About Time: You Discovered the Beauty of MiamiBy Suzi Malin
Forget everything you’ve been told about Miami. Ditch the notion of that Miami in Miami Vice – the drugs, boom and bust economy. Miami is no longer God’s Art Deco waiting room; this place has undergone revitalisation and renaissance – making it a number one holiday spot not just for the winter months, but for all year round.
Miami: What to Expect
Miami has something for everyone. Say your significant other wants to look at art, you want to shop; he wants to play golf, you want to roast on a beach, hit the nights spots and outdoor bars. Here is resort that has the very best of everything so everyone can have the holiday they want – it is even short commute to Disneyland, so the whole family can be spoilt. There are three different destinations in Miami – offering the best of very different holidays.
1. Downtown Miami
Where to Stay: The Epic Hotel
Why: With magnificent views overlooking where the Miami river meets the Biscayne Bay. This light-filled, airy hotel has every luxury and convenience. Take advantage of the complimentary morning coffee, afternoon Cuban coffee at 3pm and the complimentary wine bar between 5-6 pm where you can share experiences with other guests in this friendly hotel. The Epic has great service and style and you might like to try their Area31 restaurant and outdoor lounge on the 16th floor restaurant specialising in seriously fresh seafood.
What to Do
Visit the PAMM Museum – George Perez, the man with the dream of regenerating rundown downtown Miami, has given back to the community he helped to build with the donation of 30 million dollars for the creation of PAMM – a state of the art museum. The Perez Art Museum Miami is in 29-acre museum park overlooking Biscayne bay with public, hanging gardens, sculpture installations and great cafes. PAMM is home to modern, contemporary and emerging artists – and it’s free to enter every second Saturday.
Visit Wyndwood – Wyndwood, a shuttered and once dangerous manufacturing district, is now transformed to a thriving art district with the help of Tony Cho. Once home to derelict warehouses, it is incredibly quaint. It’s a joy to wander through any of the 70 galleries in the area bursting with life and energy especially around the time of Art Basel.
Wynwood Art Walk – Go every second Saturday and experience the hub of art life, street performance, live music, hip restaurants and bars. Just go to people watch if that’s your thing – it’s packed with colourful characters. Don’t miss Wynwood Kitchen and Bar while you are there.
Visit Wynwood Walls – an amazing, outdoor street museum for local and international artists – some of the street paintings are truly mind-blowing.
Visit the Rubell private collection in Wynwood – a magnificent collection of 7000 art works not to be missed. This collection started in 1992 works include Cindy Sherman, Keith haring and Basquiat, collected before they rose to huge stardom. The Rubell family as art patrons give an artist a large space, art materials and the freedom to create what they want. These changing installations are interesting.
2. The Design District
What: 12 minutes form the airport and 8 minutes from Miami beach, the design district is perfectly centrally located. Developed by one of the founding fathers of Art Basel, Craig Robbins knows a great deal about merging culture and commerce to create a unique retail experience. This area, distinctly 40’s in feel, is a joy for shoppers – offering the best of European cutting edge design, fashion, food and art.
Why: Pleasing walkways and shady trees make this experience a Disneyland for adult shoppers; the shop fronts are colourfully and tastefully designed are like an art work in themselves. There are between 15-20 restaurants – try Michael’s Genuine Cyprus Room, owned by Michael Shwartz, who is known for throughout Miami for his famous restaurant Michael’s. There are many James Beard award-winning chefs working in destination restaurants in the Design District – if your significant other doesn’t fancy shopping then the wide range of marvellous restaurants will put a smile on a grumpy, male face. Don’t miss Cafe Crumb on Parchment for great food!
Where to Stay: The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables
Why: This National Historic Landmark and tranquil haven of old world elegance and charm, frequented by presidents and film stars, was founded by George Merrick in 1926. It has the largest swimming pool in the continental United States, an 18 hole golf course, 10 lighted tennis courts and newly renovated spa. The romantic Fontana courtyard restaurant transports one to 1930’s Italy with its delicious North Italian cuisine. The Sunday brunch has been voted best brunch in Miami and is famous for its abundant spread enjoyed whilst listening to live Latin music in the Sunny courtyard.
Don’t Miss: Take a Dragonfly expedition which gives the history of the early pioneers and struggles of the region including those of the Indians.
3. South Beach
Where to Stay: The Betsy
Why: Bursting with life, laughter and Bon hommie, The Betsy is a 1930’s time warp restored to perfection with Venetian blinds, leopard throws, ceiling fans and a jazz musician tinkering at the piano. The über stylish Betsy is the place where you would expect Hemingway to hang out especially as it has created one of Miami‘s top jazz hideaways with performers every Wednesday and Thursday from 8 pm-11pm. Check out their exciting events calendar and eat the best steak in Miami at their in BLT restaurant or just come to people watch.
Don’t Miss: The beach, bars, scantily clad dancers and buzzy nightlife. Stroll down Lincoln Avenue and have photo for the album taken with The Naked Cowboy and when you have tired of all that fun (as though one could) learn the history of Miami‘s architecture through the MDPL historical and architectural walking tour.