Miami, with its miles of beaches, art deco architecture and Latin-influenced cuisine, is a super-fun spot for a holiday. But this sun-drenched city also has a growing arts scene with multimedia galleries, street murals, performing arts spaces and new museums. South Beach remains the tourist hub, but downtown, Wynwood and the Design District are emerging areas to discover.
Stay: The Two Diamond Rated South Seas Hotel is a great find. The beachfront boutique property is just minutes from Ocean Drive. There’s also a pool and a garden with nap-inducing hammocks. Pilikia by the Pool, an indoor/outdoor cafe, is great for a casual lunch – try the fish tacos.
Do: The beaches are free, so enjoy soaking up the sun and people-watching at Lummus Park Beach. In the Wynwood area, warehouses have been transformed into art galleries, and Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street park, has murals from Shepard Fairey and other artists.
Dine: South Beach’s La Sandwicherie sells delicious sandwiches such as the SoBe club with turkey, Brie and avocado. And don’t miss the famous Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana, where you can enjoy Cuban fare like black bean soup, ropa vieja and Cubano sandwiches.
Stay: There are 216 rooms in the Four Points by Sheraton Miami Beach, some with ocean views. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs and a fitness center. After a day spent at the beach or poolside, sip a craft beer in The Bloo Lounge and have a bite in the Sungrass Cafe.
Do: Tour Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, the former winter home of Chicago industrialist James Deering. The Italian Renaissance-style villa features antique-filled rooms and gorgeous gardens. Don’t miss Lincoln Road, a pedestrian-only shopping street with outdoor cafes.
Dine: Enjoy small plates such as salt cod empanadas, Iberico sliders and creamy coconut rice at The Bazaar by Jose Andres. Joe’s Stone Crab is a can’t-miss classic: Since 1913, it’s been serving stone crab claws with a mustard- based dipping sauce and, for dessert, Key lime pie.
Stay: The AAA Four Diamond Rated Fontainebleau Miami Beach, which attracts stars like Jennifer Lopez and Lady Gaga, is one of the city’s iconic art deco properties. It boasts 1,504 rooms, numerous pools, a spa and 12 restaurants and bars inside its beachfront setting.
Do: Most of Miami’s upscale resorts offer cabanas complete with butler service for a pampering day by the pool. You can also charter a yacht to cruise Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean while sipping wine and sampling fresh seafood prepared by a private chef.
Dine: The Fontainebleau boasts hot spots like Hakkasan, which serves modern Asian food, and Scarpetta, known for its rustic Italian fare. Downtown, yellowfin tuna carpaccio and short rib are on the menu at the AAA Four Diamond Rated Azul restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental.
To book these hotels and find other lodging options, visit AAA.com/MiamiHotels.