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Miami city guide

How to get the best out of The Magic City.

Located in sunny South Florida, Miami has long held a reputation for being a party capital in the middle of paradise. But there's more to this urban metropolis than glorious beaches and pulsating nightclubs. From the luxury hotels built during the Florida land boom of the Roaring Twenties to Miami Beach's 1950's Golden Era and the city's contemporary food and arts boom, Miami's rich cultural scene has spearheaded the trends of the moment for decades. Whether you're looking for waterfront contemporary art museums, a craft beer crawl or a night of salsa dancing, Miami delivers. The beach is always nearby, but don't forget to visit the local sites that our five notable locals frequent in town.

Words by Celia Almeida

Little Havana

Miami’s Cuban exile community has thrived in this neighborhood for the past six decades. Named after the capital of the island nation, Little Havana is rife with Cuban restaurants such as Versailles and La Carreta, both with ventanitas where guests can sit in or take their pastelitos and croquetas to go. A stroll down the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, Calle Ocho (8th Street), takes guests to Domino Park, where retirees play dominoes before onlookers. Along the way, the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame spotlights Latin performers of distinction. Venues such as the Ball & Chain and Hoy Como Ayer host live Latin bands throughout the week and dancing goes into the late-night hours.

Image provided by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau /

Upper Eastside / MiMo District

Miami’s Upper Eastside offers a glimpse into the city’s past through modern lenses. Many of the renovated hotels, restaurants and bars along Biscayne Boulevard have been restored in keeping with their post-war Miami Modernist, or MiMo, style. Among the highlights in this classic Miami neighborhood are Old Florida dive bars such as Happy's Stork Lounge & Liquor, cocktail bars like The Anderson and the historic Vagabond Hotel, which was a favorite of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack.  

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North Beach

For a stay on Miami Beach away from the bustle of South Beach nightlife, head to North Beach. Here, you'll find the postcard-ready beach views for which Miami Beach is famous in a slower-paced environment. Watch lilac dusk skies meet the teal ocean at North Shore Open Space Park, dine on oysters and conch at Shuckers Waterfront Grill or grab a cold one at The New Hotel's Blue Beer Garden before catching a show at the North Beach Bandshell, an open-air amphitheater listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Image provided by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

South Beach

Miami’s longstanding reputation as a global party capital largely stems from the nightlife options on South Beach. Collins Avenue is home to world-famous nightclubs including LIV, Story and Wall — all of which frequently host the biggest names in EDM and hip-hop music. The party continues during the daytime when South Beach bars serve mimosas and over-sized cocktails just a block away from the ocean. The Miami Beach district is also a haven for foodies, with diverse options including the famed Joe’s Stone Crab on Washington Avenue, the upscale vegetarian restaurant Planta and Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford’s Stubborn Seed.

Image courtesy Getty / Alexander Spatari


A decade ago, Wynwood was an unassuming working-class neighborhood with countless warehouses. Drawn by cheap rent and storage costs, local artists began moving into the neighborhood and gradually transformed its character through street art, graffiti and murals. Today, Wynwood's technicolor sights and galleries draw tourists to the neighborhood's hipster bars, restaurants and craft breweries. 

Image provided by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

Downtown Miami

The skyscrapers of Miami's financial district are intertwined with entertainment destinations such as the American Airlines Arena, home to the Miami Heat. A short walk down from the arena stands the Freedom Tower, known as the "Ellis Island of the South” for its pivotal role in processing Cuban exiles in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution. The building is now home to the Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College, one of a handful of notable museums in an area that also includes the Pérez Art Museum Miami, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science and HistoryMiami.

Image provided by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau

Fine Dining

Food Halls

Courtesy Politan Row Miami

Politan Row Miami

(786) 542-8977, 140 NE 39th St Suite #241, Miami, FL 33137, United States

Located in Miami’s upscale Design District, this food hall hosts 11 concepts, including homemade pasta at Dal Plin, the Lil Hottie sandwich at Coop and the Peruvian/sushi fusion Itamae, which was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation award. Politan Row's library boasts 3,000 modern art titles for diners to peruse.

