L ook at you, taking your talents to South Beach. Unlike LeBron, who played home games four miles to the west, you're hellbent on actually taking your shot in the city of Miami Beach: palm trees, low riders, chiseled-ab rollerbladers, state-school spring breakers, all-hours tweakers, all-night freakers -- a scrubby, bubbly beach town packed equal parts with perma-tanned retirees and Latin American swimsuit models.
So welcome to the good life! But buckle up. You're about to be taken for a ride. 
Locals know this. They avoid South Beach. They say it's not the real Miami. But, like you, they used to (and still) stride confidently in the direction of their mistakes there. The siren song is too strong. Plus, who said you're going to Miami to do anything "real"?
Nah, you want the poolside drinks, the bathwater-warm Atlantic, the dynamic food scene, and the decadent parties. There is a way to get all of that without getting sucked into tourists traps. Here's a quick guide of DO's and DON'Ts in South Beach, so you can max out your trip and leave hating yourself no more than absolutely necessary.
Havana 1957 | Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine
Fontaine Bleau Miami Beach | Courtesy of Fontaine Bleau
Shore Club Pool Party | Shore Club
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1. Foxhole Bar 1426A 14th Court, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

You won’t be able to find Foxhole Bar without instruction, so listen closely. Down an awesomely shady, unmarked alleyway between West Ave. and Alton (trust me, keep walking), you’ll see a faint light over an oversized door. Breathe, you’ve made it. Foxhole, from a team of local nightlife vets, is a bi-level space with dive bar qualities (darts, pool, jukebox, open ‘till dawn, industry regulars) in a speakeasy-esque hideaway, full of flatscreen TVs dedicated to sports, and arcade games and happy hours to boot. In conclusion, Foxhole can best be described as an upscale sports-dive-speakeasy bar on the bay side of South Beach, and probably the only reason to be out until sunrise for... blocks!

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2. Bodega Taqueria y Tequila 1220 16th St, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

Strings of hanging lights, graffiti art, and neon spray-painted barstools create a vibrant Havana-meets-Brooklyn vibe at Bodega, a taco shop that's cooler than most thanks to its not-so-secret speakeasy out back. An outhouse door near the dining area leads to a sultry, two-level bar that mixes industrial decor with plush velvet sofas and Persian carpets. Tequila is the alcohol of choice here, and though house cocktails are available, your best bet is to order the bartender's choice.

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3. A Fish Called Avalon 700 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

Follow the neon lighting on Ocean Drive to the art deco storefront of the Avalon Hotel and into one of South Beach’s most iconic seafood houses: A Fish Called Avalon. Its sleek, minimalist decor will come as a pleasant breath of fresh air to your neon-acclimated eyes. A Fish Called Avalon is romantic; white tablecloths and candlelight set the tone for your high-end evening (that also means high price point, but it’s worth it). Musings from Asian and French cuisines make their way into the seafood centric menu -- like curry-marinated shrimp, baked escargot with garlic butter and Pernod, and sake- and tarragon-glazed lobster tails. If it were me, I’d throw an ounce of the Royal Osetra Caviar on a dozen oysters to start, it’s only $125, and when in Rome… right?

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4. LT Steak & Seafood 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (South Beach)

Helmed by award-winning chef Laurent Tourondel, this sleek, contemporary eatery excels at classic French plates and traditionally prepared sushi and sashimi. While the menu may be wide-reaching, it doesn't sacrifice quality -- that succulent filet mignon you ordered is going to be just as heavenly as, say, the spider dragon roll you devoured as an appetizer -- which is part of the reason why South Beach residents and Betsy Hotel guests alike consistently return to LT Steak & Seafood for special occasions (or simply to treat themselves, should their wallets allow it).

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5. News Cafe 800 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

The next time you find yourself stumbling down Ocean Drive at 3am and hunger strikes, but nothing will sate your cravings quite like French Toast, look up. There, on that ever-bustling corner where Ocean meets 8th St., sits the resolution to your late-night appetite. News Cafe serves breakfast all day, and all night. The 24 hour restaurant and bar looks like a quaint sidewalk cafe, but during the day it’s overflowing with breakfast-loving South Beach locals and tourists alike. You’ll have to wait for a prime people-watching outdoor table, but to dine where Versace once did, it’s worth it. To make your wait fly by faster, peruse the in-house newsstand or imbibe at the cafe’s adjacent bar.

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6. Havana 1957 Cuban Cuisine 819 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

This is the spot to hit for authentic Cuban dishes like Ropa Vieja, Vaca Frita, and the ever-popular Cuban sandwich laden with pickles, roast pork, ham, and swiss. The coffee's not bad either!

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7. Sugar Factory 1144 Ocean Drive, Miami, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

Set inside the Hotel Victor on Ocean Drive, Sugar Factory American Brasserie is like an adult version of Candyland. A hip dining room and two patios serve up sweet and savory comfort food -- French Toast and crepes, burgers and steak frites -- while the adjoining retail space is dedicated to all things sugar. Make your way through novelty and bulk candy items, milkshake in hand, weaving through celebrities to get your hands on a famous Couture Pops. Cocktails are sweet treats in and of themselves, like the signature, 60oz alcohol-infused Lollipop Passion goblet, replete with a lollipop garnish. And desserts (yes, there’s more), are nothing short of outrageous, like premium large format fondues -- the Chocolate Gold, for one, glitters with 24 karat gold and is served with vintage Dom Perignon, a 50-year Cognac, a 2lb chocolate bar, and more, all for a cool $1000. Or just stop in for a frozen hot chocolate (and a Kardashian sighting, if you’re lucky) on your way to the beach, your call.

