Best Reason to Stay in Miami for the Summer 2024 | Miami Salsa Congress | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times

True red-blooded Miamians don't run away from the summer heat; they do a bump of Celsius and turn it way the hell up with some fancy footwork and ecstatic hip gyrations. As the city sways to the rhythm of its vibrant Latin culture year-round, the annual Miami Salsa Congress steps it up a notch, electrifying summers by showcasing the best of salsa music, dance, and culture from around the globe. From exhilarating performances by world-renowned dancers to immersive workshops for enthusiasts of all levels, this gathering transforms the 305 into a sizzling mecca for dance aficionados and newcomers alike.

Photo by Melanie Ryan

Like the local saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute," the same sentiment goes for South Beach. If you don't like what you see, walk a block. Depending on time and location, there are a dozen different vibes you can soak up along these shores — from the pier at Government Cut to the semi-official start of Mid-Beach at 23rd Street. There are surfers at South Pointe, low-key locals south of Fifth, hardcore Wet Willie's-toting partiers between 5th and 10th, and the eye-candy gays flexing from 10th to 12th. Finally, from 14th to 23rd, you've got your wealthier tourists under umbrellas. What all these beaches have in common are long, deep stretches of soft sand and waters in the prettiest shades of blue. And if you want the beach at its most peaceful, set your alarm and get to any block before 8:30 a.m. for the singularly majestic experience of having South Beach all to yourself.

Less than a mile from the traffic-laden din of downtown Fort Lauderdale lies an oasis with an idyllic Broward beach across from expansive shoreline trails and mangrove habitats. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is sometimes referred to as Fort Laudy's version of Central Park, owing to its natural beauty in a prime downtown location. The beach area offers chair and umbrella rentals, as well as a restaurant and bar with beer and frozen cocktails. A visitor's center nearby presents the history of the state park, which is comprised of 180 acres of land donated by attorney Hugh Taylor Birch in the 1940s. Accessible from East Sunrise Boulevard, park entry is $4 for a single-occupant vehicle and $6 for multiple occupants up to eight people.

Courtesy of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

Looking to show friends visiting Miami-Dade that the county is more than a traffic-clogged concrete maze? Add Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden to your agenda. On strolls through the serene trails that line this 83-acre facility, your tourist pals will come across spiny exotic trees native to Madagascar, South Florida pine rockland habitats, and a tropical flower garden with plants from around the world. The "Wings of the Tropics" butterfly exhibit and the waterfall at Moos Sunken Garden are just a couple of stunners to visit on the property. The garden regularly hosts special events like the Mango Festival and the Gnomes on the Roam family-friendly scavenger hunt. Named after plant explorer and botanist David Fairchild, who retired to Miami in the 1930s, it's centrally located. Admission is $24.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors, $11.95 for children between the ages of 6 and 17, and free for children 5 and younger.

Rosa Sky photo

When single women in Miami head out in groups with a burning desire to meet a mate, they like to keep things feeling special, so they go a little upscale. And class is what Rosa Sky Rooftop has to offer well-heeled mamas on the hunt. It has incredible views of the city perfect for group selfies with pink cocktails in hand, happy-hour specials, and drool-worthy tapas. The bar has been an instant hit for those interested in mingling, mostly because it's in the heart of Brickell, where young singles rent outrageously priced apartments in the hopes of looking marketable. Make sure to hit up this hotspot at sunset when the lighting is optimal to have the whole night to charm your new girlie while the DJ spins the soundtrack to your meet-cute.

Better Days photo

If you want to meet a guy and the apps aren't cutting it (we know they're not) and looking confused at Home Depot has failed, get to Better Days. Ideally, you're going to hit this spot up with your girlies after work on a Friday. Trust. All the single men in the Brickell area will be looking to down a drink after a long week working in finance — or whatever it is they do in Brickell. Maybe it's the low lighting, quirky atmosphere, and free-flowing beverages, but these guys are more likely to approach and buy a cutie (that's you) a drink than any other bar we've been to recently. So, dress to impress and soak in the attention. Bonus: They also have very good-looking bartenders if the dudes aren't cutting it.

Courtesy of Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Elaborate Tuscan walkways, lily-lined ponds, and vine-covered gazebos at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens imbue the place with a dream-like atmosphere perfect for two lovebirds looking to flutter about and forget their troubles, if only for a while. It's hard to conjure up a more romantic setting than Vizcaya's courtyards and stone nooks where partnered couples often flock to host their weddings. Designed by architect F. Burrall Hoffman for industrialist James Deering, the century-old main house serves as a portal to an opulent past, stacked wall-to-wall with artwork, baroque antiques, and precious artifacts. The Coconut Grove property has a pristine view of Biscayne Bay with a sculpted stone barge in the foreground, perfect for your first selfie as a pair. Vizcaya promises a night to remember, one that might just lead you back in a few years, but this time donning a wedding gown or tux. Adult admission is $25 and includes access to the gardens and mansion. (We're not mentioning entry prices for kids because, dammit, this is date night.)

A memorable picnic should be at a picturesque spot far away from too many prying eyes but not so far away from home that your lovingly assembled portable meal turns sour. Merrie Christmas Park is the perfect spot for popping a squat and munching outside with its off-the-beaten-path energy and central location. Just a mile away from the bustling gridlock of U.S. 1, you can lay out on a grassy field surrounded by ficus trees that offer a distinctly South Florida feel and much-needed shade. There's a fenced-in playground if you've brought along any little ones that need stimulation. Heck, there's even a sloping hill that makes for some fun tumbling, and the kids can explore nature in the giant roots of the banyan trees. We just advise, for your stomach's sake, that you tumble before your picnic.

Photo by Sean Levisman

No plans this afternoon? It's only a two-hour drive west from Miami to Everglades City, a storied frontier town settled in the 1800s and haunted with sleepy Old Florida charm. Reason enough to make the trek is a chance to feast on modestly priced stone crabs and oysters at the wonderfully divey City Seafood or Triad Seafood Market and Cafe. But the real treat is in all the fun stops along the Tamiami Trail, including Miccosukee landmarks, America's smallest (and most Instagrammable) post office in Ochopee, the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters, and fine-art photographer Clyde Butcher's Big Cypress Gallery.

The Boca Raton photo

The Boca Raton has been the talk of the town since its recent renovation, and the fact that it's also equidistant for Palm Beachers and Miamians makes it the ideal tri-county getaway. Whether it's for a romantic retreat or family romp, book the Tower Suite Collection, where each suite comes with a butler, all-inclusive top-shelf mini-bar, and access to "Top of the Tower," a suite-only space comparable to a first-class lounge with a sprawling 365-degree view of the ocean and mainland. Don't miss breakfast at Sadelle's or dinner at Bocce. The property is decorated with blue-chip art and is home to boutiques and a purely blissful spa. But besides the upscale stuff, water is the main attraction. At the Harbourside Pool Club, there's a water park for kids and a lazy river. Jump from one of the pools to the in-house boat at the marina for efficient transport to the beach club.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®