Courtesy The Citadel Miami

The Citadel

(305) 908-3849, 8300 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33138, United States

Towering over Little River, this warehouse accommodates a dozen concepts in its 15,000-square-foot food hall, including local favorites such as Mexican taqueria Taquiza and modern Chinese eatery Palmar. Its rooftop bar serves classic cocktails and panoramic views of the city.

Photography by Leonardo Finotti

Time Out Market

(786) 753-5388, 1601 Drexel Ave, Miami, FL 33139, United States

Curated and vetted by Time Out Miami editors, this South Beach food hall is the 50-year-old media company’s first outpost in the United States. Its 18 eateries showcase dishes by some of the city’s most endeared chefs, including Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford’s Korean-inspired Krun-Chi, Norman Van Aken’s South Florida-inspired K’West and Matt Kuscher’s popular burger joint Kush.

Up and Coming


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(305) 444-0240, 3555 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33135, United States

This Cuban diner whips up staples, such as ropa vieja and arroz con pollo, from its palatial dining room and café con leche from its open-window counter. Versailles is as popular with Miami's visitors as it is among the Cuban exile community, which gathers to discuss the issues of the day over powerful coladas.

Courtesy Sergio's Restaurant

Sergio's Restaurant

(305) 529-0047, 3252 SW 22nd St, Miami, FL 33145, United States

With seven outposts across the greater Miami area, this Cuban kitchen and bar fuses Cuban and American cuisine with an extensive menu covering breakfast, lunch and dinner. Locals line up for café Cubanomedianoche sandwiches and the vaca frita smothered in sautéed onions.

Courtesy Café La Trova

Café La Trova

(786) 615-4379, 971 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33130, United States

This Little Havana establishment is equal parts restaurant, bar and live music venue. Daiquiris are the drink of choice, with “La Chancleta” (Spanish for sandal) fittingly served attached to one. Live bands croon Cuban classics underneath a decorative clothesline as yacht rock plays from the neon-lit ’80s bar in the back. Staff scurry about delivering hand-cut empanadas, paella croquetas and entrees such as crispy whole boneless snapper and arroz con pollo.

Courtesy Havana Harry's

Havana Harry's

(305) 661-2622, 4612 S Le Jeune Rd, Coral Gables, FL 33146, United States

Even with bar seating and multiple dining rooms, the line at Havana Harry's often extends outside its doors. With entrees such as the creamy spinach-stuffed baked salmon and indulgent milkshakes crafted with papaya or guava ice cream, locals often reserve this Cuban restaurant for special occasions.


Courtesy Gramps


(305) 699-2669, 176 NW 24th St, Miami, FL 33127, United States

Laidback cocktail bar Gramps is as popular with Miami locals as it is with the thousands of tourists who flock to its surrounding attractions in Wynwood. The bar's weekly drag and trivia events draw the hometown crowd while cocktails such as the popular Rosemary's Baby ⁠— topped with aromatic burnt rosemary ⁠— attract visitors to the indoor bar and patio area.

Courtesy The Corner

The Corner

(305) 961-7887, 1035 N Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33136, United States

Located downtown near nightlife hotspots Club Space and E11even Miami, The Corner satiates the after-party crowd's late-night cravings with offerings such as its loaded Chicago dog and Argentinian-style empanadas. For a nightcap, the bar serves specialty cocktails such as the Trinity, made with Wathen's Bourbon, Rothman & Winter Peach Liqueur, lemon and basil.

Courtesy Ball & Chain / Sean Pozin

Ball & Chain

1513 SW 8th St, Miami, FL

Originally opened in 1935, this bustling Little Havana lounge was once a tour stop for jazz greats including Billie Holiday and Chet Baker. Today, it hosts a daily roster of Miami's top jazz and Latin musicians on the famed Calle Ocho (8th Street) thoroughfare. In tribute to Old Havana, the Calle Ocho Old Fashioned is topped with a tobacco leaf.

