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Miami See And Do

Adrienne Arsht Center
Biscayne Boulevard between 13th & 14th Streets
Miami , Florida
Tel: 866 949 6722 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 949 6722

Cesar Pelli's monolithic new arts hub for Miami finally opened in October 2006. It may be one of the ugliest buildings the architect (best known for the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur) has ever built, but what saves it is its technological merit: Wrapped in a soundproofing and reverb chamber, the hall is essentially tucked inside another building to prevent any ambient noise from polluting the performances. The showy, crenellated Art Deco tower that squats in the courtyard between the two main buildings is the only remnant of the Sears store that once stood here. A 2,400-seat ballet and opera house and 2,200-capacity concert hall hosts four resident companies (Concert Association of Florida, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet, and New World Symphony), plus a sellout Best of Broadway season. Check the event listings on the Web site for the 200-seat black box studio theater; like the other venues here, it brings in everything from jazz concerts to experimental theater and stand-up comedy—and tickets start at $25. Australian artistic director Justin Macdonnell also oversees the Miami Made program, which funds city artists' ideas from script to stage. Parking isn't easy to come by in the area, so buy a $15 parking ticket bundled with your performance tickets.

Art Basel Miami Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 674 1292

This early December, tropical offshoot of the contemporary art world's foremost schmoozefest had an inauspicious beginning—its 2001 debut was aborted in the wake of 9/11. But cynics who predicted the fair's demise were proved wrong the following year, when crops of Miami's cash-rich locals snapped up pricey canvases, installations, and sculptures from emerging and well-known artists. The Miami Beach Convention Center (1901 Convention Center Dr.) hosts the fair proper, with dealers from across the world shilling their wares, but it's the unofficial, heavily social offshoots that amp up the glitz, many of them parties and exhibitions helmed by Miami's homegrown answer to Charles Saatchi, developer Craig Robins ( The artists' enclave of Wynwood also hosts edgier, lower-budget events at the same time, which true art buffs might find more intriguing than the Armani-clad main events.

Art Deco District
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida

These pastel showcases of the Art Deco style from the twenties, thirties, and forties were in disrepair until the late seventies; their restoration in turn sparked the South Beach renaissance. Today, on the southern tip of Miami Beach, there are approximately 1,000 prime examples listed on the National Register of Historic Places—the largest concentration of Art Deco architecture in the world. The finest examples are clustered on Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, and Washington Avenue, from Sixth to 23rd streets. The Miami Design Preservation League, the group that spearheaded the restoration, conducts several different tours of the neighborhood Wednesday through Saturday and provides audio for self-guided tours. They all leave from the Art Deco Welcome Center (1001 Ocean Dr.; 305-672-2014; The organization is also behind the annual Art Deco Weekend, a festival of art, architecture, and antiques held on Ocean Drive in mid-January.

Miami , Florida

Beaches in seaside cities often have an outsize influence on the culture. As in the south of France or Rio de Janeiro, the pull of the beaches can be found throughout Miami in both attire and attitude. Miami Beach's prime spit of sand is Lummus Park (though nobody actually calls it that), bordering Ocean Drive between 5th and 15th streets in South Beach. All the locals' gym time is shown off here, and, yes, there is plenty of topless bathing. Rent a chaise and umbrella from a concession, or just sprawl on the sand (the white stuff's not local, but shipped in regularly from the Bahamas). The area around 12th Street is an informal gay enclave; the rest is mixed. If you want to hang out with expat Latins, head a little further south to the beach around 3rd Street, popular with bikini-sporting Brazilians and Venezuelans. Miami Beach north of 15th Street is less scene-y, but the sand is just as luscious.

If you're looking for a more family-friendly strand, skip overhyped Sunny Isles (north of Miami Beach). The sand is wide there, but an ill-conceived beach renourishment project has significantly worsened the riptides in the water. Instead, hit Crandon Park Beach on Key Biscayne, another barrier island just south of Miami Beach but accessed via downtown Miami ($1.50 a car); the beach is just as wide, but a sandbar just offshore actually reduces lethal undertows. Also on Key Biscayne is Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, which has restaurants and a lighthouse—109 steps to the top (305-361-5811;

Golf in Miami

It's not just celebrity chefs and hoteliers that have lent their monikers and talents to Miami. Some of the biggest names in golf course design have left their mark on many of the area's 30 courses. The Doral Golf Resort & Spa is home to five championship golf courses, including Dick Wilson's legendary Blue Monster, where the fountain-festooned 18th hole was named among Golf Magazine's top 100 holes in the world. Greg Norman's Great White course at Doral is notable for its transporting desert golf experience (with crushed coquina shells for sand) set amid all that South Florida lushness. It's not completely arid though: There's a water hazard on 14 of the course's 18 holes to challenge even the most devout shot makers. Doral hosts the World Golf Championships, an annual PGA Tour event, and the luxurious spa resort itself is enough of a reason to make the pilgrimage, with or without your clubs. Don Shula's Hotel and Golf Club's par 72 Senator Course is one of the longest championship courses in Miami at 6,982 yards. The golf school is a good place for beginners to get hooked on the game.

