A creation of developer Craig Robins, the Miami Design District over the past decade has morphed into a go-to destination for locals and visitors. While the district began as and still is the “it” place for high-end designers and furniture stores, it has become so much more than that. Just three square blocks, the neighborhood features flagship stores from luxury fashion houses, mom-and-pop restaurants and independent boutiques. The Design District is the little Miami neighborhood that packs a big, artful punch.
Meet our Miami Design District guide
Back when the district was just an idea, Karen Quinones, the owner of En Avance since 1993, decided to take a chance and move her global design house from Lincoln Road to the mainland. “I was the first one here, so there was absolutely nothing,” she said. “I thought that the Design District was a cool place to feature my things in a gallery-type space.” Eleven years later, Quinones says that the neighborhood has undergone a “total transformation.” Guests walk into En Avance and find clothing, accessories, home goods, beauty, stationery, and more from the design minds of international creators.
Here, Quinones leads INDULGE on an insider’s tour of nine Miami Design District highlights:
1. Did you know there’s a farmers market?
“The Market #atMDD is my Wednesday stop (3-8 p.m.) for all things organic and yummy. I actually save all my grocery shopping for Wednesdays when I can go there and get all my fresh fruits and vegetables. There are also lots of juices, and their popcorn is really good. I always buy it for my staff.” 3801 Northeast First Avenue; 305-722-7100; miamidesigndistrict.net.
2. Happy hour with the Estefans
“If it’s Friday night, it’s happy hour at Estefan Kitchen for mojitos and live performances in Palm Court. I go with some friends, we get a pitcher, and we just sit and have fun.” 140 Northeast 39th Street, Suite 133; 786-843-3880; estefankitchen.com.
3. The gym that pros trust
“If you want personal training, DBC Fitness is the spot for pro athletes. At any time you could see see a Miami Heat player or a Miami Dolphins player working out.” 3841 Northeast Second Avenue, Suite 103; 786-452-8964; dbcfitness.com.
4. Your one-stop shop
“For my store, En Avance, I buy from all over the world: Peru, Australia, England, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain. I also carry a small, curated beauty department with sustainable products like Vintner’s Daughter and Kure Bazaar. I also carry Fornasetti, an iconic Italian designer from the ’50s. I carry all of his home objects, furniture, exclusive items, one-of-a-kind pieces and so on.” 53 Northeast 40th Street; 305-576-0056; enavance.co.
5. Perfect place for pampering
“For some pampering, Emena, an eco-luxury spa, is the perfect place for all types of treatments — massages and facials and more.” 4100 Northeast Second Avenue, Suite 301; 305-363-7358; emenaspa.com.
6. Go here for your caffeine fix
“OTL is the place for my morning cup of joe. On Saturday evenings they feature a 35-mm movie. How cool is that?” 160 Northeast 40th Street; 786-953-7620; otlmiami.com.
7. A restaurant to fall in love with
“If you want a great meal made with love, Mandolin Aegean Bistro serves amazing food using ingredients from their garden. It’s been a favorite of mine from day one. I love the octopus there.” 4312 Northeast Second Avenue; 305-576-6066; mandolinmiami.com.
8. For a little something sweet
“Perhaps the sweetest of all Laduree shops is located in the ultra-cool Chrome Hearts store and gallery. Whenever I have guests in town or when I have certain clients, we go there.” 4025 Northeast Second Avenue; 786-953-7384; laduree.fr/en.
9. You need to take a selfie here
“In front of the Fly’s Eye Dome and Le Corbusier by Xavier Veilhan, both located in the Palm Court. There’s a lot to see throughout the Design District, lots of beautiful, public art.” 140 Northeast 39th Street; 305-772-7100.