Home to iconic art deco architecture, a wealth of cultural sightings and an ever-evolving glittering skyline, Miami is never short on creative inspiration. Once you dig past the surface, you’ll also uncover once-overlooked areas actively transformed into vibrant, design-driven hubs.
For the art lovers passing through, we put together a mini-itinerary of don’t-miss stops for your next visit to South Florida.
Where To Stay and Eat
Over in the exclusive town of Surfside, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club revived glamour in the oceanfront destination. The 77-room hotel sits on 900 feet of white-sand beach with well-manicured lawns and gardens framing the impeccable view. Inside, opulence authored by Parisian interior designer Joseph Dirand awaits. The rooms are over the top in every sense with Italian marble floors, spacious bathrooms and lots of brass finishes. If you can, sneak in for a sip at Four-Star Le Sirenuse’s magnificent champagne bar.
Further down the coastline, Faena Hotel Miami Beach is a majestic wonder. Dripping in decadent décor, the Five-Star resort has ushered in a new wave of luxury travel with its dream child, Faena District. Here, you’ll find a unique mix of creative and immersive entertainment, destination shopping and multi-use arts venues and event spaces. And let’s not forget the culinary design. Los Fuegos By Francis Mallmann and Pao by Paul Qui offer one-of-a-kind dining experiences that are equally as bold and daring in appearance as they are in cuisine.
Back on the mainland, The Biltmore, a Four-Star National Historic Landmark, takes a more Old World approach to its aesthetic. A recent $25 million renovation infused modern elements into the Mediterranean-inspired villa and upgraded the 18-hole Donald Ross golf course. A dip in the 750,000-gallon pool is hard to beat to cool off from the heat. The Sunday champagne brunch here is also must; ask to sit by the courtyard’s fountain for the best views.
What to See and Do
Architecture and history buffs will want to start with the Art Deco District on South Beach. With 900-plus buildings in just one-square-mile radius, this enclave boasts one of the world’s largest concentrations of 1930s architecture.
Must-visit highlights include SLS South Beach (which claims the title of tallest art-deco building in the neighborhood), originally built by renowned Miami architect L. Murray Dixon, and the landmark nautical-themed The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach by Morris Lapidus. There’s a whole weekend in January dedicated to celebrating the beautiful buildings, but if you’re not in town during that time, the visitor’s center provides regular walking tours.
The Miami Design District is another main draw. This is where you’ll find the city’s forward-thinking creatives, A-listers and fashionistas regularly flocking. There’s plenty to see, but be sure to check out Markowicz Fine Art, Oliver Sanchez’s alternative Swampspace and contemporary-driven de la Cruz Collection.
If time permits, join a walking tour of the neighborhood’s public art, offered on Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons leaving from the Fly’s Eye Dome (a selfie-worthy shot). Before or after the tours, peruse the neighborhood’s 70-plus high-end shops.
Roughly a five-minute drive south is the edgier Wynwood neighborhood. Every second Saturday of the month, the streets come alive during Wynwood Art Walk, with trendy events while restaurants and shops stay open after hours for the ultimate Miami block party.
Of course, no curated design guide to this city would be complete without mention of December’s Art Basel Miami Beach and Design Miami, when all creatives set their sights here. Whether you’re a collector or enthusiast, you’ll always find something of interest at the multi-day extravaganzas.