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8. Lario's on The Beach 820 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

When Gloria and Emilio Estefan open a Cuban restaurant on Miami Beach -- nay, when Gloria and Emilio Estefan open any restaurant anywhere -- you go. Lario’s on the Beach is the royal family’s lauded restaurant on Ocean Drive with authentic Cuban cuisine and craft cocktails in a glitzy, chic (what else would you expect?) setting replete with white tablecloths, seashells, and marine fossils to mimic an oceanic atmosphere. You’ll fight long lines for a table and pay more than you would at any of the other countess Cuban eateries in the area, but on the off-chance you’ll run into one of the Estefans, it’s an experience worth every penny.

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9. Puerto Sagua Restaurant 700 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33010 (Miami Beach)

Down-home cooking is alive and well at Puerto Sagua, where you can score heaping helpings of Pollo Asado, sweet plantains, and just about any other Cuban dish you can think of.

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10. Toni's Sushi Bar 1208 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

Toni’s serves high-quality, no-flash sushi. Any South Beach sushi aficionado will list of a bunch of fancy, hotel-based spots as the best for nigiri and maki in SoBe, then back up and say “... but you know what's just as good? Toni’s.” Plus, you can eat here for about half the price. Or in your living room, because the Washington Ave restaurant also delivers.

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11. Nobu 4525 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

From master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Robert De Niro, the Miami branch of world renowned restaurant Nobu brings A-List dining to Miami Beach. From its post in the Eden Roc Hotel, the restaurant serves Matushisa’s signature Japanese fusion dishes like black cod miso, rock shrimp tempura, and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño. It’s the place to see and be seen on the beach, and even with a 350-seat dining room, a table is hard to come by -- plan accordingly.

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12. Tequiztlan Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar 1884 Bay Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

The reincarnation of the former El Rancho Grande, Tequiztlan keeps all the culinary goodness of its predecessor and serves it in a ramped up, sleek space (the chrome vents of the exposed ceiling above go rather nicely with the industrial vibe and traditional brass chandeliers, making for a trendy ambience). It’s still owned and operated by the Ortiz family, who have been providing South Beach with quality Mexican fare for the past 25 years, so there’s no need to worry: all the tacos you so loved at the old digs are here and just as good -- if not better, when considered alongside a more extensive tequila and mezcal list.

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13. Icebox Cafe 1855 Purdy Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

Let’s say you’re hanging out on South Beach and a craving for cake strikes (which, let’s be honest, probably doesn’t happen all that often on South Beach, but it should), and you’re not far from this place called Icebox Cafe that’s home to, according to the fabulous Oprah Winfrey herself, one of the “best cakes in America.” Your next move is to not only run to Icebox, but to bring your friends and a hefty appetite because there’s more than just cake to be had at the industrial cafe and tearoom on Purdy Avenue. Health-centric, Mediterranean-inspired dishes make up the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, so you don’t have to feel guilty about digging into the creamy cheesecake brownie- and chocolate mousse-filled Chocolate Delight cake you’re going to indulge in immediately after, no matter time of day.

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14. Paradigm Kitchen 1834 Bay Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

From the founder of Jugo Fresh, Paradigm Kitchen is a health-focused, organic restaurant in Sunset Harbour. The restaurant serves nutrient-rich breakfast and lunch dishes, many of which are tailored to Paleo, vegan, and gluten-free diets -- but you wouldn’t know it if we didn’t tell you. The poutine here is arguably the healthiest you’ll find, made with sweet potato fries, cashew gravy, and avocado (if that's still considered poutine is up to you). Take the gluten-free route at dessert with the Stoner’s Delight: a square of vegan banana bread drizzled with almond butter, chocolate sauce, caramelized banana, and granola. As you’d expect, there’s no alcohol here, so enjoy cold-pressed juices and mock cocktails (try the Turmeric Fizz) instead. Do your body good at Paradigm Kitchen, because it’s always beach season in Miami.

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15. NaiYaRa 1854 Bay Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (South Beach)

Piyarat Potha Arreeratn, aka Chef Bee, is doling out street food-inspired eats from his native Thailand at this cool and airy Sunset Beach restaurant. Expect an extensive menu filled with spicy curries, noodle dishes (pad thai, drunken noodles, you know the drill), and untraditional sushi rolls. As for drinks, NaiYaRa's bar serves up Thai beer and cocktails that come with a definite Asian touch.

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16. Lucali 1930 Bay Rd, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (Miami Beach)

Coming to South Beach straight from Brooklyn, Lucali is a local hotspot for those craving brick-oven pizza and calzones. Mark Iacono's pizza palace makes massive 22in pies with fresh-made mozzarella and an entire basil plant on every pizza. It can cost a little more than one might expect, but for a restaurant meal in Miami, it's still one hell of a deal.

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17. Mondrian South Beach Hotel 1100 West Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (South Beach)

Mondrian offers top of the line amenities like fine fusion grub and a Brazil-intensive bar with nearly 50 cachacas, a fruit stand-like selection of infused caipirinhas like lychee-elderflower, ginger-pear, and peach-lemongrass cocktails, plus gorgeous ocean views and a bomb brunch.

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18. The Raleigh 1775 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (South Beach)

One of the original hotels built during the crazy '40s "Boom over Miami" period (3k hotel rooms in two years, son!), The Raleigh combines pre-war decor with a buttload of tropical foliage right on the beach.

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19. The Restaurants At SLS 1701 Collin Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139 (South Beach)

The SLS Hotel is far more attractive since it turned from a giant wall that said "Coming Soon" into a Philippe Starck-designed masterpiece. You, on the other hand, will be far less attractive after taking down a plethora of real-deal eats and cocktails in its two baller restaurants.