Miami Life Insider’s Guide: Design District, Rooftop Views, Wynwood, Kids Store

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If you ever want to feel that you are involved in the world of trendsetters, spend time in the Miami Design District. We were on top of the world this week on a rooftop condo in Belle Isle. I finally walked through the archway entrance to Wynwood Marketplace and now I can’t wait to go back. And I finally found a children’s clothing store in Miami where I am proud to buy a gift for a kid. If you’re in NYC in May, join me at the Renewal Summit!

Fantasy Hours 

The Miami Design District makes you feel like you are seeing the future in a few square blocks. Eliot and I went there to mark 45 years of moving in together when we were both in our late 20s. We were married three years later but we always celebrate the April 1st date. We picked the Design District because there is so much to do. You can shop, dine, experience contemporary art and design, enjoy amazing events and get inspired. We spent an hour or so walking around taking photos of all the public art. It’s worth the visit to the area just for that. The more bizarre the art, the more exciting it gets.

Photos by Eliot Hess

The District is also home to more than 120 flagship stores like Balenciaga, Hermes, Fendi, Dior, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and more – making it one of the world’s greatest shopping areas. You are also surrounded by some of the best architecture in the country, right down to the award-winning Museum Garage. This is a must stop. You have never seen anything like it. If you want to see what the furniture designers select for their clients go to Poliform and Holly Hunt. The home furnishings make quite a futuristic impression. Also visit three cultural institutions — ICA Miami, the de la Cruz Collection and Locust Projects — within blocks of each other.

The Design District has also become a dining destination in recent years. I absolutely recommend Michael’s Genuine for the hot spot for lunch and dinner. Their version of steak tartare is absolutely outrageous. The restaurant is one of the few places where you can get a decent pastrami sandwich. It’s so big, expect to take half home. Other places are OTL and the food hall concept of Mia Market. Definitely try Swan, L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, and Le Jardinier for dinner. We are going to Cote Miami, a Korean steakhouse, in a few days. I will report back. Get all the details.


Get all the details. 

A Room with A View 

There are some spectacular views in Miami but the one I saw this past Saturday night was over the top. After 25 years of living in Miami, part time, then full time, I thought I saw every view possible. This was a whole new perspective because of its location. We were invited to a birthday party for my friend Tom Shirk on Belle Isle. His husband Felipe Lara hosted the birthday event on the rooftop of their condo which accommodates big parties. It was like something out of a Hollywood movie, a spectacular view, gorgeous guests, the constant serving of delectable hors d’ oeuvres, a sensational band with a Whitney Houston sounding singer, a DJ to fill in during band breaks, and the most incredible Drag Show that you can imagine.

Belle Isle is a neighborhood in the city of Miami Beach on an island in Biscayne Bay. It is the eastern most of the Venetian Islands, a chain of artificial islands in Biscayne Bay. It is home to apartment buildings, and a hotel. It is between Rivo Alto Island and the main barrier island of Miami Beach.

When I first moved to Miami Beach many friends used to ask me why we wanted to live so high up in a high rise. They thought the whole idea of being on the beach was to being close to the sand and the ocean. When you move to Miami Beach from New York City you still want to live on the top of the high rise. You want to feel on top of the world. Just look at this view.

Goodies Galore 

I must have passed the Wynwood Marketplace a dozen times, but never really knew what it was all about. Now that I walked through the archway entrance, I want to go back all the time. Some of the vendors have gems you will never find anywhere else. The Wynwood Marketplace is a weekly event every Thursday through Sunday. Every retail stall has a variety of arts and crafts, food, drinks, music, games, clothing, fashion accessories, smoke shops, trinkets, and so much more. There is also space for special events.

The vendor that blew my mind the most was Drip Drop Boards, a skateboard company which offers one-of-a-kind boards that are handcrafted by local artist Daniel Rodriguez. Daniel wants skaters to express themselves by being able to own the most unique cruiser boards on the market. The art on the boards is so expressive that I am seriously thinking about buying one or two just to be able to look at them all the time. Each board is approximately $350 to $400. That’s without wheels which I don’t have any use for. Haha.

The Wynwood Market is located in the most art covered neighborhood in a Miami which is known for its colorful murals on converted warehouses. If you haven’t been to Wynwood you must go. The warehouses now house funky restaurants, art galleries, clothing boutiques, and late night bars. It’s entertainment all the way.

A Star Is Born 

I finally found a children’s clothing store in Miami where I am proud to buy a gift for a kid from birth to 16 years old. Most of the children stores I walk into just seem so “old school” looking that I grab the best thing I can find, buy it and leave the premises. Buying a gift for a child always felt more like a chore than a pleasure. This was not only true for Miami, but New York, Los Angeles and plenty of other cities around the United States. Everything just seemed so creepy.

Every time I had to buy a baby, or toddler gift, I felt like I was making a trip back in time.  Then I got lucky.  A few days ago I walked past a Miami children’s store called “Kids Atelier,” in the Miami Design District. The front window was so enchanting that I just had to walk inside to see what it was all about.

A young fashionable saleswoman, named Michelle, quickly told me that “Kids Atelier” curates the most prestigious international children’s brands from classic chic, to the most creative Bohemian designs. “Kids can now wear designer clothing like Mommy and Daddy.” The store features brands like Little Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerfeld Kids, Boss, Zadig & Voltaire, Carrement Beau, Billeblush, Billybandit, Plae and Mini Melissa and Stella McCartney.

Then I found out that “Kids Atelier” also has stores in the Aventura Mall in Miami, The Galleria in Houston, TX, downtown Los Gatos, CA, South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa CA, and the Miami Design District.

I am so thrilled that I now have a happy place to go to when I need a gift for young child. It didn’t take me 10 minutes to pick out a Stella McCartney summer dress for a little girl who will soon be a year old. I have been looking for something for her since she was born. I just kept postponing a purchase because nothing felt right. That all changed in an instant. What a relief.  Get the details.



  • As Co-Founder and President of HWH PR, Lois Whitman-Hess has been actively involved in public relations for a vast array of business sectors including technology, Internet-based companies, entertainment, law, publishing, fashion, beauty and art. For the last eight years, Lois has authored a daily blog called “Digidame.” It mostly covers her personal journeys as well as tech innovations, art, travel, and entertainment. In addition, Lois co-hosts a weekly podcast called “Lying on the Beach” with TV personality Steve Greenberg who is a contributor on NBC's Today Show. They interview luminaries who discuss their expertise and views on current events.

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