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South Beach
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Your perfect day in South Beach

Written by
Ryan Pfeffer
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Around the world, South Beach is still the most well-known chunk of Miami thanks to its gorgeous combination of beaches and Art Deco beauty. The South Beach nightlife certainly hasn't hurt either. Yet South Beach has changed a lot recently—and for the better, if you ask us. Surely, you'll need more than one day to see every inch of this new landscape. But if you only have 24 hours, this is as close to a perfect day in South Beach as we can imagine.  

Morning

Start your day in South Beach as far south as you can go: Nikki Beach Miami (1 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach; 305-538-1111). You can literally get lost exploring the brunch buffet, which sprawls throughout multiple rooms stacked with dessert towers, paella cauldrons, a waffle bar and a carving station. Dine at a table near the sand or spring for a cabana on the beach, and spend the better part of your day sipping mojitos and dancing to DJ sets and live music. Burn calories another way: Stroll down the charming Española Way (14th St to 15th St, between Washington and Pennsylvania Aves), soaking up the classic Spanish architecture on the recently renovated half-mile strip.

Afternoon

Lunchtime calls for fried chicken at the Anthony Bourdain–approved Yardbird Southern Table & Bar (1600 Lenox Ave, Miami Beach; 305-538-5220), which doles out homestyle American fare in a casual environment. Start with the fried green tomato BLT, featuring crispy pork belly and layers of house-made pimento cheese, before moving on to the fried chicken, a free-range bird marinated in a special 27-hour recipe. This slice of Miami Beach is not just for eating; it’s also home to great museums such as the Wolfsonian-FIU (1001 Washington Ave, Miami Beach; 305-531-1001). Its myriad exhibits across multiple floors highlight global art and artifacts from the Industrial Revolution through WWII. Though if you’re enjoying the weather too much to stay inside, opt for a South Beach Duck Tour (1661 James Ave, Miami Beach; 305-673-2217) on an amphibian boat (it travels on land and water) through Biscayne Bay.

Night

Dinner can go one of two ways: lavish and expensive or casual and cheap. Spend big on caviar cones, foie gras PB&Js and ham croquettes at Bazaar by José Andrés (1701 Collins Ave, Miami Beach; 305-455-2999). Or keep it low-key at one of Miami’s oldest dive bars, Mac’s Club Deuce (222 14th St, Miami Beach; 305-531-6200), where happy hour is offered daily from 7am to 7pm. Then walk across the street to the window at French-inspired sandwich shop La Sandwicherie (229 14th St; 305-532-8934). Don’t let the informal, open-air layout fool you—these oversize, stuffed baguettes are a South Beach treasure and are especially delicious with extra house dressing.

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