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24 Hours in Miami, FL

by Sabrina Smelko

24 Hours in Miami, FL

Next weekend, I’m flying from Toronto to Miami to host Making It: a round table for women in creative industries at The Wolfsonian in the Art Deco District of Miami Beach, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never been to that part of Florida and, though I’m only in town for a day, today’s 24-hour guide from Abby Kellett could not have come at a more perfect time.

Abby is a freelance interior stylist and shop owner of Gretel Home, an online design store. She and her husband have two daughters, Beatrice (7) and Josephine (2), and have enjoyed watching Miami change over the years, making it “the perfect place to live and not just vacation,” Abby says. Similar to our Orlando guide last month, Florida has seen a lot of change over the last decade; there’s tons of new museums and music venues, and truly inspirational fairs that take over the city such as Design Miami/, Art Basel and Maison & Objet Americas. Though Abby’s schedule may be hectic, if she had a day all to herself in Miami, today’s guide would be how she’d spend it. –Sabrina

Abby Kellett_Gretel Home

9 am: A great start to anyone’s day would be a visit to Zak the Baker in Wynwood. This bright bakery and cafe sells everything that’s baked, natural and delicious (they serve lunch, too, but are closed on Saturday).

Zak the Baker menu Zak the Baker_Abby Zak the Baker

Wynwood is an area that has boomed relatively recently with new shops, restaurants and creative agencies appearing every day. One of the most recent is Wynwood Letterpress, which sells its self-designed, Miami-centric cards and stationery alongside a beautifully fun selection of confetti, stickers and balloons.

Wynwood Letterpress_exterior Wynwood Letterpress

Wynwood’s most noticeable feature is its public art, which adorns pretty much every exterior wall in the neighborhood. Possibly the two most Instagrammed artworks are the graphic black and white stripes of The Wynwood Building (home to a great hair salon, Junior and Hatter) and the dripping rainbow diamonds by Maya Hayuk (which are part of a wonderful outdoor space called Wynwood Walls).

Junior and Hatter Maya Hayuk_Wynwood Walls_02 Maya Hayuk_Wynwood Walls_03

11 am: Still in Wynwood, I love to pop into cozy, overgrown Sprout to check out their terrariums full of succulents and fresh flowers (they also have a coffee bar). While you’re there, also pop into Frangipani.

Sprout Frangipani

This bright and airy concept store sells a wonderful variety of small housewares, jewelry and clothing and is a great place to find a gift. Also close by is eyewear company Warby Parker‘s new store. The color of their soothing ice blue walls was apparently inspired by the Blue-Footed Booby (Google it, you’ll see…). They also have an overhead “photo-booth.” Just enter your email address, swiftly get into position on their yellow lounger, et voila! You have a cheery snap of yourself sent to your inbox.

Warby Parker extrior Warby Parker_interior_02

Another yummy interior belongs to Mmmm with its tropical, leafy wallpaper and fluorescent pink sign.

Noon: Downtown Miami is another area that is undergoing massive change, thanks largely to the addition of PAMM (Pérez Art Museum Miami).

PAMM

This stunning structure was designed by Hertzog & de Meuron and the museum’s restaurant, Verde, is one of my favorite places for lunch. A glass of prosecco and a squash blossom pizza on the vast bay-view terrace among the hanging gardens pretty much makes my day. The museum store is always worth a quick peek, too. Afterwards I like to take a walk along the waterfront of the newly completed Museum Park and check out some of the ridiculously big yachts docked alongside. The prettiest bridge between the mainland and “the beach” (Officially Miami Beach) is the Venetian Causeway* with its varied residential architecture, beautiful views and pelicans just hanging out. The entrance to the Venetian is less than a mile from PAMM and the causeway itself is just under three miles long.

*Note: The Venetian Causeway is closed until early 2016 for renovations. To reach South Beach from the mainland take 195 or 395 (the larger bridges either side).

2 pm: At the end of the Venetian you’ll reach the Standard Spa Miami Beach. Sit by the pool here and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven (seriously). Their outdoor restaurant, the Lido Grill, is another great spot for lunch with its bright furniture and abundance of native Florida greenery. The Standard’s spa here is fantastic and their Fetish Pedicure is an absolute treat.

Standard_02 Standard

3 pm: A short walk from the Standard is Sunset Harbor, which is home to restaurants, boutiques and yoga studios. Eberjey is a beautifully-styled lingerie boutique that sells delicate underwear in a rainbow array of colors alongside swimwear and (gorgeous) clothes for young girls.

Eberjey

Just along from Eberjey is Frankie, a super-stylish clothing store that also sells lovely jewelry and Ice Box, which calls itself a café but is so much more.