Courtesy The Living Room / Faena Hotel Miami Beach

The Living Room

(305) 534-8800, 3201 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140, United States

Housed inside the waterfront Faena Hotel on Collins Avenue, The Living Room's animal print and velvet furnishings hearken back to Miami Beach's 1950's Golden Era. The upscale bar serves bespoke cocktails alongside signature drinks such as the Deft Leopard in an atmosphere that's often complemented by live music.

Craft Beer

Courtesy Wynwood Brewing

Wynwood Brewing

(305) 982-8732, 565 NW 24th St, Miami, FL 33127, United States

Founded in 2011, Wynwood Brewing opened a brick-and-mortar brewery in its namesake neighborhood in 2013, effectively launching Wynwood's craft beer boom. Its signature blonde ale, La Rubia, can be found at bars and restaurants around the city well beyond its home base in Wynwood.

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J. Wakefield Brewing

(786) 254-7779, 120 NW 24th St, Miami, FL 33127, United States

Just off Wynwood's main drag, Northwest Second Avenue, J. Wakefield Brewing is an intimate hideaway located close enough to the center of the action in the arts district. The taproom is smaller than that of the average Wynwood brewery, but J. Wakefield has built a loyal following thanks to its coconut-flavored El Jefe beer and its Star Wars and superhero-themed interior.

Courtesy M.I.A. Beer Company

M.I.A. Beer Company

(786) 801-1721, 10400 NW 33rd St #150, Doral, FL 33172, United States

Miami's Doral suburb is best known for its golf courses and proximity to Miami International Airport, but it's also home to M.I.A. Beer Company. Though its creations are in constant rotation, the brewery is best known for its Miami Weiss beer, a citrusy brew crafted with banana and sweet orange peel.

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Luxury Hotels

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Biltmore Hotel

(855) 311-6903, 1200 Anastasia Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134, United States

Opening in 1926 at the tail-end of the Florida land boom, The Biltmore Hotel pairs the decadent flair of the Roaring Twenties with modern luxuries. The hotel, designed in a Spanish architectural style with Moorish and Italian accents, is home to the Biltmore Golf Course and one of the largest swimming pools in the United States.

Courtesy Fontainebleau Miami Beach

Fontainebleau Miami Beach

(305) 535-3283, 4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140, United States

With 1,500 guest rooms and a curved structure that provides amphitheater-style beach views, the Fontainebleau Miami Beach remains every bit as impressive as it was when it first opened in 1954, exemplifying the decadence of the city's Golden Era. Today, the hotel is home to LIV Nightclub and Michelin starred restaurant Hakkasan.

Photography by James McDonald

Mr. C Miami — Coconut Grove

(305) 800-6672, 2988 McFarlane Rd, Miami, FL 33133, United States

For visitors looking for a seaside escape away from the bustle of Miami Beach, Mr. C Miami provides waterfront views of Biscayne Bay in the historically bohemian neighborhood of Coconut Grove. The hotel is also home to Italian concept Bellini Restaurant & Bar and garden bar Il Giardino.

Boutique Hotels

Photography by Adrian Gaut

Freehand Miami

(305) 531-2727, 2727 Indian Creek Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33140, United States

One of four Freehand hotels with locations in New York, Los, Angeles and Chicago, the Freehand Miami courts a young crowd with hostel-style accommodations near South Beach's top nightlife destinations. The hotel's award-winning Broken Shaker bar slings cocktails poolside while 27 Restaurant & Bar opens for happy hour, dinner and brunch inside a converted Miami Beach home.

Courtesy Vagabond Hotel

Vagabond Hotel

(305) 400-8420, 7301 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33138, United States

Though it's now known as The Vagabond Hotel, the recognizable sign outside this property in Miami's MiMo district still reads "Vagabond Motel." Even after its 2014 renovation, owners aimed to maintain the hotel's mid-century character. Back then, the hotel was a playground for Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack. The retro decor inside the hotel's guest rooms is a chic nod to the era.


