Greater Downtown Miami comprises many districts or neighborhoods: Brickell, Wynwood, Edgewater, Midtown, Design District, historic Overtown -and the Central Business District. In this weekend guide to Downtown Miami, we are referring to the Central Business District which includes the area from the Miami River into Biscayne Bay and up to the MacArthur Causeway to the north.
We are going to mention this area’s breathtaking views of Miami River and Biscayne Bay – a lot. However, the awesomeness of gazing out to these active waterways, bordered by shiny high rises and dotted with megayachts, can only truly be appreciated when experienced in person.
And, the reason why this gorgeous part of Downtown Miami is the perfect weekend destination to slow down a bit, breathe, take all this urban beauty in, and just be in the moment. And, if you are like us, with our favorite cocktail or glass of champs in hand!
For where to stay, what to eat and drink, plus what to do and see…read on.
Kimpton EPIC Hotel
This contemporary hotel’s elegance and tranquil vibe is best experienced from inside a bright and airy guest room or suite. All 411 rooms have private balconies where you can surround yourself with the Magic City’s glittering skyline. The Epic is conveniently situated on the Miami River, which flows into nearby Biscayne Bay, and located on walkable Biscayne Blvd Way.
The neutral-toned rooms, with pale wood covered floors, receive a lot of daylight from the large, floor-to-ceiling patio balcony with two chairs and a small end table, (plus, blackout drapes). Inside, there is a bistro dining table that can double for work space. The hotel has excellent Wi-Fi, and the rooms have many accessible UBS and electrical outlets.
Rooms are furnished with comfy beds, with deluxe bedding and plenty of fluffy pillows, a large, wall-mounted flat-screen LED TV, a mini-bar and a reading chair with an ottoman. In the closet you’ll find a plush robe, room safe and yoga mat.
Head to the rooftop on the 16th floor for panoramic scenes of downtown, Biscayne Bay and Brickell Key. It makes for a great spot for morning yoga. You will also find your choice of two pools surrounded by comfy lounge chairs and spacious cabanas. Enjoy pool service from the adjacent Area 31 restaurant, or take an umbrella-shaded table on their outdoor dining patio.
We recommend sunscreen and a Hennessy Colada, a frozen Pina Colada blended with Hennessy VS Cognac, but request it served in a coconut for extra vacay vibes. Or a refreshing boozy frozen popsicle served in a sparkling glass of Prosecco.
If you’re feeling hungry, order the massive and yummy Ahi Tuna Wonton Nachos covered with pickled Jalapeño peppers and avocado cream.
KIMPTON EPIC HOTEL DETAILS
270 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami; www.epichotel.com/boutique-hotels-miami/ ; @epichotel
EAT + DRINK
Offering waterfront dining, Zuma Miami, one of two restaurants at Kimpton EPIC Hotel. Already renowned in London, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Dubai and Bangkok, Chef Rainer Becker has brought his internationally acclaimed style of modern Japanese cuisine, in a fun and vibrant environment inspired by the informal Japanese dining style called izakaya, to America.
As you peruse the menu of sophisticated Japanese dishes of this sexy and darkly lit restaurant, we recommend:
BURNING HISTORY — shaken with Suntory Toki Japanese Whiskey, Lagavulin 16 Year Single Malt Scotch, Yuzu, Honey, Ginger and Egg White, with the drinking glass smoked over a barrel stave.
ZUMA PALOMA – mixed with Tequila, Mezcal, Yuzu, Hibiscus, Grapefruit Juice, Agave and rimmed with Salt.
Pair either boozy cocktail with the Pirikara Hamachi Maki -a spicy Yellowtail Roll with Serrano Pepper, Avocado and Wasabi Mayo.
Wine lovers will find vintages to encourage a stay for dinner. The ruby red 2017 Domaines Barons de Rothschild ‘Le Dix de los Vascos’ will stand up to the grilled Chilean Seabass with Green Chili and Ginger Dressing. This minerally Bordeaux blend, from Chile’s Colchagua Valley, has ripe dark fruit and plum tart flavors with spicy undertones, and polished tannins.
Another great choice from the robata menu is the delish Alaskan King Crab with Ponzu Lime Butter with a side order of Sweet Corn with Shiso Butter and Shichimi Pepper.
ZUMA MIAMI DETAILS
270 Biscayne Blvd Way (lobby of Kimpton EPIC Hotel), Miami; www.zumarestaurant.com/locations/miami/ ; @zumamiami
Miami’s bright and airy La Petite Maison (LPM) is the sole US outpost of the globally beloved Riviera-inspired restaurant and bar. Along with its fabulous French Mediterranean cuisine, it is renowned for its signature classic cocktails served from a typically marble or lava stone with pewter bar, or, in Miami’s case, a zinc bar.
One such LPM drink is their famously delish Tomatini, a Martini shaken with Ketel One Vodka, fresh muddled Tomatoes, and seasoned with Salt, Pepper, and White Balsamic.
LPM also has a specialty cocktail menu honoring French poet and artist, Jean Cocteau.
This herbaceous version is mixed with Martini Ambrato, Suze (a bitter French apéritif), Toasted Pineapple, Vanilla and Fever Tree Light Tonic.
A boozy after dinner drink stirred with D’usse Cognac VSOP, Martini Rubino, Cherry Heering, Coffee and Cacao Nibs.
