While Panama City, Cabo San Lucas and Nassau sound like ideal spring break destinations, not everyone’s planning to leave the Magic City for a weeklong vacation. Miami is a hotspot, after all. So before you worry about your lack of plans for this upcoming week, consider these five new and alternative venues each presenting a different side to the city we call home.
Sleep: Freehand Miami Hostel
Situated inside a 1930s-built Art Deco structure, formerly known as the Indian Creek Hotel, Freehand Miami is one of Miami Beach’s recently opened hip hotel destinations and provides an entirely new definition to “hipster chic.”
Yes, hostels usually evoke associations with dangerous eastern European accommodations and creepy, dark side entrances, but this one is nothing short of comfortable. Inside, the boutique-style locale is reminiscent of summer camp – wooden bunk beds and a colorful, tropical decor abound – and can easily lodge up to eight friends (or strangers) at a time.
For the less adventurous, private quads are available for “grown-up sleepovers” and there is an option suited with just one king sized bed. Don’t forget to take advantage of the outdoor pool, where graffiti-like “Love” signs run along the walls and handcrafted cocktails are provided by the in-house bar, The Broken Shaker. Shared room rates start at $30 per night.
Freehand Miami is located at 2727 Indian Creek Drive, Miami Beach.
Drink: Gramps Miami
Perhaps the diviest of dive bars in Wynwood, just steps away from Cafeina, Lester’s, Joey’s and Wood Tavern, Gramps is where spring breakers can order a drink without waiting in line or paying for bottle service. Outside, there’s usually a food truck serving up fine grilled cheese concoctions, while $4 hot dogs, $6 burgers and $5 margaritas await indoors.
The staff is sure to promise an at-home feel (someone’s usually baking or ordering free pizza for all), and the bar’s set up is designed to encourage face-to-face conversation. Its bright orange façade and signage promise “air conditioning,” “cold beer” and “cocktails,” but once you’ve entered, you’ll also find a generous outdoor space and beer garden dedicated to live bands, movie screenings and no-frills dance parties.
Gramps Miami is located at 176 NW 24th St., Miami.
Party: Rec Room
If you’re tired of the massive crowds and dizzying strobe lights found at LIV and Story, head to Rec Room for a more intimate vibe. Just across from the recently opened SLS Hotel and famed Delano, this underground lounge is adorned with vinyl records, black leather couches, gold lighting and has a ‘70s vibe to it. It’s small, kitschy and is better enjoyed with those closest to you.
Rec Room is located inside the Gale South Beach at 1690 Collins Ave., Miami Beach.
Eat: Swine Southern Table & Bar
Set to open Saturday, Swine is bringing more Southern sensibility to Miami. Forget about dieting and watching the waistline because this joint is all about comfort food.
The restaurant is owned by the same team behind Yardbird Southern Table & Bar – where fried chicken and waffles, whiskey and bourbon, and grits fill the menu – and promises to deliver hearty plates with Berkshire spare ribs, local suckling pig, Russian wild boar, Mississippi quail and Texas Antelope. Brunch will be offered on weekends.
Swine Southern Table & Bar is located at 2415 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables.
See: Haring Miami
Last spring, art lovers flocked to the Design District’s Moore Building for a glimpse at some of Salvador Dali’s most iconic creations, but this year’s exhibit will prove to be all about pop art and graffiti.
Most famously known for his outdoor “Crack is Wack” mural in Harlem and his underground, impromptu subway paintings in New York City, Haring has been one of the art world’s most celebrated patrons since his AIDS-related death in 1990. He not only ruled Manhattan’s late-night club scene in the ‘80s, hitting the streets with Madonna, Grace Jones and Andy Warhol, among others, but also used vibrant colors and seemingly upbeat, dance-like figures in his work to respond to some of the decade’s most rampant social problems such as AIDS, drug use and crime.
The exhibit will celebrate Haring’s work and will also welcome a pop-up restaurant by Miami-based chef Michelle Bernstein.
The exhibit runs through Sunday. Tickets are $25 online and $30 at the door.
Haring Miami is located inside the Moore Building at 4040 NE Second Ave., Miami.