See & Do: Miami, Florida

Matthew Hranek
by Victoria Pesce Elliott - Florida - December 2012/January 2013

Sightseeing, shopping, and more in Miami

More Miami, Florida:
>City Portrait: Vintage Miami
>Eat & Drink
>Meet the Locals

What to See & Do

Fairchild Tropical 
Botanic Garden
This 83-acre garden is named for Dr. David Fairchild, who spent his life collecting hundreds of important plant specimens from every continent except Antarctica, many of which still grow in this vast refuge. Founded in 1938, it remains an oasis of tropical splendor in the middle of a growing metropolis. 10901 Old Cutler Rd.,
Coral Gables;

Hoy Como Ayer
This Little Havana find is the soul of the neighborhood, with live music Wednesdays through Sundays. The name translates to “today, like yesterday,” and it feels as if you’ve been transported to a club back in the old country. Shows start late, usually after 10:00 p.m. Bring a Spanish phrase book or a bilingual friend. The lineup changes often, but look for the Spam Allstars, a rocking Latin funk band. 2212 S.W. 8th St.; 

Miami Culinary  Tours
Whether traversing Little Havana or Ocean Drive, no one knows the Miami eating scene like Grace Della, which is why her tours are a delicious way to spend an afternoon. Apart from food, Della can dish on architecture, politics, art, history, and local lore. On Calle Ocho (the main drag of Little Havana) you might sample plantain omelets, a Cuban sandwich, and mango ice cream, and meet a family-owned cigar factory’s three generations.

The Wolfsonian-FIU Museum
Mitchell (Micky) Wolfson, Jr., is more than just a quirky collector. The white-mustachioed museum founder has made it his life’s mission to gather historical objects from around the world—more than 120,000 of them. He specializes in pieces that span from the start of the Industrial Revolution to the end of World War II—everything from Nazi propaganda posters to a souvenir tray from the New York World’s Fair. 1001 Washington Ave., Miami Beach;


The Design District 
Once known as to-the-trade-only, this hub is now very much open to the public. In addition to antique Italian ceiling lamps and mid-century modern furnishings, shoppers can find home goods from names such as Minotti and Monica James as well as high-end fashion from Yohji Yamamoto, En Avance, Marni, Cartier, Celine, and Louis Vuitton. The highly strollable area also hosts a monthly  gallery walk every second 
Saturday that draws thousands.

Ramon Puig Guayaberas
Ramon Puig was known as the King of the Guayabera, outfitting the likes of Alonzo Mourning, Robert De Niro, and Bill Clinton in the iconic shirts. Since his death, in 2011, his son Louis has taken over the throne, and his two shops, one out west on Calle Ocho and one downtown, are where to find beautifully crafted versions of the unofficial uniform of Miami’s Latin men, worn at weddings as easily as at the beach. 5840 S.W. 8th St. and 24 W. Flagler St.;

The Webster
This 20,000-square-foot converted deco hotel still sports the original 1939 terrazzo floors, but it’s completely modern when it comes to fashion. It’s the place to shop for only-in-Miami clothing and shoes, bags, watches, or whatever you can’t find back home. Refuel at Miami chef Michelle Bernstein’s marvelous new bakery café, Crumb on Parchment, in the lobby. 1220 Collins Ave., Miami Beach;

The Biltmore Hotel 
Situated as a sort of centerpiece in a quiet residential neighborhood on the Miami mainland, this Moorish-Mediterranean beauty, built in 1926, sits on more than 150 acres and has enough tales—ghost and otherwise—to fill a set of encyclopedias. The pool, once a favorite of Johnny Weissmuller’s, is still a wonder with its four-story waterfall. Its 18-hole golf course has been played by presidents and pros. And its Coral Gables location is a quick drive to the beach—20 minutes without traffic. 1200 Anastasia Ave., Coral Gables;

The St. Regis Bal Harbour
After a six-year, $1 billion project, the 
St. Regis in ritzy Bal Harbour is now one of the most stunning resorts on the beach. Every one of its 243 guest rooms, from standard to suite, has a view of the vast Atlantic, and in addition to a world-
class rooftop spa, it hosts one of Miami’s most elegant restaurants, the J&G Grill by Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
9703 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour;