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By: Shayne Benowitz

From arts and culture to dining, nightlife, shopping and entertainment, there’s so much to do in Downtown Miami and Brickell.

Situated on the edge of sparkling Biscayne Bay, the towering high rises of Downtown Miami and Brickell offer stunning views at every turn. This is Miami’s financial district, but the bustling city center is also home to a thriving arts and culture scene, exciting restaurants, nightlife, outdoor shopping and picturesque bayfront parks, all waiting for exploration. Read on for your guide to the best things to do in Downtown Miami and Brickell.

Perez Art Museum (PAMM)
Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) is a modern and contemporary art museum

Arts & Culture

Home to both the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Maurice A. Ferré Park (Museum Park) should be one of your first stops. The grounds overlook Biscayne Bay, making a walk in the park just as alluring as a visit to one of these stellar Miami museums. With thought-provoking contemporary art focusing on the Americas, PAMM is also home to sculptural swinging chairs and interactive, site-specific outdoor installations for taking in the scenery. At Frost Science, you can marvel at the 500,000-gallon, multi-floor Gulf Stream Aquarium or travel to another galaxy inside the Frost Planetarium.

Freedom Tower
The iconic Freedom Tower, is home to the Museum of Art and Design (MOAD)

Nearby, the Freedom Tower is one of the most iconic buildings in Downtown Miami’s skyline, with its ornamental Mediterranean Revival facade set against the modern glass skyscrapers that surround it. Considered the Ellis Island of the South, it’s where Cuban refugees came to have their papers processed upon arrival to the United States in the 1960s. Today, it’s home to the Museum of Art and Design (MOAD) at Miami Dade College, with a permanent exhibit on the Cuban diaspora as well as rotating visual arts exhibitions. If you want to learn more about local history (going back 10,000 years), head to HistoryMiami Museum. This Smithsonian Affiliate institution celebrates Miami’s unique position at the crossroads of the Americas.

Adrienne Arsht Center
Adrienne Arsht Center hosts touring Broadway shows and local productions

For live music and theater, check out the calendar at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. This gleaming structure is home to the Ziff Ballet Opera House, Knight Concert Hall and Carnival Studio Theater. It stages touring Broadway shows and productions by local companies like Zoetic Stage, Miami City Ballet, New World Symphony and the Florida Grand Opera. For major touring concerts and Miami HEAT games, the FTX Arena is just down the street.

La Mar at Mandarin Oriental
La Mar at Mandarin Oriental is perfect for an upscale dining experience

Dining & Nightlife

From fine dining to hidden gems, the Downtown Miami and Brickell dining scene is dynamic. For an upscale evening out on Brickell Key, head to the sweeping patio at La Mar by Gastón Acurio at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami. As you take in dazzling views of Biscayne Bay and the skyline, indulge in a variety of Peruvian specialties. First-timers can’t go wrong with the chef’s tasting menu, with an elevated take on classic flavors.

Komodo Sushi
Dine in a treehouse in one of Komodo's unique birds nests

Komodo offers Pan-Asian cuisine that mixes tried-and-true classics with innovative dishes, as well as handcrafted cocktails and an upstairs lounge space. The most unique thing about this spot is the lush garden courtyard, where you can sit in an elevated “birds’ nest” that makes it feel like you’re dining in a treehouse.

Carpaccio di Salmone Soya y Pomodoro
Soya y Pomodoro serves authentic Italian dishes

And for something unexpected, Soya e Pomodoro might just be Downtown Miami’s best-kept secret. Seek out this haunt for authentic Italian dishes inside a historic Beaux Arts building. Live jazz adds to the romantic atmosphere.

Downtown Miami is also, of course, a hub for nightlife, whether you want to party all night at the E11EVEN Miami ultra-club with headliner DJs, live performances and trapeze dancers, or enjoy a laid-back evening out with the locals at bars like Lost Boy, Mama Tried or The Corner.

Brickell City Centre
Brickell City Centre is a multi-level, shopping, dining and entertainment complex

Shopping & Entertainment

When it comes to shopping, Brickell City Centre is an upscale open-air shopping, dining and entertainment complex that’s home to everything from Saks Fifth Avenue to Apple and Sephora. There are plenty of dining options, such as Pubbelly Sushi and Tacology, as well as a CMX luxury movie theater and a forthcoming indoor mini golf course in the works.

Thriller MiamiFeel the adrenaline on a Thriller Miami Speedboat at Bayside

Located by Bayfront Park near Biscayne Bay, Bayside Marketplace is home to more than 150 shops and a dozen restaurants. It’s also the embarkation point for boat tours like Thriller Miami Speedboat Adventures and Island Queen Cruises. You can enjoy free live music performances at this outdoor mall, and the Sky Views Miami observation wheel is here as well.

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