Lots of destinations promise something for everyone, but Miami follows through on this guarantee in a way that few other North American cities can. Miami’s miles of perfect sand and retro architecture may be its most iconic features, but this sprawling city offers so much more: glittery skyscrapers, world-class museums, bucolic farmland and vibrant ethnic neighbourhoods, many of which are steeped in a sultry Latin vibe. Put it all together, and Miami delivers a cosmopolitan city getaway and sun-seeker’s escape, combined into one fabulous trip.
Morning Home to the Art Deco District, South Beach is the epitome of iconic Miami, which makes it the perfect starting point for your trip. Enjoy a light breakfast at News Cafe, a South Beach mainstay, then take a long stroll up the boardwalk or venture a block west to Collins Avenue to check out the area’s colourful, well-preserved art deco architecture.
Afternoon It can be tough to see beyond the glitz, but South Beach offers more than just bikinis and nightclubs. A food crawl with Miami Culinary Tours will give you a taste of the many cultures that flavour the area; you’ll sample ceviche, churros, empanadas and more on a two-and-a-half-hour jaunt through the area’s most notable eateries while learning some South Beach history.
Evening Zip across the causeway to Wynwood, a former warehouse district that’s home to the city’s hottest art scene. Take in the area’s galleries, museums and ever-evolving street art, then dine at SuViche—its name combines sushi and ceviche, and, aptly, the seafood-heavy menu blends Japanese and Peruvian influences.
Morning Head downtown for strong coffee and Cuban-style breakfast sandwiches at Manolo & Rene Cafeteria, a no-frills 24/7 cafeteria and local staple. When you’re done, take a five-minute car ride to the new Museum Park, a 30-acre waterfront complex that plays host to outdoor music festivals and other public events. The park is named for its two largest tenants: the Perez Art Museum Miami (200,000 square feet of modern and contemporary art, much of which highlights the city’s diverse communities) and the soon-to-open Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science.
Afternoon Drive 45 minutes south to Miami’s Redland farming area. Skip lunch in favour of a double dose of fresh-picked sweet treats: first, shakes made from the abundant tropical offerings at Robert Is Here, a roadside fruit stand, followed by strawberry sundaes at Burr’s Berry Farm (open December to May). Next, stop by Coral Castle, a coral rock oddity built over 28 years by Edward Leedskalnin in honour of the fiancée who jilted him back in Latvia. Finish your afternoon with a stroll through the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, also nearby.
Evening Before you head back to town, stop in to Anacapri (Pinecrest location), a rustic trattoria where the US$10 homemade pasta nights and adjoining wine shop full of hard-to-come-by imports have earned a devoted local following. End your day with a glam nightcap at The Biltmore Hotel.
Morning Start your day with bagels and lox at Bagel Cove, in the suburb of Aventura, followed by a tranquil paddle through the mangroves at Oleta River State Park (BG Oleta River Outdoors rents kayaks and canoes). Home to scuttling crabs, herons, egrets and more, Florida’s shady mangroves play a key role as a feeding and nesting habitat to virtually all of the state’s migratory birds and fish.
Afternoon Head to nearby Sunny Isles Beach, a long, continuous stretch of white sand perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Along the way, pop in to Miami Juice for healthy Middle Eastern-driven fare and refreshing frozen lemonades.
Evening Dine in the MiMo Biscayne Boulevard Historic District, where a growing number of restaurants are opening in restored retro motels. Blue Collar is a favourite, with its fresh veg options and great burgers. From there, check out Churchill’s Pub, in Little Haiti, to cap off your trip with live music.
What to Do in Miami On a Culture-Filled Holiday
If you're looking for a beach vacation with cultural depth, Miami is for you. Stay at The Julia, an artsy new hotel, eat at a food hall, get tickets to see Sensatia at the Faena Theater, explore Little Havana and watch a performance outside the New World Center.
What to Do in Downtown Lahaina
Once the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom, Lahaina occupies a central place in Maui’s history. Today, its low-slung buildings and oceanfront shops and galleries offer a taste of Old Hawaii. Take a walk through the neighbourhood, making stops at Lahaina Banyan Court Park, Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice and more.