Festivals of art and food, glamorous dining with Biscayne Bay views and romantic walks along the beach… Miami is a must-visit for modern valentines

The private beach at Mandarin Oriental, Miami Technically, it’s not the capital of Florida, but Miami, undeniably the most dynamic city in the Sunshine State, hosts a seemingly endless list of events in February, appealing to every sense.

Minty mojito and savoury seafood may be the flavours most commonly associated with the Magic City, but when the Food Network’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival arrives this month, tastes from around the globe take centre stage. In various destinations all over town, celebrity chefs blend, grill and bake their way through four days of delicious dinners, sampling stations and late-night soirées. Thousands of visitors come to imbibe and indulge at this annual fundraiser.

Food Network’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival For a taste of the town accompanied by photo-worthy views, locals recommend ordering a cocktail and securing a window seat at Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne to watch the sun set, or finding a bar stool at Juvia’s Amethyst bar for a Miami Beach panorama. Mandarin Oriental, Miami’s dining outlets also offer breathtaking locations, overlooking Biscayne Bay and the city’s glittering skyline; choose from the innovative bar menu at the new MO Bar + Lounge, French and Asian dishes at Azul and Peruvian fare at the new La Mar by Gaston Acurio.

Classic design at the Original Miami Beach Antique Show There are myriad treats for art lovers throughout Miami, even though Art Basel has already come and gone by early December. See masterpieces at the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, recently ranked as one of the country’s top art fairs, and source valuable jewellery with history at the Original Miami Beach Antique Show. Or visit Art Wynwood, an international contemporary art fair held over Presidents Day Weekend, in the mural-adorned Wynwood neighbourhood.

February is also the time of year for the Miami International Boat Show, a massive gathering of watercraft spanning three sites. It’s the perfect place to take in the sound of speed boats cutting through waves as well as the whirr of fishing reels.

Classic design at the Original Miami Beach Antique Show A symphony in the concert hall of the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center might be more soothing to some ears, or a jazz quartet performance on Valentine’s Day under the stars at the glorious Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Other romantic alfresco options include moonlit walks on Miami’s sandy beaches and organic meals prepared à la minute at Dinner in Paradise. Indoor intimacy, meanwhile, comes courtesy of a world-class production at the Adrienne Arsht Center, the American Airlines Arena or the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater. Tickets to a Florida Grand Opera or Miami City Ballet show will not disappoint, either.

Romantic feelings swell during the month celebrating Saint Valentine and a list of ways to embrace it can be found at website Miami Romance Month; those shot by Cupid’s arrow can discover Miami’s top spots for marriage proposals and wedding ceremonies – just in case the need arises. But, somehow, even those who don’t find love in Miami will still fall in love with the city.

Riki Altman is a Miami-based writer and editor. She is the founder of Wordstar Ink, a communications company

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