The Sunshine State’s most famous party city is in the midst of a serious culture change. The millennials are reclaiming South Beach block by block while some of the city’s most legendary inland neighborhoods are being rediscovered by people with sustainable, community-oriented interests. Miami’s still hot, still humid, and its spontaneous thunderstorms continue to interrupt beach days and boat trips, but the twenty-first century has seen the city rebranded as more than just a world-class vacation destination. Miami is a city of limitless potential, and the youth of the world continue to rush to areas like Wynwood and Coconut Grove, eager to finish the job of turning America’s southernmost metropolis into an artistic capital of progressive thought, cold-brewed coffee, and original music.
Album: Hockey – Wyeth Is
Book: The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
Movie: Notorious (1964)
1130 Washington Ave, Miami Beach
Housed inside Miami Beach’s former City Hall, this might just be the best place in South Florida to see a movie. With limited (and sometimes exclusive) screenings, visiting the website ahead of time is a good idea. With only one screen, seating is at a premium, too, as locals and cinephiles make up the bulk of the audience. Since it sits right on Washington Avenue, it won’t be too difficult to venture out into the warm Miami night for a post-film dinner or drink.
Wynwood: 2390 NW 2nd Ave, Miami
Sunset Harbor: 1875 Purdy Ave, Miami Beach
Small batch specialty roaster that, up until recently, you’d think would be more at home in Seattle or Portland than South Florida. The Wynwood location plays a huge role during Art Basel when it rolls around each summer, but don’t discount the Sunset Harbor shop and its early-evening acoustic performances. The former is a great place to pick up a coffee before wandering around Wynwood and the Design District.
1200 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne is a quick road trip out of downtown Miami, but if the overseas highway and Key West can’t fit into your itinerary, we think this may be the next best thing. Traversing saltwater straights, harbors and eventually the open ocean, you’ll come to the end of the road– The entrance to a well-maintained state park. The Cape Florida Lighthouse, built in 1825, is the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County and is flanked by beaches that, on a good day, offer privacy tough to come by this far south of Palm Beach. There is an entrance fee, but it’s good for the entire day, a perfect situation for a picnic, relaxing bike ride, or lazy afternoon away from the city.
3555 SW 8th Street, Miami
Hearty Cuban food available (almost) 24/7. The restaurant is huge, so there’s usually a table available regardless of what time you show up. Located right on Calle Ocho, this family-owned restaurant has been at it since the early seventies, serving some of the most authentic Cuban meals and pastries in Miami. Less than a ten-minute drive from Marlins Park, it’s a great place to stop either after a night game or, even better, for a Sunday brunch before an afternoon contest. Take advantage of their curbside window instead of grabbing a table if you find yourself in a rush.
1001 Washington Ave, Miami Beach
An entire museum dedicated to the power and potential influence of visual language– and it just so happens to be smack dab in the middle of Miami Beach’s Art Deco District. While some scholars find themselves flustered by the museum’s ambitious layout, its archival center has been the unsung hero of many an academic’s research project (aka books published by university press outlets and sold to undergraduates as required reading on syllabi). The Wolf, as it is known by locals, places a clear emphasis on the interpretation of twentieth-century European mixed media, and the colorful imagery that spills into the era’s propaganda is just mind-boggling. Easily accessed and surrounded by great restaurants, it’s a perfect stop.
5505 NE 2nd Ave, Miami
Situated a few blocks north of the Design District, this record and coffee shop is home to Miami’s largest concentration of new vinyl and functional turntables. Besides offering sealed pressings of some of the greatest albums of the 21st century, Sweat dedicates an entire section of their store to local artists and labels, making their sizable role within the Miami music scene quite clear. Sweat shares a city block with the infamous Churchill’s Pub, a venue that’s played host to some of the city’s more raucous underground shows for years. It seems that just about any night of the week is a good night to stop in and catch a local act.
265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables
Located not far from The University of Miami, this independent bookstore is the crown jewel of Coral Gables’ Miracle Mile area. Well-stocked shelves are organized in corridors and atriums, wrapping around the Mediterranean-style building’s open courtyard and cafe. A local institution since 1982, expect to brush shoulders with a wide variety of Floridians. If you’re unable to make it down to Coral Gables, there’s a much smaller store on Lincoln Ave in Miami Beach, still well-worth checking out. Open late!
1131 Washington Ave, Miami Beach
Chef Demetrios comes straight from the Greek Isles and cuts no corners when it comes to assembling his nightly menu. The fish is delivered daily and the bread is always served warm. Liberal use of olive is a staple of the Greek diet, and when you dine with Poseidon, be prepared to enjoy every drop. Open until fairly late into the night, its located across the street from the Miami Beach Cinematheque (there’s a pairing!) and safely away from the chaos of Ocean Avenue. Above all else, we recommend the Choriatiki, an authentic Greek salad with no lettuce.