City Portrait

Exploring Miami

Sightseeing, shopping, and more in Miami

Photo: Matthew Hranek

The Biltmore Hotel.

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.; 

Pedro Bello of Cuba Tobacco Cigar Co.

Photo: Matthew Hranek

Old Magic

Pedro Bello of Cuba Tobacco Cigar Co.


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;

Where to Eat & Drink

The Bazaar by José Andrés
The unofficial ambassador of all things Spanish brings his quirky (and tasty) brand of modernist cuisine to South Beach. Dragon fruit ceviche with a puff of pink hibiscus flower foam, anyone? Andrés gives equal time to classic Spanish cuisine, such as noodle paella with black squid ink, in dual dining rooms—one black, one white—that have as much dramatic flair as the food.  1701 Collins Ave., Miami Beach;



Photo: Matthew Hranek

Pork belly with a butterscotch miso glaze at Pubbelly.

Cvi.Che 105
A pisco sour is a good start at this sleek Peruvian enclave downtown. Then there are dozens of choices of superfresh seafood marinated in spicy citrus, with equally exotic desserts such as lúcuma mousse. The music can get loud, but the authentic menu, which also includes comforting home-style beef and potato dishes doused in piquant Huancaina
yellow pepper sauce, is equally lively.
 105 N.E. 3rd Ave.;


El Rey del Chivito
Pizza by the yard, Uruguayan wines,
and loads of fútbol paraphernalia are
part of the draw, but it’s the namesake goat sandwich (actually steak—it’s a
long story) that makes it worth a visit.
The meat is sliced thin, pounded and grilled, stuffed into a soft, white roll with lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise, then topped with bacon, ham, caramelized onions, melted mozzarella, and fried eggs. 6987 Collins Ave., Miami Beach;


Harry’s Pizzeria
James Beard Award-winner Michael Schwartz, of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, opened this calzone-size pizza joint in 2011, naming it for his son and serving gorgeously puffy, aggressively scorched pies from a wood-burning oven. Toppings might include house-cured bacon and cave-aged Gruyère or local peaches and shrimp with Italian Trugole. To wash it down? The chef recently introduced his own beer—a hoppy, citrusy brew of locally grown rice and sugarcane. 3918 N. Miami Ave.; 


Joe’s Stone Crab
Begun as a beachside lunch counter in 1913, Joe’s is one of the oldest restaurants in Florida, and though it gets a
tourist crowd, it’s a staple for locals, too. The restaurant is open only seven months a year (mid-October to mid-May), but if the seasonal lines are too long—and they often are—consider getting an order to go from the takeout operation next door. There’s nothing better than stone crabs and champagne on the beach. 11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach;


Photo: Matthew Hranek

A mojito at Juvia.

If Miami is a melting pot, then it sure is hot up on this rooftop indoor-outdoor stunner. The cuisine is a mishmash of Peruvian, French, and Japanese flavors, like rock shrimp tiradito drenched in spicy ají amarillo aioli with shards of red onion and cilantro served alongside unagi with chocolate sauce and cacao nibs. And there’s no better view than from the restaurant’s perch at the end of Lincoln Road in the awesome Herzog & de
Meuron building. 1111 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 


Since opening its glass storefront doors in 2010, South Beach’s first real gastro-
pub has become a favorite among foodies, who flock for eclectic fare including pumpkin-and-duck dumplings and octopus a la plancha. Well, that and dozens of handcrafted beers and wines. 1418
20th St., Miami Beach;


Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill
As fun for a drink as it is for a meal, this happening tapas spot in Midtown has perfected the it’s-always-a-party-here warehouse atmosphere. Favorites include bacon-wrapped dates, duck confit on waffles, and goat cheese
croquettes. Plus, of course, seafood at the raw bar. Out-of-this-world house cocktails made with fresh juices and spices complement the vibrant flavors. 3252 N.E. 1st Ave.; sugarcane


Whisk Gourmet
Locals sometimes wait for upwards of an hour to get a seat in this tiny strip-mall dining room run by Miami-reared sister-and-
brother team Kristin and Brendan Connor. Brendan, who worked at Hominy Grill in Charleston, South Carolina, does the cheffing while Kristin works the front of the house. They made their reputation with Southern favorites such as fried green tomatoes and cornbread topped with slow-roasted pulled pork shoulder. Latin dishes such as pork masitas are an added bonus. 7382 S.W. 56th Ave., South Miami;


Yardbird Southern 
Table & Bar
A sign above the open kitchen reads: “There are two kinds of people in the world, those who love fried chicken and communists.” Judging from the lines out the door, Miami has plenty of the former—at least when it comes to chef Jeff McInnis’s traditional buttermilk-soaked, ultra-golden version. Other popular eats at this Southern shrine include smoked rabbit and alligator stew, and biscuits so buttery and flaky that crumbs are hard to find at the end of a meal. Bourbon fans will appreciate the bar, which stocks more than 75 bottles.  1600 Lenox Ave., Miami Beach;

Creative pours at Yardbird.

Photo: Rick Hranek

Creative pours at Yardbird.


Where to Shop

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.


The new king of guayabera, Louis Puig.

Photo: Rick Hranek

The new king of guayabera, Louis Puig.

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;