As self-championed supporters of culture, we like to make sure that Miami is being represented in as well-rounded a way as possible. That means, spotlighting the amazing people and places that make this city so special. And we’re talking about the real city, even in the areas that might be majorly touristic, like South Beach. For many, it’s sunscreen and camera town, where travelers flock to feel like they’re in a film about Miami without knowing that the beach and the city are two entirely different things altogether. We’re here to prove that you can get that authentic, home-grown charm you love even in the most sunburnt off places.
In fact, when we crowd-sourced which South Beach gems we couldn’t leave out of our latest map series, we got an overwhelming response by our audiences and discovered some brand new places ourselves. The map, beautifully designed by local illustrator Beth Rhodes, is our most jam-packed yet and features every gem, landmark, and delicious dive you can’t miss–straight from the locals who rep it every day. We’re covering the true South Beach (which means nowhere north of 23rd ST…sorry!) confines as well as Sunset Harbor with a heavy emphasis on South of Fifth. With main roads like Alton, Ocean, and Collins, there’s much to traverse and explore, and a treasure trove of local businesses just waiting for your support.
South Point Park & Pier – This 17-acre park is the crowned jewel at the very end of South Beach’s tip. It’s filled with green spaces, waterfront views, bike paths, and a breathtaking pier that extends into the Atlantic.
Tropical Vinyasa – Off-the-beaten-path yoga studio that offers intimate sessions for all levels. It’s great when you want to beat the crowds and just get a great flow in.
Soundscape Park – Designed by the Dutch urban design & landscape architecture firm West 8, the gorgeous park adjacent to New World Center is home to outdoor screenings, classical concerts, and vines upon vines of bougainvillea.
The Wolsonian-FIU – Located in the heart of the Art Deco District, The Wolf is a museum, library and research center focusing on the persuasive power of art and design. They also have one of the best cafes and gift shops in town.
Versace Mansion – The Villa Casa Casuarina became a worldwide favorite after the famous designer purchased the Mediterranean escape in 1992 and the rest was history…
Photo of Versace Mansion by Roadtrippers Magazine
Miami Beach Cinematheque – A historic city hall building turned fresh locale for independent and foreign films, plus a bookstore and cafe.
Art Deco Welcome Center – The Miami Beach Architectural District is home to the largest collection of Art Deco architecture in the world and this is your key to accessing it all.
The Fillmore Miami Beach – The historic art deco building is one of Miami’s largest venues and has consistently booked some of the best live shows in the city for over half a century.
New World Center – Home to America’s Orchestra Academy, New World Symphony, the Frank Ghery-designed campus houses some of the country’s most talented musicians and levels of performance spaces, classrooms, and life-changing concerts.
The Bass – Miami Beach’s premiere contemporary art museum resides in a stone-walled art deco building home to an impressive and welcoming Collins Park sculpture garden and world renown, playful exhibits.
The Café at Books & Books – Tucked away off Lincoln Road, Miami’s leading independent bookstore Books & Books houses a great curation of pages, coffee, and delicious coffeehouse eats.
Modo Yoga Miami Beach – Modo is a unique hot yoga series that combines the precision of therapeutic yoga and the foundations of traditional yoga in a specially heated room. Their hands-on community gives you the feeling of a large-scale studio with the intimacy we all want.
The Lincoln Eatery – Miami Beach first food hall, this sleek, artisanal eatery features some of Miami’s favorite spots like Cake Thai and Delicatessen Patagonia. It might be food focused, but even if you’re not hungry, it’s a great stop to just check out.
Miami Beach Convention Center – Recently renovated, this Miami Beach anchor stands tall as one of the most influential venues in the city. It’s home to some of the biggest events, including Art Basel.
Photo courtesy of Miami Beach Botanical Garden
Miami Beach Botanical Garden – This spot is one of Miami Beach’s best kept natural gems. The garden itself is great for a walk or for important events, and they host a great variety of programming from walks, talks, workshops, and even book clubs.
Colony Theatre – A restored Art Deco theater has been given life by some of Miami’s thespian powerhouses like Miami New Drama, who bring South Florida award-winning premieres and productions spanning all topics and perspectives.
World Erotic Art Museum – Founded in 2005 by Naomi Wilzig , WEAM is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to fine erotic art. In a remarkably short time for a still private collection, WEAM has developed one of the world’s most renowned permanent museums for this genre.
