Miami Beach has long been a popular travel destination due to its stretch of white sandy beaches and electrifying nightlife. Plus, it's home to a renown art and architecture scene, particularly during Art Basel, the world-class international art fair held each December. Now, more than ever, visitors can enjoy style and art in the heart of Miami Beach while taking advantage of the plentiful sunshine and lively party atmosphere. Here, our recommendations on culture, food, and dining.
What to do
The best way to appreciate Miami Beach’s incredible architecture is to visit the Art Deco Welcome Center and museum. The 90-minute Art Deco walking tour takes you through the Miami Beach architectural historic district for an in-depth look at the various iconic architectural styles, including Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, and Miami Modern designs that have made Miami Beach world famous. $25 for adults, closed on Mondays.
The collection at the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum beautifully highlights its persuasive power of Miami's art and design. With 180,000 pieces dating from the height of the Industrial Revolution to the post-World War II era, the museum serves as a potent reminder of how elements of style and innovation shape our history and our collective conscious. The War Propaganda permanent collection is an exceptionally disturbing look at how aesthetics can persuade and influence social psyche. $10 for adults, closed on Wednesdays.
For those interested in the future of style and art in Miami Beach, head to the Faena Arts District in Mid-Beach. The newly minted art-centric six-block district boasts luxury condos, high-end boutiques, and a state-of-the-art cultural center. At the epicenter of the area is the decadent, yet impressive Faena Hotel. Lavish, extravagant, and overwhelmingly gold, it’s hard not to get caught up in the glamour and opulence of it all.
Where to dine
Pao by Paul Qui, Faena’s in-house restaurant that serves up bold and modern Asian cuisines. Surrounded by lush greenery, a golden dome, and watched over by Damien Hirst’s half-gold, half-vivisected unicorn, it’s a truly unique and exceptional dining experience. Many of the dishes stand out, but the uni and grilled sweet corn pudding (aptly named the “unicorn”) is the restaurant’s show-stopping signature dish.
For other exceptional dining options in Miami Beach, Klima offers a Catalan-inspired menu with fresh, locally sourced ingredients in a gorgeous and intimate setting. Their fresh ceviche is tangy with a hint of sweetness and Klima’s expert mixologists serve up specialty cocktails with a Spanish twist. Transport yourself to the streets of northern Thailand with the menu from NaiYaRa in Sunset Harbour. Take advantage of the shareable portions and order up a wide variety of dishes, such as the lightly fried street dumplings served over an oyster and chili sauce, and the fragrant kao soi curry noodles with skirt steak. For lighter fare during your stay, head to local favorite, Under the Mango Tree, a small organic juice bar that also churns out amazing acai bowls.
And, of course, the shopping
If you’re looking to fill your closet with some hot Miami fashion, head to Bal Harbour Shops for a luxury shopping experience set within a garden oasis or the Lincoln Road Mall promenade to peruse the boutiques, art galleries, and outdoor cafes, and restaurants.
Finally, where to stay
When it’s time to rest for the night, Winter Haven Hotel, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, offers a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach despite being located in the center of South Beach. The historic hotel retains the look and charm of its architectural heritage while blending in modern furnishings and chic tropical decor. Nightly rates are from $189 this winter.