Everyone knows you can “party in the city where the heat is on” as Will Smith says in his hit song, “Welcome to Miami.” Sure, anyone can end their night, and even begin their morning at one of Miami Beach’s top clubs like LIV Nightclub at the Fontainebleau, or even watch the sunrise from an oceanview hotel room at the swanky Miami Beach EDITION, but this tropical paradise has a lot more to offer than just raging “all night on the beach till the break of dawn.” Miami Beach has grown past the days of Crockett and Tubbs, and when you visit, expect more than just fruity cocktails and all-night parties. Miami Beach is a city of hospitality, culture, and cuisine.
If you plan on spending a long weekend in the area, here are our top picks for places to dine, drink, and socialize during your stay on Miami Beach.
You can basically spend a whole day of eating, drinking, and dancing at the three spots mentioned below. The new Moxy Miami South Beach hotel is a mecca for fresh eats, cool beats, and expertly curated cocktails. If you’re not staying at the hotel, take time out of your three days to brunch/lunch at Serena, dress up for dinner at Como Como, and dance the night away at Mezcalista.
Como Como is a “marisquería,” or seafood restaurant and raw bar with a Mexican flair located in the Moxy Hotel on Washington Avenue and ninth street. The vibe is “South Beach Chic” with a Mesoamerican theme and decor including artifacts, carved wooden doorways, and custom embroidered and woven furnishing giving the impression that you could be in the finest seafood restaurant in any seaside destination in Mexico. An impressive raw bar and open kitchen featuring a copper-and-wrought iron “fuego,” or fire station, are the centerpieces of the dining room, along with a comfortable, yet elegant bar for enjoying any mezcal drink you can imagine.
The phrase Como Como is a play on the Spanish words for “how I eat,” and how you will eat here is very, very well. Executive Chef Scott Linquist is the culinary mind behind the restaurant’s dishes, and with his history of Mexican cuisine expertise, including over 30 trips to Mexico over the past two decades to research local recipes, you can expect that everything on the menu is held to the highest standards of both authenticity and quality. Start with something from the raw bar, and don’t be afraid to order multiple items from the menu as the night progresses. From whole fish to ribeye steak, even filet mignon and lamb, the meats of Como Como are sure to impress. Don’t forget vegetable dishes roasted in the fuego’s Josper charcoal oven and served to the table in cast-iron pans. The roasted corn with homemade garlic aioli just may be the showstopper of the night.
When you’re done with dinner, step into the intimate and discreet Mezcalista located in the back of the restaurant, where you can sip sexy cocktails made from your choice of over 100 mezcals or your favorite tequila. Expect the vibe to be relaxing during the week but bump up to party level on the weekends with some of the world’s top DJs stopping by to provide some dancing beats.
If you’re not quite ready for fine dining and fun dancing, but you’re into rooftop chillin’ with fresh guac and chips and a cocktail in hand, spend your day at Serena, the open-air lounge at the Moxy Hotel. Serena offers a trendy-spin on your favorite Mexican dishes like traditional fresh tortillas and quesadillas, as well as other dishes such as steak and tuna tartare, salads, burgers, and more all in a casual, but still very popular Miami Beach scene.
Day 2 is for a day club or pool party. Get ready to vibe with your tribe at one of Miami Beach’s hottest daytime parties.
Any given day can be “the day” for a certain hotel or party, so check the schedules ahead of time depending on when you travel.
Besides your hotel pool, which can be a whole day activity in itself, especially if staying at a hotel like the Fontainebleau, here are a few spots to consider (check with each venue as they may have limited capacity or restrictions due to COVID-19):
After your post-pool party nap, the sun is setting on another Miami Beach day. Time to take it up a level and splurge a bit. After all, you are in Miami, and there are plenty of once-in-a-lifetime dining opportunities here. For something extra special, plan to visit Nossa Omakase.
In Portuguese, Nossa translates to “wow,” and that is exactly what you might be saying as you enjoy this 16-18 course experience in the heart of Miami Beach on Collins Avenue. Reservations are absolutely required, and make sure you call way in advance of your trip as there are only a few seats every night for this one-of-a-kind experience.
Executive Chef Max Kamakura is a Japanese-Brazilian classically trained, third-generation sushi chef who takes his guests on this multi-course journey. His version of omakase incorporates the traditional Japanese dining experience while introducing flavors from his Brazilian background and world travels. Guests will enjoy an intimate front-row dining adventure in a theater-like den with items such as smoking lobster sashimi, uni with black truffle on crispy rice, A5 wagyu nigiri, chutoro nigiri topped with caviar, and otoro uni truffle temaki. Each meal is a full entertainment experience complete with some fire and smoke at the tableside show.
It should be noted that this 16-18 course dinner will cost $250 per guest, or $225 for the pescatarian option, including a complimentary cocktail, sake, or Japanese whiskey while waiting for the table in the speakeasy bar Nossa.
Before you leave Miami Beach, you must indulge a bit in the art and culture of this island city.
Swing by the Faena Art District on Collins Avenue between 32nd and 36th streets, near the famed Faena Hotel, which is known for its artistic flair in both Buenos Aires and Miami Beach. This area is the home of the Faena Forum, a 50,000-square-foot public performance space, and other exhibits and artists on a rotating basis. Check the schedule for events during your stay.
The Bass Museum of Art is located at 2100 Collins Avenue. This is Miami Beach’s contemporary art museum, focusing on exhibitions of international art. The museum hosts talks and workshops, kids’ and exhibit opening events, so there’s always a reason for art lovers to stop by and enjoy the beautiful space.
Miami Beach is also home to the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, which is the only place that collects, documents, preserves and interprets Florida Jewish history according to their website. Currently, the museum is open by reservation only, so make your plans ahead of time to visit this cultural destination. The Wolfsonian-FIU is another museum and library of art and artifacts mainly covering the modern age from 1850-1950 located right on Washington Avenue and 10th street. Check their website for visitor information and to book your time to visit.
After a day of exploring the arts and culture of Miami Beach, make a point to visit the city’s most historic and celebrated restaurant, Joe’s Stone Crab.
While we’ve mentioned a few newcomers to the Miami Beach dining scene, it would be silly to come to Miami between October 15th and May 1st and not spend an evening at the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant. Joe’s was founded in 1913 by Joe Weiss, and it has now been around for over 100 stone crab seasons. In those 100 years, Joe’s has been visited by anyone and everyone who comes to Miami, including locals who frequent the spot for almost every important holiday or celebration.
Known worldwide for their famous stone crabs and mustard sauce, Key Lime Pie, and fried chicken, Joe’s has a global reputation for excellence, and that’s exactly what you’ll get at this casual Miami Beach institution. The menu is varied with all kinds of seafood dishes, soups, salads, and veggies, but really, order the stone crabs. It’s one of the most “Miami Beach” things you can do, and if you are only visiting for a few short days, this is one spot you can’t miss.
Limited reservations are available through Resy, but you can also show up and wait for a table–first come first serve. Grab a drink at the bar and enjoy your time at this historic establishment as so many have done before.