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Our Guide to Miami Beach, Florida

Our Guide to Miami Beach, Florida

Our Travel Guides:
We are equipping you with what you need to getaway to Miami Beach for the weekend -- helping you to soak up every ounce of inspiration & relaxation from your time away. Any hot travel destination is bound to tell you what and how you should experience it -- and which spot is the most Instagram-able. Not us. We're out to find the edge of a place, the soul, the grit, and the beauty -- even if it's in the most unexpected places. All making way to experience something you'll never forget. It takes a bit of plundering, so we've done it for you.

1 Hotel South Beach: (Emily's top pick!) I love to get away to the 1 Hotel in the summer to bask in the sun and recharge. Their pool drinks are all centered around fresh tropical juices, the hotel rooftop dining and bar is a total scene, the room service menu is 10/10 (admittedly a frequent flyer of staying in, even in Miami), and the off-season rates come online at nearly a 65% savings for lush luxury. It's a total treat.
Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club: At less than 100 rooms, it's practically a boutique-style hotel ... but it's a Four Seasons. Lush! Initially opened in 1930 as "The Surf Club," it was one of Miami's iconic and exclusive beach clubs—think Gatsby level. The restoration of The Club could not be better— and the Four Seasons was the right hotelier to take it on. Go here to get to a tropical climate with less of the Miami Beach beach scene. 
Faena Hotel: Red & white whimsical setting and extravagant luxury (think velvet drapes, Deco rugs, and opulent chandeliers...) that sets it apart from other hotels. It is ideal for a long weekend; any longer, the glam may glam you out. However, the 22,000 sq ft spa at Faena will keep you zen in all the right ways. 
The Esme Hotel: Located in the interior of Miami Beach along Espanola Way, explore the Art Deco vistas and rooftop pool scene, walk to dinner, and explore smaller cafes and scenes about Miami Beach. Usually has availability, so it is a tremendous last-minute booking. 

Beach Boutique is the closest store I have found that has a spirit similar to what we have at BECASA. Their team is all about "Dressing you for the beach," "locals' favorite," and "styling help and customer service." You'll like it. Small but mighty.
KITH Miami has locations in Los Angeles, Manhattan, and Miami. It's very cool, and you can't miss it: streetwear, designer men's and women's apparel, shoes, cologne, books, and other very cool things.
Cult Gaia is in Miami's Design District. Please shop for me. This new store opening for the vacation-ready brand is a concept-style spot sure to WOW visually—a blue and white Mosiac storefront. Drool!
Lincoln Road Mall—Opened in 1960, this outdoor pedestrian mall captures all the good things we secretly loved about the mall era—coffee, lunch, people watching, desserts, and the middle of the mall setees -- add swaying palms. If you need a day out of the sun, go for nostalgia's sake. Laduree macarons, speciality swimwear shops, make a Zara run, and then return to the hotel pool for a sunset swim & room service. (Bal Harbour shops for luxury mall shopping!) 
(Every other Sunday here, you'll find the Antique & Collectible Market unpacking on the same grounds - treasure hunting, vintage picking, & more are all yours.)
Mrs. Mandolin Design Boutique is next door to Mandolin Aegean Bistro (see our Eats recommendations!), which the same family owns. It is a small shop with considerable style, particularly for artisanal tabletop, home/kitchen, and little pickups.
The Webster is the Bergdorf Goodman of South Beach—a historic hotel turned into a three-story shopping mecca for luxury brands and more. Founder and CEO Laure Heriard Dubreuil has made her mark in the global retail space, and it's fun to interact with her magic. While you're there, shop her exclusive line of dresses, LHD.   

