Miami has long been a vacation destination for those seeking to escape the cold northern winters. But for those who are lucky enough to live there, Miami is so much more. And since there’s no better way to get to the feel for a place than talking to the locals, we’ve asked some of Miami’s most interesting and influential movers and shakers for their insiders tips on experiencing Miami at its best. Here’s what they had to say.
Seth Browarnik: Founder of World Red Eye photo agency
I love that Miami is at the epicenter of cool and that culture is found everywhere. From the arts to music and nightlife Miami offers something for everyone.
When I want to go shopping I have so many places to choose from. Miami Design District, Bal Harbour Shops and Brickell City Center are all within a few miles of each other and all have different feels for different areas around Miami.
While in Miami you should check out Wynwood, Little Havana, and Little River to really get a sense of what living like a local feels like. To get off the beaten path while on Miami Beach you can go to Minibar which is located South of Fifth and is strictly for locals.
Blue Ribbon is also located on Miami Beach at The Pymouth Hotel and is a locals favorite.
Jenny Starr Perez: Selecta Magazine editor-in-chief
The thing I like best about Miami and the colors and the weather… The more I travel, the more I realize how beautiful this city is and how lucky I am to reside in it.
Though I love high fashion, I tend to shop local. My favorite store on Miami Beach, without a doubt is Beach Boutique in the fun Sunset Harbour area. Patricia Costa, the owner, curates an incredible selection of pieces from emerging designers that resonates with fashion lovers in Miami. I bought my first Ulla Johnson dress here.
I work in downtown Coral Gables. Though the elegant neighborhood is synonymous with affluence, there are so many great small businesses, specially boutiques. I love Habit and Bloom for easy pieces and dramatic accessories, many by hispanic designers.
This is like choosing a favorite child, which I don’t have, so food it is! Miami has become a culinary epicenter and continues to expand in that industry in exciting ways every day. I think right now you cannot beat La Petit Maison and Le Sirenuse, as far as an overall experience. But, honestly, my go-to is Prima Pasta on 71st Street. It’s an institution.
I take all my visiting friends and family to Faena. It’s something that any out-of-towner should see, especially the Saxony Bar downstairs, which boasts authentic Art Deco design that defines the Miami aesthetic. I also suggest 1 Hotel South Beach. Not one person who has visited with me has failed to comment on how gorgeous it is. Plus, nothing is better than a poolside frosé on a sunny day. Of course, I have to mention Wynwood. Norman Van Aken’s restaurant, Three, is a crowd-pleaser. After dinner, you can go upstairs to the area’s first rooftop bar, No. 3 Social (also Aken’s), for standout cocktails.
Natalie & Celene Gee: Co-Founders of Gee Beauty
Originally from Toronto, Canada we really appreciate the beautiful weather in Miami, and there is certainly no shortage of days that make us really love living here. We love how global Miami is, any given day you are surrounded by people from all over the world, and the city is only growing. There is such a creative and entrepreneurial spirit, you can feel the energy. Miami has also a very inspiring Wellness community that is really taking the city by speed! You have every opportunity to look and feel your best.
What’s also so fantastic about being in Miami is the beauty of going to the beaches one day, feeling like you are completely away, or the next taking in the best museums, shows, shopping, and of course dinning out. There is really no place in Miami.
Gee Beauty (of course!)
Fav Beach Spot
Dr. Brooke Owens: Veterinarian
Aside from the amazing weather, I love living in Miami because it offers the amenities of an international sophisticated city but with the serenity of a suburban beach town. Sunset Harbor, the neighborhood where I live and work, has a particularly village feel where everyone knows everyone.
Lucali: Miami is not known as a pizza city but I would put Lucali’s pizza up against any pizza. It is that good. The atmosphere is also amazing here. Great for families or catching up with friends. I eat here or drink here at least once or twice a week.
Standard on the Bay: This is my favorite Happy Hour spot. It has a large bar patio lounge overlooking Biscayne Bay. The hotel is dog friendly so there are usually lots of dogs happily mingling. Order a frozè sit back and enjoy the view and some phenomenal people watching.
Eberjay: This Miami-based brand has the best bathing suits, cover ups and pajamas in timeless, elegant cuts and patterns that are always flattering.
Tropical Vinyasa: Tucked away in an alleyway, this is my favorite yoga studio in Miami. Great instructors, good music and a bright, airy studio space to practice with your neighbors and friends.
Martin van Daalen: Director of Miami Beach Tennis Academy
My favorite spots to grab a bite between tennis lessons are Carrot Express and The Strand at the Carillon. The Carrot Express has the best salads and smoothies that give you the energy to get back on court. The Strand has the perfect ocean view and the most delicious gazpacho outside of Barcelona.
I’m biased but the best place to get a great workout is at the Miami Beach Tennis Center. One block from the ocean, it has the best clay courts in town. You might even bump into Martina Navratilova playing next to you.
I’m usually wearing Fila, but the best place to shop for off-court clothes is the Shops at Bal Harbour. Between Neiman Marcus and Saks, you can find pretty much anything you need to go out in Miami.
Oribe Canales: Top hairstylist and founder of Oribe Haircare
My favorite part of Miami: Much more beautiful and young with the sun. There is a sexiness here that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world.
My Top Restaurants
My mother’s house, Nobu at the Eden Roc Hotel, Michael’s in MDD
One of the greatest beaches in the world for me so go in the water, no one goes in. Ladies bring your hottest heels and outfits.
Let the Miami environment take over and give your mane a wild, sexy look. And of course check out oribe.com
David Airomloo: Senior Financial Advisor
The best thing about Miami is the diversity of cultures. You can learn about backgrounds from different countries without leaving the city.
The shopping destination we enjoy going to is the Shops at Merrick Park. This indoor/outdoor mall has a lot of ambiance surrounded by high end stores and restaurants.
Two great restaurants are Sunday brunch at Strada in the Grove and ToroToro in the Intercontinental hotel downtown.
Quiet places to go with families are Matheson Hammock in Coral Gables.
Also, most sporting events such as Miami Heat basketball games are always fun.
Lara Shriftman: Partner of Harrison & Shriftman
Spend a day on the beach. I love Miami in the end of spring and summer because the water is like a bathtub. The water is clear and very calm. A great 7:00am walk down the boardwalk to 1st Street or read a book in the late afternoon before sunset are two of my favorites.
When I want to get candy for my son, I always go to Dylan’s Candy Bar on Lincoln Road.
Get a coconut juice from Athens Juice on 69th Street and Collins Avenue. It has been around since 1937, and they make the best fresh-squeezed juice. For coffee, I recommend Dr Smood’s Hawaj White Coffee.
My favorite go-to neighborhood restaurant is Pubbelly Sushi on Purdy Avenue. I love MC Kitchen for their Applewood smoked salad at lunch, and the spot is consistently one of the best restaurants in Miami. El Palacio de Los Jugos is great for takeout Cuban food. Joe’s Stone Crab is a Miami institution, and you sometimes have to wait upwards of 2 hours for a table. Skip the wait and order takeout from Joe’s Takeaway, adjacent to the restaurant.
If you need quick hair and makeup done at home, I recommend Glamsquad. Make an appointment online and a team member will come to your house.