Where to Go Out in Downtown

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By: Kara Franker

Downtown Miami has it all

Towering skyscrapers and sleek, futuristic buildings. A fresh crop of museums and on-trend restaurants. Show-stopping attractions. Known as the heart of Miami, Downtown Miami is exploding with things to do at any time of day, but when the sun sets, the action really heats up. From top-notch dining to rich cultural venues boasting big-name acts and concerts to lounges and bars for date night or happy hour, Downtown offers any type of night out that you seek. Park and walk, or hop aboard the free Metromover for a quick loop around Downtown.

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

Cultural Night Out in Downtown Miami

Downtown has everything you need for a taste of culture. If a night out means getting dressed up to see the latest Broadway show, ballet or classical concert, the stunning performing arts center Adrienne Arsht Center offers more than 400 events each year. Before the show, have dinner at the elegant restaurant, BRAVA by Brad Kilgore for chef-driven European cuisine.

If music is your thing, snag tickets for a high-energy concert at the waterfront AmericanAirlines Arena where all the latest artists like Jennifer Lopez, Ariana Grande, Marc Anthony and many more have performed. It’s also where the Miami HEAT light up the courts during basketball season. You can make a whole night of it by dining at one of the arena’s many restaurants or party at a lounge like Hyde.

Located near the arena, the open-air Bayside Marketplace is always alive with activity — and your hips may start moving as soon as you hear the music that pulses through the area. Soak up the stunning views of Biscayne Bay at sunset, peruse the many shops, then join the crowd of locals and visitors at restaurants like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Hard Rock Café. There’s often free live music and there always seems to be dancing in the streets. This is also a prime location to embark on a sunset cruise or dinner/party cruise with Island Queen.

For a true “only-in-Miami” experience, make a reservation at El Tucán for an energetic dinner-and-a-show with over-the-top vocal performances and live DJs.

Brickell City Centre
Brickell City Centre

Brickell City Centre Offers More Than Just Shopping

With four vertical floors of shopping, dining and entertainment, the newish Brickell City Centre is a fantastic place to spend an evening. While it has bragging rights to more than 120 stores, you can also catch a flick at CMX, a luxury dine-in theater where dinner and cocktails are served at your reclining seat, or enjoy dinner at restaurants like Big Easy Wine Bar & Grill, Pubbelly Sushi, Casa Tua Cucina and more.

The expansive shopping center also houses Italian food hall Luna Park which offers three floors of authentic Italian fare.

Some of the best panoramic views of the city can be found at Sugar, perched on the 40th floor of the buzzy EAST Hotel and connected to Brickell City Centre, where you’ll find great cocktails like the lychee martini and delicious Asian-style tapas. Snap some great photos of the epic views and then tuck away with a cocktail in the lush garden in the sky.


Downtown’s Hottest Hotels

Hotels in Downtown are magic at night, and you don’t have to check in to enjoy their nightlife. For an evening of luxury, head over the bridge to secluded Brickell Key for the posh Mandarin Oriental. Have dinner at Peruvian favorite Lar Mar by Gaston Acurio, then sip inventive cocktails at the chic MO Bar + Lounge as you gaze at the twinkling Miami skyline and the lights reflecting off Biscayne Bay. Mo Bar also offers a daily happy hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. with light bites and $9 cocktails and nightly live entertainment.

At the waterfront EPIC hotel, you can hit a trio of spots including Zuma, a chic Japanese restaurant which is always buzzing with celebs and a well-heeled crowd; Area 31 with its outdoor terrace that is perfect for happy hour and taking in those coveted city views; and the new Bar Journe, a luxe watch shop that doubles as an intimate 10-seat bar meant for sampling rare spirits and noshing on caviar.

Move over to the JW Marriot Marquis Miami for famed chef’s Daniel Boulud’s Boulud Sud bar and restaurant, where you’ll join the after-work crowd for the restaurant’s famous white cosmos that come adorned with a bright orchid and mouth-watering Mediterranean plates. Make a reservation at another longtime spot loved by locals, Edge Steak & Bar at the Four Seasons, where you can dig into high-quality steaks and seafood or just pop in for their popular happy hour to indulge in oysters and other bar bites.


Downtown Restaurants With A Side Of Trendy Scenes

One of the hottest reservations in Brickell is Komodo, a mammoth three-story eatery offering Southeast Asian cuisine with a Miami twist. Start with the popular lobster dynamite and melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu beef dumplings or unique salt cod dumplings and move on to share the Peking duck and garlic king crab lo mein. For another extraordinary meal, try NIU Kitchen which serves the closest to Catalan-style food that you’ll find in Miami. Or you can join the dressed-to-impress crowd at Novikov for sushi, caviar, unique dim sum like sweet yellow corn dumplings, duck fried rice and a melt-in-your mouth king crab with truffle honey.

Late-night party scene
Late-night party scene

Downtown Miami Is Raising The Bar

The bar scene in Downtown Miami has definitely blown up. You’ll find a truly local crowd at places like the always-packed Jaguar Sun, which is situated in the lobby of a residential building where all the cool kids go for eclectic drinks and to-die-for pastas; the laidback and affordable Mama Tried, where the atmosphere escalates from peaceful happy hours to raucous late nights; and a block away from Mama Tried you’ll find Lost Boy, a true neighborhood bar that’s casual and serves authentic, straight-forward cocktails.

If you want to keep the party going, head to late-night clubs like longtime Club Space, a 24-hour dance club, and E11Even, a 24-hour nightclub that’s famous for their DJs and entertainment. When you’re done with your night out, head back to your hotel and recuperate for the next outing in Downtown Miami.

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