Not surprisingly, many of the most notable courses are located outside the city limits. Traditionalists should make the trek to Coral Gables and the Biltmore Hotel, where an Old Florida ambience is combined with the par-71 designed by Donald Ross in 1925 that still beckons the likes of Tiger Woods and European royalty. The fabulous (and fabulously public) Crandon Golf Course is just a short drive from the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Lakes and lagoons that blend with the island's natural surrounds were instrumental to Robert Von Hagge and Bruce Devlin's organic design, and the course is considered one of the state's most beautiful and most challenging. You'll spot prolific birdlife and perhaps even an alligator while you play.

Holocaust Memorial
1933-1945 Meridian Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 538 1663

Sculptor/architect Kenneth Treister's Memorial in Miami Beach is both evocative and upsetting. Visitors enter this outdoor memorial through black-granite colonnades with walls etched with surprisingly graphic images of the concentration camps, then pass through a tunnel that echoes with the voice of Israeli children singing World War II songs. The central sculpture is a 42-foot-high bronze hand that reaches up to the sky, emaciated figures clinging to it, fighting to climb higher and escape. The ID number tattooed on the arm's wrist is missing its final digit on purpose, as the artist was careful to make no reference to specific prisoners. Note, too, the address, a nod to the era of persecution.

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Jungle Island
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail
Watson Island
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 400 7000

Jungle Island (formerly known as Parrot Jungle) used to be an oddball charmer far south of the city, an old rambling park full of squawking, bird-filled cages. Now it's a gleaming, multimillion-dollar family attraction on its own island between downtown and South Beach. The new aviary, home to more than 200 parrots and 3,000 exotic animals such as monkeys and reptiles, has various custom-built environments. The Manu exhibit, for example, mimics a Peruvian mountaintop and has indigenous birds, and the Serpentarium is a good place to see alligators up close (don't miss the albino one). The neighboring Ichimura Miami Japan Garden, also run by the Jungle Island team, is a calm oasis of stone lanterns and boulders, wrapped in a traffic noise-dampening concrete wall and topped by a large, genial Buddha.

Open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

4013 Douglas Road
Coconut Grove
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 442 7169

This often-forgotten botanical garden is one of Miami's true finds—that is, if you can find it. It's located on a mansion-filled stretch in the backwoods of Coconut Grove, the leafy neighborhood south of downtown. This land was originally owned by botanist David Fairchild, of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden fame, who traveled the world collecting exotic plants to populate the garden. When David and his wife passed away, Catherine Sweeney bought the property and carried on this tradition of specimen gathering. Their efforts combined have yielded an impressive array of about 5,000 plants and fruits, from ylang-ylang (the base note for Chanel No. 5) to bael, a hard-shelled Indian citrus known for its laxative and aphrodisiac qualilties, that Fairchild ate daily for breakfast. Oh, and the bizarre name? It's Malaysian for "cluster of houses." Call ahead to make an appointment and the director, Larry Schokman, will lead you on a custom tour.

Open Monday through Friday by appointment only.

Little Havana
Miami , Florida

Just west of the downtown business district is this several-block bastion of the city's Cuban community. Calle Ocho, or S.W. Eighth Street, is the heart of the area, and on it you'll find shops with women rolling cigars, salsa music emanating from old record shops, art galleries, coffee shops for a shot of bracing café cubano, and the restaurant Versailles. In March, the neighborhood hosts a two-week street festival of art, music, and food (

Margulies Collection
591 NW 27th Street
Wynwood Art District
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 576 1051

Local real-estate developer Marty Margulies amassed such an impressive collection of photography over the years that in 1999, he finally bought a warehouse in the emerging Wynwood Art District downtown to showcase his holdings. Seven years—and several expansions—later, the stark-white, 45,000-square-foot space is crammed with permanent and rotating collections of impressive photography, from Cindy Sherman classics to Vanessa Beecroft's sexy, modern snaps. Even better, Margulies's impeccable taste stretches to video installations and sculpture. It's hard to single out particular works, but don't miss Ernesto Neto's creepy, tentacle-like installations made from women's panty hose.