Whatever you order as a bar appetizer or meal, will be scrumptious, but we do highly recommend the Poulpe Finement Tranché -thinly sliced Octopus with Lemon and Green Chilli Dressing or the Roasted Chicken.
LPM MIAMI DETAILS
1300 Brickell Bay Drive, Miami; lpmrestaurants.com/miami; @lpmmiami
VERDE AT PAMM
A more casual option is this waterfront restaurant and bar located in Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Ask for outdoor seating on the expansive first floor terrace for sweeping vistas of Biscayne Bay.
In addition to their seasonal menu of reimagined land and sea plates featuring locally-sourced produce, Verde has curated five unique plates to honor PAMM’s Leandro Erlich: Liminal exhibit. The Argentine artist’s collection of interactive pieces and site-specific installations of optical illusions can be found within the museum and on Verde’s outdoor patio through September 4, 2023.
One such dish was inspired by Erlich’s Swimming Pool installation. Verde’s own version of Swimming Pool features a Green Mango, Aji Amarillo and chilled Shrimp Ceviche artfully presented in a sculptural dish with a pool of crystallized sugar where floating avocado dollops mingle with edible flowers.
Enjoy your meal and the view with a craft cocktail. We recommend the Mezcal Cooler – a mix of El Recuerdo Mezcal, Guava Syrup, Orange Juice, Bitters, Agave and Mint.
1103 Biscayne Boulevard (at the Perez Art Museum Miami), Miami
RIVERWALK TO PAMM
Exhibiting modern and contemporary international art of the 20th and 21st centuries, PAMM (Perez Art Museum Miami) also showcases Miami’s diverse community through various artistic mediums. For an enhanced visit download the free PAMM Art Tour App which includes multimedia content.
If you feel artistically inspired by the museum, visit the Art Station located in the Vatikutti Theater. Here you will find PAMM’s Teaching Artists showcasing their work at the ad-hoc studio while encouraging guests to join in on the art-making fun by grabbing a “Take-n-Make”. This resource is designed for audiences of all ages and includes prompts inspired by works on view and free art-making supplies.
To walk to the museum, use the Miami Riverwalk, a four-mile promenade along the waterfront with views of Biscayne Bay and the Miami River with a steady stream of boat traffic along the way. The entrance is located at the east end of Biscayne Blvd Way, a block and a half from the hotel, and the walk to PAMM is under two miles.
This popular walking/jogging path will take you from the mouth of the Miami River, north through Bayfront park, and then on through Bayside Marketplace and the MIAMarina at Bayside, and ends at Museum Park.
As you turn north, you will walk through the 32-acre Bayfront Park right on the bay. The park itself contains a large paved walkway lined with palm trees, benches, large lawns, a playground, a giant fountain, an amphitheater, and a smaller performance pavilion. The main attraction, however, are the views of the bay and the towering skyline.
Continuing north on the waterfront path is the Bayside Marketplace and The MIAMarina at Bayside. Once you clear the Port bridge, you will walk around the FTX Arena (home of the Miami Heat) and around the Museum Park Marina/Boat Slip.
You finish the path at the 21-acre Maurice A. Ferré Park (AKA Museum Park). The park is home to PAMM and the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science. The park is on the bay at the cruise ship turning basin where you can sometimes watch the giant ships turning to head back out to sea.
1103 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami; www.pamm.org/; @pamm
Friday through Monday, 11am to 6pm. Thursday, 11am to 9pm, (closed Tuesday and Wednesday).
Tip: Visit on Thursday when the museum and its restaurant and bar, Verde, stays open later, and attend Thursdays At PAMM event or the Floating Films Series from the steps of the patio terrace overlooking the bay and the MacArthur Causeway bridge.
SKYVIEWS AT BAYSIDE
The same Miami Riverwalk path will take you to the Bayside Marketplace at Bayfront Park before it ends at PAMM. The touristy Bayside Marketplace is a two-story open air mall with shops and eateries as well as the nearly 200 foot high observation wheel known as Skyviews Miami.
For 12 to 15 minutes, Skyviews Miami offers views of Biscayne Bay, Bayfront Park, and the iconic Downtown Miami skyline from one of its 42 enclosed and climate-controlled Gondolas, including one VIP Gondola featuring leather bucket seats, a custom LED light show, and a glass bottom floor.
401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami; skyviewsmiami.com; @skyviewsmiami
FERRY TO SOUTH BEACH
The Poseidon Ferry offers regular commuter ferry service between Downtown Miami and Miami Beach. And, after spending so much time looking at the water, you can now enjoy a 20 minute boat ride to South Beach.
The ferry dock is located next door at the Hyatt Regency, along the hotel’s waterfront on the Miami River Bay Walk. Purchase your tickets online or at the ticket desk inside the lobby of the Hyatt Regency.
The ferry’s Miami Beach drop off is at the Bentley Bay Marina (520 West Avenue, Miami Beach). From here, order a rideshare to your South Beach destination.
We recommend the nearby, and recently renovated, Nikki Beach. Here, at the first and original luxe beach club, you can rent a daybed or cabana on the beach and “Rosé all day” while feasting on fresh seafood dishes and more.
400 SE 2nd Avenue (waterfront side of Hyatt Regency), Miami; www.poseidonferry.com; @poseidonferry
NIKKI BEACH MIAMI BEACH DETAILS
One Ocean Drive, Miami Beach; miami-beach.nikkibeach.com; @nikkibeachmiami
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