A Design Lover’s Guide to Miami in a Day

Courtesy of Adrienne Arsht Center, Photo by Justin Namon
Courtesy of Adrienne Arsht Center, Photo by Justin Namon
When it comes to design, Miami’s skyline stuns the eye with its line-up of architectural masterpieces. From luxury condominiums to sprawling museums, the Magic City breathes newness on the daily to its ever-changing landscape. Here’s our round-up of the ultimate in design in Miami.

New World Center

Home of the New World Symphony, the 756-seat performance hall in Miami Beach was designed by architect Frank Gehry—whose buildings include the famous Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris and the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi. The New World Center—dedicated to the revival of classical music—boasts an 80-foot high glass wall façade that offers dazzling views of the atrium space when lit up in the evening. The interior features serpentine staircases that wind up the six-story building, depositing you in the performance hall where the ceiling is decked with large acoustic sails used as projection surfaces. Perched in the midst of the urban oasis that is the Soundscape Park (designed by the Dutch firm West 8), the center is located in the heart of Miami Beach a few blocks down from Lincoln Road.

Still dreaming about yesterday's fantastic #NWSKidsConcerts ⭐️ #Repost @jdkca ⭐️ And into the nebulae at #NWS.

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1111 Lincoln Road

Not your ordinary grim and gray parking garage, this iconic edifice designed by Herzog & de Meuron revitalizes the Western end of Lincoln Road mall. The open-air structure features varying floor heights and a glass-enclosed boutique, Alchemist, on the fifth floor, as well as an 18,000 square-foot penthouse on the structure’s roof. The garage offers space for 300 cars, and has been the scene for various parties, such as one by Ferrari during Art Basel. More than just a parking structure, the space offers panoramic views of Miami Beach and stands on its own as a work of art.

1111 Lincoln Road Courtesy of Alchemist, Photo by Michael Stavadiris

Crema Gourmet Espresso Bar

Make a pit stop on Washington Avenue (just off Lincoln Road) for a coffee break at Crema. The coffee shop sells baked croissants, muffins, and a selection of sandwiches and paninis, as well as delicious lattes complete with latte art. Fuel up before heading back to the mainland of Miami.

Crema Gourmet E

Freedom Tower

Miami is a fairly new city, but it is not without its share of historic landmarks like the Freedom Tower, also known as the “Ellis Island of the South.” Constructed in 1925 as the offices of newspaper The Miami News, the building was later used as a government facility to process and provide documentation for refugee Cubans fleeing Fidel Castro’s regime. The tower bares a Spanish Colonial Revival architecture with a decorative cupola inspired by the Giralda Cathedral Bell Tower in Seville, Spain. Designed by Schultze and Weaver, the landmark is now part of the MDC Museum of Art + Design.

PAMM & Museum Park

Cross the street over to the Pérez Art Museum Miami for a good two-to-three hours of sightseeing as you soak up every bit of PAMM’s contemporary 20th and 21st century art collection and a view of the building designed by Herzog & de Meuron. The three-story building sits on an elevated platform and features a canopy held by columns, and adorned with hanging plants which evoke a garden feel. Plan for a picnic amid the green lawns of the Museum Park, or rent a CITI bike nearby for a relaxing afternoon along with a stunning view of the Biscayne Bay. Hungry for a break? The museum houses a healthy restaurant, Verde, with a selection of salads to curb your hunger.

Perez Art Museum Courtesy of PAMM, Photo by Daniel Azoulay

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

You need not stray too far from PAMM to visit this performing arts center. Straddling both sides of the Biscayne Boulevard, the Adrienne Arsht Center features two venues: the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House and the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall. Built on the site of a former Sears department store designed in an Art Deco style, the developers preserved the tower to incorporate it in the center. The center itself was designed by architect Cesar Pelli, and features a mesmerizing glass façade and the interior theater featuring balconies and boxes that wrap like a horse shoe modeled after the opera houses of Europe. The ceiling’s stunning golden acoustics dome with diamond shaped lights provides a decadence that’s pleasing to the eye. You don’t have to book tickets to the opera or the symphony to take a tour of the museum. Free tours are given every Monday and Saturday at noon with no reservation required. Plus it’s easily accessible by the free Metromover—just stop at the Adrienne Arsht Center Station.

Aerial view of Adrienne Arsht Center Courtesy of Arsht Center, Photo by Justin Namon

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

Head to the suburbs of Coconut Grove for a tour of the lavish villa that is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. Once the winter residence of James Deering, the estate was constructed in the 1920s in a Mediterranean Revival style, and features elaborate interiors, ornate arches, and a terrace with a view of the Biscayne Bay. The main house contains a collection of ancient Roman sculptures, Rococo furniture, and decadent Renaissance tapestries that represent a mix of different art periods and culture. Stroll the European maze-like gardens and the lush tropical forest surrounding the structure. The property also houses a café so you can relax at the end of your sightseeing trip.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens Courtesy of Vizcaya Museum & Gardens