Miami is a place of many guises! Miami is one of the states – and the worlds – most popular vacation spots. Though destinations often are said to offer something for everyone, the Miami area offers multiple enticements for everyone.
Embrace the sensuality, salsa and style of this vibrant city located at the southeastern tip of the “Sunshine State” of Florida. Explore Little Havana where Cuban influences reign supreme, walk the streets of the colorful Art Deco District, shop and sunbathe at the glamorous South Beach, explore the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay or enjoy an exhilarating night out at Miami’s trendy nightclubs.
Things to do
No visit to Miami can be considered complete without a stop at South Beach – the quintessential Miami hot spot. From shopping to partying, this area of Miami Beach is well-known for being a trendy locale. Depending upon your personal tastes, you might enjoy spending a full weekend touring South Beach like staying at one of the best hotels, taking a walking tour, explore the Art Deco architecture of the area or party all night with the Miami Beach nightlife. You’ll find surfers catching the waves in a turquoise ocean, models sauntering along golden sands and rollerbladers gliding down Ocean Drive. Hyper-tanned celebrities, oil rubbed shoulders with hipsters in the sidewalk cafés, designer boutiques, lounge bars and dusk-til-dawn clubs are all on the scene.
Art Deco – Ocean Drive
Forget the sand and take a stroll around the art deco buildings on South Beach to catch its golden era of architecture. Here you’ll find a glamorous array of hotels, which grew up when a theatrical style swept the design world in the 20’s. Crowded along Ocean Drive are the best of these giddy individuals, Park Central Hotel and the Imperial, designed by New Yorkers Henry Hohauser and L Murray Dixon that features bold bands of colour and window ‘eyebrows’ – characteristic of this flamboyant style. This is the ideal place to start off exploring the Art Deco District, which contains over 800 buildings from the 1930’s and 40’s. You can visit the Art Deco District Welcome Center for self-guided audio tours.
With 1.5 million acres of swamps, saw-grass prairies and sub-tropical jungles, Everglades National Park is one of the most unusual public parks in the United States. Located on the southern tip of Florida, the park is home to 14 rare and endangered species, including the American Crocodile, the Florida Panther and the West Indian Manatee. A large portion of the park is primitive, explored only by adventurists and researchers – but visitors have ample opportunity to walk, camp and canoe.
Miami Science Museum
Miami Science Museum offers children and adults alike an entertaining and educational experience. It’s a great place to visit, whether you’re on vacation, a school field trip or a weekend family outing.
Jungle Island offers visitors a fun, educational opportunity to get an up-close look at tropical birds in replicas of their natural habitats. The attraction routinely hosts field trips and offers frequent educational programs.
“Where the humans are caged and the monkeys run wild” – it’s more than a catch-phrase. Monkey Jungle in southern Miami-Dade County is a truly unique park. While homo-sapiens walk through carefully constructed wire pathways where many species of primates scamper above your head, swing through trees and interact with each other in ways difficult to observe in captivity. Keep your eyes open, you never know who’s hanging around!
Coral Castle is truly a monument to the uniqueness of Miami! This attraction was built by a Latvian-born Miami resident named Ed Leedskalnin as a monument to his lover. After 28 years of effort, he introduced his 1 100-ton coral creation to the world. It’s a bit of a trip from downtown, but well worth the time.
Lincoln Road – Miami Beach
Just a few blocks from the beach and world-famous Ocean Drive is Lincoln Road Mall — South Florida’s premier outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. This mile long, pedestrian-only promenade boasts a happening street scene with throngs of local and out-of-town visitors, excellent shopping, and terrific dining options. Located between West Avenue and Washington Avenue, Lincoln Road Mall offers unique shopping, sidewalk cafes, bars, galleries, and fine dining.
Wynwood Art District, Miami
The Wynwood Arts District is home to over 70 Art Galleries, Retail Stores, Antique Shops, Eclectic Bars, and one of the largest open-air street-art installations in the world. The Wynwood Arts District Association has been legally operating since 2009 for the well-being and improvement of the Wynwood Arts District, one of the largest and most prominent creative communities in the United States. Taking over what used to be the warehouse and manufacturing district of Greater Miami, developers have rehabilitated neglected warehouses, shuttered factories, and other unused buildings, transforming them into the numerous art complexes, galleries, performing art spaces, restaurants, cafes, and other creative businesses that are seen here today. With the introduction of the Second Saturday Art Walk in the District and the arrival of the Art Basel fair in 2002, Wynwood has seen some unexpected growth in a relatively short period of time as it gets more and more attention by the locals as the go-to place for an alternative and more cultural nightlife in the City of Miami.
