Miami is known internationally as a mecca for avant garde artists, thanks in large part to the success of the annual Art Basel festival. But when the fair’s not in town, culture hounds know to head to the Pérez—a true cathedral of contemporary works, spread out over 200,000 square feet of bay-front space in downtown Miami. You don’t even have to go inside to have a good time; Bernstein often brings her four-year-old son to the Pérez to roam the grounds and admire the magnificent hanging gardens, installed by French botanist Patrick Blanc. Pérez Art Museum Miami: 1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami; 305-375-3000; pamm.org
The Latin spirit of Miami is most vibrant along a stretch known as Calle Ocho—Little Havana—where live music spills out of nightclubs and Cubano sandwiches can be heard sizzling on planchas behind every kitchen door. Although Ball & Chain passed through a number of hands through the years—and closed its doors a few times—the club can trace its roots in the neighborhood as far back as the 1930s. Ball & Chain: 1513 SW 8th St, Miami; 305-643-7820; ballandchainmiami.com
The country’s best and most well-preserved examples of 1920s and 30s art deco architecture are still standing in Miami Beach. For lovers of the style’s geometric forms, soothing symmetry and pastel paint jobs, a walk along Collins Avenue or Ocean Drive, pictured here, can be a fever dream.
Bernstein points to Lung Yai on Calle Ocho as an example of Miami’s unique ability to foster cultural exchange. The restaurant is the work of a Thai chef who embraces the Spanish tradition of tapas in a Cuban neighborhood within an American city, and somehow it all works out. “Bas” Trisransri delivers the flavors of his native Bangkok in a small plate format, but dishes like shrimp salad spiked with lemongrass, mint, kaffir lime, ginger and chiles still pack a super-sized wallop. Lung Yai Thai Tapas: 1731 SW 8th St, Miami; 786-334-6262; lungyaitapas.com