Songs have been written about it. Movies and TV shows have been set there. When you think of glamour and excitement, this place comes to mind. Where? Miami, that’s where. No other city on Earth is as lively as Miami. It's racing heartbeat, diverse culture and beautiful scenery combine to make Miami one of the most visited cities in the U.S. There are countless things to see and do there, and just as many ways to relax and unwind. Come see for yourself what all the buzz is about.
Start your Miami trip at South Beach, one of the most famous beaches on Earth. You’ll easily see why after spending the day on its white sand. The Atlantic Ocean is on one side, perfect for swimming. You can also watch the cruise ships coming into and leaving the busy Port of Miami. Boutiques and restaurants line the other side of the sand, perfect for when you want to take a break from the sun. Visit South Point Park while you’re there, the southernmost point in South Beach. It’s a great place for a picnic, to walk the dog or just enjoy the green grass and ocean view. At night, South Beach really comes alive with a wide choice of nightclubs to dance your newly tanned bod away or stay outside to watch the street performers as they entertain.
The Miami Beach boardwalk stretches from South Beach north for 40 blocks. It is a scenic path, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and amazing South Beach architecture on the other. There are several beach access points along the way. You can visit any of a number of parks that also have access points from the boardwalk. At the end is Lincoln Road pedestrian mall, with dozens of restaurants and shops to enjoy.
Miami’s various cultural influences makes for some amazing food and drink. In fact, the “Floribbean” style of cuisine was made famous here. It is a mix of American, Latin, and Caribbean palates, with an emphasis on combining strong flavors with milder ones to create a perfectly balanced taste. Fresh foods are most often used, as are fruits such as mango, papaya, and citrus. Drinks such as the mojito and piña colada are also popular in Miami, as are hurricanes and rum runners. Again, they use a mix of strong flavors complemented by milder ones to create a unique taste. As with the food there, fresh fruit is often used in drinks that are popular in Miami.
Latin American culture thrives in Miami’s Little Havana. It is home to a large Cuban population, who celebrate their roots with passion. The streets are always buzzing with activity, including several festivals that take place throughout the year. Viernes Culturales is one such festival, held on the last Friday of every month. It is an artistic and cultural celebration with music, exhibits, food tasting, and a variety of activities that celebrate the Cuban way of life. There are plenty of restaurants and shops that reflect Cuban heritage, as well.
The Wynwood Art District is a definite must-do during your Miami visit. It used to be an industrial area, with graffiti covering most of its buildings. Around 2000, renovations began, and it is now Miami’s premier entertainment district. Restaurants, nightclubs, shops, and cafes are scattered throughout the area. The graffiti is still there, too, but following the guidance of some well-known artists, it has been refined into amazing works of art. If the food and entertainment don’t delight you, the transformation from run-down warehouses to beautifully artistic buildings will.
The Miami Design District is just north of Wynwood. It is the perfect place to shop for high-end names like Prada and Louis Vuitton. Several art galleries are located there, as well. The Institute of Contemporary Art and de la Cruz Collection of Contemporary Art museums are free and open to the public. There are also public art collections on display throughout the neighborhood. As with many other neighborhoods in Miami, the Miami Design District hosts several restaurants that showcase the ethnic diversity that makes Miami so interesting.
Everglades National Park is the third largest national park in the continental U.S. You can take a boat tour to see various rare and endangered species living in their natural habitat. Manatee and alligators are among the year-round residents there. Guided tours are available, and a marina is also on-site for you to launch your own vessel. Fish the flats for some large-mouth bass, or just enjoy the beautiful variety of flora and wildlife. You can also hike or bike the miles of trails available there.
Take a visit to Jungle Island in Miami for a fun day of monkey business. The animals roam freely while you watch from inside a protected walkway. Because of that, they can interact naturally in their environment while you observe. Feed the animals and watch a variety of shows and exhibits while there for a fun day monkeying around.
There is an entire underwater world to explore just off Miami’s shores. The Florida Straights reef reaches 220 miles and is perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving. Some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic sea life live there. Bottle-nose dolphins and manatees are among those you will find, as well as amazing coral and sea fan spreads. The reef is easy to get to, and excursions are readily available.
Miami is home to several professional sports teams, which makes catching a game in person rather easy to do. There is the Miami Heat for all you basketball lovers, the Dolphins for football fans, the Marlins if you are into baseball, and the Panthers if hockey is your thing. There are also several college and semi-pro teams to watch. Whatever sport you are into, it’s likely a game will be playing during your trip.