Call it a social experiment: T+L asks its Facebook community for things to do in Miami.
Day 1: South Beach
On my crowdsourced tour of New York for the November issue, T+L’s Facebook fans pointed me to corners of my hometown I hadn’t known before. So I was thrilled that, when asked to choose a sunny sequel, they opted for Miami (just edging out Los Angeles and Las Vegas). After all, Miami is a city I’m familiar with, but whose appetite for art, design, and good food is always evolving. Guided by their recommendations, here’s what I discovered.
8:30 AM: Raleigh Hotel Breakfast under a shady sea-grape tree on the terrace. Facebook fans selected the hotel for my first night, curious about its ongoing nip and tuck. The 1940’s gem is more subtly suave than ever; the Martini Bar and glamorous pool remain, thankfully, unchanged. Doubles from $500.
“The best vibe in South Beach: perfect pool and grown-up! Would love to know what the new place is like.” —Martin Raffone
11:30 AM: Lords South Beach Great Value I peek into Miami Beach’s new gay-friendly hotel to see what fan Mayra Roubach called its “artsy, hippie” feel. Love the spangly gold bar and playful polar bear in the lobby. 1120 Collins Ave.; 877/448-4754; doubles from $159.
1:30 PM: Base The long-standing purveyor of cool always carries objects, art books, and tunes worthy of a browse. It’s on Lincoln Road, which is fans’ favorite locale for people-watching and a good spot for an alfresco lunch.
5:30 PM: South Pointe Park Sunset at the newly revitalized zone at the tip of South Beach, filled with joggers and strollers. A totem of color—actually a 55-foot-tall lighthouse by German artist Tobias Rehberger—stacks up against the wavy palms and high-rise condos.
“Beautiful view of South Beach, and you can watch the cruise ships depart.” —Vanessa Lane
8:45 PM: Yardbird Southern Table & Bar Settling in at the bar at this popular spot—the wait for a table is an hour—I succumb to ribs, grits, and bourbon. 1600 Lenox Ave.; 305/538-5220; dinner for two $80.
T+L Insider Video: Miami Made Easy
Day 2: Downtown Miami
Miami’s Design District and its arts-centric northern neighbor Wynwood are still emerging areas. To separate the hype from the substance, I canvass online as well as the old-fashioned way, asking people I meet for advice. Early neighborhood adopters are always willing to share.
10:00 AM: Crumb on Parchment Like a pair of comfy slippers among the Design District’s high-style Manolos, this homespun café is where I start my day. The caramelized banana cake, made by chef Michelle Bernstein’s mom, is rich and moist, and the Wi-Fi is free. 3930 N.E. Second Ave.; 305/572-9444; breakfast for two $20.
“Crumb on Parchment is perfect for a bite and coffee.” —Gracia Larrain Lascelle
11:00 AM: Duncan Quinn Among my Design District finds are a limited-edition Vespa helmet at the stylish suitmaker’s Miami outpost. 4040 N.E. Second Ave.; 305/671-3820.
2:00 PM: Wynwood Walls The corner of N.W. Second Avenue and 26th Street is an outdoor museum of graffiti and street art. Girls dressed in black finery pose for quinceañera photos in front of Shepard Fairey’s mural Arab Woman. Brazilian artist Nunca’s superscaled image of fat cats faces the studio of Pop artist Peter Tunney, who keeps right on working as I poke inside.
“An absolute must is checking out the Wynwood Walls. They are incredible!” —Jennifer Weinberg
4:30 PM: Panther Coffee Wandering the 70-plus galleries on and around N.W. Second Avenue is like being the little metal orb in an art pinball machine: the visual stimulation is rapid-fire. A ristretto here brings things back into focus. 2390 N.W. Second Ave.; 305/677-3952; coffee for two $7.
5:30 PM: Gigi Recommended by Panther Coffee co-owner Leticia Ramos Pollock, who has a pay-it-forward attitude toward fellow Wynwood entrepreneurs. The polished-but-casual restaurant serves cross-cultural comfort food. 3470 N. Miami Ave.; 305/573-1520; dinner for two $25.
8:30 PM: Viceroy Miami The slick, spacious hotel designed by Kelly Wearstler is in downtown Miami, three miles south of Wynwood. The 15th-floor pool deck is a high-flier. 485 Brickell Ave.; 888/622-4567; doubles from $345.
“Design? Not too corporate? Viceroy, no question.” —Katharine Kearnan
Base is one of the hippest—and most ecumenical—stores in Miami, where each selection is more refined than the next. The young staff models the merch and embodies Miami cool, while the wide-ranging assortment on the shelves includes L.A.M.B. bags, international magazines, Giles & Brother jewelry, Kim Jones T-shirts, a CD listening bar with albums like Federico Aubele's Panamericana and Stacey Kent's Breakfast on the Morning Tram, Puma bags, a remarkable selection of coffee table books, and everything else.
What to Buy: Miami is all about Cuban flavor, and the store carries one of the best photo books on the subject, Taschen's Inside Cuba ($50), crammed with great shots of atmospheric interiors.
Kor Hotels and its design doyenne Kelly Wearstler strike again—this time in downtown Miami. Using her signature spin on Hollywood Regency and chinoiserie, she has transformed what could have been just another drab high-rise into a bold statement. (Our favorite Wearstlerisms: Asian foo dog lamps and fanciful nine-foot-tall cranes painted onto lobby walls.) The Biscayne Bay property (which shares a spa with the Philippe Starck–designed Icon Brickell condo building next door) heated up further when chef Michael Psilakis and restaurateur Donatella Arpaia, both of New York’s Anthos, moved into its 15th-floor restaurant.
South Pointe Park
A formerly hardscrabble spot has been transformed with light towers and artfully arranged dune grass. Sunset at the newly revitalized zone at the tip of South Beach is filled with joggers and strollers. A totem of color—actually a 55-foot-tall lighthouse by German artist Tobias Rehberger—stacks up against the wavy palms and high-rise condos.