Light up your Cubans in Little Havana
Visit Little Havana for a taste of Cuba. Miami Cubans are incredibly proud of this neighbourhood, even if they don’t live there. Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street) and the surrounding area are testimony to the American dream followed by the hundreds of thousands of Cubans who fled to Miami after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. Here, you’ll find many restaurants and shops that are replicas of their ones back home. The Mediterranean-style houses with rocking chairs on the porch, fragrant air of tobacco wafting from cigar stores and the hum of Latin music from record shops collude to maintain the illusion.
Step into a fairytale at the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens
The sight of the Italian Renaissance-style Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on the Biscayne Bay is straight out a fairytale book. It’s bizarre to discover a European-style palace in this beach lovers’ paradise, but visiting it is like entering a wonderland. Built for Chicagoan industrialist and Europhile James Deering in the 20th-century, the extravagant architecture conceals an opulent interior. Full of European antiques and decorative works from the 16th to 19th centuries and complete with original fittings, it will whisk you away to a golden age. This is a popular wedding destination.
Loosen those purse strings at designer shops
In Miami, you’ll find great shopping malls, with designer stores and boutiques to cater for every fashion whim. The Village of Merrick Park has three open-air storeys with 115 shops and boutiques, including Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Neiman Marcus. The best all-rounder Aventura Mall has all the big department stores such as Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. Other popular shopping spots include Bal Harbour, South Beach and Coral Gables.
Go wild at the Carnaval Miami
Miami needs no excuse to party – from the traditional to the tacky, the city is fast on its feet when it comes to celebrations. For ten days every Spring (in early March), Latino Miami struts its stuff with a vibrant array of beauty pageants, sports, concerts and international foods at Carnaval Miami. There are culinary competitions, galas and an upscale Latin jazz festival. The grand finale is Calle Ocho, a 23-block street festival in Little Havana, which is the largest block party in the world. Over a million watch live entertainment on 30 stages featuring salsa, merengue and Caribbean music.
Shop with the Stars
In Miami, you can spot celebrities shopping for designer gear and pick up items in vogue with the stars. When Janet Jackson heard that Beyoncé was shopping at Poltrona Frau in the Design District she made a beeline for some Peter Marino sofas. At Bal Harbour Shops, Jennifer Lopez has been known to walk into Gucci and splash a few thousand dollars on goods. You’re most likely to see Britney Spears and Paris Hilton splurging in South Beach stores such as Atrium. Further south, rappers like Diddy, Usher and Kanye West might park their Rolls-Royce Phantoms in front of Intermix to buy some Stella McCartney threads.
Versailles Restaurant, The World’s Most Famous Cuban Restaurant, has been serving tasty Cuban cuisine and culture to the South Florida community and tourists from around the world for four decades. Soon after it opened its doors in 1971, Versailles quickly became the gathering place and unofficial town square for Miami’s Cuban exiles. Today, it remains the unrelenting gauge of the community’s pulse. Not surprisingly, Versailles is typically the first place politicians visit locally to garner support from the Cuban exile community, and the restaurant is equally a favorite among the media for gathering commentary and footage of the community’s take on social and political issues. It is not uncommon to see local, national and international media set up camp in Versailles’ parking lot, where they’re sure to get a flood of local viewpoints.
Nobu Miami Beach is the Miami outpost of Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s new Japanese cuisine empire. Nobu draws upon his classical training at sushi bars in Tokyo and his life abroad in Peru, Argentina, and around the world to create a whole new trend in Japanese cuisine, bringing a burst of excitement to the already famed scene of Miami Beach. Nestled in the ultra chic Shore Club, Nobu adds a level of class and sophistication to the legendary nightlife spot. The white curtain enveloped Nobu Lounge is “the place to be seen” where locals, visitors, connoisseurs, and socialites convene. In the dining room Nobu’s signature dishes such as Yellowtail with Jalapeño and Black Cod Miso are served to throngs of fans, proving that in the end, it is all about the food.
An experience like no other. By combining fine dining with fun dining, Barton G. The Restaurant makes each meal an experience, fulfilling the senses with enticing fragrances, extraordinary food and over-the-top presentations. Now celebrating 10+ years of success on South Beach, the restaurant is the creation of events impresario Barton G. Weiss, whose innovative approach to entertaining has received worldwide acclaim. Located on West Avenue, the restaurant features a lush tropical garden for al fresco dining that perfectly reflects the romantic mood of Miami, as well as a sleekly sophisticated interior done in cherry and zebra woods, with subtle shades of brown, bronze and copper. An onyx bar at the entrance is an elegant setting for cocktails and light fare.
