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We know why Miami was dubbed the Magic City—outstanding art, stellar shopping, and savory fare are just a few tricks up the sleeve of this electric locale. Come with us as we shed a light on a Florida favorite. Here we go!
By Amanda Gleason
Then your ideal accommodation is…
Sagamore Hotel Photographs, sculpture, elaborate murals, and more fill every nook and cranny of this boutique South Beach spread.
SLS Hotel South Beach James Beard award-winning chef José Andrés delights diners with dishes like conch fritters and smoked oysters at this trendy getaway’s celebrated restaurant, The Bazaar.
The Biltmore Measuring 22,000 square feet, the largest pool in the continental U.S. awaits at these family-friendly digs in Coral Gables, a residential area about five miles southwest of downtown.
Continue your aesthetic quest and…
Eye Modern Art
The creative juices are flowing at Wichita Center for the Arts. Need proof? Look no further than their 14,000 square feet of gallery space, filled with grand oil paintings like Clyde Aspevig’s 2012 Victoria Falls Canada. Or how about the 484-seat theater, which hosts plays like Bruce Norris’ racially charged, 2011 Pulitzer Prize–winning Clybourne Park? But the inspiration doesn’t stop there. During monthly workshops, this artistic hub gives anyone with an inkling to design the chance to create their own keepsake. Young van Goghs will have a ball painting animal portraits, while adults can try their hand at photography and jewelry-making. And just when you thought it couldn’t get better, wine classes covering the basics of the beverage have been added to the lineup to give you one more reason to raise your glass.
Make a beeline to:
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens Some 2,000 orchids, elephant ear plants, royal palms, and more fill the elaborate gardens at this famed landmark, the former winter home of socialite James Deering.
Arsht Center There’s not a bad seat in the house at this arts venue, where ballet performances, Broadway shows, and dance routines regularly grace the stage.
Discover one of the area’s main claims to fame when you…
Soak Up the Sun
Beach bums babble about Miami in glowing terms. And why wouldn’t they? With more than a dozen sandy escapes, you’re sure to find your place in the sun. Take, for example, the 630-acre Matheson Hammock Park Beach, situated on Biscayne Bay. Families flock here for its calm waters and sparse crowds, and a man-made lagoon that’s a hit with the kids. Need a change of pace? March your flip-flops to Key Biscayne, an island village just south of Miami Beach. Here you’ll find Hobie Beach, whose predictable gusts make this the best spot around for windsurfing. If staying high and dry is more your speed, head to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park at the southern end of Key Biscayne, and make the 109-step trek to the top of the iconic lighthouse for the beachy keen views.
El Pub Get your second wind at this Little Havana staple when you order a colada, a punchy shot of sweetened Cuban espresso meant for sharing.
Azucar Satisfy your sweet tooth with a scoop of platano maduro, sweet plantain–flavored ice cream. Too daring? Fear not—traditional flavors are also served.
Mandolin This bistro’s candlelit patio provides the perfect setting for sipping Greek wines like retsina, a dry white varietal.
Then fashion a fine day of it when you…
Hit the Shops
Just wait ’til you see what Miami has in store. Nearly 150 national retailers and indie boutiques fill downtown’s waterfront bazaar, Bayside Marketplace. Among them, Effusion Gallery, which features eclectic pieces ranging from 3-D glass paintings to ceramic teapots. For a change of scenery, make a beeline for Coral Gables’ celebrated promenade, Miracle Mile, whose tree-lined streets overflow with shops like Cheryl Fudge Fashion Camp, where budding designers create their own clothing. Itching for luxury labels? Fiery fashionistas hightail it to high-end shopping mecca Bal Harbour Shops, where Chanel’s newly renovated boutique—complete with more space and a larger inventory—proves that too much of a good thing is ... a good thing.
Then settle in at:
Tobacco Road Live musical acts ranging from rock to reggae set the scene every night at this iconic joint, formerly a speakeasy and gambling hall.
The Broken Shaker Located inside the hip hostel Freehand Miami, this laid-back bar’s ever-changing menu of cocktails is created with ingredients grown in the on-site garden.
Fly Boutique Still not shopped out? Vintage scarves, cardigans, and beaded bags, as well as newer items by Dior and Louis Vuitton, fill the shelves of this cozy spot.
You’ve had some wine, now sample the local flavor as you…
Taste the Town
Chicken mofongo. Pulled-pork deviled eggs. Key lime pie. Get your share of these dishes when you embark on a gastronomic excursion through Wynwood, a burgeoning art enclave north of downtown, with Miami Culinary Tours. Offered Saturdays, this guided jaunt leads hungry guests to about a half dozen of the area’s most lauded restaurants, where you’ll tuck into kielbasa (smoked Polish sausage), cheese maduros (sweet plantains), and causa, a Peruvian dumpling prepared with potato and aji amarillo chili peppers. You’ll get your fill of artwork, too, as you stroll among the Wynwood Walls, a stunning collection of outdoor murals designed by street artists legends like Shepard Fairey. You’ll even be privy to secret galleries accessible only on the tour. That’s what we call eating your art out.
Getting There Fly into Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL). For $25, the Go Airport Shuttle will tote you to Miami.
Getting Out From intimate seminars to lavish dinners, the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival (February 20-23), caters to all budgets and interests.
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