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Miami has all of the elements of a sunny weekend escape: Culture, airy restaurants, and plenty of beaches. Here's how to make the most out of a 36-hour jaunt to the Magic City.

Miami is a gorgeous city. Technically, it’s two gorgeous cities. In Miami proper, you’ll find leading art museums, independent stores, and the whirl that is Little Havana. Miami Beach is the über-glam barrier island next door, home to Art Deco hotels and stunning white sand beaches.

Here’s how to make the most of your 36 hours in the Magic City.

Day One: The Arts

Morning

After waking up at one of the Brickell neighborhood’s luxury hotels — notably, EAST, Miami — head to the Wynwood Arts District, known for its great restaurants, galleries, craft breweries, and independent boutiques. Head to Zak THE BAKER for chocolate babka and challah. Then visit Wynwood Walls, an outdoor exhibition of colorful murals and street art featuring the work of artists like Shepard Fairey and Santiago Rubino.

Afternoon

Stop for a lunch at one of the Wynwood’s emerging craft breweries. Wynwood Brewing Co., J. Wakefield, and Concrete Beach Brewery are all excellent — Concrete Beach also hosts free tours every day.

This afternoon, consider visiting the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Overlooking the Biscayne Bay in Museum Park — and with hanging gardens designed by French botanist Patrick Blanc and architecture by Pritzker Prize-winning Herzog & de Meuron — this beautiful space houses modern and contemporary art, with a focus on Latin American works.

If you have time, smaller arts spaces such as the Fredric Snitzer Gallery and David Castillo Gallery are worth visiting.

Evening

For dinner, try the five-course and seven-course menus at Alter. Focused on using ingredients responsibly sourced in Florida, the dishes here are experimental, seasonal, and totally delicious. Choose between five or seven courses. Or if you want to go super fancy, opt for the ‘full chef’s experience’ plus wine pairings.

Tonight, check out Lagniappe bar for brilliant live jazz under fairy lights.

Day Two: Miami Beach

Morning

Wake up at the Nautilus on South Beach and lap up the neo-Baroque glory of its architecture — as well as smoked salmon and acai bowls on the outdoor terrace of the Cabana Club restaurant.

Consider a lazy morning, relaxing by Nautilus’ salt water pool which leads straight to the beach. Or you could take a walking tour of the Art Deco buildings lining Ocean Drive. These look luminous in the morning light, and you’ll be in good hands if you head out with a docent from the Miami Design Preservation League from the Art Deco Museum and Welcome Center. These tours are popular, so book tickets in advance.

Afternoon

Head to Panther Coffee for a cold brew and empanadas. Then check out The Raleigh. This Art Deco dream of a hotel has been around since the 1940s. Buy a pool pass to get to know the place — and, vitally, the pool. Or, if you fancy a full-on beach day, join the locals at nearby South Pointe.

Evening

In one of the most light-filled spaces in the city, dine on cold tea cocktails and Eastern Mediterranean food — like char-grilled Cornish hen with sabzi sauce — at Byblos‘ Miami outpost.

If it’s Saturday night, take in a Secret Celluloid Society midnight movie. Projecting original 35mm copies, these exclusive events happen at different film houses around the city.

Then, if you really want to go Miami-big, dance at the megaclub Story till late.

Day Three: Little Havana

Morning

Breakfast at the chic waterfront hotel Lido Bayside Grill on Belle Isle, enjoying the labneh granola and kale-cocoa smoothies.

Miami’s a great biking city, so visit one of the many rental locations like Miami Beach Mike Center on 5th street or one of Bike and Roll‘s two locations, then head out along the Venetian Causeway. It runs for 2.8 miles over manmade islands across the Biscayne Bay, and it’s a beautiful ride along the green bike path — with views right across downtown.

Afternoon

For lunch, head to Little Havana, which runs southwest of downtown along 8th Street.

Head to El Palacio de los Jugos for pulled pork, rice, beans, and plantain and fresh juice. Or check out El Rey de las Fritas for burgers made the Cuban way (with beef and spicy chorizo).

Savour a Cuban coffee at Versailles (order it con leche if you don’t want it too strong), then get in a bit of shopping before you leave the city. It’s worth visiting the independent Books & Books for, yes, books and BASE USA for contemporary clothes.

Evening

In the evening, visit Sugarcane raw bar grill for small plates of delicious shrimp ceviche, cauliflower tahini, and shishito peppers. Then hit up Ball & Chain on 8th Street for live salsa and mojitos.

It’s your last night in town, so go big. Find out what’s on while you’re in town, and head to the Adrienne Arsht Center for Performing Arts. One of the largest performing arts centers in the United States, both the Miami Symphony Orchestra and Miami City Ballet perform here.

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