ZUMA – Starry Asian eatery at Epic Hotel along Biscayne Blvd
Located near downtown Miami along Biscayne Blvd, Zuma brings its glittery Asian supper club to the Epic Hotel with waterfront views from one of the prettier dining spaces in the city. Accessed through a private terrace and private entrance carved from a wall of glass, a serine space of modern lounge area surrounds a central bar with geometric detailing and wine cellar concealed behind glass panels. An open kitchen faces a dining room buzzing in lounge anthems with a dressy contingent of Miami socialites and celeb visitors.
Cipriani Downtown Miami – Ciprianis brings Downtown eatery to Miami
There’s nothing like a Cipriani restaurant and now Maggio and Ignazio Cipriani bring their Downtown collection of eateries to Miami’s Brickell Avenue. Sharing an address and valet entrance at the ICON, a massive dining space is divided into a series of vignettes defined by towering floor-to-ceiling glass panels, walnut wood paneling and floors laid in stripped Venetian terrazzo. Cast along two floors, the restaurant sprawls along two floors with main dining room, old-school NY martini bar and lavish terrace cast in the shadow of glassy high-rises and waterfront panorama. Much like Cipriani’s NYC eateries, the location offers a large event space surely to be the darling of Miami events like Art-Basel.
The Bazaar – Jose Andres teams up with SLS and Starck again
In a series of interconnected dining vignettes with alternating inspirations of Palm Beach inspired decor and Buenos Aries red and leather, the South Beach instalment of Bazaar is an innovative dining experience as much for the eyes as for the palette. Guests ideally find their way to one of the numerous couches, sectionals and sofas that offer a more deconstructed formality amongst walls of heavy drapery and intricate coral chandeliers strewn from the ceiling of the nearby main dining room. Before and after the meal, lively Bar Centro offers a more refined bar scene that Hyde Beach located to the rear of the hotel property.
The Forge – Fashionable Miami dining room with foodie pedigree
One of those Miami Beach restaurants that’s been on the scene for more than a minute, The Forge embarked on an ambitious overhaul in 2009 that took it from ho-hum paparazzi eatery to a culinary force for Miami’s fashionable dining scene. Like a baronial dining room in the Swiss Alps, grand wood panels enwrap all four sides of the formal dining room arranged in whimsical settees and arrangements of modern Louis chairs. Overhead, a grand crystal chandelier irradiates a dressy dinner crowd in a series of private dining rooms and uber-decorated lounges including the hip Wine Bar curated personally by owner Shareef Malnik.
Estiatorio Milos – Acclaimed Greek chef dazzles in South Beach
A location that’s a safe distance from the touristy dining enclaves of South Beach, Estiatorio Milos occupies a pricey piece of real estate south of Miami’s 6th. A modern façade of glass windows leads to a bright and airy space lined in slabs of white marble under a rafter ceiling of natural wood and columns that conjoin swags of sheer white fabric. Aegean design is paused for the more Italian visuals of the bar with its creative use of wine cellar space rising along the walls opposite a main dining room wrapped in a comfy banquette and center collection of well-spaced tabletops.
Yardbird Southern Table & Bar – Jeff McInnis does rustic-chic country kitchen in South Beach
Opening during the first week of October 2011 in Miami’s South Beach, former Top Chef participant Jeff McInnis oversees Yardbird Southern Table & Bar just a block away from ever-hip Lincoln Road. Built as a “house of worship to farm-fresh ingredients” the restaurant specializes in Southern cooking with a locally sourced, farm-to-table cooking ethos. Open for lunch and dinner, the spaces oozes a farmhouse chic design that mixes wide-plank wood floors with leather-tufted banquettes under chandeliers re-purposed from mason jars and produce baskets.
Mac’s Club Deuce
The Deuce is Miami’s oldest bar. In town where hot drinking spots come and go like a tide, the Deuce still stands alone. In operation since 1926, it is here that you’ll find a dedicated line-up of regulars — from after-work types to dishevelled hipsters to Mickey Rourke look-alikes — all enjoying the 11-hour happy hour (8 am to 7 pm). In addition to attracting boldface names — Cameron Diaz, Matt Dillon and Kate Moss have all been spotted here — it once served as a location for an episode of Miami Vice.
