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11 Hottest Spots in Miami Now

Miami will forever be the land of sugar-sand beaches and rum-soaked dance parties. But rotating fashion exhibits, a $65 five-course tasting menu, and origami workshops? These brand-spanking-new hot spots demand you start packing right now. Kate Donnelly reveals 11 good reasons to visit the Magic City today.

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1 Hotel South Beach

The bragging rights are major at the new, eco-chic 1 Hotel South Beach. Housed in a 1925 Collins Avenue landmark, this glam lifestyle property makes a strong impression thanks to its green design savvy. Expect a white, beachy palette, floor-to-ceiling ocean views, warm woods (à la driftwood) and sustainable perks such as terrarium gardens and hemp blend–filled mattresses in the 426 guestrooms. An indoor vertical garden and a fruit stand set the tone in the cool lobby, while the rooftop pool is the place to see and be seen. Up next: Chef Tom Colicchio will soon open his first Miami outpost at the hotel, the farm-to-table Beachcraft.

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Alter Miami

In Miami’s hip Wynwood Arts District, chef Brad Kilgore (a Jean-Georges Vongericthen protégé) has debuted his 65-seat industrial-style restaurant, with a wood-on-wood aesthetic and an airy open kitchen. Start with the housemade bread smeared with umami butter, then move on to the guitar noodles with aromatic herbs, clams, lemon balm and burratta puree. Just outside, Kilgore grows his own herbs to complement the innovative menu. The best part? The tasting menu is a reasonable $65 for five courses.

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The Miami Beach Edition

Legendary hotelier Ian Schrager (the mastermind behind the revered Delano) has opened his new Edition hotel for Marriott smack in the midbeach section of South Beach, in a renovated 1950s Collins Avenue landmark. The property comprises a chic-mod mix of 294 minimalist suites and bungalows, many of which feature ocean views, custom furniture, nude fabrics and blondish oak walls. The on-site amenities are endless, including the sexy Latino-influenced restaurant Matador, by Jean-Georges Vongericthen, which offers a mix of Spanish, Caribbean and South American dishes. At night a wild crowd gathers for disco bowling or a film at the alfresco cinema.

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Fashion Project

On the third floor of the high-end retail outpost Bal Harbour, the new cultural hot spot known as Fashion Project functions as an installation space and art gallery. Curated by London-based Judith Clark (whose résumé includes Fondation Louis Vuitton), the rotating exhibits pay homage to — what else? — fashion. You’ll see a 1913 Ballets Russes costume, a futuristic late-’90s remote-control dress by fashion designer Hussein Chalayan, and pieces by such luminaries as Miuccia Prada and Alexander McQueen.

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Pérez Art Museum

The light-filled Pérez Art Museum, designed by superstar architects Herzog & de Meuron, made a splash when it opened in 2013. This summer the museum’s must-see exhibition is "Poetics of Relation,” inspired by the writings of Caribbean author and philosopher Eduoard Glissant. It’s a meld of photography, film and video, with international artists like Yto Barrada (France), Hurvin Anderson (Jamaica, U.K.) and Tony Capellán (Dominican Republic) showcasing jaw-dropping works.

Image courtesy Hurvin Anderson and Thomas Dane Gallery, London

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Photo by Mary Beth Koeth Photography

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Boxelder Craft Beer Market

The edgy, buzzy Wynwood Art District just unveiled the brew centric Boxelder Craft Beer Market. Billed as a taproom and bottle shop (think growlers to go), the space serves a wide selection of draft beers and more than 100 by the bottle. Cozy up to the walnut bar and try the Sunshine State of Mind wheat ale by Gravity Brewlabs while noshing on crisp pretzels and buttery popcorn.

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Byblos Miami

Toronto hot spot Byblos is bringing its Eastern Mediterranean fare to South Beach on two floors inside the James Royal Palm. Chef Stuart Cameron (Patria, Weslodge) has created a menu that mixes family-style offerings with mouthwatering mezze, served on dishes painted in reds and blues. Order the stone oven warm Turkish barbari bread with fair-trade olive oil, followed by the seared cauliflower with duck fat, or opt for the classic grilled octopus and chicken — all dishes make stellar use of the kitchen’s 100 spices and eight varieties of pepper. After you chow down, slip into the lounge for DJ beats and a nightcap.

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Bodega South Beach

Just in time for summer, chef Bernie Matz has expanded his festive, authentic Mexican kitchen to include a rotating spit that turns out flame-boiled chicken and pork. A retrofitted silver Airstream truck turns out an impressive array of dishes, including ceviche, served alongside a shrimp po’boy and a fish-and-chips taco that makes good use of the custom hot sauces. A hidden speakeasy bar slings such drinks as the Don Diablo, which is made with Ilegal Mezcal Joven, passion fruit, lime and Hellfire bitters — and topped with a hibiscus Jarritos, of course.

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Cena by Michy

After a 10-month renovation, Miami native and James Beard Award–winning chef Michelle Bernstein has opened Cena by Michy. The intimate 62-seat room is done up in polished gray and wood beams, with a striking wall installation of a brass wave. Kick things off with a libation like the Juan Draper (made with Casamigos blanco tequila, mole sugar and Peychaud’s bitters, muddled with a slice of orange and a brandied cherry), then move on to the food. The menu is divided into vegetables (beet sorghum risotto with roasted beets and horseradish crème fraîche), meat (sweetbread tacos with salsa verde) and seafood (whole boneless snapper stuffed with leek and fennel and served with preserved lemons and braised lettuce). And don’t miss the fennel panna cotta for dessert.

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Photo courtesy of Racked Miami

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Chrome Hearts

You can’t miss the art-tagged, stencil-painted black and white façade of Chrome Hearts, a rock ’n’ roll store shipped directly from Los Angeles to Miami’s Design District. The go-to place for niche accessories, edgy boutique labels like Comme des Garçons, and emerging designers like the Elder Stateman, the shop also has a range of decadent boxed chocolates. And it doesn’t stop there: The upstairs Fahey/Klein Gallery hosts a revolving collection of 20th-century photography, and there’s a brick-lined outdoor terrace that has a 15-foot-tall “nature wall” with native South Florida plants. For the food and drink inclined, check out David’s Café for killer iced coffee and a Cuban sandwich.

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Wynwood Letterpress Storefront

The art of letter writing never goes out of vogue. Take the just-opened custom stationery outfit Wynwood Letterpress. The husband-and-wife owners offer a classic blend of Miami-style stationery, foil-stamped invitations and matchbooks, smartly curated accessories for the desktop (leather notebooks from Paris, pencils from Germany) and letterpress notecards from labels like Rifle Paper Co., Haute Papier, Gold Teeth Brooklyn and Delfonics. There’s also a bevy of fun, do-it-yourself classes and workshops, including origami and hand lettering.