When Will Smith memorably rapped “Ain’t no city in the world like this,” he was, of course, referring to Miami. The Florida city beloved for its weather and maligned for its Covid-19 rule-breaking spring breakers has become a must-visit destination in recent years, thanks in large part to the Instagrammable hotels, the influx of New York restaurants, and the burgeoning street art scene. It’s no wonder, then, that celebrities from Meek Mill to Dave Portnoy have frequented the (literal) hotspot — the latter even recently rented a $200,000-per-month bachelor pad formerly owned by Floyd Mayweather Jr. (Rumor has it that Portnoy’s company, Barstool Sports, may follow suit and move its HQ down south.)
Despite its hard-partying reputation, Miami can be a sweet, even civilized escape for those looking to enjoy a few days of socially distanced fun in the sun. And of course, if you’re vaccinated, options abound. Whichever category you fall in, we’ve got recommendations.
Assuming you want to be near the water (really, what other choice is there?), you’ll want to sleep where it makes the most sense geographically, aka Miami Beach. Fortunately, there are myriad oceanside options to choose from, from boutique hotels to ultra-luxury properties — not that you can put a price on waking up and immediately taking a dip.
Kimpton EPIC Hotel
Located in the heart of Downtown Miami overlooking Biscayne Bay, the Kimpton EPIC Hotel [Stefon voice] has everything. Outdoor cigar lounge? Check. Japanese izakaya dining at Zuma? Yessir. You can even opt to arrive by yacht to a private marina, if you desire. The amenities are so seductive, you’ll never want to leave.
Another option? Book a day pass or rent a private cabana at the picturesque Kimpton Surfcomber Hotel in South Beach. Trust us, the happy hour is well worth it.
Price: From $275/night
Kayak Miami Beach
As Kayak.com’s first-ever hotel, Kayak Miami Beach features all the techy innovations, including (but not limited to) access to hotel staff, event notifications, expedited check-in, and streaming workouts, all in an historic Art Deco-style building. Seamlessly blending the past and future, we can’t argue that it’s an extremely efficient place to stay.
Price: From $159/night
Good Time Hotel
Whether or not you’re there for a long time, you’re guaranteed to have a good — nay, great — time at The Goodtime Hotel, a collaboration from hospitality impresario David Grutman and Pharrell Williams featuring 266 rooms with chic AF interiors and a 30,000 square-foot vintage-tinged pool club. After a raucous opening night with Kim Kardashian and David Beckham in attendance, you can expect a celeb-caliber getaway.
Price: From $379/night
Faena Hotel Miami Beach
When it comes to Miami hotels, the Faena is without a doubt the most coveted stay. Its signature red umbrellas are a defining characteristic of the property, which offers suites with panoramic ocean views and a wildly decadent asado experience over an open flame curated by Argentine chef Francis Mallmann against the backdrop of a gilded woolly mammoth by the artist Damian Hirst, unmissable to passersby on the boardwalk.
Price: From $495/night
Start off at OTL in the buzzy Design District, a laid-back café that serves breakfast all day long (we suggest the overnight oats).
Head Downtown to ALL DAY, another contender for the best coffee in the city.
Zak the Baker
No trip to Miami would be complete without a quick schlep to Wynwood for Zak the Baker, a kosher eatery with an easily recognizable graffiti exterior that specializes in delicious baked goods that range from the classic (double chocolate babka) to the creative (salmon reuben) — but be warned, the pastries sell out fast, so go early to get the goods.
A stone’s throw away, The Oasis offers an assortment of lunch options, including New York institutions Alidoro and Prince Street Pizza.
Queue up at La Sandwicherie and grab a sizable sandwich on a crisp baguette to-go, you can’t go wrong.
Arguably the most important meal of the day in Miami, dinner is an opportunity to see and be seen (even in pandemic times). One of the most hard-to-get reservations includes the Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Osaka.
If you’re looking for delicious plant-based food, Planta sources its produce from its own rooftop garden at the restaurant.
Byblos serves up Eastern Mediterranean cuisine such as lamb ribs, couscous, and stuffed baklava accompanied with a wide variety of their signature cocktails.
Red Rooster Overtown
You’ll feel like a local at Red Rooster. It celebrates local arts and musicians and offers delicious comfort food.
Don’t miss out on this Italian restaurant. The spicy rigatoni vodka is one-of-a-kind, but if you want to get a spot, be sure to make a reservation ahead of time.
Margot Natural Wine Bar
If you’re not too stuffed, stop by Margot Natural Wine Bar, a new concept from the Broken Shaker team that boasts organic and biodynamic wines.
Lido Restaurant and Champagne Bar
Bubbly, anyone? Cruise by Lido’s Champagne Bar, located at the historic Surf Club, for a glass to relax and recharge. Replete with palm trees, the space oozes glamour. It’s no surprise, then, that it was a go-to for Hollywood icons including Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor.
Swan, the indoor-outdoor space and celeb-favorite haunt run by Grutman and Williams, is an absolute must.
The Mojito Bar
Bodega Taqueria y Tequila
For a late-night bite, wrap up your marathon evening at Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, a taco joint-slash-speakeasy lounge that’s undeniably cool from the front to the back. Let’s be honest, after a night of dancing, who isn’t craving a ginormous burrito?
Wynwood Walls, the outdoor museum featuring sweeping street art murals from prolific talents like Faile and Shepard Fairey, is a can’t-miss, if only for the Instagram opportunities. Get your steps in (and maybe some additional pics, too) by walking around the Design District, where you can shop, eat, pose, and peruse the galleries and art installations, including Virgil Abloh’s inflatable figures from his Spring/Summer 2021 collection showcase.
Enjoy some R&R on a cozy daybed at Joia Beach on Jungle Island, modeled after European beach clubs. Perhaps you’ll see one of the venue’s fans, including Blake Griffin, Adriana Lima, and Dwayne Wade, but if not, it’s still the ideal location to enjoy an epic sunset.
Pending your vaccination status, head to the infamous after-hours club E11EVEN that’s open 24/7 — we honestly can’t think of a better spot to let loose when you’re at peak immunity.
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