Only got a day to spend in Miami before or after your cruise? That’s more than enough time to see why the Magic City is a world-famous playground to indulge your culture, shopping and entertainment wishes. Onboard.com’s Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon keeps you close to port with her pick of five Miami must-sees.
Culture vultures shouldn’t miss the chance to tour Miami’s newest museum, known as the PAMM, which opened in December 2013 just minutes from the cruise pier on Biscayne Boulevard. It already boasts a world-class collection of international contemporary art. After you’ve had your fill, check out the fab gift shop (I dare you to leave without buying something!) and then grab a red velvet-and-cream cheese cookie from the on-site restaurant, Verde, and head out to the waterfront patio for a chew with a view of the port.
Run, don’t walk, to South Beach’s eight-block-long pedestrian shopping street, where big brand retailers such as Apple, Pottery Barn and Victoria’s Secret rub shoulders with hip local boutiques including Base and Alchemist. Find designer duds for less at Consign of the Times just off Lincoln and on Sunday mornings check out the farmers’ market and twice-monthly antiques and collectibles fair. And whichever day you visit, don’t leave without a Miami Beach T-shirt from one of the strip’s terrifically tacky souvenir shops.
You’ll find plenty of photo-worthy Art Deco sights between 6th and 23rd streets along these three South Beach streets, where sherbet-shaded buildings that went up between the 1920s and 1940s have been painstakingly restored. I like to simply stroll and see what I stumble upon; but if you’re pressed for time, head to the Art Deco Welcome Center at 1001 Ocean Drive and join the 90-minute walking tour that runs daily at 10:30 a.m. It’s money well spent.
Michael Schwartz is one of Miami’s most acclaimed chefs, and dining at any of his local eateries is a guaranteed gourmet delight. In the Design District, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink is his flagship (I’m all about the crispy pig ears washed down with Michael’s craft brew), and neighboring Harry’s Pizzeria serves up an unforgettable octopus pizza. Cypress Tavern is an elegant, yet warmly welcoming dining experience perfect for an intimate dinner à deux (delicious plate of duck confit pictured here), and you can also sample Schwartz’s made-for-sharing fare at The Raleigh Hotel on South Beach. If you are cruising on Royal Caribbean, you’ll recognize Schwartz as the chef behind 150 Central Park restaurants on Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas and Michael’s Genuine Pub on Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum class ships.
Nowhere’s more synonymous with Miami than South Beach and its sun, sand and skyline beauty. There are several spots where you can enjoy that quintessential Magic City vista. You could soak up the South Beach skyline (and drop some serious dough on a pricey-but-worth-it meal) at chic rooftop Lincoln Road restaurant Juvia perched on top of a very famous parking garage – trust me, it’s chicer than it sounds. Or head a few blocks east to Ocean Drive, which looks like a scene straight from Miami Vice with its white-sand, palm-fringed beach lined with hotels, bars and beautiful people in very small swimsuits. Catch fab sunset views of Biscayne Bay from the waterfront deck at The Standard, a hip retro-mod hotel on Island Avenue, and then catch a cab back to your hotel via the Venetian Causeway. Along the way you can ogle city skyline views, palatial homes, and if you’re lucky, even some dolphins!