What to Do in Miami, Florida: Magic City’s Hottest Restaurants, Hotels, Galleries and Bars Right Now

Miami may be America’s hippest city when it comes to nightlife, but some institutions in Magic City never go out of style. One of the city’s oldest bars, Mac’s Club Deuce, a dive-and-neon spot in the heart of South Beach, is irresistibly lo-fi and draws mostly locals looking to escape the tourists. Turning 30 in 2023, Twist is the oldest gay bar in town. To visit is to travel back in time to the city’s LGBTQ+ heyday in the 1990s. With no blankets (and almost no dress code), the house is still filled with shirtless muscle boys, hulking drag queens and curious admirers. Mega nightclubs LIV and E11EVEN continue to boast of being the city’s premier hotspot. LIV, a 22,000 square foot state-of-the-art dance club located at the Fontainebleau in Mid-Beach, regularly hosts global talents like Cardi B and Drake. E11EVEN is an “ultra club” (read: lap dancing and burlesque-style performances are not uncommon) with bottle service options ranging from $2,000 to $15,000. It currently reigns as the most profitable club per square foot on the planet. As the locals say, you haven’t lived big, Miami style, until you step out of one as the sun rises on another picture-perfect southern morning. Florida. —Paul Rubio

A street scene in the Design District

Olivier Pilcher

Shake things up at Dante’s HiFi in Wynwood

Olivier Pilcher

Shop like you live here

You could be forgiven for thinking that Miami’s retail options can be distilled into three things: identical low-rent strips; elegant and designer shopping centers such as Aventura and Bal Harbour; and South Beach souvenir shops that sell bikinis displayed on mannequins with ridiculously small waists and impossibly large breasts. The truth is, there are tons of authentic Miami-only shopping experiences all over the city; you just need a local black belt like me to educate you.

Take, for example, Lincoln Road. The original stores that once lined the mile-long South Beach Walking Street are long gone, replaced by national and international brands that can afford the skyrocketing cost per square foot. But if you pass by on a Sunday, you’ll stumble upon the Lincoln Road Antiques and Collectibles Market, which has stood at the west end of the street for over 30 years. Up to three times a month between October and May, around 100 vendors create a haven for shoppers looking for estate jewelry, vintage clothing, mid-century furniture and eclectic bric-a-brac. On my last visit, I tagged an African mask, pink Pepto Bismol lace-up boots, and a blue glass vase the exact color of the waves a few blocks away.

With weather like ours and a thriving workout culture, Miamians are fully invested in beachwear that showcases the taut bodies we work on all year. Appropriately skimpy swimsuits are a cinch to find in hotel shops. But for coverage to match the city’s colorful vibe, head to Pitusa in Wynwood, where a rainbow of long dresses and flowing tunics, some punctuated with pom poms and braided trim, will take you from the beach at the bar.

December’s Art Basel Miami Beach has become a staple of our cultural scene, offering plenty of arts and crafts “shopping” in permanent and pop-up galleries across the city. But discerning, design-conscious shoppers can still find quality “take-aways” in our museum gift shops. I’m a big fan of the one at the Pérez Art Museum Miami downtown (we call it “the PAMM”), where city-themed coloring books work for kids young and old, and inspirational pins tropicalism by local artist Kenny Jones (a slice of pink and green watermelon; a bright yellow banana) make fabulous gifts for someone back home.

But what really makes Miami Miami is its people, many of whom, like me, are from the Caribbean. You can sample and take the city’s island flavors with you with a take-out order of Jamaican patties from Sonia’s Patties in the western suburb of Kendall, or half a dozen guava-filled pastelitos from Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop in Edgewater. . But for more tangible island-inspired items, I recommend something – anything, really! – from La Tiendecita by Martha of Miami. A celebration of all things Cubano, owner Martha Valdes’ merchandise includes her Cuban Bred branded apparel and caps. And if you’re looking for something more classic, Ramón Puig of Little Havana sells perfectly fitted guayabera shirts for men and women, guaranteed to add un poquito Miami style to your ensemble. —Sarah Greaves Gabbadon

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2021 issue of Condé Nast Traveler. Subscribe to the magazine here.


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