Miami – Beyond the Beach

Author: pakce  |  Category: Destination Miami
A diverse cosmopolitan center set in a spectacular natural playground, Miami is the stuff vacation dreams are made of. Whether you seek world-class sports and attractions, innovative cuisine, arts and culture, family fun, sizzling nightlife or simply want to worship the sun, the Magic City has it all. Here are a few points of embarkation for launching your personal Miami dream.

Miami Beach

White sand on Miami Beach.

Nights of tropical splendor are guaranteed on the “American Riviera,” where iconic resorts retain echoes of Miami Beach’s legendary past and serve as glamorous stages for today’s jetsetters drawn to Miami for its hot club scene.

Despite its exclusive St. Tropez-like vibe, Miami Beach is just minutes from everything that matters: restaurants owned by celebrity chefs, designer shopping, hip neighborhoods like the Design District and arty Wynwood, museums, professional sport facilities and venues for big annual events like Art Basel and the South Beach Food & Wine Festival. The beach is just the beginning of Miami’s pleasures. 

Art Deco District

Ocean Drive in South Beach.

Neon-drenched South Beach is not just party central for locals, celebrities and visitors alike, it’s also the world’s first 20th century historic district. More than 800 delightful Art Deco buildings are packed into the National Register Art Deco District, their streamlined pastel facades a photographer’s dream. Stay in a restored gem and check out the tours offered by the Art Deco Welcome Center on Ocean Drive. The new 25-cent South Beach Local bus makes it easy to explore on your own.

The emerging neighborhood south of Fifth Street (SoFi) is stylishly subdued, an appealing alternative to SoBe’s social frenzy. Rent a bike and check out brand-new South Pointe Park, where native dune areas harbor turtle hatchlings and specially designed light towers illuminate the waterside promenade. It’s a great spot to watch ships pull out of the world’s biggest cruise port.

Little Havana

Mosaic in Little Havana.

Multicultural Miami moves to a predominantly Latin rhythm, a rhythm particularly felt in the dynamic Cuban-American neighborhood known as Little Havana. From the robust aroma of coffee drifting from open windows to the chatter of playing pieces and Spanish conversation in Domino Park, a stroll along S.W. Eighth Street — known as Calle Ocho — yields many sensory delights.

Shop for guayabera shirts and panama hats, watch skilled workers roll premium puros in one of the area’s many cigar factories or browse for colorful artwork and salsa CDs. Inexpensive Cuban eateries offering authentic Mojito cocktails and live rumba music along with typical meals of roast pork or grilled seafood also make Little Havana one of Miami’s best nights out.


Coral Gables

Swank Coral Gables was one of Miami’s first planned developments, the vision of developer George Merrick who dreamed of creating a Mediterranean Revival enclave during Miami’s Gilded Age. Anchored by the National Landmark Biltmore hotel (1926), the palm-lined streets of “The City Beautiful” lead to elegant Spanish-style plazas and splashing fountains.

Most of Coral Gables’ stately tile-roofed homes were built of local limestone, called coral rock, taken from a quarry which then became the world’s most enchanting swimming “hole.” Resembling a lagoon with rocky grottos, waterfall, bridge and painted lantern posts, the spring-fed Venetian Pool (1924) is a great place to cool off in style after browsing the boutiques along the Miracle Mile or the art galleries on Ponce de Leon Blvd.

Key Biscayne

Cape Florida Lighthouse at Key Biscayne.

Only 15 minutes by car from downtown Miami, secluded Key Biscayne shimmers between sea and sky, a world away in mood. Settled first by Tequesta Indians and discovered for Spain in 1513 by Ponce de Leon who sought the Fountain of Youth there, Key Biscayne’s history is steeped in tales of piracy and shipwreck.

Modern visitors can stay in posh resorts on one of the U.S.’s Top Ten beaches, take an eco-tour of the barrier island ecosystems and teeming offshore reefs, boat, fish and enjoy an endless variety of water sports. Cape Florida Lighthouse (1825) overlooks the sparkling Gulf Stream and Biscayne Bay, providing a focal point to lush Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

With three more of the world’s great natural wonders — Biscayne National Park, Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys — within an hour’s drive, Miami is the glittering port from which endless dreams of adventure set sail.


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