601 Skyline Part 2 (3)

Why go?

Blessed with a sun-kissed climate almost all year round, it’s no wonder tourists flock to this subtropical playground when the winter chill kicks in. Rising up from a swampy flatland, and a boom-and-bust past where it was once on the brink of bankruptcy, America’s youngest capital city is now a cosmopolitan paradise fringed by a long, golden beach and rustling green palm trees. It’s a place where skyscrapers dominate the skyline, art deco buildings, cafés and restaurants add colour to the streets, locals and celebs alike bask in the South Beach sun, and where there’s no such thing as too extravagant and nothing is done discreetly.

What to do

There are only two words you need to know when you arrive in Miami and those are Ocean Drive. This 10-block, pedestrian-friendly strip is the heart of Miami’s famous South Beach where glamour and hedonism meet. By day it’s buzzing with beach cafés and in the evening it becomes a hotspot where restaurants, clubs and bars merge into one. Here you can explore the city’s historic, glossy art deco district where angular shapes and geometric patterns dominate. This area is full of beautifully restored pastel-hued buildings, many of which date back to the 1930s. If you’re on an art buzz, visit the fascinating art and design collections at the Wolfsonian Museum (wolfsonian.org) or head downtown to the Miami Art Museum (miamiartmuseum.org). Nearby you’ll also find the Historical Museum of Southern Florida (hmsf.org) where you can learn about the city’s colourful past. Take a walk down the palm-tree-lined Collins Avenue where you’ll find handsome art deco buildings and flashy boutiques. Follow the string of soaring, swanky hotels including the Delano (delanohotel.com), designed by Philippe Starck, and the luxurious Setai (setai.com) before popping in for a cocktail at one of the lounge bars. Miami is a great place to enjoy water sports, or a cruise on a luxury yacht along Biscayne Bay where you can see Miami’s coastal sights including the city skyline, Miami Port, Fisher Island and the houses of the rich and famous on Millionaire’s Row.

Where to stay

Miami doesn’t do things by halves and there’s a dizzying choice of places to lay your head. For pure indulgence the recently opened Soho Beach House (001 786 507 7900, sohobeachhouse.com) boasts a prime seafront location plus a private garden, Tiki bar and a Cecconi’s restaurant. Rooms come with vintage furniture and most have ocean views. Minutes away from the neon razzle-dazzle of South Beach is the Mondrian (001 305 514 1500, mondrian-miami.com). White, black and gold furnishings enthral, but the highlight has to be the lavish pool area. The Tides Hotel (001 305 604 5070, tidessouthbeach.com) is housed in an iconic art deco building on Ocean Drive. Start your evening in the Coral bar before hitting the town. Fashionistas will love the design-led Pelican hotel (001 305 673 3373, pelicanhotel.com) launched by fashion label Diesel.

Where to eat and drink

For exquisite Asian cuisine in a contemporary setting, book a table at Philippe (001 305 674 0250, philippechow.com) located in the Gansevoort hotel. If you’re there at 9pm, watch the noodle chef perform his famous hand-made noodle show. Back on Collins Avenue you’ll find Jerry’s Famous Deli (001 305 532 8030, jerrysfamousdeli.com), the perfect place for a quick bite at any time of the day or night (think pizza, salads, sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs and much more). For American food with a theatrical twist, Barton G (001 305 672 8881, bartong.com) is the place to eat. Dishes include popcorn shrimp served in a popcorn box. Seafood lovers should head to Joe’s Stone Crab (001 305 673 0365, joesstonecrab.com) where seasonal crabs are served with a delicious mustard sauce but with a ‘no reservation’ policy in place, arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Time running out?

Head to the sky for an aerial sightseeing tour of Miami. Helicopter flights can be booked at the Visitors’ Bureau.

Map

Travel Information

Travel Information

Currency is the US dollar. Miami is five hours behind GMT. Direct flights to Miami take around nine hours.

Getting There

Virgin Atlantic (0844 209 7777, virgin-atlantic.com) flies daily from London Heathrow to Miami.
British Airways (0844 493 0787, britishairways.com) flies from London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester to Miami.

Resources

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors’ Bureau (00 1 305 539 3000, miamiandbeaches.com) provides practical information on visiting the city and detailed resources on where to stay. Visit the Bureau at 701 Brickell Avenue.
Visitflorida (visitflorida.com) has details on planning your trip and an extensive directory covering accommodation, attractions, shopping and dining.

Average daily temperatures and rainfall

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min Temp151617202223242424221816
Max Temp242526283031313231292625
mm222255567521

Get Premium access to all the latest content online

Subscribe and view full print editions online... Subscribe