Open Wednesday through Saturday between October and April.

Miami Art Museum
101 W. Flagler Street
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 375 3000

Located downtown in the Miami-Dade Cultural Center, this museum showcases the diverse international makeup of the community in its display of Miami-based artists and art of the Western Hemisphere in general. Founded in 1996, it's not yet a major institution, but it has been gradually expanding its collection and raising its profile; Terence Riley, formerly of New York's Museum of Modern Art, is the director, and architects Herzog & de Meuron are creating a new space downtown next to Biscayne Bay (due in 2012).

Open Tuesdays through Fridays 10 am to 5 pm, Saturdays noon to 5 pm.

MiMo Buildings
Miami Beach , Florida

Art Deco may be better known, but a growing base of architecture buffs are raving about MiMo style, or Miami Modernism. To protect and promote the genre, the city of Miami Breach established a new preservation zone in 2000, the John S. Collins Waterfront Historic District, between 22nd and 44th streets along Collins Avenue. The buildings, largely from the fifties and sixties, are playful and jokey, brightly colored, and full of atomic-era optimism. There's a sense of movement, with delta fins and pylons added as decoration, or oddly shaped holes, known as woggles, punctured through walls. The best known example is Lincoln Road, the pedestrian mall that cuts across South Beach and whose fountains, benches, and shelters were designed by MiMo master Morris Lapidus. The newly restored Fontainebleau Hotel is considered Lapidus's masterpiece: Check out the bow ties embedded in the terrazzo and the decorative staircases to nowhere. Further up, in North Beach, there are even more MiMo buildings, such as Temple Menorah, a bright yellow synagogue on 75th Street.

New World Center
500 17th Street
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 800 597 3331
Tel: 305 673 3330

Home to Miami's New World Symphony, this Miami Beach building designed by Frank Gehry debuted in early 2011. Architectural elements include embellishments on the building's facade that resemble Scotch tape origami, along with an unusual flipped-up awning. The enormous campus—which fills two city blocks and houses a concert hall, an opera house, and teaching space—showcases public performances led by conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, founder of the NWS. An egalitarian touch is the free simulcasting of concerts on a 7,000-square-foot exterior wall throughout the year. —Terry Ward

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
3251 S. Miami Avenue
Coconut Grove
Miami , Florida
Tel: 305 250 9133

This impressive compound, modeled on the grand estates of Italy, was built by industrialist James Deering and used as his winter home from 1916 to 1925. The 34 rooms open to the public are filled with antiques spanning the 15th through 19th centuries; an additional 12 rooms used by the house's servants are expected to be opened to the public in coming years. The house's setting on Biscayne Bay is also spectacular, on ten acres of French and Italian Renaissance gardens that took seven years to create.

1001 Washington Avenue
South Beach
Miami Beach , Florida
Tel: 305 531 1001

This museum, run by Florida International University, is smack in the middle of the Deco splendors of South Beach, and worth a visit for the building itself: a beautiful example of Mediterranean Revival architecture built in 1926. Inside, furniture, glass, ceramics, and 20th-century German, Italian, and American political propaganda—all part of Mitchell Wolfson Jr.'s 120,000-object collection—are on display, unless a temporary exhibit is showing.

Open 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Closed Wednesday.

Wynwood Art Scene
Miami , Florida

This developing neighborhood in Northwest Miami, which still looks pretty rough around the edges, is a new mecca for art collectors. Several prominent galleries and two notable private collections are located here. Among the top showcases are the Fredric Snitzer Gallery, representing important Latin American artists (2247 N.W. First Pl.; 305-448-8976;; closed Sundays and Mondays), and the Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, concentrating on narrative-driven international art (3550 N. Miami Ave.; 305-573-2700;; closed Sundays).

Nearby, the Rubell Family Collection is a provocative display (to put it mildly) of the art collection of Don Rubell, his wife, and children. The book on the collection is called Not Afraid, which is appropriate. One typical piece is Oh, Charley, Charley, Charley, a 1992 fiberglass sculpture by Charles Ray of eight nude figures in homoerotic poses (95 N.W. 29 St.; 305-573-6090;; closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and for periodic reinstallation).

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, teeming with collector Martin Z. Margulies' sculptures, video installations, and photographs is also in the area.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.