Miami Essentials

Find out the best places to go in Miami for whatever it is you want to do.


  • Wynwood Art Walk
    Miami’s edgiest art experience happens on the second Saturday of every month. More than 80 galleries are located in this former warehouse district. The surroundings can seem a bit dicey, but some jaw-dropping modern art collections and multimedia installations await.


  • Fox's Sherron Inn, 6030 S. Dixie Highway
    The old school bar has a Sinatra/Rat Pack vibe, decently priced drinks and an excellent free jukebox.
  • Studio, Shelbourne Hotel, 1801 Collins Ave., South Beach
    Descending the stairs at this downscale basement karaoke bar provides the perfect late-night counterpoint to a neighborhood filled with hip-hop kids, fashionistas and lobster-red European tourists.

Nightlife Essentials: Best Places to...


  • Scotty's Landing, 3381 Pan American Drive, Miami
    Arrive by car or boat. This mainstay is located on the edge of a popular city marina at Dinner Key. The adjacent City Hall used to be the Pan Am seaplane terminal.
  • Mac’s Club Deuce, 222 14th Street, South Beach
    Simply put, there’s no place -- or noir place -- like The Deuce. Sweaty oddities, blue-collar toughs, u goofballs and slumming celebrities all gather around the horseshoe shaped bar. Some of the savviest bartenders in Miami know when to let the debauchery flow and when it’s time to tamp down the danger and weirdness.
  • Jimbo’s, the little shrimp shack at the end of the road to Virginia Key, off the Rickenbacker Causeway
    Now in his 80s, Jimbo Luznar has been selling fresh bait and cold beer at this rustic collection of brightly painted shacks since the 1950s. Relax in the shade, soak up the suds, snack on some of Jimbo’s smoked fish dip or play a little bocce with his friends. Dozens of producers of movies, TV shows and music videos all want a piece of Jimbo’s Cracker-meets-Caribbean vibe.

(Caveat emptor: what’s hip can change very fast, especially in the downtown and South Beach club scene)

  • Mainland:
    Club Space, 34 NE 11th St., Miami
    Pawnshop Lounge, 1222 NE Second Ave., Miami
    Vagabond Lounge, 30 NE 14th St., Miami
  • South Beach:
    Cameo, 1445 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
    Mansion, 1235 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
    Mokai Lounge, 235 23rd St., Miami Beach
  • Off The Beaten Path:
    Hoy Como Ayer, 2212 SW Eighth St., Miami, especially on Thursday nights, for Cuban and young Latin dance music
    Club Tipico Dominicano, 1344 NW 36th St., Miami, an authentic dance institution for serious fans of meringue, salsa and bachata

By now, the fabled Cuban rum drink has become ubiquitous among the cocktail-swilling classes. The best bartenders know that the secret ingredient is fresh hand-crushed yerbabuena. Regular old mint just doesn’t cut it.

  • Tap-Tap, 819 5th St., Miami Beach
    Tap-Tap makes it with Haiti’s finest rum, Bharbancourt. One of our favorite mojitos, ironically, comes from the best Haitian restaurant on South Beach.
  • Ortanique on the Mile, 278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables
    The mojitos at this Caribbean-influenced restaurant regularly rank high in “Best Of” contests. Start with a cocktail, but stay for Chef Cindy Hutson’s cuisine.


  • Magnum, 709 NE 79th Street, Miami
    Another Upper East Side pioneer, this slightly off-kilter restaurant and piano bar has been attracting a fun-loving crowd, gay and straight, for several years now.

Outdoor Essentials: Best Places to...


  • Shark Valley, 36000 Tamiami Trail, 25 miles west of Florida’s Turnpike on Southwest Eighth Street in Everglades National Park
    Take your bike or rent one to ride around and look at the alligators slumbering in the sun.
  • Rickenbacker Causeway over Biscayne Bay
    For slightly less wildlife closer to town, take your bike over the scenic Rickenbacker Causeway over the sparking waters of Biscayne Bay to Crandon Park or Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne. Stop along the causeway and toss out a line or rent a windsurfer.
  • Fruit and Spice Park, 24801 SW 187th Ave., Homestead
    Some of the most exotic fruits grown in the subtropics are found here.
  • The Everglades
    Take an airboat ride from one of multiple locations: Billie Swamp Safari, off Alligator Alley west of Fort Lauderdale; Wooten’s Airboat Ride, due west of Miami off Tamiami Trail, and Everglades Safari Park just west of Homestead, near the Flamingo entrance to Everglades National Park.
  • Upper Keys
    Start with a snorkeling tour of the living coral reefs at John Pennekamp State Park at 102601 Overseas Highway in Key Largo. Excellent scuba options abound for experienced, certified divers. Twenty miles farther south, near Mile Markers 87 and 88, in Islamorada, several area outfitters rent kayaks for daytrips or overnight camping on the uninhabited islands on Florida Bay.


  • Dog Chow Park, 2400 S. Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove
    Located on the waterfront, the park features a separate fenced area for smaller dogs.
  • Amelia Earhart “Bark Park”, 401 E. 65th St., Hialeah
    Five-acre off-leash park features a separate area for smaller dogs. Amenities include paved walkways, benches, shade trees, a digging pit, agility equipment, bathing pools and specially designed drinking and spray fountains for dogs and their owners.
  • Flamingo Bark Park, 999 11th St., Miami Beach
    Located behind the paddle ball courts.
  • East Greynolds Park, 16700 Biscayne Blvd., Sunny Isles Beach
    Greynolds is a 249-acre former rock quarry and home to one of the largest intact natural hardwood hammocks in the area.


The Miami City Club, 200 S. Biscayne Boulevard, 55th Floor, Miami
This is where the city’s movers and shakers break bread, cut deals and take in a transcendent view.

Park under the MacArthur Causeway or near the Venetian Causeway tollbooth, and look back toward the Miami Herald building and the city skyline.

Walk the old Rickenbacker Causeway between the mainland and Virginia Key. All the gritty chaos that is Miami gathers on this fishing pier that used to provide the primary access from downtown Miami to Key Biscayne.

Shopping Essentials: Best Places to...


  • Thrift City, 2000 NW 79th St., Miami
    An incredible treasure trove for salvage fiends and Dumpster divers, Thrift City is acres of old doors, sinks, tile, bathroom fixtures, appliances and plenty of junk. Occasional gems can be found when builders hastily unload excess stock from finished or failed projects, or demolition crews cast off Art Deco and mid-century modern classics.


  • Karma, 7010 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
    This Upper East Side carwash doubles as a tapas bar. Its name was inspired by its next door neighbor, the popular hot dog stand, Dogma.
  • Flamingo Plaza thrift stores, 901 E. 10th Ave., Hialeah
    You can get lost amid the bric-a-brac at this L-shaped strip mall filled with second-hand and thrift stores. You can literally find anything here: cheap undergarments, toys, clothes, hats, furniture, decorative thimble sets, 8-track tape players, CB radios, knock-off beauty supplies, paint-by-numbers dogs playing poker, old Havana trinkets, Hummel figures, lawn ornaments, auto parts, “Club Pablo Escobar" trucker hats and pinball machines.
  • Sweat Records, 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami
    In its latest incarnation next to Churchill’s Pub, this record store and Wi-Fi coffeehouse is the heart of Miami’s tiny but fervent indie music scene.
  • Rag Trade Happy Clothing Co., 4600 NE Second Ave., Miami
    This popular vintage and consignment shop is becoming a mainstay in the still up-and-coming Buena Vista East neighborhood.

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