When Miami is mentioned in a conversation, I’m sure like most, you have visions of the beach, beautifully tanned people, pastel colors, fantastic Cuban cuisine, and great hotels in which to stay and have some fun. All these aforementioned associations are there, but it’s much more than what it’s been stereotyped to be. Not the least of which, is it being a true city.
As impressive as the coastline scene is the one that exists within the city walls. It’s here that one can experience a Miami that truly belongs to its inhabitants. It’s in these districts that architectural buffs can appreciate art deco style that is indigenous to Miami, and small and large businesses that have a city sensibility, as opposed to a beach mentality.
Excellent accommodations can be found everywhere in this town and getting from one district to another is quite easy, but if you are looking to make the most of the Design District, stay at the nearby Kimpton EPIC Hotel. This sleek hotel blends sophistication with a playfulness. As hotels in downtown Miami go, Kimpton EPIC is designed to provide you with a luxurious, relaxing stay.
These days, the most important “non-beach” destination is the Design District. It’s a neighborhood primarily made up of warehouses that have been converted into art galleries, restaurants, and retail spaces. Not unlike New York’s SoHo and Chelsea neighborhoods, the art galleries, restaurants, and retail spaces that can be found in this neighborhood are leaders in their respective industries.
For those looking for art, there’s Markowicz Fine Arts, which houses works from luminaries such as Botero and Warhol. If you happen to be in town on the second Saturday of any month, there is something called a “Gallery Walk,” an event in which one can take in the art gallery scene in a more concise manner.
As for restaurants, look no further than Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink. This James Beard Award-winning restaurant dishes out the best locally sourced food found in Miami, if not the nation. Sit at the bar and try some crispy pig’s ears along with a nice crisp white wine while enjoying the lively atmosphere. There is, of course, formal seating for those who want to dine. Recommended dish, “posole rojo” (pork belly and egg).
Opportunities to Splurge
When it comes to shopping, there is no better spot than this neighborhood. All the top designers have opened boutiques in this area. Some noteworthy names include Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, and Tom Ford. When walking these streets, it’s hard not to appreciate the keen sense of style the neighborhood exudes, and it is no wonder why top fashion houses have broken ground here. One of my favorite boutiques is the Spanish House, Loewe, which happens to be one of just a few that exists outside of Spain.
So next time you are in Miami, take in some sun at the beach, watch the beautiful people walk by, have a good Cuban sandwich, and after you have done the typical things that have made Miami famous, delve into the city and find out the other side of what Miami has to offer.