Where the Cool Kids Are
Miami’s hottest new hotel, the Freehand, is actually a “hostel.” Thankfully, there’s nary a backpacker in sight. Designed by Roman and Williams, the hotel is an inspired take on the cheap and cheerful hotel Miami didn’t know it needed. Old copies of National Geographic in the lobby? A vegetable garden? Art classes? Cherry red bike cruisers for rent? An on-site cocktail bar called Broken Shaker? Check.
2727 Indian Creek Drive, South Miami Beach; from $160 per night
Where to Go for a Scene
The W South Beach takes the clubby vibe of a W and Miami-ifies it, meaning rooms have velvet couches, ocean views, a walk-in shower with Bliss bath products, and more mood lighting than you can shake a stick at. There’s also an outpost of New York’s Dutch, for all your fried-chicken cravings.
2201 Collins Avenue, South Miami Beach; from $469 per night
The Wow Penthouse Suite at the W South Beach, with a rooftop pool. (Courtesy: W South Beach)
The New Old Standard
An art-deco style classic building constructed in 1941, the Raleigh serves up a hip aesthetic for a more grown-up crowd. The pool is a scene, but more glamorous than outré. Rooms are beachy chic, with wicker chairs and a mid-century cruise ship vibe. The Michael Schwartz-operated Martini Bar remains a treasure for cocktails and people-watching.
1775 Collins Avenue, South Miami Beach; from $200 per night
A vintage Miami feel at the Raleigh. (Courtesy: The Raleigh)
The Kid-Friendly Resort
The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is the perfect resort destination: secluded from the city, but close enough to enjoy everything that Miami has to offer. With 450 rooms, four restaurants, a 20,000-square-foot spa, and free weekend car service to any restaurant on Key Biscayne, your bases are covered. The rooms are appointed in the traditional Ritz-Carlton style, that is to say, lots of silk fabrics, pearl-and-wood inlays, and thick curtains. Many of the rooms have views of the ocean.
455 Grand Bay Drive, Key Biscayne; from $469 per night
The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, set on the beach. (Courtesy: Ritz-Carlton)
The Italian Stallion
Scarpetta, at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, is one of the finest outposts of Scott Conant’s pasta empire. Granted, paying this much for spaghetti with tomato and basil might seem excessive, but it’s worth it. And the indoor/outdoor setting and beautiful patrons always make for a sexy night.
4441 Collins Avenue, South Miami Beach
The Hot Table
Andrew Carmellini’s the Dutch incorporates seasonal ingredients and influences from across the world. Our favorite dish is the blue-crab pizza. And because this spot is at the ultra-hot W South Beach, the crowd rarely disappoints.
2201 Collins Avenue, South Miami Beach
Good fried chicken from “Top Chef” alum Jeff McIniss can be found at Yardbird. If you’re a scotch enthusiast, the list here will make you want to linger.
1600 Lenox Avenue, South Miami Beach
Yardbird serves up addictive fried chicken and watermelon. (Courtesy: Yardbird)
The Late-Night Hangout
Three words: corned beef sandwich. Jerry’s Famous Deli is the spot for soaking up some starch and salty meat at 3:30 a.m.—perfect to tone down that hangover you know is coming. And if you’re not worried about your hangover, you can do shots here, too.
1450 Collins Avenue, South Miami Beach
Check out Cutting-Edge Art
Miami’s cultural scene continues to flourish, thanks to private collections like The Rubell Family Collection. Open nearly two decades, this 45,000-square-foot space is one of Miami’s most popular artistic destinations, with works by Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol. Stop by at 11a.m. for their free daily tour of the current exhibition.
95 NW 29 Street, Miami
Artist Zhu Jinshi’s “Boat,” at the Rubell Family Collection. (Courtesy: Rubell Family Collection)
Listen to Music Al Fresco
The amazing campus for the New World Symphony is the only Frank Gehry-commissioned building in Florida. Visitors can take a tour of the multi-million dollar venue every day at noon or head to the adjacent Soundscape Park, where concerts are broadcast to the public. It’s also a great spot for a picnic.
500 17th Street, South Miami Beach
Bike Around South Beach
One of the best ways to explore South Beach is on a bike with the Discovery Tour. Head to the Art Deco Welcome Center, right on the beach, where you can pick up a set of wheels and an audio guide (yes, it’s safe). The tour is narrated by people who helped make South Beach what it is today: artists and celebs, historians and hipsters.
1001 Ocean Drive, South Miami Beach
Get a Great Deal
Before you go home, hit the Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall. There are items for every budget—but the best steals are at the designer shops in the Colonnade area.
12801 West Sunrise Boulevard, Sunrise
The Miami skyline at night. (Photo: Xynn Tii)
5 Things to Know
1. One of the most legendary places to eat in Miami is Joe’s Stone Crab—and its wait for a prime-time table is legendary, too. Head to Joe’s takeout spot next door, load up on stone crab, and grab an outdoor seat. Or take your haul to South Pointe Park, right nearby.
2. Valet parking is expensive and annoying in South Beach, so avoid driving and take a taxi instead. Don’t worry that it will make you look like a tourist: even locals cab around South Beach to save money and hassle.
3. Take a close look at the bill before you tip. Because Miami attracts such an international market, many restaurants and bars automatically add gratuity to the bill.
4. Want to check out the galleries in Miami’s up-and-coming Wynwood and Design District neighborhood? Don’t miss the Second Saturday Art Walk—which makes it easy to explore and has become a huge monthly gathering.
5. South Beach’s famed Lincoln Road is a mixed bag, where ticky-tacky T-shirt shops and tourist-trap restaurants are interspersed with moments of brilliance, like the Herzog & de Meuron-designed 1111 Lincoln, the most gorgeous parking garage you’ve ever seen. It’s also home to some of Miami’s best restaurants, including the rooftop Juvia, with spectacular panoramas of the skyline and the beach.