With its gorgeous white sands, turquoise waters and diverse cultural scene, Miami is one of America’s most intriguing cities. You can marvel at the dazzling architecture, book a seat at one of the hottest restaurants in town or dance the night away at one of the many legendary clubs, whatever the season. But if you still need convincing, here are all the reasons you should book your next flight to Miami.
Miami Beach’s most famous stretch of white sand still beckons come winter. In fact it gets even busier with a slew of festivals, beginning with the biggest, Art Basel Miami Beach (December 5-8). South Beach Food & Wine (February 19-23, 2020) is another highly anticipated event, put on in conjunction with the Food Network and Cooking Channel. Make sure to also check out Winter Party Festival (March 4-10), a line-up of events at clubs, restaurants and hotels around South Beach that raise money for the LGBTQ community.
South Beach’s Ocean Drive is famous for its Art Deco architecture, and winter is the perfect time to experience it on a walking tour. Take your time admiring the eccentric, pastel-coloured buildings and vintage cars in the Art Deco Historic District, while a tour guide regales you with stories of the artists who changed the art landscape. There’s even a cocktail tour for anyone looking to take their holiday experience to the next level – you can quench your thirst on signature concoctions at various stops along the way before soaking up more of the stunning architecture.
Make sure you head over to the Wynwood Art District, a former industrial enclave that’s evolved into a dynamic creative and entertainment hub. Colourful murals are a common sighting in this part of town, not least around Wynwood Walls – a glorious outdoor gallery space of rotating installations that’s become one of the world’s must-visit destinations for street art. The annual Art Wynwood weekend in February is another opportunity to immerse yourself in art; expect a dazzling showcase of contemporary work from local and international galleries, with a particular focus on emerging talent.
Take some time to stroll along Calle Ocho, Little Havana’s main street. It is home to a colorful mix of shops selling everything from home-made cigars to art, as well as authentic ventanitas – Cuban coffee shops. Pause at Máximo Gómez Park to watch the locals playing dominoes, or take a walk down the Paseo de la Fama (Walk of Fame) dedicated to Latin American acting, writing and musical talent.
Seafood aficionados: winter in Miami means stone crab season, which runs until May 15. This is when restaurants like the more-than-100-year-old South Beach institution Joe’s Stone Crab can serve the tasty South Florida delicacy. Other top places to suck the juicy meat out of the crab claws include Monty’s Raw Bar in Coconut Grove. It’s a bit of an institution, having just celebrated its 50th birthday, and it sits right on a dock overlooking the water. It is also famous for its happy hour, oysters and sunset views.
Miami’s restaurant scene is extremely diverse, but it draws a big influence from Latin and Caribbean cultures as well as the surrounding ocean. You can begin your day with Cuban coffee and pastelitos (cuban pastries) at the iconic Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana. For lunch enjoy a local favorite, a blackened mahi rueben sandwich. Peruvian food is also a big deal in Miami. Try La Mar by Gastón Acurio in Brickell for a special-occasion dinner.
Brickell in Downtown Miami is a vibrant neighborhood that’s home to some great craft breweries, art galleries and boutique shops, and is divided by the Miami River. You can both sip and shop at Bar Journe at Maison F.P. Journe inside the just renovated Kimpton EPIC Hotel. Part bar with cocktails made from rare vintage spirits, part luxury-timepiece maker, F.P. Journe’s showroom is an only-in-Miami establishment. Afterwards you can grab dinner at Sugar, at the EAST Miami hotel, or at celebrity favorite Zuma, a Japanese izakaya restaurant. The Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is also nearby and is well worth a deep dive. As well as being one of the city’s top modern and contemporary art museum, PAMM also boasts great views of Museum Park and the beautiful Biscayne Bay waterfront.
When you’re ready to take a break from dining and shopping, Miami’s parks and wildlife are waiting to be discovered. The island of Key Biscayne is home to awe-inspiring nature preserves, including Crandon Park’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center. Home to baby sea turtles, the center runs guided tours, so you can head out into the seagrass with a naturalist to explore a nature trail and examine the sea life. If you prefer having your feet firmly on dry ground, take yourself to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens for an amble through 10 acres of lush and sprawling green mazes, framed by palm trees and rare plants.
Discover Miami’s hidden gems on your next winter getaway. Start planning your trip now.