Nikki Beach in Miami is the hidden jewel of South Beach, located at One Ocean Drive along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean amid swaying palms trees and warm sunny breezes. Nikki Beach Miami has established itself as the landmark nightclub and venue for ultimate private parties, large celebrations, and always lives up to its reputation as a South Beach Miami party playground for jet setters, celebrities, VIPs, guests and visitors alike. Nikki Beach Club in Miami is comprised of a large oceanfront complex featuring an outdoor beach club, an award winning restaurant and a sexy South Beach nightclub favorite. Enjoy full food and VIP bottle service in our fabulous cabanas and lounge beds during the day while soaking up the South Beach sun.
LIV has redefined nightlife on Miami Beach. With over 18 000 square feet of striking architectural design and lavish decor, LIV sets the stage for the ultimate nightlife experience. A voyeuristic design throughout the nightclub gives guests a bird’s eye view of the celebrities, VIP’s and Miami’s most beautiful crowd. LIV features a variety of music formats during its four weekly nights, Wednesday and Friday to Sunday where it offers VIP tables, private skyboxes, three full-service bars and a lavish main dance floor. The quintessential, 21 and older nightspot fuses the appeal of an ultra exclusive lounge and a high-energy nightclub. LIV is home to celebrities, VIPs and Miami’s local party crowd.
WALL Lounge is located at the W South Beach Hotel. With its rich, dark and elegant interior is the embodiment of sophistication, luxury and style with a dedication to service that is unparalleled in Miami. The scene at the ultra-lounge is never short of jet setters and top-notch celebrities. The result of a collaboration between Miami nightlife powerhouses, the elite setting entices guests with its graceful, yet seductive design, exclusivity and an overall elegance that remains among the top in South Beach. Wall is that place – if you’re looking for the sexy nightclub scene that South Beach is known for. At Wall you’ll find the top international DJ spinning dance and house formats. You’ll also find the beautiful people, models, celebrities, and jetsetters. The irony is that there is a “wall to get into Wall” – the doorman who pick and choose from the crowd of people trying to get in. To ensure your “Wall pass” make your table reservations in advance with Miami Escapes.
Featuring eye popping cherry-red sofas, black lacquered walls, lipstick-pink panels and an “Alice in Wonderland” array of custom-designed chandeliers, Mokai features a Baccarat-inspired chandelier pit – a modern take on a traditional fireplace. Embracing modern New York sensibility and Miami joie de vivre, other eye candy elements featured in Mokai’s design include a collectors selection of art and fashion photography and contemporary Moroccan lattice work. Mokai’s grand showcase bar is the focal point of this hotspot, featuring a dramatic back bar display for bottles and glassware, adorned with ornate floral arrangements and greenery. Guests are invited to sip a variety of spirits and champagnes at the bar or servers donning La Femme Nikita attire and Mad Max-inspired uniforms provide VIP table service. The DJ booth reigns supreme at Mokai, where hip hop, rock and house music formats are spun by a celebrated collection of top DJ’s nightly. Frequented by celebrities Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Lenny Kravitz and Gisele Bundchen to name a few, have all let loose in Mokai’s festive setting.
If there’s one club on Miami Beach synonymous with exclusivity, it is Mynt Lounge. During its seven-year reign the definitive Über lounge on the 2100 block of Collins has earned a reputation for the tightest door policy and most fabulous crowd in the Magic City. The list of celebrities that have passed through Mynt’s doors would fill a dozen. Rolodexes, but serial offenders include Ricky Martin, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Cameron Diaz, Mickey Rourke, Sean Penn, Jennifer Lopez, Giselle Bundchen, Colin Farrell, and Jamie Foxx. Add to these boldface names the hordes of models, designers, fashionistas, top DJs, scene-makers, and high rollers, and you understand why Mynt’s velvet rope has long been the highest hurdle in Miami Beach nightlife. In order to maintain its blue-chip status, Mynt demands elegance, chic, and a winning smile of its patrons. “Those are the minimum requirements,” says owner Romain Zago. “Mynt is for the famous and fabulous.” As for the paparazzi, Mynt enforces a strict rule: no entry. “Mynt is where celebrities come to escape the paparazzi,” explains Zago. “They come here to party and have fun.”
Miami has a tropical monsoon climate with hot and humid summers and short, warm winters, with a marked drier season in the winter. Its sea-level elevation, coastal location, position just above the Tropic of Cancer and proximity to the Gulf Stream shapes its climate. Miami Florida has great weather year-round with warm and sunny days and breezy tropical nights. Miami boasts the warmest ocean temperature in the United States mainland – making it the perfect spot for a beach vacation 12 months a year. Bring your sunglasses, bathing suit and beach towel and you’re ready to relax and enjoy the semi-tropical climate of Miami.
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