From Frozen to Florida
There is something magically mesmerizing about Miami Beach and its surrounding area.
|The iconic 1111 Lincoln Road|
|Inspiring murals fill the Wynwood Arts District.|
Nestled between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Coast, this beautiful seaside resort plays host to lazy days on white sands beside turquoise waters, artful endeavors and plenty of craft cocktails and gourmet fare.
Just what the doctor ordered when the Midwestern winter has taken its toll.
While many of us often think of South Beach as the mecca of Art Deco architecture and famed Ocean Drive, surrounding neighborhoods move at a different pace and offer up their own brands of chic relaxation.
Lincoln Road is an outdoor pedestrian promenade made popular by its menu of shopping and dining. The district is renowned for its phenomenal architecture, especially 1111 Lincoln Road. This stunning parking garage carries a story all its own (not to mention Juvia, the penthouse cocktail lounge) and showcases stunning panoramic views of the South Beach area. The Ritz Carlton and Delano hotels are nearby.
Along Lincoln Road, restaurants line the center of the road with umbrella cafés enticing diners. The Van Dyke Café is perfect for sipping espresso with the bountiful Quiche Lorraine for a mid-morning start.
Another favorite is the Cafe at Books & Books which offers a gourmet menu rooted in local fare such as seafood or a Cuban sandwich. Inside the cafe and bookstore, newsstands beg for you to linger, and a small selection of books whet the hungry reader’s appetite.
High-end stores and old standbys welcome shoppers throughout the day. Of course there is also a peppering of local specialty shops, such as Dylan’s Candy Bar, that will satisfy a sweet tooth (or kiddo), and Baseworld, which offers unexpected Miami treasures, jewelry and men’s fashions.
For a hip Miami evening, begin or end at the nearby Broken Shaker. Here, imbibers get a dose of vintage Miami style, punctuated with an expertly executed menu of handcrafted cocktails. The petite bar is straight out of a movie from yesteryear, while the poolside tables are illuminated by the glowing night-lit pool. Music hums, ping-pong ensues and the energy quickly picks up as young travelers check into the adjoining Indian Creek hostel and hotel.
It’s a sampling of local Miami at its finest.
Wynwood Arts District
North of Miami Beach, near downtown, is the Wynwood Arts District. The neighborhood is high on the priority lists of artists and other creative types. High-end galleries are found in this redeveloped area, and larger-than-life murals cover the buildings throughout.
Art Basel, Miami Beach
Art Basel, the famed world art show, makes its way to Miami Beach each year. Featuring artists from around the world, gallery owners and a slew of live events, Art Basel remains one of the industry’s most anticipated events.
From beach artwork and new mural graffiti to live installations, the event marks a quintessential Miami experience for newcomers.
Learn more at artbasel.com.
At Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, Shepard Fairey has signed most of the walls inside and outside the eatery. The tapas-style menu lends itself to the idea that stopping and staying awhile to enjoy the art is part of Wynwood’s culture. A large patio out back is nestled into a courtyard of murals; those in the art crowd will recognize the names of the artists, while the novices will simply enjoy the scene.
The district also offers guided tours for those interested in a more significant experience. Offered the second Saturday of the month, three variations of the underground tour exist, including the Jameson Graffiti Tour, which offers complimentary drinks at one of the area’s eateries.
Also worth a taste is The Butcher Shop. Here a well-curated menu of meats, cheeses and one jumbo pretzel satisfy palates seeking more than local seafood.
A few specialty shops complete the scene, and rumor has it a craft beer bar will open soon.
Back near the waves, sky-scraping residential towers and hotels anchor the southern part of Miami Beach, though much of the area boasts small abodes and local haunts.
Beachcombers meander, accessing the beach via the many public parks. Rent a bike from one of the public bike racks and cruise up to Ocean Drive or loop down to South Point Park along Government Cut shipping channel. Walk along the paved path, enjoy playgrounds and, on Friday afternoon, catch the departure of cruise ships.
Hotels are in no short supply, but more affordable and with a genuine local feel is The Met. Just three blocks from the beach, this little hamlet offers one-bedroom apartments with a small kitchenette, washer and dryer, and comfortable accommodations.
Well-known eatery The Big Pink is just around the corner and delivers to The Met for late night munching. Adding to the dining establishment’s allure are the huge portions, decadent deserts and waffles that seem more like a muffin-donut hybrid (kids will love it).
Joe’s Stone Crab is possibly the area’s most iconic restaurant. Having recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, the formal dining room marks special occasions while the Take Away cafe next door is perfect for a quick crab indulgence. (Don’t forget the key lime pie!)
Part of what makes Miami Beach so charismatic is its lack of agenda. Walk around, go to the beach, shop or linger on a restaurant patio.
And most importantly, stay awhile. There’s no reason for a rushed departure from this idyllic winter retreat.