By the next morning, you’ll be ready to strap on your trainers for the the Art Deco Walking Tour. Started by the Miami Design Preservation League, it delves into the history of the hotels dotting the shoreline that started as stucco cement apartment houses during the Prohibition Era for working class families. You can stroll with both locals and tourists and imagine yourself in another era, perhaps as a player in in one of the gambling houses run by mobsters in the 1940’s. Al Capone was right at home in Miami Beach, as were working class families who moved into these originally cheap and cheerful apartment houses facing the shoreline. Later, singer Gloria Estefan bought one of the properties. Fashion designer Gianni Versace had to knock one of the original buildings down to make space for his pool. While the construction seems deceptively simple, with small windows and often four to six floors, they were modeled on rich movements, including expressionism of the 1920’s; Cubism; and Bauhaus.
Two post tour options to round out the afternoon are the Perez Art Museum and the Frost Science Museum, where you can tap your inner child surrounded by tropical fish and sea horses. Frost offers immersion into local sea life with an aquarium; a planetarium; and exhibits on evolution from dinosaurs to birds. There are interactive schemes so you can explore the mind/body connection or play engineer for an hour in the design lab.
The Perez Art Museum — right next to the Frost — features local and global artists of the last two centuries and a sculpture garden. You can tap off the zen vibes after a walk in the art and flora, by tasting some of the “poke bowls” — marinated fish and vegetables over rice— at the museum’s cafe that overlooks both the outdoor installations and the water.
If you stay the evening in the design hood, try Joey’s Wynwood — located in the Wynwood Art District — for pastas and speciality pizzas. Or head back to the Faena Hotel for a late afternoon yoga class at the spa. Indulge in the cooking of Paul Qui at PAO restaurant, which features a fusion of Filipino, French, Spanish, and Japanese flavors. Then try the spicy margaritas at the Saxony Bar and catch live music at the Living Room.