Miami: A City of Sea, Sun, and Sin

“There is no place like Miami to have fun. It’s hip, mod, and contemporary. And a great place to spend as a family.” Tommy Hilfiger’s words perfectly encapsulate the city’s thriving real estate market, rich diversity, booming arts and culture scene, hip and fine dining restaurants, world-class shopping, renowned nightlife, and sunny weather year-round. While the undeniably sexy city continues to evolve, it has maintained its longstanding identity that makes it uniquely Miami. In Assouline’s new book, Miami Beach, editor Horacio Silva guides us through the metropolis and the pivotal points in its history. Modern and iconic establishments like the popular Surf Club and Casa Tua do not overshadow the classics like The Raleigh hotel or Joe’s Stone Crab—the series of “booms and busts [have only helped] Miami emerge as a bona fide city of the future, a beaming metropolis and poster child for globalization,” noted Silva.

The colorful design aesthetic of Miami. (Alamy Stock Photo)
Joe’s Stone Crab (Alamy Stock Photo)

Above all, the people of Miami—always out and about—can be credited for keeping the city as lively as it is today. A diverse population, Miami is a global melting pot with a heavy blend of Caribbean, Latin American, and Southern American cultures, and the influences can be seen all over the city. Twenty-three million tourists flock from around the world each year seeking the excitement of the city at night and the relaxation offered during the day. “Is Miami America? Is it a state? Is it the South?… I love Miami for the same reason I love the places I love most around the world…it’s the mix here, this big, messy, dysfunctional hell-broth of people from all over the world that make it so awesome and make it a place I want to keep coming back to. Also the food’s good,” said renowned chef Anthony Bourdain. Designer Gianni Versace, who was fascinated himself by the area, purchased an oceanfront mansion, Casa Casuarina, in 1992 before his assassination, and spent a $33 million on renovations to create his dream palace. And soon thereafter, Versace’s idealized image of Miami was plastered all over mainstream media outlets, intriguing travelers all over. The mansion still stands on Ocean Avenue today as a boutique hotel.

Assouline’s “Miami Beach(Courtesy of Assouline Publishing)
The greenery of Lummus Park. (Michele and Tom Grimm)

Beyond the boutique hotels and restaurants that line Collins Avenue on South Beach, and the luxury resorts in Surfside and Mid-Beach, people are drawn to Miami’s sophisticated art and shopping. Each year, Art Basel alone attracts more than 80,000 travelers. There is also a wealth of museums like Vizcaya and The Bass, as well as Wynwood, the hipster neighborhood filled with graffiti art and wall murals. High-end shopping can be found in the Brickell and the Design District, as well as Bal Harbour, which is host to a large outdoor mall.  

South Beach is quintessential Miamiit has everything from beaches and nightclubs to historic art deco buildings. (Alamy Stock Photo)

It’s no wonder Miami remains one of the most attractive destinations for residents and tourists alike. Its unique people, rich history, and colorful architecture and art scene blend together to make Miami a city truly unlike any other. In the words of longtime resident Jessica Goldman Strebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties, Miami “is a city of beauty, a city of inclusiveness, a city of culture, flavor, creativity and playfulness. It is gloriously global and warmly welcoming.”