Raising The Roof: A Bird's-Eye View of Things to Do in Miami, Florida

Juvia Miami Beach is the perfect place for a rooftop brunch
Juvia Miami Beach is the perfect place for a rooftop brunch | Courtesy of Juvia Miami Beach
Nick Dauk

From Peruvian ceviche to cuba libre cocktails, Latin flavors run deep in the sky-high bars and restaurants of this Spanish-speaking south Florida city.

Where should you see and be seen in Miami? From and on its rooftops, of course. High above the sandy shores of this South Florida city is another world entirely. Sexy sundecks with glistening pools, trendy restaurants with the latest local fusion food, and all-night drinking and dancing are only a short elevator ride away in the Magic City. So don’t just see South Beach from the sidewalk – hit up these rooftop hangouts to get a top-line view of things to do in Miami.

1. 1 Hotel South Beach

Resort, Eco Hotel

Shaded loungers and outdoor chairs beside a strip of pool at 1 Hotel South Beach
Courtesy of 1 Hotel South Beach / Booking.com

Can any trip to Miami not begin with hours of sun worship on South Beach? 1 Hotel South Beach is at the beach on Collins Avenue, granting you hours of time to work on your tan. Rise to catch the Florida sunset with a night in the Sky Penthouse, complete with a 5,300sqft (492sqm) rooftop terrace, where you can discreetly eliminate any lingering tan lines. Since you’re already so many floors up, you might as well visit Watr at the Rooftop for amazing sushi rolls, best followed by some sweet city views.

2. Juvia

Restaurant, Bar, French, Japanese, Peruvian, American

Close-up-Grilled-Salmon at Juvia Miami Beach
Courtesy of Juvia Miami Beach

Feel like going out for a meal? Sleep in late, and still make it to brunch on time at Juvia. This rooftop restaurant on Lincoln Road is an ideal scene-setter for a day of boutique shopping. Granted, the bottomless two-hour brunch of mimosas and margaritas may somewhat delay your shopping spree, but the lag in tag popping is well worth every bite of the black-truffle ceviche carretillero (street-cart-style cured fish). Brunch-hungry palates will appreciate prosecco and a plate of French toast slathered with berries, whipped cream and maple syrup.

3. Sky Yard at the Lincoln Eatery

Restaurant, Bar, Fusion

Sky Yard at The Lincoln Eatery_IMG_8875
Courtesy of The Lincoln Eatery

Shopping is hard on the mind, the body and the wallet – take a well-deserved break with gin and grub at Sky Yard. Located above the Lincoln Eatery, with its steakhouse bites, raw dishes and Latin flavors, Sky Yard is the place to party with the locals. Amazing sunsets and strong cocktails aside, the lure of this Lincoln Lane rooftop is its diverse series of events. From the Mexican-style lucha libre (freestyle) wrestling matches on Cinco de Mayo to fashion shows, sound-healing sessions and entrepreneur-hosted events, there’s always an elevated experience to be had at Sky Bar.

4. Gale South Beach

Boutique Hotel, Business Hotel, Hotel

A spacious room at Gale South Beach, Miami, with a double bed, sofa seating area, and light gray and white decor.
Courtesy of Gale South Beach, Curio Collection by Hilton / Hotels.com

We’re not saying that the vintage-inspired furniture and sleek decor of Gale’s standard rooms aren’t enough to immerse you in chic Miami vibes; we just feel its sunkissed terrace rooms add a little more sparkle to the South Beach shine. No matter if these suites are booked – the rooftop sundeck and pool will keep you glistening under the Sunshine State sky. While you’re up here, set your sights on the shoreline, and descend later to take advantage of beach-club access at Shelborne Hotel.

5. Sugar

Bar, Restaurant, Asian, Fusion, Cocktails

Sugar. EAST Miami hotel_cdebaecf
Courtesy of EAST Miami hotel / Expedia

You need not even a wafer-thin excuse to start drinking on South Beach, but may we suggest you start your evening with happy hour at Sugar’s sweet 40th-floor rooftop bar? Hanging out atop EAST, this bar stirs up Hong Kong chic with classic Miami cool. Asian-inspired tapas will help you sip your way through an A’Peeling Old Fashioned, a Big Boy Pastelito and other signature cocktails.

6. Area 31

Restaurant, Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Seafood, American, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free

Private dining space in Area 31 at the EPIC Hotel overlooking the Miami River
Courtesy of Area 31
Skip away from South Beach for a moment, and chill Downtown above the Miami River at Area 31. Throughout the week, other diners will be celebrating special occasions over local seafood plates. Friday nights are a different story. The Social Hour pumps up the volume and kicks off the weekend in style with live DJs, dancing and mingling with a trendy crowd who just might convince you to spend the entire night partying in the Magic City.

7. Townhouse Hotel Miami Beach

Hotel

Townhouse Hotel Miami Beach_cfe40aab
Courtesy of Townhouse Hotel Miami Beach / Expedia

If you’re here in Miami to relax, the Townhouse Hotel sees your definition of “rest” and raises your expectations. All rooms feature L-shaped couches and dreamy rain showers to cool off after a day at the beach. Upgrade to the penthouse suites for extended outside time on the balconies and private terraces. Famished yet still feeling lazy? Head upstairs to the bohemian TH Rooftop for ramen burgers, a chilled curated playlist and a strong cuba libre cocktail that’ll keep every fiber calm and content.

8. Serena

Restaurant, Bar, Central American

Photos of Serena at Moxy South Beach_3Q5A5898
© Michael Kleinberg

Where should you be as the sun sets on your Miami holiday? Waving goodbye to South Beach from Serena’s open-air rooftop restaurant, that’s where. As it’s equal parts Miami sophistication and Oaxacan al fresco dining vibes, you’ll enjoy one last laid-back day with the best Latin flavors and local ingredients. A frozen palomarita and creamy crepas de cajeta (crepes with dulce de leche, milk and chopped nuts) might not be the wildest way to spend your last night in Miami, but we can assure you that it’s one of the most fulfilling.

If you need an injection of adrenaline-fuelled excitement, take a trip north and book a stay at one of the best hotels near Busch Gardens to experience the best in rollercoasters and loop-de-loops.

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