Courtesy Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company

Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company

(305) 763-8217, 237 20th St Suite B, Miami Beach, FL 33139, United States

Located alongside Collins Park near The Bass Museum, Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Company was co-founded in 2016 by the late John Lermayer, who is widely credited with upgrading Miami's cocktail scene. The bar is a popular happy hour spot, but it's liveliest at night when guests imbibe as they dance along to local DJs and live music.

Courtesy Basement Miami

Basement Miami

(786) 257-4600, 2901 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140, United States

With its technicolor ice skating rink and bowling alley, photos of Basement Miami's interiors are commonly found on many celebrity's social media accounts. Developed in part by hotelier Ian Schrager of Studio 54 fame, Basement Miami's disco ball and neon decor light up the dance floor at this nightclub housed inside the Miami Beach Edition hotel.

Courtesy Mama Tried

Mama Tried

(786) 803-8087, 207 NE 1st St, Miami, FL 33132, United States

Mama Tried shares its name with a famous Merle Haggard song, but this downtown establishment is no country bar. From its light fixtures resembling disco balls to its dimly-lit interior, Mama Tried is the kind of bar where parties get started during happy hour and guests return for a nightcap.


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South Pointe Park

(305) 673-7779, 1 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, United States

During the daytime, this gateway to South Beach is a hotspot for picnics and water sports. The park also offers family-friendly accommodations including a playground and dog park as well as direct beach access. In the evenings, guests watch ships enter and depart the nearby port in the shadow of the glowing Miami skyline.

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Wynwood Walls

(305) 531-4411, 2520 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127, United States

In many ways, the outdoor gallery Wynwood Walls is the heart of its colorful namesake neighborhood. More than 50 contributing artists have painted murals on its walls including the likes of Shepard Fairey, who recently exhibited a career retrospective at the outdoor attraction. The gallery's in-demand restaurant, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar, also displays murals by Fairey.

Photography courtesy Getty / Barry Winiker

Calle Ocho

Little Havana, Miami, FL, USA

Miami's Cuban exile community made a second home for itself in Little Havana in the 1950s and '60s. The Old Havana charms of the neighborhood are particularly pronounced on Calle Ocho, where cigar shops line the sidewalk and salsa music spills out of clubs such as the Ball & Chain and Hoy Como Ayer at all hours of the day. Visitors can stroll down the Latin Walk of Fame and stop by Domino Park to watch retirees play rounds of the tabletop game.


Courtesy Dolphin Mall

Dolphin Mall

(305) 365-7446, 11401 NW 12th St, Miami, FL 33172, United States

With 17 anchor stores and 240 retail outlets, Dolphin Mall is one of the largest shopping centers in Miami. Its IMAX movie theaters, arcades and sit-down dining options also make it one of the city's top entertainment destinations. The onsite Courtyard by Marriott and adjacent Hilton Garden Inn Miami Dolphin Mall offer hotel options for guests looking to stay close to the action.

Courtesy Swire Properties

Brickell City Centre

(305) 350-9922, 701 S Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33131, United States

Located in the heart of Miami's financial district, Brickell City Centre offers boutique and luxury shopping options from the likes of Rolex and Giuseppe Zanotti. Visit the property's CMX theater for a high-end shopping experience and grab a bite to eat at La Centrale, Miami's first-ever Italian food hall.

Photography by Luis Gomez

Design District

Miami Design District, Miami, FL, USA

Located northeast of Miami's famed Wynwood arts district, the Design District is home to scores of galleries and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami. But the area's high-end shops are the main draw for visitors, with brands including Tom Ford, Christian Louboutin, Givenchy and Fendi claiming real estate within the neighborhood.

Courtesy Shops at Merrick Park

Shops at Merrick Park

(305) 529-1215, 358 San Lorenzo Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33146, United States

At the Shops at Merrick Park, guests can stroll through lush outdoor plazas in the city of Coral Gables, located west of Little Havana and north of Coconut Grove. The mall contains high-end shops including Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo and Gucci just a short drive from Miracle Mile, another shopping and entertainment destination located in this city-within-a-city.


