It’s no wonder why the Port of Miami is known as the Cruise Capital of the World. A staggering four million passengers come and go through the port, which is also home to some of the largest cruise companies on the planet. And with so much going on in the Magic City all year round, it’s helpful to have a local guide to make sure you hit all the hotspots.
Of course, South Beach is probably at the top of your list. To get to SoBe, follow the MacArthur Causeway from the mainland to Miami Beach’s southern tip. Wave hello to the port on the righthand side and get ready to indulge in a little sand, sun and entertainment.
Take a stroll down Ocean Drive, where you’ll find a collection of Art Deco buildings, bikini-clad beachgoers and lovely alfresco cafés like Gloria Estefan’s Cuban eatery and Lario’s on the Beach. Alternatively, head over to Lincoln Road, a pedestrian-friendly street lined with shops and boutiques that’s not only a great place to people watch, but also the perfect place to mingle with the locals. Check out Yardbird Southern Table & Bar for a taste of American Southern fare, or Khong River House for fiery curries and delicious Asian noodle dishes.
If you’re looking for a daytime soirée at a pool party for beautiful people, then head to The Standard, Hyde Beach at the SLS Hotel, The Raleigh or the Delano Hotel. And of course, South Beach is famous for it’s nightlife, with an energy that hums from sunrise to sunset. Check out LIV at the Fontainebleau for a VIP club scene, or Story for a DJ-driven, high-energy dance party.
For more of a trendy hipster scene, check out Radio Bar in SoFi or the Broken Shaker at Freehand Miami — both bars are known for their killer handcrafted cocktails. South Beach is the Grand Central Station for major events that take place throughout the year, including the Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival, Miami International Boat Show and the über cool Art Basel Miami Beach.
Speaking of art, Miami has transformed into an international destination for artists and art lovers alike. Both the Miami Design District and Wynwood host gallery nights on the second Saturday of the month, with locals and visitors passing back and forth between the adjacent neighborhoods to explore the latest art trends.
Exuding a tropical SoHo vibe, the Wynwood Arts District is home to more than 100 galleries and the Wynwood Walls, an outdoor collection of cutting-edge, graffiti-style, museum quality murals, created by some of the top contemporary artists in the world. Enjoy the colorful urban canvases while noshing on Miami-style cuisine at Wynwood Kitchen & Bar.
Explore the Design District, dotted with high-end fashion boutiques, home design stores, art and architecture firms — it’s a neighborhood brimming with creative experiences and new developments. Dine at Oak Tavern or Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and take in the entire scene.
These travel tips barely scratch the surface of everything Miami has to offer. Make sure you stop by in downtown Miami where Museum Park is under construction, and check out the gorgeous white-sand beaches and lighthouse on Key Biscayne, as well as the vibrant Latin culture in Little Havana. So kick back and stay awhile. Soak it all in. Or keep coming back for more.
Article by Kara Franker, travel expert and lifestyle writer based in Miami.