By Georgetta L. Morque

I hadn’t been to Miami in years and had never visited trendy South Beach. Given the wicked weather here, a trip there seemed long overdue.

South Beach, known as SoBe and sometimes called the American Riviera, is the neighborhood in Miami between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. A long boardwalk, which attracts a steady stream of walkers, runners and meanderers, showcases gorgeous beaches with aquamarine waters and chic hotels with balconies offering ocean views. These high rises and renovated historic and art deco treasures feature large-free form pools surrounded by inviting lounge areas plus open-air bars and restaurants that transform into a happening scene by sundown and beyond. Inside are stunning Hollywood set-worthy lobbies ideal for people watching.

A cosmopolitan city, Miami is filled with international residents and visitors, who aside from the beach, enjoy arts, culture, shopping, fine dining, and night life. We explored by Uber and headed downtown to the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), which features international modern and contemporary art in a 200,000 square-foot-facility designed by award-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron. A large veranda welcomes visitors to view Biscayne Bay while rocking on hammock-like swings designed by Konstantin Grcic, and entitled, “Netscape.” We enjoyed the sculpture garden and kinetic artist Julio Le Parc’s amazing large-scale interactive installations exploring light, movement and perceptions.

Our next stop was the not-to-be-missed Wynwood Walls, an entire block of giant outdoor murals by international street artists plus indoor studios and galleries. The Wynwood Arts District, north of downtown, is somewhat reminiscent of Manhattan’s SoHo but with a tropical feel with its small restaurants and bars offering innovative cuisine and fresh local seafood and unique boutiques tucked along the side streets.

We also explored the Art Deco District and popped in the Wolfsonian Museum to view some of its vast collection of American and European decorative and fine arts from the 1850s to the 1950s. There’s never time to do everything, but that’s a reason to return. An excursion to the Everglades and the famous Cuban Sandwich is on the list for the next visit, perhaps during the renowned art show, Art Basel.

Photos:

Miami’s long stretch of beach is a welcome oasis from the cold at home

One of many creative murals of the Wynwood Walls