Miami, also known as the Magic City, the Sun and Fun Capital of the World and the Gateway to Latin America, certainly lives up to the hype. Whether it’s chilling on Miami and South Beach, dancing up a storm at an outdoor music festival, or just letting loose in any of the Cuban bars and clubs, Miami is one destination you can’t miss! Here are the hottest places to go.
1) Calle Ocho
There’s no shortage of festivals when it comes to Miami, however Calle Ocho should definitely be on the top of your list. Held in March, it’s the largest Hispanic street festival in Miami and is a one-day event of contests, concerts, food and more, all celebrating the unique Hispanic culture. For something a little more intense, Ultra Music Festival is another must-see – it’s a huge electronic and dance music festival that sees the world’s biggest DJs descend upon Miami’s golden beaches for three days and nights of non-stop partying.
2) The Rum Line
You’ll feel like you’ve been transported to 1940s Cuba in this retro tiki bar along the main beach. The spirit of choice flows freely here – make sure you try The Rum Line’s special, the Hemingway Daiquiri, made with a twist of Bacardi Heritage and fresh grapefruit. There’s also seafood nibbles like lobster rolls and crispy oysters if you’re feeling peckish.
3) W South Beach
Let’s face it, Miami is the kind of place where if you’ve got, you flaunt it. And if you want to live like a VIP, then you have to stay at the W Hotel in South Beach. This 5-star hotel has spared no expense when it comes to luxurious surroundings – spacious rooms with beachfront-facing balconies, a huge day spa, two pools and five world-famous restaurants. Even if you’re not staying there, it’s worth a wander into the lobby bar, the Living Room, or book for dinner at the award-winning Mr Chow.
4) Bull Market
This one’s a bar with a difference – at the Bull Market, a screen shows the drink prices that fluctuate depending on demand, much like an alcoholic version of the stock exchange. At some point during every hour, you’ll be treated to a ‘market crash’, where you have 90 seconds to buy all the drinks at record-low prices. If you prefer to stick to set prices, head upstairs to the secret bar where mixologists prepare custom cocktails and vintage whiskeys.
The Arsht Center in Downtown Miami is a must if you want to catch a show, ballet or musical. While you’re waiting for curtain call, stop for dinner at the new in-house restaurant, Brava! You can get a set menu for $49 that gives you three courses from the seasonal menu. For early risers, Brava! has just started a brunch menu, serving up red velvet waffles, cooked-to-order omelettes and fresh fruit and pastries.
6) The Basement
Miami is one of the top party destinations in the world, so you’ve definitely got your pick when it comes to after dark entertainment. There are the big-name nightspots like LIV, Club Space and E11EVEN, although for something a bit more unusual, head to The Basement, an underground club with a bowling alley, skating rink and huge dance floor, all decked out in classic Studio 54 swag.
7) Hyde Beach at the SLS Hotel
For partying during the day (after all, you’re on holidays, right?!), Miami also has you covered. Don your designer sunnies, throw on your swimmers and head to the pool at the SLS Hotel. Hyde Beach has been designed by Philippe Starck and resembles a bathtub, complete with the iconic rubber ducky. There’s delicious food, premium cocktails and beautiful people everywhere you look
8) QBar Blues & Burgers
After something a bit more low-key? The new QBar Blues & Burgers is a cosy live jazz venue in Fort Lauderdale. As the name suggests, burgers are on the menu here, as well as some traditional southern favourites like jambalaya and seafood gumbo. You’ll find live music every night of the week, with the playlist alternating between moody blues, smooth jazz and acoustic soul.
9) Sweat Records
You’ll definitely want to Instagram this indie café hangout. Located downtown, Sweat Records sells new and used CDs, band T-shirts and gifts. The café is Miami’s only fully vegan coffee house, and you can pick up home-baked treats to go with your locally-roasted Panther coffee.
Regularly voted as the best place to eat in Miami, this Japanese restaurant serves up artful plates of sushi and izakaya-style dishes. It’s sleek and modern inside, while the outdoor terrace has stunning views out of the river. It’s a great spot for a special last night dinner to top off an incredible Miami holiday!
What’s on your must-do list?