Things to Do in Downtown Miami and Brickell

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By: Kara Franker

Things to do and see in Downtown Miami

Downtown Miami is the beating heart of urban Miami on the waterfront. It’s where you don’t need a car to explore, just some curiosity and a bit of adventure. Every day is a new journey where you can explore this bustling metropolis on foot, via the free Metromover or on a bicycle.

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Where to Eat & Drink

Area 31

Miami has no shortage of beautiful views, but Area 31 is a rooftop bar and restaurant that does it in unparalleled style. Perched on the 16th floor patio of the Kimpton EPIC Hotel, Area 31’s happy hour is always packed with locals lounging outside with beer, wine, and signature cocktails—all before an iconic view of Downtown Miami, Biscayne Bay and Brickell. In the dining room, executive chef Wolfgang Birk serves a sustainable seafood-focused menu. You’ll find visitors from around the world as well as plenty of locals enjoying the food and the view. 270 Biscayne Boulevard Way, Miami, FL 33131

    Manolo & Rene

    Whether you’re craving a cafecito to wake up or a cafe Cubano at 2 a.m. before you sleep, look no further than the Manolo & Rene, a 24-hour cafeteria. The iconic hole-in-the-wall eatery has been serving up Cuban favorites for nearly 40 years, but moved to a new spot in Downtown after its original location flooded during Hurricane Irma. It’s always sporting an eclectic mix of visitors, neighborhood locals and off-duty workers—all of whom the friendly staff seems to know. It’s cash only, but sandwiches average just $5, so you won’t need much. 188 NE 3rd Ave., Miami, FL 33132

      Niu Kitchen

      Catalan food and phenomenal service are the stars of Niu Kitchen. The tiny restaurant almost seems out of place, stuck between a mini-mart and an optometry office, until you step inside. That’s where co-owner Karina Iglesias greets guests with a smile, a table (assuming one’s available; best to call ahead) and a choice wine selection, while chef Deme Lomas crafts tapas, poached eggs, wahoo tartar, oysters and other dishes in a small but efficient Niu Kitchen. 134 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33132

        Soya E Pomodoro

        A charming Italian restaurant, Soya E Pomodoro is a romantic collision of food and ambiance. Former owner Armando Alfano built a menu inspired by his hometown of Pompeii, a tradition chef Cristian D’oria carries on with dishes from housemade pasta to filet mignon, fish, and eggplant-based sfoglia di melanzane. Lunch and dinner are served to diners inside the wing of the Shoreland Arcade, a historic 1920s building once planned to be the towering skyscraper headquarters of the Shoreland Company before a 1926 real estate bust caused both the company and construction to end. The remnants make Soya E Pomodoro a remarkable and unique setting for a delicious meal. 120 NE 1st St., Miami, FL 33132

          Eternity Coffee

          Sip one of Miami’s best cups of joe at Eternity Coffee, where the coffee-loving staff has expert advice on which single-origin blend or espresso will suit your mood and your palate. While you’re enjoying your drink on the velvet seats, you can watch the staff roast new batches of beans in the roaster, which sits in the open for all to enjoy. 117 SE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33131

            Where to Stroll & Shop

            Bayfront Park

            Located on the waterfront in the heart of all the action in Downtown, Bayfront Park is the site of major events like Pitbull’s New Year’s Eve Revolution. It’s also a retreat for locals, whom you’ll find running along its wide paths, relaxing in the Adirondack chairs along the bay and picnicking with families near the playground. Free yoga is offered weekdays at the Tina Hills Pavilion and music (plus shops, restaurants, and every kind of daquiri) can be found most nights on the park’s north end at Bayside Marketplace. The Bayfront Park Amphitheatre hosts frequent concerts from big names like Nickie Minaj and Counting Crows, but you’ll need to book ahead. 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132

              Brickell City Centre

              Though it’s technically located in Brickell, the neighborhood just south of Downtown, it’s a quick walk over the bridge to the new and luxurious Brickell City Centre. The state-of-the-art shopping center features a variety of high-end retailers and restaurants, a swanky hotel called EAST, Miami with popular rooftop bar Sugar, a movie theater and plenty of fun events. 701 S. Miami Ave., Miami, FL 33131

                Where to Explore

                American Airlines Arena

                When it comes to entertainment, Downtown Miami is packed with venues that host an impressive line-up of Broadway-style shows, action-packed sporting events, ballet, orchestra performances and more. Check out the waterfront AmericanAirlines Arena, home of the Miami HEAT and popular venue for A-list musicians and bands. 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132

                  Maurice A. Ferré Park

                  Formerly known as Museum Park, Maurice A. Ferré Park is a 30-acre public park and home to two of Miami’s most prominent cultural institutions: Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science and Pérez Art Museum Miami. Catch a view of Biscayne Bay with your meal at Verde, the in-house restaurant at PAMM, featuring a menu curated by celebrated restaurateur Steven Starr. 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132

                    Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

                    One of the world’s leading performing arts organizations and venues, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County regularly showcases performances by the Miami City Ballet, Florida Grand Opera and New World Symphony, among additional rotating groups. The venue is home to fine dining restaurant BRAVA by Brad Kilgore, the Café at Books & Books in the historic Carnival Tower and a weekly farmer’s market. 1300 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132

                      Miami Center for Architecture and Design

                      Built inside an historic Post Office building, the Miami Center for Architecture and Design features ongoing installations and exhibits about the city’s built environment and architecture, plus programming and events ranging from concerts to art classes to lectures and seminars. Maps and other exploratory resources are also available, so it’s a great place to stop on a Downtown Miami walking tour. 310 SE 1st St., Miami, FL 33131

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