1. Style it out at the Lincoln Road Mall
Designed by iconic architectural guru Morris Lapidus in the 1950s, Lincoln Road Mall was once dubbed the "Fifth Avenue of the South," though it's now simply known by locals as the "Road." Endless sidewalk cafés, clubs and cultural venues stretch along its length (from Washington Avenue to Alton Road), looking glamorous thanks to a $16-million facelift. Van Dyke and Balans are among its best cafés. Still got money to burn? The Village of Merrick Park has three open-air stories with 115 shops and boutiques, including the area's only Burberry, plus Diane von Furstenberg, Etro, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Sonia Rykiel. Or the best all-rounder, Aventura Mall, has all the big department stores, such as Bloomingdale's and Macy's.
2. Step into a fairytale at the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
The sight of the Italian Renaissance-style Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on the Biscayne Bay is straight out of a fairytale. It's bizarre to discover a European-style palace in this beach lovers' paradise, but visiting it is like entering a wonderland. Built for Chicagoan industrialist and Europhile James Deering in the 20th-century, the extravagant architecture conceals an opulent interior. Full of European antiques and decorative works from the 16th to 19th centuries and complete with original fittings, it will whisk you away to a golden age. No wonder it's so popular when it comes to weddings.
3. Dine like you're in 'Dynasty' at The Forge
In a city of glamour, the beautiful people need a grand stage on which to eat, so there are some fantastic dining experiences to be had. The 19th-century Parisian façade of The Forge conceals a glitzy interior that is a rococo lover's dream. The steakhouse once hosted the likes of Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and Richard Nixon. It still has an 1822 Château Lafite Rothschild worth $150,000 to prove its star quality. Decadent wines accompany steak and fish dishes, and there's a healthy spa menu for the calorie conscious. The Wednesday night club scene at this venerable place feels like a real-life episode of 'Dynasty'.
4. Get a breath of fresh air in tranquil Key Biscayne
Key Biscayne ('the Key' to locals) may not be as pretty as Miami Beach or attract as many beautiful bodies, but it lacks in looks it compensates for in serenity. The northernmost island in the Florida Keys, its life began as an exclusive resort in the early 1900s and it attracted the US president Richard Nixon in the 1970s, who bought a home here. Despite rising property prices, it has maintained a tranquil air. With little nightlife or shopping, the lure for visitors is nature: there are pristine beaches, two waterfront parks, a cycling path and gorgeous views of Miami. On the east Crandon Park has barbecue and picnic areas for family trips, while at the tip of the island there is good swimming in the 400-acre park of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area.
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