The San Francisco 49ers are headed to Miami to face the Kansas City Chiefs come Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, Feb. 2 – featuring Jennifer Lopez and Shakira at the halftime mark – and that means you the Faithful are, too.
You’re gonna need a place to sleep in the Magic City, and you’re also gonna need to know where to eat. And where to chill.
I got ya.
The Standard Spa in Miami Beach is the smart, effortlessly cool choice for the Niners fan who wants to fly into town, and stay in the thick of it all but not quite at the center of it all.
The Biscayne Bay-hugged hotel sits on Belle Isle, so you never know who’s gonna like, pedal by…. It’s right where the legendary Lido Spa Hotel used to be, near the Sunset Harbour neighborhood, where you can brunch at Icebox Cafe, a hip and healthy and veritable South Beach institution, at this point, or grab a pizza (or some chicken wings or a kale salad) at Lucali. Some real good food in the area, and there’s a Barry’s, too, in case you wanna stay tip-top on top o’ yo’ situation.
Another lodging option for the cool and secure Faithful is the Hôtel Gaythering. It’s right there in the name: this is the gayest hotel in Miami Beach. If this hotel were a bar, it would be the popular TWIST on Washington Avenue. Ah, but don’t you know, don’t you know; one of the hôtel’s best features is its small, yet terribly fun bar, which is perfect for good old-fashioned cruising and conversating and (strong) craft cocktails and beer.
Either adults-only hotel would be perfect to walk, bike/scoot, or drive to and from with ease and style.
Warning: Traffic is gonna be a bitch in Miami come Super Bowl weekend, especially in and out of South Beach, so if you stay there, trust, keep it simple AF. Whether you’re headed to the Planet Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl Party (featuring Harry Styles, Lizzo, and Mark Ronson) on Watson Island the Friday before the game or to any of the weeks’ many activations or to the game in Miami Gardens, where Dade County meets Broward County, do sort out your transpo and funsies in advance so that you’re not spending your time in traffic.
And do not act the fool.
If you’re flying into MIA, the trade-off is easier, but congested access to Miami’s everything. If you fly into FLL and stay in Fort Lauderdale, you’ll be closer to Hard Rock Stadium, but you’ll be there and not in Miami proper.
There is a difference. Many, in fact.
Now, off SoBe and across the bay – close to the Pérez Art Museum Miami, where you can brunch at Verde and take in some of the city’s most breathtaking views and “Teresita Fernández: Elemental,” a comprehensive look at the work of the Miami-born, New York-based conceptual artist and my fellow Florida International University Panther that is set to close on Feb. 9 (do not miss it!) – is the InterContinental Miami, an OG of the modern Miami skyline built in 1982 around The Spindle, a 18-foot, 70-ton sculpture by Henry Moore.
From there you easily can visit the Freedom Tower, the current home of the Museum of Art and Design at Miami Dade College (it’s literally a hop and skip, across from the AAA, where the Heat is always on), load up on DSQUARED2’s Super Bowl collabs at Brickell City Centre, then head to lunch at SUGARCANE raw bar grill (OMG, their duck & waffle!). You also can rep the 415 when you customize your ultimate Super Bowl look at Levi’s Haus Miami, before checking out the Wynwood Walls and doing a little more light shopping at the Miami Design District. Save room for Cuban food at Versailles on Calle Ocho and do make plans to visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, OK; it is a National Historical Landmark. These last two are simply a must.
You can always stay at the Ritz in Key Biscayne, pero, then, you’re in Key Biscayne, and that’s like, its very own vibe. When I lived in Miami, I hardly ever went to Key Biscayne. I was too young to relish the drive over there, I think. And no one I knew lived there. It wasn’t until the end of my tenure there that I made a friend who lives there. But I can picture it so clearly: a little music, a glass of chilled rosé, a little Sativa (you gotta be a medical-marijuana cardholder to buy weed in the Sunshine State – or, duh, you gotta know someone). At sunset. After a long day of sunning myself, sunning myself.
But I digress.
Downtown Miami, btw, is where you will find the recently opened Miami offshoot of the Lima-based Osaka Nikkei (it’s so on my list). Now, while on the subject of delicious Peruvian food, check out Chalán on the Beach (best seco de res I ever ate in South Florida), and CVI.CHE 105 at the end of Lincoln Road, downtown, or at Aventura Mall, which is on the way to and from the stadium. Un buen ceviche will cut any drunkenness you might feel while Super Bowling and keep you from, you guessed it…acting the fool.
If you feel like Italian, head to Macchialina or to Via Emilia 9, then walk it off around The Bass.
If you’re staying on the beach (hey, I used to live there, so I rep hard), say, at the Angler’s, take the time to enjoy South Pointe Park and the nearby pier. The sexy beach should still be near there on 3rd and the gay beach is on 12th Street, near the Palace, where you can show your Pride all year long. If you wanna show more (all of it, Baker Beach-style), look up Haulover Beach.
If you end up staying north closer to the stadium, think about the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. (Ha! “Up north”….) The aptly named LIV nightclub is at the ’bleau, so you know that will be the place to toast whomever ends up winning the game. And I feel like a real no-frills kind of Faithful would look into booking at the Freehand on Indian Creek Drive. It’s quieter around that part of town, and closer to the Faena District, where you can see, no joke, a gold woolly mammoth.
Farther up north, for realsies now, is the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood with its unmissable new Guitar Hotel, part of a recently delivered $1.5 billion expansion. And then there’s the W Fort Lauderdale. It’s simply “sensational.” I declared so in 2011.
If you’re looking to relax, I would look into the Russian & Turkish Baths (the Dead Sea salt treatment is the bomb and it’s still the deal it was back in my day) and/or the new Float8 wellness lounge in Deerfield Beach. A friend co-founded it, and I can’t wait to try that as well.
Look. Super Bowl week in Miami is gonna be a week of celebration, alright (the last time Miami hosted was Super Bowl XLIV in 2010), so pace yourself.
And do not act the fool.
Peace and love, kids.