In case you haven’t noticed, Brickell is booming. The neighborhood just south of downtown, home to Miami’s financial district, has shed its 9-to-5 reputation for a hive of endless activity. City living is soaring to new heights — Panorama Tower is the tallest residential building south of Manhattan — and includes brilliant, new, mixed-use towers, like the aptly named Smart Brickell. Visitors from Broward and Palm Beach counties now easily zip in on the Brightline train. And Brickell plays a pivotal part in the Underline, the 10-mile linear park and pathway under the Metrorail’s elevated tracks. While neighborhood staples like The River Oyster Bar remain, Miami’s epicenter has seen a parade of new restaurants, such as Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz at SLS Brickell and Katsuya at the swanky new SLS Lux Brickell. Shopping also got a boost from the addition of Brickell City Centre, whose desirable retail tenants add to its only-in-Miami appeal.
‘In the past, you didn’t come to Brickell unless it was for business. Now, it’s a live-work-play destination.’
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Meet our Guide: Ramona Messore of Saks Fifth Avenue
The anchor of Brickell City Centre is the posh, three-story Saks Fifth Avenue, where Ramona Messore has served as Vice President and General Manager since the store’s opening two years ago. Her goal: curate a Saks unlike any that shoppers have ever seen. “While Saks is the only true luxury shopping destination in downtown, when we opened the location, I also wanted it to be fun, lively and approachable with a focus on giving back to the city,” she said. Over the past few years, Messore has watched the neighborhood come alive. “In the past, you didn’t come to Brickell unless it was for business. Now, it’s a live-work-play destination.”
Meet, greet and eat
“I walk through Casa Tua Cucina a couple of times a day to say hello to clients or people from the community. It’s become a go-to for lunch or dinner. The tuna or salmon tartare, tagliolini alle vongole, and churrasco are consistently my top picks.” 70 Southwest Seventh Street; 305-755-0320; casatuacucina.com.
“While many metropolitan cities have a higher female ratio, 51 percent of Brickell’s residents are men. At Saks Fifth Avenue, the entire third floor is dedicated to men’s fashion. In Miami, everyone has to look good, so we offer the opportunity to shop in a nice environment.” 81 Southwest Eighth Street; 786-907-3800; saksfifthavenue.com.
“The Mandarin Oriental, Miami is the perfect five-star staycation where you have the spa, fine dining at La Mar, nightlife and downtown’s only beach — all at one location. At the spa, you can enjoy massages such as the Healing Wave, which uses singing bowls to stimulate the chakras.” 500 Brickell Key Drive; 305-913-8288; mandarinoriental.com.
“I have three sons, and CMX Cinemas is a great venue for our family to spend an entire evening together. You can grab a drink and sliders at the bar, and then see a movie while sitting in comfortable seats. There’s also a button to push where an attendant will bring wine or food to you.” 701 South Miami Avenue; 786-482-2097; cmxcinemas.com.
Views on views
“The best panoramic views of the city can be found at Sugar, on the 40th floor of East, Miami hotel. Sugar also has great cocktails like the lychee martini. Anytime we have visitors, we bring them there.” 788 Brickell Plaza; 786-805-4655; sugar-miami.com.
“Big Easy Winebar & Grill has a Barrel Club, where if you’re a member, every quarter they host a wine tasting and you also have a locker to store your wine. It’s a great place for happy hour, too: Wines by the glass are half price.” 701 South Miami Avenue; 786-814-5955; bigeasy.miami.
“If I’m having a party or get-together, I grab a variety of croissants and baked goods from B Bistro + Bakery. The pastries all have such great, distinct flavors.” 600 Brickell Avenue; 305-330-6310; bbistromiami.com.
“If you want to feel like you’re far away from the hustle of the city, head to Seaspice to sit along the Miami River and have a nice glass of wine with friends. You’ll feel like you’re on a river yacht cruise.” 422 Northwest North River Drive; 305-440-4200; seaspicemiami.com.
Dinner and a show
“Having dinner at Marion is always an experience. You could see a bachelorette party, a couple’s night out and a birthday celebration happening at the same time. Once dinner is over, continue the party next door at El Tucán.” 1111 Southwest First Avenue; 786-717-7512; marionmiami.com.
“The city is always moving, so Brickell Key is a good getaway where you can walk or jog the loop that winds along Biscayne Bay, or just stop and disconnect.”
“With all the surrounding big buildings, La Sandwicherie is tucked away in one of the last small plazas on Eighth Street. I love the seafood croissant. It’s one of those things you could have every day.” 34 Southwest Eighth Street; 305-374-9852; lasandwicherie.com.