I can't imagine permanently leaving New York City (I've never even, in all my years, left the East 60s), but if I were to ever move anywhere, it would without a doubt be to South Beach. Great shopping, amazing food, fun places to go out and people who are friendly and laid back make it one of the best cities to live in or visit. Here's a look at some of the not-to-be-missed places.
Where to Stay
You can't go wrong with the perennially popular Delano, but for the latest from Philippe Starck, check-out the SLS (pictured here). Like most of the trendy boutique hotels in Miami, the rooms are tiny, but they're so savvily designed you almost don't notice that there isn't a closet. Ditto on the no closet front at the Gale, another popular boutique hotel. You can usually get good rates at the Shore Club and Shelbourne. If it's ocean views you're after, check out the W (all 300-plus rooms have 'em).
For a resort-style luxury hotel, there's the Fontainebleau. It's a legendary Miami hotel that's been featured in everything from Goldfinger to Woody Allen's Bananas and it underwent a major two-year renovation a few years ago. Next door is the ever-popular Soho Beach House, which also offers hotel rooms to its members. If it's more zen and less party that you're looking for, check out the Setai.
Where to Shop
It's pretty hard to leave Miami without a few extra things in your suitcase. In addition to staples like Barneys (the manager remembers me by name every time I'm there — talk about customer service!), Atrium and Intermix, they have local favorites like The Webster and Base, both of which offer some of the country's most well curated shopping experiences.
Image: Refinery 29
Where to Spa
I've interviewed a number of Miami influencers for various projets this past year and they almost all agreed that Cowshed at Soho Beach House is the best spa. It's got a relaxed, rustic interior and some of the best trained therapists. Another great option is The Standard, which in addition to spa services, has fire pits, hammocks, outdoor mud baths, juice cleanses, yoga classes and a slew of other health-focused offerings.
Where to Eat
By day, News Cafe, The Cafe @ Books & Books or a quick bite at gourmet shop The Epicure Market are the best. For Sunday brunch, La Piaggia Beach Club is a popular destination, while you can't go wrong with dinner at Casa Tua (for a quiet escape), Prime 112 (expect to wait at this scene-y steakhouse even if you know the manager, slip the woman at the front $100 or have a reservation), the always buzzing Bazaar by Jose Andres, Quattro (arguably the best Italian eatery in South Beach, it's one of the few restaurants to open in South Beach and then branch out to other cities), Meat Market (a trendy, younger, cooler version of Prime 112, pictured here) and New York City imports Catch, Cipriani and The Dutch. Fried chicken lovers can beeline for the always bustling Yardbird, and if you're a fan of James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, check out his newest spot, Cypress Room. For the best view of South Beach on Lincoln, head to the beautifully designed Juvia.
I took a $25 cab, each way, to pick up pastries (luckily they go for less than a dollar each) at Buenos Aires Bakery...that's how great they are. Don't let looks fool you, everything tastes way better than it looks.
Where to Juice
It was only a matter of time before raw food and cold pressed juices invaded body-conscious Miami. JugoFresh does it best, offering juices, smoothies and organic raw foods.
Where to Work Out
People in Miami take their workouts very seriously (luckily, a favorite, Barry's Bootcamp, is slated to open in the fall). The top spot for spinning is Flywheel (you can also take bar classes at their Flybarre). The studio is expansive, clean and the instructors are highly motivating. Green Monkey and Shakti are go-tos for yoga.
A fun workout alternative for people of any age can be found at Sky Zone Sports, a 16,000 square foot indoor trampoline park.
Where to Go Out
Members-only club Soho Beach House is a go-to for most of Miami's trendsetting young professionals. The Broken Shaker is another popular spot, as is Gale's Rec Room, the W Hotel's bar Living Room and their nightclub Wall. Other popular nightclubs include Liv, the massive amphitheater-like club in the Fontainebleau, Mokai (pictured) and Mynt.