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Our Favorite Places to Eat, Sleep, and Explore in Miami

The beaches are only the beginning.

<p>Alexander Spatari / Getty Images</p>

Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

If there’s one place we feel we can appropriately use the phrase “it’s a vibe,” it’s Miami. The Floridian city has long felt like the truest of escapes from the day-to-day, a destination filled with differing cultures melded together in one epic getaway — no passport required.

Before you go, there’s one thing we want to set straight: It’s important to note that “Miami” and “Miami Beach” are actually two distinct municipalities frequently lumped together thanks to their proximity (fewer than 10 miles separate their centers). In Miami, travelers will find an array of city-escape-appropriate activities, like the numerous modern and contemporary art museums and shopping in the Design District. Miami Beach offers that famed stretch of sand punctuated by colorful lifeguard towers and aquamarine waters just begging for a dip. The thing they both share? Fantastic food and drink offerings and fabulous hotels to call home during a stay.

Speaking of that, here’s where to eat, drink, and stay during your next visit to the Sunshine State’s vibiest destination.

Where to stay

A vacation in Miami deserves a top-notch stay, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at The Betsy, a boutique hotel located on what it calls the “quiet end” of Ocean Drive. Here, guests can kick back in one of the 130 luxe rooms, each decked out in neutral, calming hues with pops of bright blue to mirror the scene outside. Guests can also unwind next to the rooftop pool, which provides 360-degree views of the city, or take a few steps to hit the sandy beach.

Visitors never have to leave the hotel for a great meal either, as it’s home to the decadent LT Steak & Seafood, which serves (just as the name implies) prime and black Angus steaks and freshly caught fish alongside a dizzying array of vegetables.

Where to eat

There is no shortage of sublime dining in Miami—from first light to well past midnight, you can find an eclectic mix of bites. Start the day at Bebitos, a beloved neighborhood spot in Miami Beach. Order a caffeinated beverage using Bebito’s Private Label signature blend, made with a mix of Central and South American beans, for a locals-only sip. We recommend going with a Cafecito for a sweet morning treat.

Next, make your way to Zak the Baker, an artisanal bakery and cafe in the Wynwood Arts District. Here, you can get a meal made from scratch (and, as the team promises, made with plenty of love) or pick up one of its freshly made loaves of bread. If you really want to do it right, get a cookie to go for later.

When it’s time for lunch, there’s no better spot than La Natural, a sourdough pizza and wine shop unlike any other. Here, you can go through entire pies like they are mere slices—they’re simply that good. Start with a classic topped with tomato sauce, garlic confit, chili, and oregano, and end with a white sauce pie with scallions and Szechuan peppercorn.

Still feeling peckish? Track down the Blue Runner Seafood truck for a quick snack. The truck, which is usually located at 11338 Biscayne Blvd., offers tasty seafood bites, including its not-to-miss ceviche, made using the owner’s mother’s prized recipe.

When the sun begins to set, it’s time to head to Over Under for a happy hour cocktail. The modern American cocktail bar promises affordable prices, but that doesn’t stop it from getting inventive with your drink. Here, you’ll find craft cocktails with “subtropical ingredients,” such as Ramon's Jockey, which is made with green-plantain-infused rum, sour orange sherbet, Campari, and added citrus.

Finally, make the grand finale to your day of dining a meal at Maty’s. This restaurant is located in Miami’s Design District and is helmed by siblings Nando and Valerie, who happen to be members of Food & Wine’s 2023 class of Best New Chefs. Here, you can dig into cooking that will soothe your soul, like ocean grouper made with passionfruit and gooseberry and chicken milanesa with choi sum, parmesan, and pesto.

Things to do

The days are never boring in Miami. There are dozens of museums located within the city limits, catering to every interest imaginable. There are a plethora of parks to explore. And the beaches. Oh, are there beaches.

To make the most of your time in Miami, wake up and take a stroll through the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, a sprawling 83-acre destination home to an entire ecosystem of flora. Find palm trees and succulents, ferns and flowers, and everything in between. Don’t miss its rare plant exhibit for something truly special.

Next, get in a little culture at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, a modern art museum showcasing some of the best artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. Throughout early 2024, guests can check out the works of renowned artist Yayoi Kusama, which feel just as colorful and fantastic as the city itself.

If you want to walk away with an edible souvenir, you can also pay a visit to the Coconut Grove Farmers Market and pick up some locally grown produce. While the major market takes place every Saturday, weekday guests can always visit the Farm Store for more regional treats.

Finally, yes, please go to the beach. Any beach will do, but you can never go wrong with the see-and-be-seen South Beach. Shell out for a chaise lounger and an umbrella and post up for as long as you’d like — or at least until your next dining reservation reminder.

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