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A Complete Guide to Miami: Where to Dine, Stay, Shop, and Explore

Miami has multiple personalities. There’s the sun-soaked beach, the sleazy-fun South Beach nightlife, and the bustling arts scene. The pockets nestled between the ultra-luxurious hotels, five-star restaurants, branded buildings, and shops housed in Art Deco landmarks are teeming with Cuban history and culture. Whether you’re here bask in the sun, see contemporary Latin American art, or indulge in a little retail therapy, this guide highlights the best that Miami has to offer.

Stay

Esmé Miami Beach opened in 2021 in Miami Beach’s historic Española Way. Designed in the neo-Spanish-Mediterranean style, the hotel has 145 rooms across eight buildings connected by a lush courtyard and a rooftop pool (an oversized plunge pool, let’s call it.) El Salon, the velvet-fringed speakeasy in the courtyard also serves breakfast in the mornings. The hotel-operated restaurants nearby are lively—and delicious—dinner destinations amid the South Beah hubbub, including Andalusian tapas spot Tropezon and The Drexel, a Mediterranean spot connected to Casa Matanza, the 1920s-era building once the stomping grounds of gangsters like Al Capone that the Esme converted into rooms.

The Standard’s Miami Beach outpost is a spa hotel located in a secluded spot in Biscayne Bay. After your steam, sauna, and of course, cold plunge, wander the tranquil meditation gardens and lounge by the expansive infinity pool.

Immerse yourself in the heart of Miami’s Cuban culture at Life House, Little Havana, a 33-room boutique hotel on the mainland. The hotel is housed in a Mission Revival house curated with pieces from Hans Wegner, Cassina, and Jeanneret with vintage Afrocuban ceramics and Caribbean plants. Sip a coffee in the lush courtyard, or a cocktail on the rooftop terrace with sweeping city views.

Dine

Step into a charming courtyard and be transported to the Aegean Sea at Mandolin. This perennial Miami hotspot specializes in fresh Mediterranean fare of salads, mezes, kebabs and more in a converted 1930s house.

Macchialina is a must-visit for Italian lovers. This intimate trattoria serves up hearty, authentic dishes world’s away from the restaurants in the South of Fifth neighbourhood with a concise menu of handmade pasta and fresh meat and fish. It’s inviting, delightful, and has a killer wine list.

In Miami, it’s not uncommon to mistake a restaurant for a nightclub with a bouncer, a velvet rope, and an enforced dress code. But that’s part of the fun, and MILA is one such spot. The sprawling indoor-outdoor rooftop restaurant offers a culinary journey through the Mediterranean and Japan, including an extensive and sharable menu of dishes like miso-marinated black cod and Wagyu beef. Don’t miss the live dance performances—the only interruptions to thumping bass and flowing cocktails.

Shop

The Webster’s original location is housed in a chic Art Deco building in South Beach. Wander through multiple levels of curated fashion, accessories and shoes from Chanel to Amiri.

CURIO at Faena Bazaar is a 20,000-square-foot concept store that offers a unique mix of fashion, art, and homeware in Miami’s Faena District. The shop carries a mix of emerging and established designers, including BSides, R13, and Nanuskha, with a healthy skew toward resort wear.

The Design District has emerged as a haven for art, design, and fashion lovers—and folks who want to park their Bentleys outside Saint Laurent. Browse the well-curated racks at Kith, Jil Sander, Prada, and Cult Gaia before visiting the contemporary art galleries and chic design shops (hello Cassina) nearby.

See

The Rubell Museum is a must-visit for contemporary art lovers. One of the largest private contemporary art collections in North America is housed in a former warehouse in the Allapattah neighbourhood. Across 36 galleries on a single level, pieces by Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat hang alongside those of emerging artists like Alejandro Piñeiro Bello, whose work explores the Caribbean diaspora. Enjoy a lunch of Fresh fish at the courtyard restaurant LEKU after visiting one of the museum’s rotating exhibitions.

Overlooking Biscayne Bay, the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is an architectural masterpiece ringed by lush hanging gardens and the waterfront. The museum’s extensive collections highlight modern and contemporary art spanning the Americas, Europe and Africa.

Located in the Design District, The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) offers cutting-edge exhibitions and dynamic programming with works by experimental artists like Rita Ackermann and Louise Bourgeois.

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