Miami is a source of art and beauty. Whether you’re admiring the beach, the city skyline, and the palm trees set against blue skies, or marveling at distinctive Art Deco architecture, Miami is a sight to behold. It’s also a city with a thriving and ever-growing contemporary art scene. Here, concierge Nina Eberlijn of the Mandarin Oriental Miami navigates you through the up-and-coming, edgy neighborhoods of Wynwood and the Design District. She’ll also guide you through the historic Art Deco District of South Beach on a weekend excursion sure to sate any art lover’s appetite.
Day One: Exploring Wynwood & the Design District’s Gallery Scene
9 a.m. - Breakfast
Start your day by picking up a cappuccino and some chocolate croissants at the Buena Vista Deli.
9:30 a.m. - Tour the Galleries of the Design District
Both the Margulies Collection and the Rubell Family Collection are renowned for their extensive contemporary art collections including paintings, photography, sculpture, video, and installations. The Design District is full of captivating galleries worth a visit. Many close in the summer or have unusual hours, so check with your concierge to make certain the galleries and collections you want to see will be open.
Noon - Vintage Furniture Finds
For one-of-a-kind antique and vintage designer furniture, stop at Las Tias and feast your eyes. They always seem to have new arrivals of amazing mid-century furniture pieces.
1 p.m. Drinks & Light Lunch
Depending on your preference, head to Lester’s for a beer and a sandwich or Panther Coffee for a cup of their own specially roasted coffee.
2 p.m. - Wynwood’s Walls
Check out the graffiti scene in Wynwood. It’s edgy and always changing. Wynwood Walls is a unique urban park not to be missed. It’s curated to be a museum of the streets. This is an up-and-coming neighborhood, so be cautious. It reminds me of the early days of New York’s bohemian SoHo neighborhood. There’s a thriving arts scene, but it’s still a little rough around the edges.
4 p.m. – Upscale Shopping in the Design District
The Design District has made its mark for unparalleled designer shopping. Favorites amongst the fashionistas are Tomas Maier and Christian Louboutin. These shops close early and are usually closed on Sundays.
6 p.m. – Dinner
The Design District is a true foodies’ neighborhood. Gigi is great for creative small plates at great prices in a laid back atmosphere. Their roasted pork buns are amazing. For another neighborhood favorite try Michael Schwartz’s Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. Ask your concierge to make dinner reservations.
8pm – Art House Cinema or the Performing Arts
Finish up your day by catching an art movie with the locals at O Cinema. If you want to dress up, then catch a show at the Adrienne Arsht Center where the Miami City Ballet performs. Their Balanchine productions are first-class. Consult with your concierge for what’s playing while you visit.
Day 2: Art Deco in South Beach
9am - Breakfast
Enjoy a hearty breakfast at Big Pink. The name says it all! It’s a diner with pink tables and pink delivery cars, and the servings are more than generous. Other great options include Jerry’s Famous Deli for the traditional Jewish deli experience and the Front Porch Café, a local’s favorite on Ocean Drive.
10:30 a.m. – Art Deco Walking Tour
The Miami Design Preservation League organizes informative walking tours of South Beach’s historic Art Deco District. Miami’s distinctive Art Deco buildings along the beach truly sets the Magic City apart from any other.
12:30 p.m. – Lunch & Shopping on Lincoln Road
Lincoln Road’s pedestrian promenade is a perfect place to spend the afternoon. Try Spris for pizza, or the Café at Books & Books for healthy salads and sandwiches. Be sure to browse their bookshelves for art books, as well as those on Miami and Florida. Next door, you’ll find Base, a cool, hipster store filled with clothing, records, magazines, and art.
Next, walk east towards the 1111 block of Lincoln Road where you’ll find Taschen for further art book browsing. The 1111 Herzog de Meuron Building is another feat of architecture that houses great boutiques and a newly opened restaurant—it’s also a parking garage.
5 p.m. – Happy Hour
Just around the corner from Taschen is Rosa Mexicana. Take a break at the bar for a prickly pear margarita or head back towards the beach for cocktails on Collins Avenue. The Delano put South Beach on the map in the mid-90s, and Rose Bar in the lobby still delights. The nearby Raleigh Hotel—my favorite Art Deco building of all time—has a wonderful poolside bar with great drinks. Be sure to take a look at the wondrous pool that movie star and synchronized swimmer Esther Williams made famous.
8 p.m. – An Evening at the Symphony
Catch a New World Symphony concert inside famed architect Frank Gehry’s New World Center. You’ll notice his trademark whimsical shapes are contained within the building itself. You can also opt to watch symphony performances, as well as movies, outside at SoundScape Park, where performances are projected onto the enormous wall of the building.
10 p.m. – Dinner Miami-style
Have a late-night dinner at OLA for some Latin fusion flavors—you’re in Miami after all! Enjoy a delicious churrasco steak paired with their amazing mojitos. Chef Douglas Rodriguez is known as the King of Ceviche, so be sure to sample some while you’re there.
Enjoy all the art and beauty that the Magic City has to offer, and don’t hesitate to ask your concierge to arrange dinner reservations, tickets to shows, or to confirm the hours of any galleries and stores you’d like to visit.
For more insights into Miami, visit Nina’s popular blog, The Quintessential Concierge.
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