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North Shore Open Space Park

(305) 861-3616, 8328 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33141, United States

South Beach is an essential stop for all Miami visitors, but to experience Miami Beach like a local you'll want to head north on Collins Avenue to North Shore Open Space Park. Catch a glimpse of Miami Beach's colorful lifeguard towers and powdery beaches in an environment that's decidedly more relaxed than the tourist hotspots on the southern end of the barrier islands.

Pola Damonte via Getty Images

Lummus Park

South Beach, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA

This public park, located steps from the shores of South Beach, contains all the charms Miami's visitors have come to know from popular films and postcards, from its Art Deco backdrop to the colorful lifeguard towers that dot its beachfront. Guests can stroll or bike along its pathways or visit the shops on Ocean Drive just a short walk away.

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Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park

(305) 361-8779, 1200 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149, United States

Located east of Miami on the island of Key Biscayne, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is home to the oldest structure in Miami-Dade County: The Cape Florida Lighthouse. The lighthouse was constructed in 1825 and has survived countless hurricanes and wartime attacks over the span of nearly 200 years. Today, visitors can climb to the top to enjoy stunning views of Key Biscayne.


Photography by Daniel Azoulay

Pérez Art Museum Miami

(305) 375-3000, 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132, United States

After serving as Miami's leading institution for contemporary modern art in various iterations since 1984, the Pérez Art Museum Miami opened in downtown Miami in 2013. The institution's location is as awe-inspiring as the art exhibited on its walls. The museum's terrace overlooks beautiful Biscayne Bay and Museum Park, which is also home to the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science.

Photography by Chi Lam

Rubell Museum

(305) 573-6090, 1100 NW 23rd St, Miami, FL 33127, United States

After art collectors Don and Mera Rubell moved their private collection into Miami's Wynwood neighborhood, Miami's street artists and collectors followed. As their collection expanded, they moved it into the city's Allapattah neighborhood and opened the Rubell Museum, which houses works by Keith Haring, Kehinde Wiley and Yayoi Kusama, among many others.

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Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami

(305) 901-5272, 61 NE 41st St, Miami, FL 33137, United States

Located in Miami's ritzy Design District, the ICA Miami is surrounded by high-end shops including Prada and Hermès. But the contemporary art museum is accessible to all visitors, as there is no cost for admission. Visitors can find pieces on view on the museum's walls as well as its outdoor garden. The museum has exhibited works by artists such as Sterling Ruby and Yayoi Kusama.

Photography by Robin Hill

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science

(305) 434-9600, 1101 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132, United States

Located on the opposite end of Museum Park across from the Pérez Art Museum Miami is the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, a family-friendly institution that caters to the curious. Among its many attractions are its state-of-the-art planetarium and an aquarium that spans three museum floors.

Performing Arts

Photography by Rui Dias-Aidos

New World Center

(305) 673-3330, 500 17th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139, United States

Miami Beach's Frank Gehry-designed New World Center employs state-of-the-art technology to make classical music accessible to the masses in Miami. Home to the New World Symphony orchestral academy under the direction of composer Michael Tilson Thomas, the venue broadcasts its concerts on the lawn at SoundScape Park, the public municipal space adjacent to the hall.

Photography by World Red Eye

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

(305) 949-6722, 1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132, United States

Designed by world-renowned architect Cesar Pelli, the twin buildings at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts house the Ziff Ballet Opera House, Knight Concert Hall and Carnival Studio Theater. The venue hosts about 400 events per year, including concerts by touring artists and Broadway shows. Visitors can also dine at BRAVA by Brad Kilgore or unwind at the Café at Books & Books.

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Olympia Theater

(305) 374-2444, 174 E Flagler St, Miami, FL 33131, United States

The vintage marquee outside the Olympia Theater offers guests the first clue of the venue's storied history. The theater first opened in 1926 as a silent movie theater and eventually became the city's first air-conditioned building. Among its many charms are its Moorish architectural flourishes and the theater's ceiling, which is painted to resemble the night sky.

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