Travel: Cocktails, Cabaret & Miami’s Creative Scene

Discover the vibrant and revived Brickell City Centre, from the cool street art of Wynwood arts district to downtown’s cocktails, cabaret and rooftop hangouts…  

A financial district that now shares its home with a thriving art culture, Miami’s Brickell City is all sun, colour clad brick walls and colossal glass towers that all bounce the sun off one another, like a city of glass.

The moment we stepped off the plane we were already hit with Hollywood movie set type sun, the type you never get in the UK, and you immediately forget whatever work-related panic you were having before take-off.

In fact, one of the first things a member of staff at beautiful, tastefully designed Hotel EAST in Brickell City Centre told me was, ‘we don’t do stress here’ – a sentiment that rang true throughout our entire trip, no matter where we went, and even the most frazzled among us were able to let it all go for the week.

Hotel EAST Miami is big on technology, each room is full of so much smart tech, I didn’t manage to figure out all the buttons for the blinds and mood-lighting. The rooms also boats floor-to-ceiling windows, the largest average room size among hotels in Miami roomy balconies so you can bask in that Miami sunshine.

Of the standout must-sees in Miami’s Brickell, Wynwood Walls tops the list, having seen some of the best street artists in the world grace its walls with their spray cans and paintbrushes. There is such a diversity of art styles and bold colours around every corner, enough to keep you entertained for the day, with industrial-style restaurant spots and cafés in the mix to keep you fuelled up.

There is such a diversity of art styles and bold colours around every corner to ensure all digital storage is maxed out

After this, the forward-thinking Perez Art Museum and the sixties Wes Anderson-style South Beach, we’d had enough culture and Instagram worthy stop offs to ensure all digital storage was maxed out.

Switch things up with a trip to cabaret restaurant El Tucan. All white tablecloths and giant sharing cocktails, you’re in for a night to remember before the show even starts. Suddenly the lights dim, and you’re transported back in time, like a black and white cabaret film with Liza Minnelli’s ‘Mein Herr’ sounding out the speakers, scantily clad dancers all moving in unison, before the US’s answer to Adele belts out Hometown (there wasn’t a dry eye in the house).

Back at Hotel EAST you can unwind in the plant-covered rooftop bar, Sugar. A garden oasis in the sky, with even taller skyscrapers as neighbours, Sugar was named best rooftop bar in America by Conde Nast Traveler two years in a row. Alternatively, get revved up at the cool coffee shop in the lobby, which whips up black gold made of locally roasted and ground beans that’s unlike any coffee I’ve ever had.

Boarding our flights back home, I was already missing my blissful mornings spent enjoying breakfast on my balcony, the sun shining and a stress-evaporating week of full of colours, sun and fun. That luscious Miami heat will do that to you – and make you wonder why you ever thought anything was worth getting worked up over.

Prices from £178 for a double room at Hotel EAST Miami per night; 

5 hidden gems to
explore in miami

Schnebly Redland’s Winery & Brewery
A family-run, sustainable winery on a tropical estate where each mango, lychee, guava, passion fruit and Carambola is personally picked for fermentation.

Jackson Soul Food 
Local, national and international visitors and celebrities flock to savor the traditional soul food and culinary delights – like catfish and biscuits – at this family owned restaurant.

Discover the smaller neighourhoods
Go beyond the sun-dappled coastline, and the bustling metropolis stretches into a network of neighborhoods that represent the diverse mix of people who have settled in Miami. Cubans congregated in Little Havana, West Indians converged in Little Haiti, and developers and artists together created the Wynwood arts district.

El Tucan
El Tucan is a cabaret restaurant that’ll transport you back in time with scantily clad dancers all moving in unison and huge sharing cocktails.

Stiltsville is a colourful collection of houses on stilts in Biscayne Bay. Dating back to the 1930s, it was the place to see and be seen when visiting the winter resorts on nearby Miami Beach.

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