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Things to do in Miami that no one knows about yet


By Dan Koday, Jan 2020

South Beach sunset, Miami, Florida


Travelers to Miami can "party in the city where the heat is on," as the Will Smith tune goes, even on a microcation.

You've undoubtedly seen some of the best things to do in Miami expertly documented on Instagram: pics of SoBe's wide, white sand beaches; colorful Ocean Drive in the Art Deco District. While each of these South Florida spots is iconic in its own way, this growing city and tourist destination is constantly evolving, which means staying up-to-the-minute on what's new in town is crucial when you're planning your next trip.

Here's the latest and greatest that Miami has to offer.

Miami, Florida, USA downtown skyline from above at dusk.

Experience Miami outside the "city limits."


For good eats and drinks: downtown Miami

This former business district has undergone a complete glow up in the past decade to become one of the 305's trendiest neighborhoods. Once a ghost town on nights and weekends, downtown Miami is now home to shops, hotels, museums and parks, not to mention some of Miami's swankiest restaurants, tastiest grub and cleverest cocktails.

There's CVI.CHE 105, a modern Peruvian restaurant where, as the name implies, the menu is filled with so many ceviche options that it's hard to choose just one. There's also Lost Boy, a lively bar and popular happy hour spot with a vibe that's equal parts English pub, Western saloon and sophisticated cocktail lounge. Trust us: It just works somehow.

Down Flagler Street is PEZ, a Baja-inspired Mexican seafood eatery serving up aguachiles, tostadas and a fideuá de mariscos dish that will blow your taste buds away. At nearby Italian hotspot VERO, Neapolitan-style pizza and antipasti reign supreme.

Late-night owls will find refuge at Sugar, the Brickell rooftop watering hole with a handsome, wood-carved bar and lounge seating areas surrounded by lush plants some 40 floors above the street. Inspired by Mykonos' famous beach bars, Astra is the new kid in Wynwood: The rooftop bar and restaurant, which welcomes top international DJ's and live music, will instantly transport you to the Med through its spirited cocktail menu utilizing classic Greek liqueurs like mastika and ouzo.

For culture: Pérez Art Museum Miami

The Pérez Art Museum Miami, also downtown, is the ideal place to enjoy a sunny day. Relax and watch the sparkling blue Biscayne Bay from the steps of this awe-inspiring Herzog & de Meuron building, which appears to be out of the near future.

Inside, the museum, which frequently hosts some of Miami's most sought-after Art Basel events and parties, is just as impressive. Often highlighting the works of Latino and Caribbean artists, the Pérez features a roster of ever-changing modern and contemporary works in a variety of mediums, such as painting, photography, sculpture, installation, video and more. The best part: Photos are permitted in most of the galleries.

For style: the Miami Design District & Wynwood

Lincoln Road has long been the people-watching mecca in South Beach, but just across the bay, the mainland's Miami Design District is frequented by fashionable locals. The compact, less touristy neighborhood is where you'll find the who's who of Miami shopping, socializing, taking in public art and designing, creating and collaborating.

Upscale home decor stores and fine timepiece shops sit alongside designer boutiques stocked with Dior, Armani and Louis Vuitton. The Design District boasts boutique fitness studios and unique fragrance shops and clothiers, too, including the only American outpost of the stylish Italian brand Empresa and the local streetwear shop Lower East Coast.

In neighboring Wynwood, be on the lookout for trendy streetwear threads at BASE; or opt for something more dapper at Austin Burke, where custom suits are the specialty. Also in the fashionable neighborhood is Shopbasico, known for hip sneakers and lots of affordable and unique, international clothing labels.

For entertainment: the Adrienne Arsht Center

The massive, glittering Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is a contemporary marvel, and anyone passing through can catch an array of entertaining concerts, ballet performances and Broadway-caliber theater productions.

There are also free tours on Mondays and Saturdays that highlight the center's rich architecture, such as its preserved Art Deco tower, which previously served as the entrance to a Sears department store. You'll also hear stories about the center's historic curtain calls and scope epic views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline at key stops along the way.

There's an endless amount of things to do in Miami. Follow these insider tips, though, and you're sure to hit the hot spots before anyone else knows about them.

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