Bienvenidos, Dallas fans! Travel arrangements are made, bags are packed, and your tickets for the Heat-Mavs standoff are purchased (you’re also an arm and a leg short, but that’s another story). Yeah, you’re here to cheer on your Mavericks (boo--- sorry, it’s a reflex), but what else is there to do in our city other than go to the beach or (try to) dance salsa? Turns out, there’s much more to sunny Miami than meets the eye. Here’s a comprehensive “to-do” guide, in no particular order, for your vacation (let’s be honest) to South Florida.
#1- The Adrienne Arsht Center, Downtown Miami
So you might not be the “theatre” type--- colorful scenes, choreographed moves, and slightly exaggerated emotions sometimes elude you. But if there’s one thing (of many) Miami is known for, it’s the performing arts. And with the millions of dollars pumped into the venue, and the phenomenal response it’s gotten--- opening its curtains to only the biggest names on Broadway--- it’s worth a shot. Who knows? You might just become a fan. 305.949.6722; arshtcenter.org.
#2- Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
Who doesn’t enjoy a night out on the town, full of good eats (and drinks), great sightseeing, and the best company? If you’re looking for a laid back, yet energetic atmosphere, Lincoln Road is your place. Starting at Washington Avenue and ending at Alton Road, Lincoln Road spans 14 blocks of restaurants, shopping and entertainment.Hint: If there’s one thing to stay for, it’s the people watching. You’ll never be bored. Website: lincolnroad.org.
#3- Zoo Miami
The recently re-vamped Zoo Miami (formerly known as Miami Metro Zoo) is an expansive place with exotic animals and fun attractions. Zoo Miami boasts over 100 exhibits, including an impressive aviary collection. Located on 1 Zoo Boulevard (yes, it has its own street) in Southwest Miami-Dade, it’s a fun alternative to the hustle and bustle of Miami Beach. 786.619.3418; zoomiami.com.
#4- The Everglades
If you’re down for a little more hardcore nature watching, the Everglades is your place. If you haven’t already heard, it’s a national park where you can observe the environment in its truest form--- no gates or barricades to get in your way. Whether you go for an airboat ride or go on a tour, just remember one thing: load up on the bug spray. 305.242.7700; nps.gov/ever/index.htm.
#5- Midtown Miami
Alright, you’re over the “nature” thing. We get it. Now you’re in the mood for a little “wining and dining,” and maybe squeeze in a little art in there somewhere. To catch a glimpse of urban Miami, head over to Midtown Miami. Our suggestion: dine in an intimate resto like Sugarcane or Mercadito and take a leisurely stroll through the Art Park, where you’ll find a thriving hub of artistry and fashion. 305.757.0001; midtownmiami.com.
#6- Miami Science Museum
Museums in Miami are not like other museums. They’re more than just exhibits. Case and point: Miami Science Museum. Go for a night under the stars after dropping the little ones off in their activity room—they’ll have a blast! You can check that off your “to do” list. 305-646-4200; miamisci.org.
#7- Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Coral Gables
Want to walk the path of greatness? Head a little more West to Vizcaya in Coral Gables. Distinguished as a historic landmark, you can walk the halls Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II, and Former President Ronald Reagan once walked. Take a leisurely stroll through the secret garden or relax with a latte in their enchanting café. Hey, it beats staying cooped up in a hotel room. 305-250-9133; vizcayamuseum.org.
#8- Mary Brickell Village, Brickell
If you’re aiming to go where all of SoFla’s movers, shakers and bigwigs hang out, Mary Brickell Village (or the Brickell area in general) is the place to go. Rub elbows with Miami’s savviest while having a cocktail or two at Blue Martini. Play it low-key at Perricone’s or Tobacco Road. Whatever your social mood, Mary Brickell Village won’t disappoint. 305.381.6130; marybrickellvillage.com.
#9- The Stage Miami, Design District
If local tunes are your beat, The Stage Miami is definitely a place to check out during your stay. Located in the popular Design District, it’s a hotbed for thriving artists, with hints of New Orleans and Brooklyn thrown into the mix. So kick back, have a few beers, and enjoy great beats and eats. You can even check out their music line-ups on the website ahead of time. 305.576.9577; thestagemiami.com.
#10- Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Fort Lauderdale
The ultimate night out begins and ends at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Sure, it’s a little (okay, a lot) further north from the arena, but it’s got everything you need--- plenty of restaurants, bars, clubs, a theater and more that’ll require a second visit. Oh, we forgot one tiny thing: the HUGE casino with all the slots, machines, tables and games you could ask for. Can we say, “Jackpot?” 1.866.502.PLAY; seminolehardrockhollywood.com.