Smart Living

The new Miami: switching up South Beach for downtown swank

Yet to book your August holiday? Trust us, this is the one to go for

Mention Miami and nine times out of 10 I’ll bet you’re met with talk of neon bikinis, mirrored sunglasses and long stretches of pearly white sand. Most people who go to Miami go to South Beach. For tanners, peacocks and hedonists, the draw is strong. But there’s more to Miami than the sun and the sea of South Beach. The city has been revamped and now the places to see and be seen in Miami have moved Downtown.

That’s where you’ll now find the best nightlife, shopping, arts and foodie hangouts, mostly between the neighbourhoods of Wynwood and Brickell.

People in the know make EAST Miami their home while visiting. This contemporary new hotel is making waves with a rooftop bar called Sugar that’s been voted the best bar in America for two years running. Take an evening to enjoy it. Guests get priority, handy given queues stretch around the block every night. Located just 15 minutes from Miami International Airport, it’s an oasis in a thriving metropolis.

If you’re looking for something to jazz up your Instagram feed, head over to Wynwood Walls. This is graffiti heaven, a riot of colour featuring designs from some of the world’s leading graffiti artists. From there, make your way on to the Perez Art Museum Miami – both the permanent collections and exhibition work are in a class of their own. Make sure you swing by and enjoy the view from the waterfront-facing terrace or step inside for an excellent lunch in the café.

Talking of food, a visit to Little Havana for a Cuban sandwich is a must while you’re in town. Feeling adventurous? Try the Cuban spring rolls at Ball & Chain and enjoy the live Latin music. For something more civilised, El Tucan is a new evening hotspot. Book in advance to guarantee a table.

Whichever way you play it, leave South Beach as an afterthought and make Downtown Miami the focus of your next visit. Save the beach – you’ll need it as a space to wind-down following a full itinerary of discovery.