The beachy, the bougie and el bueno de Miami
Some call Miami the sixth borough of New York. Others call her North Cuba. Or Vice City. Or Cruise Capital of the World? Officially, the South Florida coastal metropolis is nicknamed the Magic City, coined from the rapid growth returning vacationers would see between annual summer visits. After spending a work week experiencing the many sides of Miami with Greater Miami CVB, I just call her Good for Business.
In five days, I cruised the waterways of South Beach on a sport yacht named Recess (with a Champagne breakfast), indulged on a full empanada tour of Little Havana’s Calle Ocho (8th street), snapped some selfies at not one, but three Insta-worthy (and event-capable) museums—and surpassed my daily step goals in the newly expanded halls of Miami Beach Convention Center.
And we did it all safely. And no one got Covid.
You can have your torta and eat it, too, with these helpful recs below.
Meet and Sleep
For your bougie group: The famously designed Eden Roc Miami Beach features 621 oceanfront guest rooms, 70,000 sq. ft. of event space, a 22,000-square-foot spa and three pools in the heart of Mid-Beach. Housed within its walls, 206-room Nobu Hotel Miami Beach—crafted by celebrity Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and actor Robert De Niro—brings elegant Japanese design (and of course, outstanding in-room dining from Nobu sushi restaurant downstairs) to its array of suites and penthouse villas. Did we mention the newly unveiled penthouse meeting spaces?
For your beachy group: JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa sits on 300 tropical acres between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, with 685 guest rooms and suites, a brand-new meetings wing and a whopping 120,112 sq. ft. of event space (including 54,169 sq. ft. outdoors). Ironically more beach-adjacent than beachfront, any attendee seeking the refuge of a resort without the stresses of South Beach will fall for the sprawling property’s on-site championship golf courses, private poolside cabanas, family-friendly waterpark and spa and wellness center. Plus, it’s a short (free) ride to the beach. Think bleisure groups, families and mega-conferences.
For business: Miami Beach Convention Center (MBCC) is fresh off a $615-million-dollar renovation, offering nearly 500,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, a 60,000-square-foot ballroom and the latest in technology and meeting design, just 12 miles from Miami International Airport (MIA).
For the group that likes to eat bueno: You won’t regret a private, guided Little Havana Food & Cultural Walking Tour in the heart of Miami’s historical Cuban neighborhood. You’ll see landmarks and hear tales from enthusiastic residents chiming in from Domino Park (not planned, but expected) and skip the line at the ventanitas (window counters) for cafecitos (very sweet espresso) and the best empanadas (planned and expected). Don’t leave the neighborhood without a Cuban sandwich, from wherever your guide recommends.
Staying on theme: Cerveceria La Tropical restaurant and taproom just opened in February 2021, elating Cuban-heritage locals by reviving the beloved (and forcefully discontinued) brewery and its recipes. Sip on La Original Ambar Lager, while you wander the 10,000-square-foot tropical botanical garden and enjoy nightly live music.
Visit The Bath Club for an eight-course beachfront dinner (and more than 26,000 sq. ft. of event space) or Baia Beach Club Miami in the new Mondrian South Beach for casual yet chic coastal cuisine (lobster pasta or bust).
Plan a beach day at a private club with all amenities included. Charter a yacht for any size or style of group with Biscayne Lady Yacht Charters and take to the seas via party vessel, fishing yacht or luxury charter, like the 111-foot, 400-passenger Biscayne Lady. Throw an after-party at Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science downtown for private, outdoor event space on top of its Gulf Stream Aquarium, where attendees will overlook the city skyline and bay, surrounded by South Florida flora and wildlife—yep, sharks. Alternatively, visit Wynwood Walls outdoor museum for murals by the world’s most famous street artists.
Need to Know
- $620 million renovation to Miami Beach Convention Center in 2018
- 400+ daily flights through Miami International Airport (MIA)
- 7th in the US in business activity and cultural experience (Globalization and World Cities Research Network, 2019)