Even after a century of existence, Miami still has the feel of a place that went up last night. From the beginning, climate and geography-sultry air, lush tropical vegetation, the glistening waters of Biscayne Bay-have dictated the character and demeanor of this languid, sexy city devoted to pleasure, one far more Latin American/Caribbean than North American in tone. Today's Miami, full of sophisticated hotels, restaurants, museums, and architecture, may be America's most modern metropolis: unfettered by historical baggage, eminently multicultural, and always up for trying something new.
For a taste of pure old Havana, try a scoop of the guanabana ice cream—flavored with a tart and custardy tropical fruit—at King’s Ice Cream.
In up-and-coming Little Haiti, the edgiest store is the studiously alternative Sweat Records. Among the CD’s and LP’s, look for emerging indie rock and Latin funk by local legends like the Spam Allstars.
Along with all the galleries and museums, the Wynwood Arts District is full of thrift shops. The best is the ever-wonderful Grubstake Good Works, known for fantastic and dirt-cheap clothing, art, and trinkets. Even better, the store’s profits help the homeless.