Dress Up
Byblos is a great spot in one of the famous Art Deco hotels. It has a beautiful patio for drinks & cozy booth seating inside for a nostalgic feel. The menu is shareable, & it's perfect for coursing the meal out to experience the Greek fusion flavors as a table—roasted beets & crispy artichokes are a couple of favorites.
The Surf Club Restaurant—Enjoy a gorgeous night out or ladies' lunch on the grand backdrop of the 1930s Surf Club. You must have a reservation - sought after. There's also a bar-only reservation option that may be easier to come by. Of note: a giant Florida Banyan Tree is within sight of the dining area, with live jazz nightly & a tableside Caesar. 
Joe's Stone Crab is a 100-year-old establishment open from October to May (Florida's Stone Crab season). Early bird dine to get on the wait list early & beat the rush. Be bold about this spot even if you don't like shellfish; they have great fish dishes, steaks, and award-winning sides.
Mandolin Aegean Bistro is in Miami's Design District. It's a spot that relishes beautiful Miami evenings—there's always a nice palm breeze blowing. Dine under string lights, enjoy the lively atmosphere, & embrace the top-notch Mediterranean menu. 
Dress Down
Joe & The Juice A morning pick me up. Great coffee, smoothies, bowls, pressed sandwiches, etc. Order ahead on the app to make it easy and skip the (usual) out-the-door line.
 Blue Ribbon Sushi—Dressy casual. This hidden gem is in the lobby of the Plymouth Hotel on Collins Park. The poolside patio dining room with candlelight is quintessential South Beach, and their delicious sushi is the best, particularly the FL lobster rolls.
Puerto Sagua - 1960s old-school diner charm here, dripping in South FL beauty. Get the Cuban classics you crave (croquetas, Cuban sammys, pork entrees…) in a fun, bustling atmosphere.
Habitat at 1 Hotel is a casual breakfast, juice, and lunch spot conveniently located in the lobby of 1 Hotel. It's great if you're staying there. If not, it's still perfect for casual weekend brunch. Casual is the key here -- much of the dining in Miami Beach requires a level of hair and makeup, so this is a nice change to that pace.
La Sandwicherie is the classic beachy sub shop that you're thinking of. Significant portions are easy to share or pack in a beach tote. Order "The Tropical" or “SOBE Club!”
La Carreta is the spot we love in the Miami Airport, where you can grab a Cuban coffee before departure or when you arrive. There are a few locations in the city, too, and they're super famous for their fantastic food & family-owned feel. 
Miami Beach Boardwalk is an irresistible scene—seven miles of it. It's the best place to start a morning or close to the day. It's easily accessible at the end of every cross street on South Beach. Pack your earphones, & workout gear so you don't miss out! California-esque rollerblading goes on here, too.   
Biscayne National Park boasts some of the best snorkeling in the U.S. -- get a taste of the underwater life further into the Tropics right here at home. Make sure to admire the 1930s Boca Chita lighthouse while you're there. The park hosts several half-day adventures, making it a great day trip from Miami Beach. 
Española Way is a romantic, pedestrian-only street that makes a great host for dinner out & an after-dinner gelato stroll. Think Tropezon Miami for dinner (or 5 PM happy hour!) and Mammamia Gelato.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on Biscayne Bay: Explore the mansion of the Gilded Age's successful businessman, John Deering, with an educational, aesthetic, luxury tour. The lush vegetation is a can't-miss—it can replace a trip to the Botanical Garden.
Don't overpack sunscreen. Any hotel has a nice brand available at the pool and beach—think COOLA or Sun Bum. Make an effort to bring your favorite face screen instead.
Wash & style your hair before leaving the hotel for dinner. You'll get a reuse out of it at the pool on the following day — hats and sunscreen are best on day-old hair anyway.
Pack some bath bombs or travel packets of bath salt; you'll want them for the soaking tub in your hotel - especially after a day in the sun. (I always find the hotel's bath amenities are not ample enough for a good salt or bubble bath!)
Consider packing a cozy lounge set and a roomy nightgown. You may be doctoring a sunburn (sun-kissed is best!) while you're there and want to be prepared.
Schedule a mani-pedi! Before you leave home, you'll want to schedule a fresh manicure and pedicure so you're pool and beach-ready.
Grab a Yellow Cab outside the baggage claim at the airport. They are stationed ten steps from the exit doors, so you'll quickly be on your way to having fun! Locating the Uber stand is not worth it. 
Before leaving the airport — Miami arrival gates pass by several important places on the way to Baggage Claim. Pick up a Cuban coffee (La Carreta) and stop at a bookstore to get a new read & some magazines before you head to the hotel. Grab those items there instead of carrying them all the way.
Plan ahead and book your reservations for dinner out. Things book up, and you don't want to be without. I always plan to cancel one reservation (in a timely way, of course!) that I have planned around lunchtime when you're leaning toward a more extended pool day.
Plan your Poolside / Swim looks well. This is a trip where you'll spend most of your time in your swimsuit and cover-up pairing, so be sure they're thought out, comfortable, and make you feel good! 
Make a playlist for your trip—it's simple, but it will bring music into your memories, and you'll be able to enjoy it well after you're home and back to the grind.
Swim every day and go for a walk every day. Miami Beach is ideal for both, and you want to experience those simple luxuries while you're here.
Only be influenced to "Miami Beach" in what feels right to you. It can be as chill or energetic as you desire! If you want coffee, beach, pool, and room service — do that. If you want to dance the night away, do it. If you want to explore and embrace the Miami street scenes, spend a day walking and touring.
Plan to wake up early and walk the Beach Boardwalk for an hour or more. I know I'm harping on this boardwalk, but it's a cathartic experience. Like an NYC sidewalk, you're waking up with the city and feeling the vibrant energy around you - recharging you!
If you find a dinner or lunch you love, go back for a second time on your trip — this is a silly hack but one that seems to fill the spirit. When you find a place that matches your energy & element, please don't deny it. The second visit will imprint it into your mind forever!
Decide what kind of book you want to read on your trip—it can set the tone in a good way or a bad one. Decide before you leave so you can control what you put into your brain and life during the time away—is it an adventure read, a love story, a self-growth book, a biography, etc?
Unplug and leave your phone in the room. Text your people to let them know your plan — they'll be supportive & help you take the time to reset and recharge.
Consider reviewing the mocktail menu by the pool. We think getting away for vacation means cocktails — but that doesn't have to be the case, so be mindful of what you need the trip for and stay true to your needs. 
Get to the Beach Early if you care about front row. Don't go later and then complain on the second row. Just saying.
Keep a Hotel Room Tab it's the way to go & easier for the cabana guys and gals. Easier for you, too. Tipping is everything at the pool.
Showing skin is ample here. Don't be offended or have an opinion on what's too much—embrace the scene and mind your business. You can keep your assets undercover or get out of your comfort zone if you want, this is the place to do so.
Sunscreen. Don't ruin your Miami Beach trip with a sunburn. Reapply frequently so you can enjoy dinners and avoid a Walgreens aloe vera run.
Respect the Rules of the Road for the beachfront walking path. It's busy. Apply the same rules as driving on any road in the U.S. Stay in your lane and pass people if they're too slow for you. Watch for bikers and skaters.
Let Loose. Miami Beach / South Beach runs at its own pace. You'll feel it as soon as you arrive. Decide how you can interact with and flow with it while you're there. You'll have more fun.
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