Grown Up Getaway: Miami beyond the beaches

Maybe you’ve ‘done’ South Beach. Or maybe, you remember the Miami of the ‘80s and ‘90s, when South Beach defined the city. Whether beachside clubbing and hot days on the sand are not for you, or whether you’re ready for something different, check out Miami beyond the beaches for your next Grown-Up Getaway. Here’s your ready-made itinerary for your Grown Up Getaway Miami:


Start in the artsy Wynwood neighborhood:

Wynwood perhaps defines the ‘new’ Miami better than any other single neighborhood. An eclectic mix of art galleries, trendy bars and restaurants, and boutiques, Wynwood may have become gentrified from the time of its artistic roots, but it’s still a great representation of the mixing pot that is Miami.

rust wynwood

Start with a stroll through the neighborhood to appreciate the street art…don’t worry, you can’t miss it. Wynwood Walls sits at the epicenter of the street art movement, with commissioned murals across several blocks. Enter at 2520 NW 2nd Avenue, where you’ll see arched gates into the artwork. (It’s free to enter.) Between murals, a few galleries are open within Wynwood Walls, as well as a juice bar and a few other small cafes.


After seeing the ‘official’ art of Wynwood, walk through the next few blocks, wandering at will and popping into additional galleries and boutiques and checking out more unofficial murals, some as impressive as the commissioned work.

Grab a pre-dinner drink at Alter, which has an inviting outdoor bar just adjacent to the small dining room. Make a reservation to eat here to taste celebrated chef Brad Kilgore’s inventive pre-fixed menu (he also creates his magic at Brava, home of one of Miami’s hardest-to-get reservations).


If you’re looking for a more casual meal, head instead to Rust, a hole-in-the-wall on 2nd Ave in the most gentrified of ways. Located down an open-air marketplace hallway in the heart of Wynwood, Rust is owned by a Uruguayan transplant who has made Miami his home. Featuring a globally inspired menu that includes everything from chivitos (Uruguayan sandwiches) and Spanish tortillas to ceviche, Rust is a place to linger on the patio with a sangria and tapas to share.

Spend your next day in Museum Park:

Ten years ago, Miami’s downtown became a ghost town after work hours. With the addition of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County located within easy walking distance to Museum Park (featuring the stellar Perez Art Museum Miami and brand new Frost Museum of Science), that all changed. Now a hub for performing and visual arts lovers, this region of Miami is vibrant day and night.

arsht center

During the day, linger during the morning at the Perez (PAMM), where two floors of permanent and featured art exhibits are on display. Make sure to leave time to stroll outside, where Adirondack chairs and hanging hammock chairs invite you to sit a while to enjoy the ocean breezes and views of the bay. Grab a coffee at the museum cafe, or better yet, head over the the Arsht Center to enjoy lunch at the cafe at Books and Books. A Miami institution, Books and Books is located in their original Sears storefront, and features a farm-to-table style menu upstairs from the bookseller.

perez art

Check out the Frost Museum of Science (yes, even if you’ve left the kids at home). This brand new museum  is actually divided into four buildings: the Frost Planetarium, Aquarium, and North and West Wings, where you can learn about the core science behind living systems, the solar system and known universe, the physics of flight, light and lasers, the biology of the human body and mind, and much more. If nothing else, see a show at the planetarium (or come back at night to see it set to contemporary music such as Pink Floyd or U2.

frost science center

In the evening, see a performance at the Arsht Center. This massive and beautiful center features visual art embedded in the design and architecture, and offers space for both large-scale musical theater performances, ballet and symphony, and intimate plays and dance performances. I was lucky enough to see The Death of Harry Houdini in the small black box theater, and was blown away.

museum park

Note: if you take Uber to the theater, they’ve made it easier for you to identify where you’ll meet your driver with pre-set stations…otherwise, the sprawling center spread over several city blocks proves problematic.

Do some shopping:

For the most impressive shopping malls, you’ll want to go to Brickell City Center (or farther out, Coconut Grove). The City Center is a LEAD certified building with an amazing (and beautiful) eco-design feature: the climate ribbon spans over the top of the open air mall, collecting rain water for reuse and simultaneously managing climate control. (It truly feels cooler in the mall than just outside.)

brickell city center

You’ll find no shortage of shopping opportunities in City Center (Saks is the flagship), but perhaps the bigger attraction are the bars and restaurants, as well as the luxury movie theater. We recommend a movie followed by drinks on the rooftop bar, Sugar.

Where to stay and how to get around:

Miami, unfortunately, isn’t a pedestrian friendly city, nor does it boast great public transportation, but it IS improving. If you stay in the Brickell area, you can easily transit between City Center and Museum Park by MetroMover, the free metro line that’s located downtown. Otherwise, you’ll need a car, which is why I recommend a Midtown hotel. You’ll be within about 10 minutes’ drive from Wynwood, Brickell, and Museum Park, all without getting on a freeway (and thus avoiding traffic).

grown up getaway miami

The Hampton Inn & Suites Miami Midtown is a brand new hotel located in Midtown that’s quite frankly the nicest Hampton I’ve ever stayed in. See our review here. Valet parking is reasonable (or better yet, use Uber in Miami) and the stay includes an upscale complimentary breakfast and nice outdoor pool with lounging areas. You get a lot for your money here, and you won’t be in your room much, anyway. There’s another location in Brickell, which would be a good choice if that’s the neighborhood you decide to focus on, but you’ll save money staying in Midtown. Finding travel deals is now simple and can be done in a jiffy especially when you want to cut down your budget.’

If you DO bring the kids:

Check the Arsht Center website for options of kid-friendly shows…there are many! The Frost Museum of Science is a home run, and the Perez Art Museum offers kid programming every first Thursday, as well as special programs for the family. All the dining options listed above, with perhaps the exception of Alter, are appropriate for kids of any age.