Travel + Leisure

Even if you only have one day in Miami, it’s crucial that you visit more than one of the city’s diverse and vibrant neighborhoods. As expert traveler Jamie McDonald reveals, each one is completely unlike another, and offers a unique way to experience Miami.

Start your visit to the Magic City by visiting Little Havana. Though it’s easier than ever for Americans to visit Cuba, a trip to this Caribbean enclave in Florida will give you a taste of island life. Here, you can enjoy fresh juice straight from a coconut at El Palacio de Los Jugos, which has been bringing Caribbean fare to this Latin American neighborhood for more than two decades. For your main meal, visit Versailles restaurant and order a plate of black beans, plantains, and fried pork. Many consider this the best Cuban food outside the country.   

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Next up: the Wynwood Design District, where you'll find no shortage of fun things to do. This neighborhood is now one of the most important arts communities in the world, and you don’t have to visit during Art Basel to experience the culture. In addition to strolling around the iconic murals and street art, visitors should make time for the Pérez Art Museum. Now located in the Herzog & deMeuron-designed space overlooking Biscayne Bay, this institution specializes in works from the last two centuries, and offers free guided tours. Reboot with a cup of cold brew from Panther Coffee (easily recognized by its bold façade).

Of course, no trip to Miami would be complete without experiencing South Beach. And what to do in South Beach besides sunbathing? Grab a drink at the Broken Shaker. Tucked inside the Freehand Miami, this James Beard-awarded bar has set the standard for craft cocktails mixed with flowers, fruits, and herbs from its private garden. Feast at star chef Francis Mallemann’s first U.S. outpost, Los Fuegos, at the dazzling new Faena hotel. His custom-made wood oven and outdoor kitchen turn out a transcendent rib eye with chimichurri and a glass of Malbec.

Related: How To Visit Biscayne National Park

While there is no shortage of night clubs in South Beach, one of the best in the city is back in Little Havana. At Ball & Chain, which is decidedly retro, the main draw is Latin jazz performances. Come here for a daiquiri and free salsa lessons on Thursdays.

When you’re ready to bed down, head over to Mid-Beach. Here, you’ll find the ultra-modern Miami Beach EDITION. Guests at this hotel have no trouble remaining entertained, thanks to unusual amenities like an on-site bowling alley and ice skating rink. Big spenders should consider upgrading to the Penthouse Bungalow, where a cool $10,000 gets you a private roof deck with a lap pool and a balcony just shy of 2,000-square-feet. Come sun-up, take a morning stroll along the property’s 70,000-square-feet of beaches.

Fuel up for the trip home with a bite from the SoBe La Sandwicherie. We recommend the Tropical signature sandwich (avocado, mozzarella, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, papaya, mango, and pineapple) with extra vinaigrette. 

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