Miami City Ballet – Founded in 1985, MCB is described by The New York Times as “an exceptional troupe, by Balanchine standards, anywhere in the world,” Miami City Ballet (MCB) is led by Artistic Director Lourdes Lopez and is considered a leader in the field – nurturing new choreographic voices, creating innovative collaborations and opening new avenues of inclusivity within classical ballet.
Purdy Lounge – For a club who’s motto is “No attitude. No cover. No Bullshit.” Purdy really has risen to that task. For years they’ve been throwing consistently great music nights and now with a redone light-up dance floor it’s hard to resist.
The Standard Hotel & Spa – Located on Belle Isle, steps away from the action on South Beach, The Standard Spa, Miami Beach is less a “hotel,” and more a spa with guest rooms. They have all the addictive goodies from their other national locations, with an incomparable view of the bay that makes for a perfect happy hour spot.
Photo of The Standard by Daycation
The Betsy Hotel – The legendary architectural and cultural gem that is The Betsy Hotel is widely considered to be one of the most influential spaces on Miami Beach. More than an anchor for hospitality, the historical hotel also believes strongly in the arts with writers in residence, several on-going exhibits, and a robust musical calendar.
The Nautilus Hotel – Originally built as the Nautilus Hotel, the luxury boutique hotel on Collins Ave is located in the heart of Miami’s Art Deco district. Designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus in the 1950s, it has been renovated with homage to its original spirit. Their pool is one of the most delicious on the beach, and they have plenty of pop-ups and programming geared toward locals.
Abbey Brewing Company – The Abbey is the only brewpub on Miami Beach and its laid-back charm keeps those in-the-know beer fans coming back on the weekly. Their whiskey selection is also not to be missed.
Kill Your Idol – In 2012, Kill Your Idol was a welcome respite to the ultra club scene infested Miami Beach nightlife. It’s an alternative, dark and indie spot with affordable drinks and a variety of musical treasures.
Lost Weekend – Adjacent to the bar above, Lost Weekend is a bigger hang, complete with pool tables and other fun games, plus weekly musical programming and daily specials.
Ricky’s South Beach – Right next door to the popular Bodega, Ricky’s is a great choice for live music on the beach in a funky atmosphere and paired with some pretty yummy drinks.
Photo of Ricky’s by TripAdvisor
Mac’s Club Deuce – An absolute Miami classic, on the beach or not. The building was built in 1926, the bar was opened in 1964, and you can definitely feel it. The history this dark hang has witnessed we can only imagine, but many of us know what it’s like to stumble out of there at 5am…
Sweet Liberty Drink & Supply Co. – Sweet Liberty has been consistently awarded one of the best cocktail bars in the country, let alone Miami. Their drinks are top notch, happy hour is awesome, and it’s a generally great all-around hang.
Ted’s Hideaway – Another great late night hang, Ted’s Hideaway is consistently one of the locals’ favorite places to go for a cheap drink and a great escape.
The Regent Cocktail Club – With other locations in Montauk and Atlanta, The Regent Cocktail Club is in the upper echelon of Miami’s best drink-makers. It evokes the elegance of the 40s all around the art of making a great cocktail.
Minibar at Urbanica – If you’re into delicious craft cocktails and good times then head to Minibar. Minibar provides fresh, mid-century lounge with a sexy, contemporary twist located in the quaint South of Fifth area located at Urbanica The Meridian Hotel.
The Local House – Located inside the charming boutique hotel, The Sense Beach House, the ground-floor eatery features a delicious menu and everyday brunch that you’ll come back for on every beach visit.
Photo of The Local House by Hedonist Shedonist
DIRT – The Sunset Harbor hot spot is a frequent go-to for those healthy souls who often find themselves getting their exercise on in the wellness-filled neighborhood. They were among the first to bring clean eating into Miami’s food scene, and they still kill it every day of the week.
Under the Mango Tree – This popular healthy bohemian hang is a favorite among the wellness scene. Its family-friendly and colorful atmosphere makes you happy the moment you walk in and their acai bowls are among the best in town.
Pura Vida – Another great spot for the yummy juices and bowls we all need in our lives, Pura Vida has expanded around the city for a reason. They’re delicious, well-priced and their spots are always warm and welcoming.
