1. Explore the New Stretch of Mid-Beach Hotels
Miami Beach has evolved and moved north. In November alone, no fewer than three major luxury hotels opened, including a Thompson, the Faena, and the Miami Edition — and all of them are on Collins Avenue in the 40s block. Just across the street is the newly refurbished Hotel Croydon, that has a boutique vibe, reasonable rates, and one of the best rooftop views in the city. The Croydon’s owner Nathan Lieberman, whose South Beach group includes 1500 rooms in Miami Beach alone, has watched the mid-beach area emerge. "The explosion of new hotels, restaurants and brands give it an underlying urban vibe creating a more hip approach. We've created a playground for the cool kids."
2. Hit the Beach, Obviously
There aren't many other cities in America where you can go kitesurfing in the morning and wander around a world-class modern art museum, like the new Pérez Art Museum Miami in the afternoon. With everything it now has, it's easy to forget what brought people here in the first place: white sand beaches and turquoise waters. North Beach (47th Street) is near some new hotels and has a surf shop outpost, TKS, where you can rent SUPs or learn to kiteboard.
3. A Day at the Standard
The one thing every Miamian I spoke to agrees on is that there are few better ways to spend a sunny day (and they know from sunny days) than at the Standard, a low-key, off-the-beach hotel/adult playground on Belle Isle. Go for the day — you can pay outright but admission is included when you buy a spa service — to enjoy the infinity pool, the hot/cold plunge baths, the two-person wicker lounge chairs, the fitness classes, the Turkish spa, a paddle around the Biscayne Bay, the mud huts, the party.
4. Design District
The blocks around mainland Miami's midtown area have become a repository of high-end fashion and home gear — 30 new stores were expected to open before December's Art Basel. But unless you're looking for a sleek Danish couch or an Hermès bike, keep it short: Grab lunch at neighborhood stalwart Michael's Genuine Food & Drink and then get to Wynwood, a short bike or cab ride away.
5. Eat Something Foreign
Whether it's a Peruvian cevicheria (CVI.CHE 105) or an Argentine steak place (Las Vacas Gordas) Miami is as international a city as North America has to offer. Don't get the pizza.
6. Ditching the Car
Given the hassles of parking, the cost of valets, and your estimated blood alcohol levels, you'd be smart to cab it and use the new, and easily acessible, Citi Bikes.