Travel Diary: Welcome to Miami

Miami is one of my favorite cities to visit: it’s hot, it’s vibrant, and it’s spicy on so many levels. The beating heart of South Florida, the City of Miami is diverse, creative, alive, and always on the cutting edge—but also has a distinct vibe and look that harkens back to its 1930s and mid-century roots. From the art-deco architecture and beautiful beaches; to the Latin heritage that infuses everything from the art to the incredible food; to the legendary nightlife scene, Miami is city with an almost magical pull that definitely has the fun you’re looking for on your next getaway. Pro tip: The best times to visit Miami are between March and May, when the weather is warm but not too humid.

Stay: Truly there is no shortage of hotels and resorts to choose from when you’re planning a visit to Miami—they’ve got it all! When it comes to Miami, in my book, it’s all about the outdoor pool and beach options. The Fontainebleau Hotel is one of the city’s coolest, most defining pieces of architecture, but thanks to a recent $2 billion renovation, everything about it is on the mark, including its many elaborate pools, nine restaurants, and two nightclubs. Ian Schrager’s new condo-hotel, The Miami Beach Edition, offers a mix of guestrooms, suites, and oceanfront bungalows. Even though it’s a little outside of South Beach, the many amenities (three restaurants, gorgeous beachfront, two pools) mean you might never want to leave. And no list would be complete without The Raleigh Miami Beach: Currently undergoing renovations, the vintage-boho spot boasts arguably the most legendary pool in Miami, where Esther Williams famously used to film her movies.

Eat: Miami might be one of my favorite spots purely because of all of the food options. It’s really hard for me to pick only a few, but these are some of my go-to’s: Prime 112 can get a little glitzy (the people-watching is next-level), but they do everything right: the truffle-provolone cheese fondue, beefsteak salad with bleu cheese, the bone-in New York Strip, and (something I’ll gladly break my diet for), the fried Oreos. Hands down, the best place to strap on a bib and dig into some tasty crustaceans is Joe’s Stone Crab—and save some room for the mind-blowing fried chicken and key lime pie. If authentic Cuban food and a wonderful dose of local history is what you’re after, head to Versailles Restaurant, a casual café scene that serves traditional dishes like empanadas, imperial rice, and paella. Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink Restaurant, in the Design District, is where the foodies go to eat and it’s got a fantastic raw bar along with pizzas and stracciatella that will knock your flip-flops off.  

Do: Obviously the beach is a big draw when you’re in Miami, but I’ll be honest: When I get there, the first thing on my mind is where and when I’m playing golf. I’m always up for a round, and while sometimes I’m lucky enough to play some incredible private courses—like Indian Creek, La Gorce, and Fisher Island—public courses like Miami Beach Golf ClubCrandon Golf at Key Biscayne, and Normandy Shores Golf Club are equally as fun. But when I’m not on the links, there’s a whole lot of history to explore, including the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens and The Venetian Pool in Coral Gables (the largest freshwater pool in the U.S.). Art and culture thrives in Miami, and there’s no better place to discover it than the Wynwood Arts District. Once nothing more than street after street of warehouses, it’s been transformed into one of the America’s coolest neighborhoods with hip restaurants, bars, boutiques, and the spectacular Wynwood Walls, an outdoor museum featuring works by some of the world’s best street artists—it’s something that is not to be missed!