While the rest of the country is cuddled up in blankets, rom-coms and hot tea in tow, the streets heat up in Miami. The winter months may be excruciating to those of us in the colder parts of the states, but the party is just getting started in Florida.
If you’re looking for a winter escape, there’s no need to go international. Miami has everything you need to make your tropical dreams come true. From stunning beaches to mouthwatering cuisine, to an array of festivals and activities to partake in, paradise is yours for the taking down South. So grab your swimsuit, your loved ones, and your appetite and get ready for fun in the sun.
The Villa Casa Casuarina
If it’s good enough for Gianni Versace, it’s most definitely good enough for us. The former villa of the late designer was built in 1930 as a private mansion and comes equipped with architecture and design fit for a Greco-Roman queen. Take a dip in the 24-karat gold mosaic-tiled pool, and take in the ornate settings in one of ten baroque-style suites. This is a must-visit locale for the style set, and it’s not hard to see why.
1 Hotel South Beach
The more eco-conscious travelers will fall instantly in love with the 1 Hotel South Beach. The chain is renown for making sustainable (albeit chic) choices, and this oceanfront resort definitely does not disappoint. With four pools, a rooftop bar, and a bathroom outfitted with Carrara marble soaking tubs and rainfall showers, this stunning hotel makes being environmentally friendly extremely stylish. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.
South Beach Wine and Food Festival
In February, 450 celebrity chefs (and enthusiasts) hit the gorgeous white sands of South Beach to reap the delicious benefits of Miami’s biggest annual food festival. Between burger battles, and food tastings, plan to come hungry and expect to leave mindblown. It really is that epic. Plus all proceeds go to benefit Florida International University’s Hospitality & Tourism Management school, so you’re doing good while eating good, which is a win-win in our book.
If you’re headed to Miami sooner than later, you’re in luck. The NightGarden at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables runs until January 11th. The 80-acre pop-up exhibit is making its 2nd appearance, and trust, it’s not one to be missed. Wander through an illuminated wonderland and explore technicolor mazes, glowing dandelion fields, and that infamous talking tree. There’s even a scavenger hunt led by virtual fairies. It’s that crazy.
If you’ve got the shopping bug, browse designer duds at the tres-chic En Avance. A local institution for nearly three decades, this boutique boasts a curated edit of products from cult-favorite designers like Preen and Greta Constantine. The first multi-brand boutique to come to the Miami Design District, owner Karen Quinones carefully selects pieces to showcase young designers from across the globe, and for that, we are forever thankful.
Amara at Paraiso
If you’re looking for a world-class meal with a healthy heaping of ambiance, this is it. James Beard winner and all-star chef Michael Schwartz bring farm-to-table fare with flavors from South America and the Caribbean to the table. Plus, the waterfront view is one of the best in the city, perfect for a special night with a special someone.
Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine
Probably the most famous Cuban restaurant out there, Versailles is a must-visit if you’re looking for authentic eats. It’s been a pillar in Calle Ocho for over 50 years, and it’s definitely not losing any steam anytime soon. The lavish interior pays homage to French-palatial vibes and the servings are some of the most generous we’ve ever seen. Fill yourself up on vaca frita and ropa vieja, and wash it all down with a good old café Cubano.
If you’re looking to get away from the snowy tundra this winter (and let’s be honest, when are we not), Miami is where it’s at. While everyone else is in full hibernation mode, you can be on the beach sipping a cocktail in just a few hours flat. Before you hop on a plane, browse a few packing essentials to take your domestic vacation to the next level.