In Miami, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to experience the city in the best possible way, and with any luck, there will be plenty of Florida sunshine to spread around.
Miami is made an even richer place when experiencing it with a partner, so Valentine’s Day make the ideal time for a getaway here. Spend the day in the city together, from its old-world sites featuring historic homes and landmark architecture, to the new era of Miami, with its state-of-the-art boutiques and contemporary art parks. Since you’re down South, use this chance to get out on the water and absorb the real aquatic romance of the area.
1. Visit Miami’s Most Romantic Tourist Attraction
The circa-1916 Villa Vizcaya is a 70-room palace on 180 acres and remains the city’s most glamorous estate. The first Mediterranean Revival mansion in South Florida, Vizcaya was modeled after Ca’ Rezzonico near Venice and remains a masterpiece of fantasy architecture, with formal gardens that are like beaming back in time to an old-fashioned Hollywood movie.
2. Channel Your Inner Mad Man
In the Mad Men era of America, great architecture and design symbolized corporate intelligence, and the Bacardi building—now headquarters for YoungArts, a charitable organization that helps aspiring young artists—defined the city in the 1960s. At Bacardi, Jose “Pepin” Bosch hired Cuban architect Enrique Guitierrez for his corporate headquarters, with Brazilian muralist Francisco Brennard creating external tile murals with tropical imagery in blue and white. YoungArts uses the lobby level for exhibitions that are open to the public, and the forever-beautiful building is the perfect place to spend any day.
3. Shop ‘Til You Drop
If you’ve neglected to buy your beloved a Valentine’s gift, why not go on a shopping spree in the Design District, featuring such boutiques as Givenchy, Valentino, Burberry, and Vhernier: there’s nothing like Vhernier’s Cardinale ring in white gold and diamonds to perk up a romantic day. When you’ve spent yourself, literally and figuratively, take in Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto’s installation, a series of glass fins creating a romantic waterfall effect inside the complex.
4. Take an Art Stroll
Miami is an international capital of contemporary art, which adds a little tone to romantic strolls. In Wynwood, linger at Wynwood Walls, an outdoor museum with graffiti murals by a mix of acclaimed artists (Barry McGee, Kenny Scharf) and such upcoming artists as Crash and Cryptik. Then, drive to downtown Miami and amble through the galleries at Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). It anchors the waterfront complex Museum Park, with a landscape design by New York’s Field Operations, of the High Line project in Manhattan.
5. Tour Stiltsville by Boat
In conjunction with the app BoatDay, HistoryMiami is offering intimate tours of Stiltsville, a collection of still-occupied fishing shacks off the tip of Key Biscayne. These specially chartered boat tours are led by Dr. Paul George, resident historian for the HistoryMiami Museum. Stiltsville was once home to great Miami hangouts like the Bikini Club, and Biscayne Bay itself is the perfect meeting ground for lovers, a place where Miami can seem like the most romantic city on earth.
Tom Austin is based in Miami and covers the Florida beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter at @TomAustin__.