ton of Asian food vendors (great if you're indecisive or with a group) is a bar, outdoor seating (and dancing), Instagram worthy decor, and last but not least, hip-hop music. It's quick, inexpensive, and true to the Art District's cool vibe.
-Madeline Fass, Associate Market Editor
Swan, Design District
Last year, singer, activist, and Renaissance man Pharrell teamed up with the ample-tressed French chef Jean Imbert to open the restaurant Swan. Located in the Design District, the 13,500-square-foot venue made such a splash that during even during Art Basel, hoards happily braved the fair's standstill traffic from Miami Beach just to get a table.
Plant Miami, Wynwood
Vegan, or just looking for a healthy detox after a late night in South Beach? Go to Plant Miami, a restaurant that serves up a plant-based menu (think jackfruit tacos and coconut ceviche) with ingredients from their own biodynamic farm. The outdoor patio has a plethora of palm trees and a serenity pool, making it an oasis of calm in the bustling Wynwood neighborhood. You can stay longer than lunch, too: Plant Miami is part of a larger wellness complex called The Sacred Space, which also offers yoga and cooking classes.
Mandolin Aegean Bistro, Design District
Mandolin is a true Mediterranean escape in the heart of Miami's Design District. If you're seeking a laid back, unpretentious environment with great seafood and wine, grab a table on their patio.
Ghee, Design District
The menu—Indian, much of it gluten-free and vegetarian—at Ghee changes daily depending on which ingredients have been freshly harvested from the restaurant-owned farm, Rancho Patel. Knowing that it’s all great, put your decision-making in the chef’s hands by going for the $55 tasting menu (and getting a glass of organically farmed wine on the side).
Kiki on the River, Brickell
With its deadly cocktails and delicious fare, Kiki on the River provides the perfect place to booze while savoring that unbeatable Floridian weather. The edenic interior, draped in leaves and lit by chandeliers, accentuates the beauty of the boats beyond. Open on weekends from 1 pm to midnight, the venue acts as the Southern answer to Montauk's Surf Lodge.
Versailles, Little Havana
Best cafe con leche outside of Havana. Full confession: I’ve never had a thing to eat here—but every time I’m in Miami I make a pilgrimage to their to-go counter for their very high-octane but still mellow Cuban coffee. (Just don’t make the mistake I did on my first trip here when, due to some language issues, I accidentally ordered a colada and drank it all quite quickly. A colada, a Cuban friend explained to me, once I stopped thinking I was having a heart attack, is what you bring back for your entire extended family.)
-Corey Seymour, Senior Editor
Makoto, Bal Harbor
Makoto has the best Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice in all of Miami. What’s better than bites of sushi mid-shopping trip?
-Jenna Rennert, Beauty Editor
What to Do (Other than the Beach)
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Coconut Grove
It's a quick (30 minutes, give or take) drive from Miami Beach to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, but you'll feel worlds away. The property was once the home of James Deering, a man who took antiques just as seriously as he did growing his thriving businesses. From the outside, the sprawling waterfront estate (completed in 1923) is a pastiche of Mediterranean Revival and Italianate Villa elements. Inside, it brims with imported European art and decorative arts spanning the Renaissance to the Rococo and more. Then, there are the gardens, a composite of designs pulled from Italy and France's best examples. The pièce de résistance is really outside in the bay—a carved limestone barge that resembles a sunken ship. It's all delightfully over the top and luxurious—what could be more Miami?
Pérez Art Museum Miami, Downtown Miami
Steps from the glittering Intercoastal, the Pérez Art Museum Miami (or PAMM) offers a dazzling collection of contemporary art. The sprawling space, boasting over 2,000 works including pieces by Olafur Eliasson and Frank Stella, delights the connoisseur and art-novice alike.
de la Cruz Collection, Design District
If you're craving a more personal experience than PAMM provides, head over to de la Cruz Collection. The formerly private collection of Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz offers the cultured visitor a chance to admire works by Salvadore Dalí, Alex Katz, Félix González-Torres, Rashid Johnson, and other contemporary masters.
The Webster, Miami Beach
While The Webster now has multiple locations across the United States, its 20,000 square foot flagship is housed in a fabulous turquoise and pink Art Deco building on Collins Avenue. It’s a must-visit for any luxury lover or architecture aficionado.
Tierra Santa Healing House, Miami Beach
-Celia Ellenberg, Beauty Director
Gee Beauty, Miami Beach
Originally Appeared on Vogue