Wondering what to do when the Floridian sun goes into hiding? Fathom editor Berit Baugher knows a few ways to spend a rainy day in Miami Beach.
MIAMI – Itty-bitty bikinis, sunshine, and fruity cocktails are the first things that come to mind when I think of Miami Beach. The active party scene and beautiful, boozy beach days make me wonder what there is to do when the rain kicks in.
On a recent visit, I barely set foot on the sand, let alone in a nightclub. I purposefully avoided the usual suspects in search of culture and was impressed by what I found. Miami is home to one of America's best art and design communities, a burgeoning boutique fitness scene, and really great food, which makes it super easy to find something worthwhile to do inside.
How to Spend 1-2 Hours
Miami is not a city lacking in good food or interesting decor. Find both at 27, a 1930s bungalow-turned-restaurant with a multi-culture-inspired menu. Design elements include old surf-shack ephemera and a soundtrack that leans towards reggae and '90s hip-hop. Or take a walk on the wild side at Market at Edition, a 21st century food bazaar inspired by the old markets of Madrid and Barcelona. To enter you must pass through the Miami Beach Edition's jungle-like Lobby Bar, an all-white space overflowing with lush greenery. Swing by the gift shop on your way out — it's stocked with indie magazines and handmade sunglasses from Berlin.
If fitting into your swimsuit is a priority, skip the food scene and work up a sweat instead. Miami is home to several boutique fitness classes, including yoga studio Greenmonkey, indoor cycling class Flywheel Sports, and hour-long cardio and strength workout Barry's Bootcamp.
How to Spend 3+ Hours
The city's art and design scene is growing at a rapid pace. If you have a chunk of time, hitch a ride (Uber is surprisingly affordable) to the other side of Biscayne Bay.
The historic Upper Eastside (Northeast Miami) is home to Ironside, a creative district that houses a diverse group of businesses and public art installations, including two pieces of the Berlin Wall that were painted by street artist Thierry Noir. Order a freshly brewed cup of coffee at Limited Edition Caffe & Vino Buono or dig into a traditional Neapolitan pie at Ironside Pizza. When the rain stops, wander the eucalyptus tree-lined paths or start up a game of bocce at the onsite court. Make stops at Art Lexing, a contemporary Asian art gallery, handcrafted sunglass shop Playn, and artisan stationery and design studio Puro Papel.
Cuban-born power couple Carlos and Rosa del Cruz have been sharing their personal art collection with the public for over 25 years. In 2009 they opened the De la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space, a permanent 30,000 square foot building with free admission for visitors in the Miami Design District. The rotating collection includes works from Mark Bradford, Alex Katz, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Dan Colen. Check out their website in advance — they're known for hosting the area's best art lectures. If you're looking for a bite to eat nearby, try Aegan bistro Mandolin (a Fathom Favorite).
Easily the city's most visually striking building, Pérez Art Museum Miami is a Herzog and de Meuron-designed modern and contemporary art museum. The Pritzker Prize-winning architects were inspired by Stiltsville, a group of 1930's-era homes built on stilts. The building's overhead roof is decorated with clusters of plant-covered columns called overhead gardens. They are truly spectacular to see in person and were designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc to keep their surroundings five to ten degrees cooler. Explore the collection of international art from the 20th century through today before indulging in a delicious lunch at Verde, the museum's modern casual restaurant with sweeping views of Biscayne Bay.
If you have to spend time holed up indoors it might as well be someplace you like. AC Hotel Miami Beach is a new and extremely affordable addition to Collins Avenue. High ceilings and clean lines reflect the brand's European heritage, as do smaller details like fresh croissants flown in from France and the cherry red Berkel meat slicer that provides a daily fix of Iberico prosciutto. Rooms are modern and simple with neutral color palettes and state of the art TVs that can be connected to Netflix and Hulu. For an onsite escape, head downstairs to the tapas bar for dishes like roasted shrimp and tomato with garlic aioli or crispy sea salt potatoes.
1 Hotel South Beach is a 426-room oasis of calm where being kind to Mother Nature is a top priority: Rooms are outfitted with hemp-blend Keetsa mattresses, organic cotton sheets, and walls made of salvaged driftwood. To help minimize waste, guest rooms come with Nexus devices that control lights, room temperature, and give advice on where to eat and shop nearby. A fleet of Teslas offer complimentary rides within a three-mile radius and the lobby features a stunning 11,000-plant "living green wall". Dine on locally caught fish, antibiotic-free meats, and fresh produce at Tom Coliccho's first seafood restaurant, Beachcraft.