Athlete61 saidI'm looking for things like museums/arts; music venues (open to about any type of music, but a good jazz, latin or modern rock place would be nice); good coffee houses with WiFi; must-go restaurants (love to experiment with food); unique things to see and do that don't necessarily have to involve alcohol or the gay scene. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Vizcaya Museum & Gardens south of Miami on Biscayne Bay. A private estate built by an allegedly gay bachelor, it is truly amazing.http://www.miamidade.gov/vizcaya/
Bonnett House is another early residence in Fort Lauderdale with its own gardens & grounds. Not opulently palatial like Vizcaya, and a bit more eccentric in its own right, but an interesting look at early South Florida seasonal living by the well-to-do from up North.http://www.bonnethouse.org/home.html
If you get up to Wilton Manors (aka Gay Central, on the north side of Fort Lauderdale), a good coffee shop with WiFi is Java Boys in the Shoppes of Wilton Manors. Almost entirely a gay clientele, they have a nice sofa lounge inside, and tables outside. 2230 Wilton Drive.
Then take a walk around the Shoppes and visit the gay clothing stores. And if you happen to need a pair of sunglasses, drop next door to Chic Optique and see owners Karen & Julie, friends of ours, tell them Bob recommended them.
You haven't mentioned where you're staying, or if you wanna visit the beaches. You know Sebastian in Fort Lauderdale is heavily gay, nearest to roughly 2 dozen gay guest houses & resorts. Further south, at Sunny Isles almost into Miami Beach, is Haulover Beach, one of the few legal nude beaches in the US, with official lifeguards and basic services. Do a Google map, tricky to find when driving along A1A/Collins Ave.
While in South Beach you stroll Lincoln Road Mall, lots of trendy stores and restaurants, most having pretty good food, but not really world class, more touristy for the atmosphere.
Along the beach and Ocean Drive my favorite place for martinis is the Hotel Victor's second floor bar (not the first, which is nice, too), that last I checked the general public could still use. After ordering your drink, take it outside to the veranda that overlooks the beach.
For a gayer crowd find the Palace a little further north along Ocean. Not as elegant, but lots of gays there. Not too many gay places left on SB. You will NOT find the "Birdcage" but lots of wonderful old art deco hotels.
And here's the all-purpose gay guide for all of South Florida:http://www.jumponmarkslist.com/
Hope that give you some ideas and gets you started.