Where to eat and drink in Downtown Miami
The best shopping in South Beach
Dylan's Candy Bar
Fashion legend Ralph Lauren’s daughter Dylan is like a modern-day Willy Wonka, offering more than 5,000 kinds of candy from around the world—not to mention ice-cream, macaroons and a sidewalk café serving up candy-inspired cocktails such as the Pop Rock Explosion—at this fun-for-all-ages emporium.
Do you need a drop-waist dress from the 1920s? Can’t manage without a Pucci print skirt from the ’70s? You’ll find both here, along with high-necked linen and lace dresses, funky neckties, costume jewels, shoes, furs and postcards. Brands include Gucci, Balenciaga, Chanel, Vuitton and even hard-to-find Zandra Rhodes.
In addition to fancy, monochromatic threads, BASE is also known for its funky soundtrack (its CD collection is for sale, of course), coffee table books, candles and even Japanese anime. Just how cool is the stuff? Consider this: the store has a small location at the Delano hotel plus a 24/7 vending machine of goodies at the Mondrian South Beach.
A South Beach unisex shopping hotspot, Atrium is also a great place to stalk celebrities if you don’t feel like breaking the bank on a $2,300 Alexander McQueen clutch. With designer brands at designer prices, don’t be surprised if you see the same $200 white T-shirt on a Kardashian in the latest issue of your favorite tabloid.
Arts and culture in Coral Gables
Lowe Art Museum
The only museum in the area with a notable collection of Egyptian, Greek and Roman antiquities, the Lowe also features the Kress Collection of Renaissance and baroque art, plus galleries of pre-Colombian, Asian, African, Native American, European and American work. The European collection includes pieces by Monet and Gauguin; the south-west Indian art collection contains textiles, baskets and other utilitarian objects; and the Art of Asia gallery has objects from China, Korea, Japan and South Asia.
Barnacle Historic State Park
Built in 1891 and named after the distinctive shape of its roof, Ralph Munroe’s "Barnacle" is the oldest home in Miami to remain on its original site. It was designed as a one-story house facing Biscayne Bay. Three verandas and a skylight, which could be opened with a pulley, provided ventilation. The Munroe family continued to live at the Barnacle until 1973, when they sold the house and its furnishings to the state of Florida to be used as a museum. The pristine beauty of this bayfront pioneer home and its grounds is even more apparent now that it has been tragically sandwiched between two cramped luxury condo developments. You can tour the house and the grounds, or catch one of the regularly scheduled concerts on the lawn.
Coral Gables Museum
The Coral Gables Museum lives up to its name by providing a useful overview of the district's culture and history, with a special emphasis on architecture and town planning. It's more diverting than it sounds—recent exhibitions have looked at pioneer life in Miami and the Florida land boom of the '20s, while a season dedicated to Coral Gables's sister cities around the world branched out into exhibits on Italy and Colombia. Appropriately, the museum is partly housed in the Old Fire House & Police Station, an imposing old building whose blend of Depression-era architecture and Mediterranean Revival influences speaks to the area's colorful history.