Because Miami is a multi-layered destination it’s wise to do some forward planning – unless, of course, you want to spend your whole day swimming on Miami Beach. The following itinerary showcases the city’s major cultural attractions, plus a few culinary and retail experiences.
7:30am: Jog, Cycle or Swim on South Beach
Miami’s famous beaches can get crowded, so it’s wise to get your body down here as early as possible. Swimming conditions are generally safe, and there are lifesavers on duty. There’s a jogging track snaking along the Esplanade and cyclists can use Miami’s low-cost bike scheme.
8:30am: Breakfast Lincoln Road Mall
Ocean Drive is a continuous strip of cafes, clubs and Art Deco hotels. There are plenty of breakfast options, but the food and service can be pretty ordinary. A better option is nearby Lincoln Road Mall where the vibe is generally more relaxed and you can check out the up-market shops at the same time. Nexxt Cafe, La Maison Paul and the Café at Books & Books are all popular for breakfast.
10:00am: Tour of The Wolfsonian
This is one of America’s most eccentric museums and is endlessly entertaining, so allow at least two hours to explore the various collections. Object range from Arts & Craft furniture and household goods to war propaganda posters. There’s a café and small souvenir shop.
1:00pm: Lunch at Aventura Mall
Aventura Mall, a modern retail complex in the sprawling northern suburbs of Miami, contains iconic American department stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and Nordstrom alongside small retailers selling everything from designer handbags to electronics. Stop for lunch at The Grill on The Avenue, a hushed, wood paneled space.
3:30pm: The Villa Casa Casuarina
Ever since Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was murdered on the footpath here in 1997, this beautiful art deco mansion has been a place of pilgrimage. Today, the 1930s house operates as an upscale hotel, but most fans are just content to stand on Ocean Drive and gawp.
6:00pm: Party at The Shore Club
With its extravagant pool area, tropical gardens, pergolas, Moroccan lanterns and ultra-cool DJs, The Shore Club is a great place to kick off your night. Rihanna, Leonardo DiCaprio, Usher, Janet Jackson, Woody Harrelson and Jay-Z who have all partied here. Expect a crush.
7:30pm: Dinner at Tap Tap
Take a cab to this jolly neighbourhood restaurant at the southern end of Miami Beach. With its bright murals, well-made mojitos and authentic Haitian fare this friendly and dependable eatery is a winner: try the conch salad, goat stew or poached yellowtail snapper.
8:45pm: Walk Ocean Drive
A late-night walk along Ocean Drive is a source of endless entertainment. Sidestep the Happy Hour cocktails, pavement spruikers, stretch limos and party animals and find a quiet bar along the strip, before plunging into back into the madness that is South Beach.
10:00pm: Cocktails at Gale
Sipping cocktails is a major occupation in Miami and The Regent Cocktail Club in the Gale hotel is one of the city’s most elegant options – a wood paneled sanctuary which serves classic cocktails and cool, retro beats. Settle back with a signature Champagne Cocktail and chill out.
11:30pm: Crazy in BASEMENT
Want to add some spice to the evening? Then head to BASEMENT, a multidimensional entertainment space at The Miami Beach EDITION where guests can dance, go ten-pin bowling or try a spot of ice-skating. A homage to the legendary Studio 54, BASEMENT is open until 5:00am.
1:30am: Party on at LIV
For the hottest DJs and pumping dance music head to LIV, Miami’s most flamboyant nightclub. Covering 18,000 square feet, LIV attracts Miami’s most beautiful people and a regular stream of celebrities. Expect an amazing light show, expensive cocktails and plenty of attitude.