Frankie_02 Frankie

4 pm: A visit to Miami isn’t complete without a walk down Lincoln Road. This pedestrianized street is loved by tourists and locals alike and is home to the best of the best high-street chains (Anthropologie, J. Crew and CB2) as well as a few Miami–based stores. Books & Books is a local treasure with a wonderful selection of books, magazines and children’s toys. And their restaurant is a favorite among pretty much everyone I know. At the end of Lincoln Road is the New World Symphony; a magnificent Frank Gehry-designed concert hall. In the winter its Wallcast concerts are displayed on a 7,000-square-foot wall people are encouraged to enjoy them with a picnic on the lawn.

5 pm: At the tip of south Beach is my favorite park in Miami, South Pointe Park. My family and I often take a blanket and picnic on a Friday afternoon and watch the cruise ships as they sail out to the Caribbean directly alongside the park. The park has rolling (mini) hills, twisting pathways and a playground which my girls love.

South Pointe Park

7 pm: La Locanda is a small and cozy Italian restaurant not far from South Pointe. Across the street from its sidewalk tables is the iconic building at 404 Washington Avenue whose multicolored lights provide entertainment during dinner. When I first moved to Miami, my first job was in this building…I have fond memories of working late and ordering scrumptious Penne Dell Appennino.

Later: Ball and Chain is a bustling bar on Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street in Little Havana) which has a fascinating history dating back to 1935. It recently reopened with Paella Sundays, salsa classes and live bands which perform on their impressive, open-air “Pineapple Stage.” On my last Saturday night outing to B&C, a Cuban band were keeping people dancing (I’m sure) long after I hopped into my Uber…

Ball & Chain

Also love:

Market at Edition: No visit to Miami would be complete without some time spent at a swanky South Beach hotel. Ian Schreager’s Miami Beach Edition is possibly the best and one of its restaurants, Market at Edition (conceived as a 21st century food bazaar), is a favorite of mine. I love this casual restaurant’s beautiful interior, abundance of pretty cakes on pedestals and fresh smoothies that you can take to go.

Sardinia: This lovely Italian restaurant is in Sunset Harbor and has the most wonderful pasta dishes and a cheese plate to die for.

Small Tea: I’m English and so naturally I love tea. However, like most Brits, I prefer “builder’s tea” (black tea with milk and sugar), nothing at all fancy. Small Tea in Coral Gables stocks lots of very fancy tea so I go there to eat rather than sip; I love the grain-rich lunch menu and the incredibly detailed wooden interior.

The Biltmore: The Biltmore is a Miami landmark and a must-see. Built in the 1920s the hotel has hand-painted frsecos on vaulted ceilings, beautiful grounds and a HUGE swimming pool (225 feet long). There are several restaurants and bars of which my favorite is Fontana, where you eat in the central courtyard surrounded by lush greenery.

Choices Café: Choices Café is a wonderful vegan restaurant with several branches in Miami. My go-to is the Mental Lentil wrap.

Isaac Farms: I recently discovered this wonder of a farm which is situated in Homestead about 30 miles from downtown Miami. Drive to Homestead and you feel a world away from the city, surrounded by fields of banana, mango and pineapple trees. Isaac Farms specializes in succulents and has one of the largest collections in the US. They’re also open at the weekend unlike many of the Homestead nurseries.

Isaac farms

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Comments

  • My hometown! I moved away nearly ten years ago, and how I wish they had most of these kind of places back then. It seems Miami is always at least ten years behind the rest of the big U.S. cities, but I’m glad to see that there’s been some progress!

  • A visit to Miami would be incomplete missing the following:

    A stop at the Versailles Cafe for a Cuban pastry (SW 8 Street and 30ish Ave). A guava or guava and cheese would be perfect. A Cuban coffee would be a great pairing.

    In Homestead, if you are driving that far, stop at Robert is Here (SW 344 Street & 182 Ave). Enjoy a great milkshake made with local fruits in season. They are closed September & October.

    The list leaves out many, many, many typical things to do in Miami. It does only cover 24 hours…and it can be difficult to physically move around the city. The list really covers the entire Miami-Dade County…not really the City of Miami.

    Overall, nice list. I might do the items around Wynwood that are listed. I’ve done most of the other things, lol.

  • Venetian pool-(was lucky enough to have a birthday party there as a kid!) Viscaya, Merrick House, Fairchild Tropical Gardens! Is Sandwicherie still there on Miami Beach? Moved away years ago , always in my heart, that town.

  • Gretel Home is a really cute online shop! I was in Miami for Maison & Objet back in May and got the opportunity to spend part of the day roaming the city. I had no idea about Wynwood until someone told me that same day, such a cool art hub. So naturally, I couldn’t pass up a chance to write an article on some of the Wynwood art scene.
    http://digthisdesign.net/photography/miamis-wynwood-neignborhood-has-become-a-prospering-hub-for-art/

    I find these 24 hrs in a city posts so helpful, thank you :)

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