Lilikoi Organic Living – Airy, comfortable outpost that focuses on lean, organic dishes. They offer great vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and tons of great options for all eating necessities. It’s a good regular spot.
Planta South Beach – Planta was opened with the purpose of creating delicious food that promotes environmental sustainability. Under Chef David Lee, Planta aimed at filling a void in the market of upscale, full service, plant-based dining options.
La Sandwicherie – Serving heavenly sandwiches in Miami Beach since 1988, La Sandwicherie captures the best French savoir-faire in the simpliest of settings to transport your taste buds to another world without costing you the earth. Daily fresh ingredients, crisp baguettes or croissants and the added magic of the infamous vinaigrette make for a true taste sensation.
Apple a Day Natural Food Market – This quaint, health-food market features all-natural grocery items, supplements and organic prepared fare. This one’s a well-kept secret.
Photo of The Alley by FujiFilmGirl
The Alley – The Alley includes a classic Italian Pizzeria + Gelateria situated in the breezeway connecting Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. The Alley is known for its perfect pizza, wine, gelato, right in the heart of South Beach, just a stones-throw from Lummus Park.
News Cafe – News Cafe is a quaint sidewalk cafe, restaurant, bar, newsstand and bookstore located at the corner of 8th Street and Ocean Drive in the Art Deco District. Built in 1988, this spot is a well-known legend of a cafe right off the sand.
La Locanda – This cozy trattoria is well-known for luring locals with Italian fare, fantastic and intimate atmosphere, and delicious traditional dishes such as pastas and brick-oven pizzas served until late.
Lolo’s Surf Cantina – This off-the-beaten path Mexican eatery is the perfect beachside spot for food and drinks that’ll inspire true California summer vibes with every juicy bite.
Lucali – This is one of the most well-known pizza spots on the beach, consistently named one of the best in town. It’s small and charming but packs a punch with every slice.
True Loaf Bakery – Locals to the Sunset Harbor area know that True Loaf Bakery is one of the most delicious places in all of Miami. These homemade and organic baked delicacies are the stuff of angels…okay maybe we’re biased but we’re dreaming of their peanut butter cookies day and night.
Photo of True Loaf by Alacarte Delivery
A La Folie Cafe – Located along the quaint Espansola Way, A La Folie is a charming little French bistro serving all the yummy classics from crepes and morning coffee, to soups and salads. It’s been open for 18 years for a reason.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar – A house of worship to farm-fresh ingredients, classic Southern cooking, culture and hospitality. Fresh, fruity Bourbon drinks and fried chicken that’ll keep you coming back.
Drunken Dragon – What started as a speakeasy-style Korean BBQ spot along Alton Rd has become one of the most popular and packed spaces on the island. Their happy hour alone is one of the best in town and we’d go back for every dish on their menu anytime.
Bodega Taqueria & Tequila – One of the more well-known spots on South Beach, Bodega serves up delicious late-night eats complete with a speakeasy bar in the back that you can access through a fake pot-o-potty door.
Pubbelly Noodle Bar – Blending Chef Jose Mendin’s creativity with vibrant flavors, fresh high-quality ingredients and a lot of fun, this next-level neighborhood sushi tavern has raised the bar of a traditional sushi restaurant with its unique flavor profiles and innovative creations. Each venue embraces its unique location and celebrates community through laidback atmosphere.
Bio Bio Gelato – Bio Bio is the organic ice-cream parlor that combines the quality of ingredients with the artisanship of traditional Italian gelato. Bio Bio’s gelato is made with a selection of 100% certified organic ingredients. It’s an absolute gem.
Macchialina – Opened late June 2012, Macchialina, has quickly become a favorite Italian restaurant among critics, locals and in-the-know tourists, who flock to the casual neighborhood eatery to indulge in chef/owner Michael Pirolo’s rustic yet sophisticated, Italian fare.
Photo courtesy of Macchialina
Puerto Sagua – For locals who chose the 7th ST garage and beach entrance for their days under the sun, they’ve known this spot to be a perfect pick-me-up for a long day on the sand. Delicious Cuban classics and large portions are the antidotes we all need.
Joe’s Stone Crab – It’s apt that this is our last eatery to round out the list, easily the most well-known restaurant on Miami Beach. Famous for their fresh seafood, we keep coming back for special occasions and their dream-worthy key lime pie.