6 Hours in Miami
October 26, 2016
Brightline’s Florida train service debuts next summer, with frequent departures making it easy for commuters and vacationers to avoid South Florida traffic and travel by train between the soon-to-debut West Palm Beach train station, Fort Lauderdale train station and Miami.
The new MiamiCentral train station is in the heart of the city’s pulsating downtown, a place where people work and play. In the third in our series of getaway suggestions, we highlight things to do at the station and nearby.
From the 11-acre MiamiCentral, you’ll find easy access to shopping, sports and entertainment. When you want a drink or meal there are a bevvy of fun options – including in the train station complex itself. The activities here are all a quick walk, bike ride or rideshare away. Or you can use the free, elevated Metromover, which does a convenient loop around downtown.
Hour 1: CULTURAL FINDS
The Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) in Museum Park is nirvana for contemporary art lovers. Peruse the indoor collection of 20th and 21st century works while also admiring the elaborate hanging gardens and stunning views of Biscayne Bay. Nearby at the Frost Museum of Science, which opens in early 2017 in this all-new waterfront location, you can reach for the stars in the planetarium and get face-to-face with sharks at the aquarium.
Hour 2: MIAMI HISTORY
The Downtown Miami Historic District encompasses more than 60 buildings, many built in the 1920s. The HistoryMiami Museum on Flagler Street, a Smithsonian affiliate, is a good place to learn about the Magic City’s rich history. Check out the museum’s current exhibitions or book one of the walking, bike, bus or boat tours with commentary by historians. Explore too the Freedom Tower, which dates to 1925 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a monument to the Cuban exodus to America. Now part of Miami Dade College, the Freedom Tower hosts history- and culture-focused exhibitions including at the free MDC Museum of Art + Design on the second floor.
Hour 3: STRETCH YOUR LEGS
Take a stroll while looking up to admire the stunning skyscrapers and along the Biscayne Bay waterfront for views that include boats and cruise ships. Or go farther afield on a bike ride (you can bring your own bike on the Brightline Miami train or rent wheels at the station), peddling to such places as Jungle Island, Brickell, Little Havana or the beach. For something different, bring your yoga mat and try one of the popular classes in water-view Bayfront Park.
Hour 4: LET’S GO SHOPPING
Look for a shiny new bauble in the Miami Jewelry District – with several jewelers located in The Seybold Building. Or head to the open-air Bayside Marketplace to shop such name-brand retailers as Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret. Downtown is also home to department stores and more than 60 artist studios and galleries with enticing finds. Within MiamiCentral, there will also be lots of retail therapy with more than 130,00 square feet of shopping opportunities.
Hour 5: WHAT’S FOR DINNER (OR LUNCH)?
Go for the extravagant gourmet burger (ground sirloin filled with braised short ribs, foie gras and black truffle) at Chef Daniel Boulud’s db Bistro Moderne at the JW Marriott or something more casual such as fried chicken or pulled pork sliders at the gastropub 180 Degrees at the DRB. Or you can stay right at MiamiCentral where Central Fare is a vibrant marketplace and Miami’s first food hall with six restaurants and more than 20 food and retail purveyors, many of whom are Miami entrepreneurs. Selections include Monger, the first Florida restaurant by the acclaimed Voltaggio Brothers (Chefs Brian and Michael, famous for their appearances on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef”); along with Azucar Ice Cream for authentic Cuban-inspired treats, Miami Smokers for the perfect BLT, Doggi’s for world-class areppas, Rosetta for freshly made bread, the perfect breakfast sandwich at Toasted Bagelry and for your sweet tooth, hand-made chocolates from Romanicos.
Hour 6: THE NIGHT’S STILL YOUNG
Just steps from the Brightline station is the American Airlines Arena, home of the Miami Heat and host to world-class performing artists. Walk over to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts to catch opera, ballet, concerts and Broadway shows. While in town, enjoy cocktails prepared by an expert mixologist at one of downtown’s trendy rooftop bars, such as Pawn Broker at The Langford Hotel. When the party’s over, travel by train with Brightline to get safely home to Fort Lauderdale or West Palm Beach.