Miami, Florida ranks among America’s most dynamic and unique cities: essentially tropical, for one thing, and tantalizingly allied in mood, flavor, and culture with the Caribbean and Latin America, and strung through with fabulous art, cuisine, and music. Here at V & E Restaurant Group, we absolutely love this city: because we proudly serve very happy customers at two standout Miami eateries—Mercato Della Pescheria and Tapas y Tintos—and also simply because we’re entranced by the place.
Here are 10 of our very favorite things to do in Miami: places and experiences that appeal to local and out-of-towner alike. Read on for inspiration, then hit the town in South Florida’s truly one-of-a-kind Biscayne Bay metropolis!
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
James Deering’s onetime winter estate ranks among the loveliest pieces of real estate in the country, we’d wager. The beauty of the villa’s architecture and artwork is perfectly complemented by the Italian Renaissance gardens that sprawl across Vizcaya’s oceanside grounds.
From touring the Stone House to kayaking verdant shores, magic of both the cultural and ecological variety awaits you at this historic estate, once the property of Charles Deering, James’s brother.
Miami Design District
A vast spread of art galleries, plus an equally rich lineup of luxury stores and boutiques, makes the Miami Design District one of the city’s top tourist neighborhoods.
Hands-on encounters with bamboo sharks, swims with dolphins and penguins, underwater walks through a coral reef: The submarine world is thrillingly on display at one of the country’s oldest oceanariums.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Eight decades old and still going strong, this luxuriant beauty-scape features a spectacular array of tropical plants: from palms and cycads to lianas, orchids, and rainforest hardwoods. Don’t miss the dazzling butterfly swarms of the Wings of the Tropics exhibit…
Miami Children’s Museum
From the Castle of Dreams and the Music Makers Studio to the Construction Zone and Sketch Aquarium, this first-rate institution is a surefire hit for family vacations in Miami.
Robert Is Here
This long-running fruit stand at the doorstep of the Everglades is an exceptional place to stock up on produce, tropical preserves, and souvenirs—plus slurp some outstanding and refreshing shakes, and eyeball parrots, giant tortoises, and other sundry critters in the “barnyard.”
Speaking of the ‘Glades, they make a superlative day trip or camping overnighter just a stone’s throw from Miami. If you’re strapped for time, beeline for Shark Valley or the Anhinga Trail in Taylor Slough: both easily accessible, wildlife-rich wetland hotspots distilling a lot of Everglades National Park’s unique flavor. But you’ll be rewarded for digging deeper!
Biscayne National Park
Miami’s exceptionally fortunate to have not one but two amazing national parks as its hinterland, Biscayne being No. 2. (You can actually make that three if you count Big Cypress National Preserve to the west.) Hike the mainland, cruise to offshore keys, snorkel the reef—keeping an eye peeled all the while for dolphins, frigatebirds, American crocodiles, and more.
Dining Out in Miami
Miami’s a city that venerates food, and you can truly eat your way around the world within its restaurant-stacked bounds. Two of the best places to dine? Why, Tapas y Tintos, our Spanish paella and tapas hotspot, and Mercato Della Pescheria, an authentic Italian restaurant, both on South Beach’s Espanola Way—itself quite the signature Miami destination!