There's Nothing Like the Big City

Graciela Cattarossi

When was the last time you wore heels? The last time you went dancing--other than at a wedding? The last time you ate at a restaurant without crayons on the table? The last time you stayed up past midnight?

Miami: The Vice Is Entirely Up to You

You Gotta Do at Least One . . .
Have a drink at the Delano. The tourists outnumber the beautiful people on Saturday nights, but the Philippe Starck-designed lobby is still Alice-in-Wonderland gorgeous.

Grab one of the coveted outdoor tables at News Cafe, order a café con leche and an omelet (everything on the menu is served 24 hours a day), and watch the trend- and tan-addicted saunter by.

Explore the city's Design District--a chic stretch of furniture stores, galleries, and architecture firms 10 minutes from South Beach.

Open-Air Entertainment
Every weekend, local crafts vendors and musicians descend on Española Way--a pedestrian-only street lined by 1920s Mediterranean Revival buildings that's ideal for a leisurely stroll.

Sweet Fix
From the classics (like Nutella and hazelnut) to the exotic (like tamarind and passion fruit), La Gelateria makes all its gelato on-site.

Shops You Can't Find Everywhere
Fly Boutique: Vintage merchandise, such as Pucci shifts, Miu Miu heels, and slouchy leather handbags.

Mia: Gold and silver jewelry by local and international designers--and at reasonable prices (above).

Brownes & Co. : The chicest, tiniest department store ever. It stocks products by everyone from Anthousa to Zarvis, and it has a full-service spa and yoga studio. In the same building is the store where Ulli from Project Runway sells her wares.

Sabrina Monte Carlo: A mix of the high-end and cute beachy pieces.

40Northeast: Funky furniture and home accessories in the middle of the Miami Design District.

Shopping Street
Collins Avenue (bet. Fifth and Eighth) is a browser's delight, with both mass (Gap, Zara, Sephora, A/X) and haute (Sabrina, Leo, Intermix).

Home Base
The Marriott South Beach, at the southern end of Ocean Drive, is a bit out of the South Beach fray, and that can be a relief. Boutique-style amenities include flat-screen televisions and 300-thread-count sheets. The swimming pool is closed until December for renovations, but guests can use the one next door.

Comfort Inn & Suites features well-decorated suites with two queen beds in one room and a couch and living area in the other. The lobby sports lace curtains and cute furniture--and has a breakfast nook instead of a bar.

The Hotel scores with its attention to detail: tie-dyed bathrobes in the Todd Oldham-decorated rooms, Frette towels and linens, complimentary Internet access, and beach chairs you can borrow.

We Love Brunch
On Miami Beach's quiet east side, Oliver's Bistro has the essentials--thick French toast, soft scrambled eggs, fruit salad--and no South Beach attitude.

Must-See Museums
The Museum of Contemporary Art's 10th Anniversary Collection is at its Goldman Warehouse outpost until June 3.

With its ivy-covered walls and lush gardens, The Vizcaya Museum (above) is an unexpected European oasis right in the middle of Miami. It's the former estate of an industrialist named James Deering.

Pamper Yourself
Hidden above a jewelry store, the Touch Skin & Body Care Studio is a low-key spa destination with a nondescript reception. But great massages and facials--using custom-blend and Dr. Hauschka products--await in the eight softly lit, simple treatment rooms, and the spa's modest rates are a nice surprise on ritzy Lincoln Road.

What's for Dinner?
Prime 112 is a trendy celeb magnet, and it has the culinary chops to back that status up. A perfectly cooked rib eye comes smothered in foie gras butter.

You can rub shoulders with the likes of J. Lo and Shaq at The Forge, a loud, crowded, old-school hotspot that serves classics like bone-in filet mignon and sesame tuna. On Sunday night, during the Soul Kitchen party, fried chicken gets paired with R&B music. It's also ladies' night, with free champagne till midnight.

Where to Kick Up Your Heels
Grown-up drinks: The legendary '40s-era Raleigh Hotel recently got a meticulous restoration, and its Martini Bar is a sleek homage to the stiff cocktail.

Outdoor seating: Vue is on the Hotel Victor's second-floor terrace, with views of South Beach and the Atlantic.

Till midnight: Between the raucous cherry-hued Redroom, the intimate, white-curtained Rumbar, and the open-air Sandbar, Skybar has a setting to suit every mood.

Till 3 A.M.: Mokai is a new hotspot that has already drawn Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, as well as Entourage's Adrian Grenier. Banquettes and tables are set in secluded nooks, so the whole club is like a VIP room.

Till dawn: Club Deuce is a bona fide dive--and it's the perfect prelude to a noshfest at San Loco Taqueria (where the sauces are described as "mild, hot, serious, or stupid").

Try Something New in Miami   
Dance your corazón out! Even the uncoordinated are welcome at the Yuca Lounge in Salsa Mia: The lounge runs two-hour salsa lessons on Friday nights, after which the place transforms into a nightclub till 3 A.M. so you can show off your new moves. 501 Lincoln Road, 305/987-3033,, classes are $30.

  • The Marriott South Beach 161 Ocean Dr., 305/536-7700,, from $260
  • Comfort Inn & Suites South Beach1238 Collins Ave., 305/531-3406,, from $190
  • The Hotel 801 Collins Ave., 305/531-2222,, from $275
  • Prime 112 112 Ocean Dr., 305/532-8112, rib eye from $47
  • The Forge 432 41st St., 305/538-8533, filet mignon $55
  • Oliver's Bistro 959 West Ave., 305/535-3050
  • La Gelateria 670 Lincoln Rd., 786/276-9475, cone $3 (the shop also goes by Gelateria Parmalat)
  • Raleigh Hotel Martini Bar 1775 Collins Ave., 305/534-6300
  • Vue 1144 Ocean Dr., 305/428-1234
  • Skybar 1901 Collins Ave., 786/276-6772
  • Mokai 235 23rd St., 305/531-4166
  • Club Deuce 222 14th St., 305/531-6200
  • San Loco Taqueria 235 14th St., 305/538-3009, tacos from $2.25
  • Fly Boutique 650 Lincoln Rd., 305/604-8508
  • Mia 1439 Alton Rd., 305/532-6064
  • Brownes & Co. 841 Lincoln Rd., 305/532-8703
  • Sabrina Monte Carlo 530 Collins Ave., 305/672-9950
  • 40Northeast 40 NE 40th St., 305/573-0554
  • MOCA at Goldman Warehouse 404 NW 26th St., 305/893-6211,, by donation
  • The Vizcaya Museum and Gardens 3251 S. Miami Ave., 305/250-9133, $12
  • Delano 1685 Collins Ave., 305/672-2000
  • News Café 800 Ocean Dr., 305/538-6397
  • Design
  • Touch Skin & Body Care Studio 1000 Lincoln Rd., Ste. 240, 305/673-5133, one-hour massage from $80
  • Española Way Bet. 14th and 15th Sts., and Jefferson and Washington Sts., 305/531-0038
  • Yuca Lounge 501 Lincoln Road, 305/987-3033,
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