Party City, U.S.A. Unofficial capital of Latin America. Home of the world's best basketball player. High bikinis per capita rating. Which is your Miami?
CNN Insider Guides are thoroughly checked for accuracy. Given the fluid nature of the travel industry, however, some listings may fall out of date before guides can be updated. The best practice is to confirm current information on official websites before making plans to visit any business or attraction.
(CNN)It's not that the best of Miami's days as a party town are over.
It's that there's a lot more going on these days than sun, sex and sand.
In the best of Miami, visual arts are thriving, world-renowned architects are reshaping the skyline and an almost unfair share of award-winning chefs have brought about a dynamic foodie scene.
That said, you'll still find a cocktail menu everywhere from the pool to the ballpark. In this city, happy hour is an ethos.
A note: restaurants and nightclubs in the best of Miami open and close with alarming frequency. We apologize if some of the newcomers on our list turn out to lack staying power that defines the of-the-moment best of Miami.
Soho Beach House
Everyone must still be recovering from last night.
A 50-room hotel tower annexed to the grounds of a members-only club, Soho Beach House offers a quiet, intimate take on the best of Miami experience.
With the exception of the courtyard restaurant Cecconi's, on-site amenities here are off-limits to the general public.
Fellow guests and a not-quite-representative group of chic locals dominate the scene in the dining hall, spa and rooftop beach club.
In the evenings, a roving bartender visits the six Beachside suites to offer guests "One While Changing" -- complimentary cocktails prepared in-room.
For $14, guests in other rooms can summon the art deco bar cart to their doors.
Decades after its heyday as a Rat Pack playground, the party is still going strong at the Fontainebleau, a best of Miami landmark.
A billion-dollar renovation completed in 2008 added more than a dozen restaurants, bars and lounges to the massive resort, where celebrities and year-round Spring Breakers sip drinks poolside before hitting the two in-house nightclubs, Arkadia and LIV.
The crowds can feel more Snooki than Sinatra at times, but the 3,700-square-meter spa and more subdued Sorrento and Tresor pools provide a respite.
Thanks to digital age snoops and virtual broadsheeters, the "mystery" ice cream that rounds out meals at Naoe is no longer much of a mystery -- that's the delicious tang of soy sauce you'll taste in the signature dessert.
But a host of other bygone formalities remain firmly in place: reservations are required, dinners last between two and three hours and deference to the chef is absolute -- all meals are "chef's choice."
The chef is owner Kevin Cory, who prepares kaiseki-style bento boxes followed by elegant courses of nigiri. Detail-oriented to a fault, Cory pairs his pescatarian delights with sake from his family brewery in Japan.
At Versailles, "local flavor" doesn't necessarily refer to the food.
A casual Cuban restaurant inspired by a glitzy French palace?
Wrap your mind around this best of Miami concept, and you'll begin to understand why you're sitting under a massive chandelier and digging into a dish called ropa vieja, which means "old clothes" in Spanish. (The shredded flank steak is said to resemble worn rags.)
In fact, you may understand a lot about the community of Cuban exiles that congregates here, consuming -- alongside tourists and other locals -- more than 1,000 potent cafecitos daily at the walk-up coffee counter, and enjoying medianoche sandwiches atop white tablecloths until late into the night.
The draw isn't the food. As you'll glean from the long list of politicians and celebrities who frequently visit, this kitschy establishment is unmatched in its local flavor.
When Switzerland-based fair Art Basel launched its stateside counterpart in the best of Miami in 2002, it cemented the city's unlikely place as a contemporary arts capital.
The hub of the local scene is the Wynwood Arts District, a once-gritty industrial neighborhood that's now home to a long list of galleries and artist studios.
The Rubell Family Collection on N.W. 29th Street was one of the first exhibition spaces to move to the area.
Founders Don and Mera Rubell continue to nurture local talent such as Hernan Bas, while expanding an impressive collection that also includes works by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst.
Free daily tours of the RFC's current exhibit take place at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
A few blocks south of the RFC, N.W. 23rd Street is primarily the domain of young local gallerists.
Two standouts, Gallery Diet and Spinello Projects, almost exclusively showcase experimental works by the best of Miami-based artists.
Art Basel Miami Beach is held annually during the first week in December.
The Rubell Family Collection is closed from August through November.
Miami has been dubbed by wags the capital of Latin America. No matter its status -- unofficial or otherwise -- the best of Miami has historically been a magnet for immigrants from Latin America, all of whom have contributed to uniquely Miami culture that's as varied as it is colorful.
Here's where to find the best of Miami's Latin collage.
Dominoes at Maximo Gomez Domino park in Little Havana.
The influence of the best of Miami's Cuban community can be felt throughout the city, but its historic heart is Little Havana, where cigar shops dot the streets and octogenarian exiles from Castro's Cuba while away the days at Domino Park.
Miami Culinary Tours offers guided neighborhood walkthroughs that include stops at a handful of typical restaurants.
You'll leave fully versed on both the food and the culture.
Vegetarians should make prior arrangements or be prepared to sit out a few courses -- traditional Cuban cuisine includes dishes like vaca frita (it translates to fried cow) and mofongo (mashed plantains stuffed with pork).
The ascendance of Lima's culinary star is evident in the best of Miami, where a Peruvian food craze -- coupled with an ample supply of seafood -- keeps residents awash in ceviches, tiraditos and pisco sours.
Newcomers include Juvia, an extravagant venture where diners feast on raw fish in the shadow of a towering vertical garden; and My Ceviche, buzzy young chef Sam Gorenstein's restaurant in Miami Beach's South of Fifth neighborhood.
On the mainland, the streets in and around Coral Gables have long been known for their Peruvian eateries.
Juvia, 1111 Lincoln Road Elevator lobby in corner of Lenox and Lincoln, Miami Beach, FL 33139;
My Ceviche, 1250 South Miami Avenue, Miami, FL 33130;
Parrillas, churrascarias and more
For those who prefer heartier meals, there's no shortage of Latin steakhouses in the best of Miami.
Argentinean grills (parrillas) abound, serving tender cuts from grass-fed cows in La Pampa.
Where most American steakhouses allow diners to select the degree to which their meat is cooked, parrillas place more emphasis on the process.
Local restaurant group Graziano's prepares certain dishes in a vividly named oven called an infiernillo or "small inferno."
Brazilian steakhouses -- all-you-can-eat propositions where meat is carved tableside -- are also well represented.
Grimpa in Brickell is a notable example, while churrascaria chains like Texas de Brazil and Fogo de Chão both have locations on Miami Beach.
If you like your steak Central American-style, the best of Miami has three Los Ranchos locations.
The menus at the Nicaraguan restaurants pair parrilla-style cuts with antojitos, small plates like plantains, tamales and fried pork rinds that are typical of the region.