A Miami Weekend

With all the buzz about Miami on “Access Hollywood” and various reality shows, you’d think you have to be a celebrity to vacation here. But you don’t have to be famous to enjoy the city’s hot spots, culinary treats and top-notch shopping. It’s easy to enjoy a low-key, three-day weekend with the right itinerary.

FRIDAY
Breakfast
Start your day with a leisurely espresso or macchiatto at Nespresso, located at the western end of Lincoln Road (1111 Lincoln Rd., 305.538.5995). This trendy new boutique bar is part of the new 1111 Lincoln Road structure by famed architects Herzog & de Meuron. Here the rule is “no take-out,” so sit outdoors and enjoy the adjacent water gardens designed by Raymond Jungles and watch the passers-by, or sip your caffeinated delight in the chic, colorful coffee lounge inside. Nespresso’s menu includes a tasty variety of pastries, salads and sandwiches.

Shopping Just steps away from Nespresso in the new 1111 complex is Babalú (1111 Lincoln Rd., 305.538.9302). Babalu Miami features unisex jewelry, perfume, candles, home accessories and travel goods inspired by the beach culture of such exotic destinations as Bali and St. Barth’s. Next door is Taschen Books, a hip and contemporary bookstore, where you can peruse and buy some of the most amazing books on the planet. Afterwards, take a stroll up Lincoln Road. This open-air pedestrian promenade offers other cool shops such as Base, Brownes & Co., Diesel, Lucky Brand, Quiksilver and Guess. At the east end of Lincoln Road, don’t miss Fritz’s Skate Bike Surf, which you’ll love if you’re a cyclist, ‘blader or surfer dude.

Lunch After spending time shopping in Lincoln Road’s trendy boutiques, choose from one of the many restaurants. Tiramesu (721 Lincoln Rd., 305.532.4538), the most authentic Italian restaurant on Lincoln Road, offers dishes such as antipasti, crudo and pasta. Next door at Spris the specialty is pizza. Outdoor seating at both offers a wonderful view of the colorful Lincoln Road crowd.

Dinner A great way to end your day of shopping is at the Van Dyke Café, which offers live music on Friday and Saturday nights. (846 Lincoln Rd., 305.534.3600).

Concert After dinner stroll a couple of blocks down Lincoln Road to the Lincoln Theatre (541 Lincoln Rd., 305.673.3331), current home of the New World Symphony, and enjoy one of the mini-concerts on Friday and Saturday this month. This will be one of your last chances to attend a concert in the Art Deco-era Lincoln Theatre before the New World Symphony moves into its chic, new Frank Gehry-designed campus just a couple of blocks away. (Note: Curtain time is at 7:30.)

Cocktails After the theater check out South Beach’s thriving nightlife. There are many nightclubs and bars but if you want to avoid the South Beach “scene,” enjoy cocktails in the intimate setting of The Betsy Hotel’s B Bar (1440 Ocean Dr., 305.531.6100). Decorated in dark red hues, shades of lavender and deep purple, B Bar is a beautiful, elegant bar located in the lower level of this newly renovated, boutique hotel.

SATURDAY
Breakfast
Start the day with a relaxing breakfast at the Front Porch Cafe at the Penguin Hotel (1418 Ocean Dr., 305.531.8300) where their early-morning fare has been voted “the best breakfast in town.” Another popular breakfast spot for locals and visitors alike is Big Pink, (157 Collins Ave., 305.532-4700) which offers an extensive menu at reasonable prices.

Shopping Don’t miss a shopping trip to Aventura Mall (19501 Biscayne Blvd., 305.935.1110), the biggest conventional shopping mall in Florida and the fifth-largest shopping center in the U.S. Begin your shopping day by stopping by Bloomingdale’s (305.792.1000) to pick up a visitor package. Aventura Mall is also home to many other stores such as Nordstrom, Macy’s, Calvin Klein, Burberry and Ann Taylor.

Lunch Take a rest from shopping and have lunch at one of Aventura Mall’s excellent dining options, which include Trattoria Rosalia (305.792.2006) and Ocean Prime (305.931.5400).

Museum In the afternoon, visit Vizcaya Museum and Gardens (3251 South Miami Ave., 305.250.9133), a beautiful, early-20th-century estate that boasts extensive Italian Renaissance gardens. A stroll through Vizcaya is like stepping back in time.

Dinner A must-stop on any vacation itinerary is the historic Fontainebleau Hotel (4441 Collins Ave., 800.548.8886). Treat yourself in the hotel’s restaurants, which offer a variety of top-notch dining, such as the sophisticated Italian eatery Scarpetta (305.674.4706), a four-diamond restaurant, and Alfred Portale’s Gotham Steak.

Nightclubbing Miami Beach has some of the hottest nightclubs in the world including LIV (305.674.4680) in the Fontainebleau, where you can dance the night away.

SUNDAY
Brunch
Treat yourself to brunch at the Delano (1685 Collins, 305.672.2000). Choose one of the hotel’s three restaurants: Blue Door, Blue Door Brasserie or Terraces. The Delano’s brunch is famous for culinary delights like Mushroom White Pizza, Truffled Scrambled Eggs and Blue Crab Cakes & Eggs. Be sure and try the Blueberry Mimosa.

Beach Time You’re making this a casual day, so wander out the back door of the Delano onto the beach walkway. Stroll down to Lummus Park (Ocean Drive from 5th to 14th Sts.) and enjoy the sights or venture onto the beach for some sun. Most hotels offer umbrellas and cabanas for rent, making for a relaxing afternoon.

Playtime If you’re with your kids, Miami also has lots of attractions for them. Miami Children’s Museum (980 MacArthur Csy., 305.373.5437) has 14 exciting galleries full of interactive exhibits for the entire family. The Miami Seaquarium (4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, 305.361.5705) cannot be missed. At the Seaquarium you can swim with the dolphins, watch killer whales fly through the air and see eight different marine animal shows.

Dinner Enjoy a casual dinner at one of South Beach’s newest restaurants, Vinyl & Kai (1131 Washington Ave., 305.531.2640), presenting a refreshing alternative and social mix to the South Beach scene: good food combined with live music at affordable prices. The restaurant is intimate and inviting with a casual ambiance, comfort dining and friendly service.

Cocktails After dinner take a stroll north along the beach walkway under the stars. Stop at the W South Beach (2201 Collins Ave., 305.938.3000) and enjoy a late-night cocktail in the popular W Living Room Lounge, which is filled with incredible original art and often, a celeb or two. Sit back on one of the lush couches, enjoy a W specialty cocktail and toast to a vacation well-spent.

WhereTraveler Staff
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