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Each time I visit family and friends in Miami, I try to explore something new. With more of arts and culture blossoming than ever before, the museums and galleries finally feel like they shouldn’t be missed—in addition to the beaches, drinks, and food, of course. But no matter what’s in fashion in Miami, there are some old standbys that never get old.
Sleeping and Sipping at Shore Club
Image via MorganHotelGroup.com
I love the bright, airy rooms (and the sexy showers). It feels like summer never has to end when I’m lounging in the sprawling Moroccan-themed gardens, or cooling off in one of the many pools with a couple of ice cold Corona's (with a twist of lime). Then just keep strolling along the palm-lined path to the white sand beach.
Cocktails and Spa Time at Setai
When I step through the heavy dark wood doors of the Setai, I feel like I’ve left the rest of Miami behind. No wonder the rich and famous love it (from sheiks to Beyoncé) since it’s one of the most expensive places to stay (or live) in Florida. I prefer to get a taste of the luxe life with the price of a cocktail. Try the Boulevarder, it’s a raspberry riff on a Boulevard Manhattan cocktail. And it’s worth the splurge to get a treatment in the relaxed, Asian-designed in-house spa tucked just behind the three gorgeous pools. Makes me feel special even if I can’t afford a room!
A Peek at Art and Architecture on Lincoln Road
Plenty of bad art can be found despite your best tries (you know, the glossy, airbrushed kind featuring dolphins and palm trees), but I can’t resist checking out the ArtCenter galleries and artist studios on this busy outdoor pedestrian mall. Last year, the organization decided to sell the iconic storefront and expand its campus, but it will keep a foothold (at 924 Lincoln Road). My partner also loves to ogle and photograph the Herzog & de Meuron-designed parking garage — although we’ve never been invited to check out the interior, you can scramble around for great Instagram shots.
Mojitos and Mojo at Yuca
I bypass most of the outdoor dining options on this thriving strip since I never tire of this upscale Cuban spot on Lincoln Road for lunch. While mahi-mahi sandwiches are ubiquitous everywhere in South Florida, their plantain-coated version is great. Plus, their mojito, made with real, pulverized yerba buena, is the best I’ve ever had.
Post-dinner dancing begins at Twist in South Beach. I'd there around 10pm and enjoy the seven different bars located in the same two-floor building. Seriously, you don't have to travel far for a different vibe, different beer, (Corona, anyone?), and different guys in each room. After a round or two, head a few blocks up the street to Score where you can dance yourself clean to the best beats, colorful lasers, and an 80s-fit disco ball.
Breakfast at the Betsy
Image via TheBetsyHotel.com
This hotel is the answer to all the tacky stuff on Ocean Drive. They organize many queer-themed cultural events and support lots of LGBT artists. After a long night out, they also have the best breakfast (or brunch) on the strip at BLT Steak. Their specialty, the BLT Popover, is a perfect hangover antidote.
Basking in the Art at PAMM
Image via PAMM.org
Maybe it seems counterintuitive to visit an art museum when you could (and should) be at the beach or poolside. But the Perez Art Museum Miami, just off Biscayne Boulevard, is worth spending a few hours indoors. Plus, Herzog & de Meuron created a cool blend of nature and architecture, so after checking out the exhibits, you can easily chill out on the patio with an iced coffee and not feel guilty at all.
About Jerry Portwood
Jerry Portwood is the executive editor at Out magazine. He's currently working on a memoir about his adventures living in Spain.