Design District (image above)
Stroll around the always-changing, always-innovative Design District. Its pedestrian zone hosts a rotation of outdoor exhibits and performance art. There’s a Buckminster Fuller-designed autonomous dwelling machine – the Fly’s Eye Dome – and public art by John Baldessari. Being Miami, wellness is of course a big part of the ethos here; the local yoga studio is a lovely sweaty place and there are cafés in the streets that cater to every diet known to man. Sure, there are luxury shops everywhere you look, but really, it’s all about the atmosphere.
This guide may be all about mainland Miami, but while you’re there, you will, of course, have to visit the beaches. Escape the madding crowds at Española Way, which has evolved from one of the first artist colonies (modelled after a Mediterranean street) to a tourist trap and then again to its current incarnation as a hip pedestrian zone known for its restaurants and bars. Stand-outs are the Esmé Hotel’s bars – one a chic mixology bar, the other a rooftop oasis – and The Drexel restaurant, which is a great spot for dinner and people-watching.
The Drexel, 1436 Drexel Ave, Miami Beach; drexelmiami.com
This southern Miami spot had its heyday in the late 1980s and early ’90s, but it’s being rapidly transformed and is currently in a second act as a culinary and shopping destination. Lunch at one of the many indoor/outdoor restaurants (several of which made the recent Michelin Guide), and visit Miami’s original PanAm terminal (now City Hall) where the flying clippers used to land in the bay from South America.