The Miami skyline at night from the water

One city, five ways: Miami

Miami may once have been all about the beach, but times have changed. From Brickell’s sleek skyscrapers and sophisticated hangouts to the hip, arty enclave of Wynwood, the Magic City has something for everyone. Here’s where to find your kinfolk

An exhibition at privately owned De La Cruz Collection

The luxe lover

Once a hub of industry-only showrooms and warehouses, the Design District has become the city’s smartest shopping enclave. Its pale stone boulevards are lined with luxury names, from Dior, Versace and Saint Laurent to sleek concept store En Avance. The neighbourhood’s also known for its art and design focus and is dotted with museum-worthy sculptures; pick up a map to track down the standouts, such as Zaha Hadid’s Elastika. If that’s got you inspired, head to the ICA Miami or privately owned De La Cruz Collection (look out for the discreet signage and press the buzzer to get in). Refuel at laidback, all-day restaurant OTL, or Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, famed for its chilli-laced kale pizzas and highly superior burgers.

Colourful wall murals at Wynwood

The cool hunter

Tagged as Miami’s answer to Williamsburg, Wynwood’s where the art aficionados hang out. Drop by Panther Coffee for a note-perfect cortadito, then stroll around the Wynwood Walls, an open-air playground for the world’s best street artists (including Shepard Fairey and eL Seed). Really, that’s just for starters: every wall in the neighbourhood has been stencilled, graffitied or tagged. Its old industrial warehouses, meanwhile, are home to all kinds of start-ups, from craft breweries to quirky independent boutiques. Head to the Wynwood Shop for handmade pieces by local creatives, before stopping by Coyo Taco for the best tacos in town. By night, its hidden tequila bar is Wynwood’s worst-kept secret; arrive early to score a perch and order up a chia margarita.

Octopus anticuchos at  La Mar By Gastón Acurio

The business traveller

Quarter of an hour’s drive from the airport, overlooking Biscayne Bay, Brickell is the city’s gleaming, high-rise financial district – and home to Mandarin Oriental, Miami. Time was, everything shut down outside office hours: now, it’s been transformed by a wave of upscale openings. Locals start the day with a jog around Brickell Key, linked to the mainland by a bridge – look out for manatees cruising across the bay. For shopping – essential and otherwise – head to the sleek Brickell City Centre, with outposts of Apple, Sephora and Saks Fifth Avenue. Come the evening, it’s all about dinner at La Mar By Gastón Acurio, the Peruvian star chef. Score a table on the buzzy waterfront terrace, and feast on ceviche, octopus anticuchos (skewers) and Chinese-Peruvian fried rice.

Pizza at a Miami SoFi restaurant

The gourmand

South of Fifth – AKA SoFi – is suddenly on every foodie’s radar: the affluent tip of South Beach, spanning Fifth Street to South Pointe Pier. First, visit Joe’s Stone Crab, in situ for more than a century (Al Capone was a regular). It’s more tablecloths and tuxedo-ed waiters than simple seafood shack, but there’s no better place to taste Florida’s plump, sweet stone-crab claws. More recent arrivals include Stubborn Seed, headed up by rising star Jeremy Ford. The seven-course set menu’s a taster of his exquisitely plated greatest hits, from warm celery root (trust us: it’s sublime) to curry-spiked, butter-poached lobster.

 A palm-lined promenade in South Beach’s Art-Deco District at night

The architecture buff

Twenty minutes’ drive across the causeway from Downtown, South Beach’s Art-Deco District feels like another world, with its curving, pastel-hued façades and palm-lined promenade. Across from the beach, Ocean Drive’s standouts include the Colony Hotel: Instagram candy with its geometric sign, which is neon-lit after dark. A little further north, there’s always a crowd outside Gianni Versace’s former villa, its gates still inset with golden, snake-entwined medusas. Back on the Art-Deco trail, hit Collins Avenue, where The Webster – another 1930s grande dame – has been reborn as a three-floor fashion store, whose chic Parisian owners are always one step ahead of the curve.

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Curved buildings of Miami's South Beach

Your essential guide to Miami

Nestled between sun-soaked South Beach and the high-rise paradise of downtown, Mandarin Oriental, Miami is the perfect point from which to enjoy the best of the city