Brickell has come a long way since its days as a trading post on the banks of the Miami River in the late 1800s. At the turn of the century, Mary Brickell had begun to develop the land along the bay, dubbing it “Millionaire’s Row” and cementing its place among the most exclusive neighborhoods in Miami. Today, the mansions and estates have transformed into contemporary office buildings and luxury hotels, but the urban downtown area continues to operate as a center of commerce and city life.
A diverse collection of restaurants, bars, shops and clubs makes Brickell a must-visit destination for any Miami traveler. The dynamic nightlife scene is a draw after-hours, and during the day the Mary Brickell Village entertains with high-end fashion boutiques, specialty foods and services. And even with so much to offer, the district only continues to grow.
“Brickell is the Miami of tomorrow,” says Jay Baldridge, chef concierge at Mandarin Oriental, Miami. “With one of the largest city developments in the country, Brickell City Center, this portion of Miami south of the river can make you forget all about SoBe.”
From the Miami River down to the Rickenbacker Causeway, explore all the neighborhood has to offer with the help of the city’s premier concierges.
1.Start with a relaxing treatment at the Spa at Viceroy Miami.
“The 28,000-square-foot full-service Spa at Viceroy Miami was designed by Philippe Starck. It also has a 2,500-square-foot gym offering expert trainers, a state-of-the-art cardio theater, integrated wellness classes, yoga, Pilates and a spinning studio. The beautiful 5,000-square-foot water lounge with a floating library, a reflecting pond, hot and cold plunge pools, and floor-to-ceiling windows [overlooks] Key Biscayne.” (viceroymiami.com) —Jorge Rocha, chef concierge at Viceroy Miami
2. Have a leisurely brunch.
“With [more than] 20 restaurants, the [Mary Brickell area has] a wide variety of different cuisines to choose from. … Balans offers great brunch all day. … It offers breakfast all day long—great comfort food, along with great salads. You can get brunch every day, and they also make great drinks.” (balansrestaurants.com) —Jorge Rocha, chef concierge at Viceroy Miami
3. Or, brunch in luxury with an award-winning meal.
“If you’re looking for a upscale casual spot for happy hour or brunch, Edge Steak & Bar [at Four Seasons Hotel Miami] offers the best in the city. [Its] Sunday brunch was recently named one of the best brunch buffets in America by Travel & Leisure.” (edgerestaurantmiami.com) —Fernando Pochulu, chef concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Miami
4. Sign up for a walking tour.
“The [Brickell/Financial District walking tour] takes you through some of the highlights of the southern portion of downtown Miami, known locally as the Brickell area, Brickell District or just Brickell. … On this tour, you will see buildings made famous by shows like ‘Miami Vice,’ ‘CSI: Miami’ and ‘Burn Notice.’ ” (miamidowntowntour) —Chauncey Sullivan, concierge at Jade Beach
5. Grab a scoop of gelato to enjoy while walking the neighborhood.
“Perricone’s [Marketplace & Cafe], surrounded by the foliage of Allen Morris Brickell Park, offers a rustic refuge where you would half expect [to see your] grandma folding fresh ravioli in the kitchen. [… Also,] do not miss a chance to indulge in the rich gelato available.” (perricones.com) —Jay Baldridge, chef concierge at Mandarin Oriental, Miami
6. Enjoy some art along the way, followed by poolside cocktails.
“[Take a tour of] Four Seasons Hotel Miami. There are two towering art pieces, Adam and Eve, sculpted from bronze by Colombian-born artist Fernando Botero. Also in the main lobby of hotel is the Seated Woman statue. Dine alfresco at Bahía poolside, … [which offers] very relaxing outdoor dining in a tropical setting. Enjoy the soothing waterfall and the Latin-influenced local flavor.” (fourseasons.com/miami) —John Lenis, concierge at Jade Ocean
7. Slow it down with a quiet dinner.
“You will not find another restaurant in Miami, or probably in the U.S., like NAOE. This intimate Japanese restaurant creates a unique journey every night with ingredients flown [in] daily from Japan and an exclusive sake selection from the chef’s family brewery.” (naoemiami.com) —Fernando Pochulu, chef concierge at Four Seasons Hotel Miami
8. Enjoy a whirlwind night on the town.
“If you want to party in Brickell, you must check out Fifty Miami Ultra Lounge. Fifty stories up, [the lounge] reigns as Brickell’s most exclusive lookout point [with] a spectacular, Asian-inflected private pool and lounge atop the hotel.” (viceroymiami.com) —Jorge Rocha, chef concierge at Viceroy Miami
—Written by Allison Hata