Mandolin is where everyone in Miami told me to go and eat. Seemingly nothing much from the street, inside its doors the restaurant opens up to look like a Greek taverna from your dreams. Split between a garden and smaller interior spaces, it has a laid back atmosphere and focuses on local produce with a Greek twist. The menu makes it too hard to choose so ask the waiter for what’s best as the offerings change all the time. The roasted feta and chicken souvlaki are standouts and are always on offer – pair them with a crisp American chardonnay and enjoy the long hot Miami nights.
4312 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137, USA
What’s the coolest spot in Miami’s coolest neighbourhood? Zak The Baker earns this title. Nestled in between the Wynwood Walls street art centre and the designer boutiques of the neighbouring streets, Zak the Baker makes extraordinary soups, salads and of course, bread. Classic American wedge salads and tuna melts are served alongside homemade cold smoked salads and chocolate cheesecakes. Take your pick and enjoy.
295 NW 26th St, Miami, FL 33127, USA
You need to try Cuban food when you come to Miami. This place is just back from South Beach and is always busy with both locals and tourists. It serve no-frills food and everything feels just like how they’ve always been making it. Order the classic Cuban sandwich and an icy fresh tropical fruit juice like guava or papaya. Eat inside in the cool air-con or take your food away for a picnic by the water - you won’t be the only one.
700 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Just 15 minutes away from South Beach in the Wynwood neighbourhood is Miami’s best key lime pie. Complete with a crumbly, almost savoury crust and sweet and sour key lime custard, Fireman Derek knows what he’s doing. Sit outside and check out the neighbourhood’s street art scene while you eat your pie in the sunshine.
2818 N Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33127, USA
Art Basel is in Miami for a reason - it’s one of the centres of great American contemporary art. Spend an afternoon in the air-con of the Institute of Contemporary Art and see it for yourself. Located in the Design District, the permanent collection includes pieces by Louise Bourgeois and John Miller and there are also ever-changing exhibitions and most importantly, year-round free and open access to all.
61 NE 41st St, Miami, FL 33137, USA
Get out on the water
Get a boat to Biscayne Bay or the Everglades, rent a jet-ski or kayak on the beach – Miami is a city centred around the water and it’s the best way to see the sights. Almost everywhere you go there are signs for different boat tours – for old-school Miami charm take the Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise to Fort Lauderdale or for something a bit more modern, the Millionaires Row tour will take you past the waterfront mansions of your favourite stars.
Think of this as an outside art gallery. The Wynwood Walls feature some of the best street art in the city. From murals to urban graffiti, this space is a collection that brings together some of the world’s greatest artists in an unusual way. It’s free to walk around and inside you’ll find smaller private galleries and shops that are nestled between huge artworks by artists like Aiko and Fafi. It’s definitely worth a walk around to see why this section of the city is so renowned for its art.
2520 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33127, USA
There are over 200 hotels on South Beach alone, so there’s a lot of choices for visitors. The Plymouth combines iconic art deco design with five-star service and the most beautiful palm tree-lined pool. Your stay is complete with nightly treats left on your pillow and a great cocktail bar in the lobby. If you want to trade in the pink and white striped pool chairs for the sand there’s also a cabana on the beach with sun loungers and a bar. Far enough away from the noise of Ocean Drive but within walking distance to everything you need – this hotel is enough of a reason for a holiday.
336 21st Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Calm minimal interiors made with natural materials are key to the aesthetic here at the 1 Hotel. Situated right on the beach, the hotel also features a gorgeous restaurant serving lots of plant-based meals, lush white beach chairs and umbrellas on the sand as well as a dreamy pool. One of the few new hotels on South Beach, it’s becoming a destination for families as well as honeymooners as it’s both relaxed and romantic.
2341 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Dogs in the lobby, poetry on the coasters and hidden libraries within its walls – The Betsy is a jewel of the South Beach. It’s one of the only non-art deco hotels on this strip but it is no less of a beauty. Named after Betsy Ross, the woman who designed the American flag, it has a distinct feel of old Americana kitsch about it. Watch the sunset from the roof-top pool (where you’ll also find magic iced pina coladas) or, for a solitary swim, discover the hidden courtyard pool surrounded by gorgeous greenery.
1440 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
One of the most beautiful buildings on South Beach is The Delano. From its original art deco signage to its stunning pool area, pristine white umbrellas, facade and quintessential tall green palm trees, you’ll have an iconic Miami experience staying here. Originally built in 1947, it was re-designed by Phillip Stark in the early 90s and has an atmosphere of minimal boutique luxury that is chic but simple. The Ciel Spa on The Delano rooftop is what will be needed after a day exploring the city – try the CBD-infused massage for ultimate relaxation.
1685 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Margarita Beach Club
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the small margarita here is anything of the kind. What tastes like a bottle of tequila is mixed into the Margarita Beach Club’s monolithically-sized drinks. Garnished with a garish pink umbrella and cherry, they’re delightfully kitsch and just what you should be drinking while people-watching on Ocean Drive. Order the mango one for full tropical tastes.
1052 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
Like most of the best bars in Miami, The Broken Shaker is in a hotel. Freehand Miami is a cool, fun and affordable place to stay the night, but its bar is the best thing about it. This outdoor area imbues the sense of tropical kitsch that has made the city synonymous with cocktail umbrellas and this bar makes killer drinks with the best local fruit and liquor. Come for the cocktails but stay for the setting.
2727 Indian Creek Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33140, USA
Hotel lobbies are where the fun is at in Miami. Get a feel for what things were like on South Beach in the 60s with the sunken lobby bar in the lobby of the Nautilus by Arlo hotel. Sexy sheer curtains shade the bar in a glittery light that makes the new cocktail menu go down a treat. It’s one of the best preserved art deco hotel lobbies in South Beach with luxe marble floors and stunning modern furniture. Order one of the signature cocktails like a tequila negroni or a classic pina colada before sitting outside in the Cabana Bar for a sunset dinner.
1825 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139, USA
You really have to get glamorous in Miami - think gold, think glitter. The place to show it off is the Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar. Hidden inside the Four Seasons hotel and inspired by La Sirenuse’s home base in Positano, it feels straight out of a mid-century Italian film and is one of the most stunning spaces in South Beach. Originally The Surf Club, it was a playground for the rich and famous that made Miami home, with both Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor having seats at the bar. Here, you simply must order champagne.
9011 Collins Ave, Surfside, FL 33154, USA