Miami Travel Guide

Explore Miami & Miami Beach

Mention “Miami” and the first thing that may come to mind is the beach. Mile after mile of sparkling waters, golden sands, tanned tourists, celebrity-studded hotels, nonstop nightlife… the images are glamorous, but they are surpassed only by the reality. Miami Beach — from South Beach to North Beach — is legendary as a resort destination, setting the gold standard for hospitality, but constantly renewing and renovating to catch the latest waves of visitor expectations.

Miami Beach offers a variety that goes far beyond sun and sand, encompassing world-famous nightlife and world-renowned art galleries, first-class hotels and second-to-none dining, designer shopping and a unique architectural style that makes it one of the world’s most visually distinctive regions.

Art Deco History It all started with Art Deco. When they first debuted in the 1920s and 30s, South Beach’s Art Deco hotels and apartments faced the ocean like rows of tropical jewel boxes, sporting the rounded corners and geometric ornamentation that defined the era of Art Deco architecture.

Today’s Art Deco District is one of Florida’s must-see attractions. Other architectural styles are prevalent throughout Miami Beach, including Miami Modern (MiMo) — defined by asymmetry, cheese-hole cutouts and futuristic forms. A completely different look altogether can be found along South Beach’s Española Way, which was modeled after the romantic Mediterranean villages of France and Spain and today is home to charming outdoor cafes and bistros.
Culture: From Museums to Memorable Bites

Some of the area’s most striking buildings also house intriguing museums, such as the Bass Museum of Art, the Wolfsonian—Florida International University, and the Jewish Museum of Florida.

In addition to such illustrious museums, South Beach is known for its many art galleries, which can be found nearly everywhere here but tend to concentrate around the Lincoln Road area. Lincoln Road is a pedestrian-only promenade stretching across South Beach, offering unique shops, countless sidewalk cafes and a constant parade of locals and tourists alike.

People come from all over the world to explore Miami Beach’s culinary scene, and it’s no wonder — the variety is simply astounding. The feeding frenzy starts on South Beach, where there’s a dish for every appetite, whether your tastes are upscale or down home, pan Asian or pan-fried, haute cuisine or fusion cuisine. From the freshest local seafood and succulent stone crabs in season to all-American steaks and burgers, there are flavors and culinary styles from literally every continent on earth. Depending what food mood you’re in, you’ll find famous restaurants where the chef and food are world-renowned, along with out-of-the-way eateries only a lucky few know about.

Things to Do in the Miami Area

Clubs, Bars, and Lounges

But don’t plan to eat and run on South Beach. Après dinner, the best of the zest is waiting in countless clubs, bars and lounges that stay up all night and have earned this oceanside enclave its well-deserved reputation as one of the country’s top nightlife cities. For many visitors and visiting celebrities, South Beach is square one, the velvet rope everyone wants to cross, humming with club action till sunrise as crowds head to dozens of establishments lining the streets.

While the perfect Miami Beach evening may include incredible dining followed by dancing the night away, for many visitors the night begins when the curtain goes up at one of the area’s live performance venues.

Of course, the ocean may be your primary destination when you come to Miami Beach, and all you really have to do is head east until you hit water. A number of beach-based parks offer special activities to make beach-going even better here, including South Pointe Park. Recently renovated, this park at the southern tip of Miami Beach offers spectacular views of cruise ships sailing by on their way out to sea.

Things to Do in the Miami Area

Miami

From the untamed Everglades to the wild samba of Calle Ocho, nature and the beautiful people party side-by-side in Miami.

With glorious beaches, art deco architecture and hot nightspots, Miami, Florida, is a true “Magic City.” This nickname took hold in the 1920s, after a construction boom seemed to transform Miami overnight. Today the city’s tropical climate and easy access to the glistening waters of Miami Beach and South Beach attract everyone from honeymooners, to families, to celebrities. As well as the beaches, water and warmth, you’ll find high-end shops, fine eateries and museums, beautiful gardens and plenty of night life.

Stroll through the 10-acre (four-hectare) Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on Biscayne Bay. Here you’ll find a European-inspired estate established in the 1910s that boasts a beautiful collection of rare orchids. The Miami Seaquarium is a great family outing. Spend a day with hundreds of marine creatures and watch the spectacular killer whale and dolphin shows. Jungle Island is another winner for families. Nestled between downtown and South Beach, the zoo houses some of the world’s rarest animals and is home to Pinky, the bicycle-riding cockatoo.

Once you’ve soaked up the sun, explore some of the city’s diverse neighborhoods, such as the Miami Beach Architectural District. Nicknamed the “Art Deco District”, it has the largest collection of 1920s and ’30s resort architecture in the U.S. Get an umbrella drink, relax, and enjoy the ocean view at one of these pastel-colored retro buildings. Take the opportunity to admire them from the inside too, as many have been converted to restaurants, bars and hotels.

Each winter the Little Havana area hosts one of the world’s biggest festivals. The Calle Ocho street festival draws more than one million people annually. If you’re in Miami around the beginning of March, don’t miss this no holds barred celebration of the music, folklore and food of Miami’s Latin American culture.

Miami is a global city in southeastern Florida, in the United States. Miami is the county seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida. With an estimated population of 409,719 in 2007, Miami is the largest city within the Miami metropolitan area, which is the seventh-largest metro area in the United States with over 5.4 million residents. The Miami Urbanized Area (as defined by the Census Bureau) was the fifth most populous urbanized area in the U.S. in the 2000 census with a population of 4,919,036. The United Nations estimated that in 2007, Miami had become the fourth largest urbanized area in the country, behind New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

Climate

Miami’s year-round semi-tropical climate is free of extremes in temperature, with a long, warm summer and abundant rainfall followed by a mild, dry winter. Summer humidity levels—usually in the 86 to 89 percent range during the day—make Miami the second most humid city in the United States. Hurricanes occasionally affect the area in September and October; tornadoes are rare. Waterspouts are sometimes sighted from the beaches in the summer, but significant damage seldom occurs.

Language

The United States does not have an official language; however, the majority of the population speaks English as a native language.

Travel Tips

Mainland flight times

  • 5.5 hours from San Francisco (SFO)
  • 2.5 hours from New York (JFK)
  • 2.5 hours from Dallas Fort Worth (DFW)

We offer a variety of transportation options in Miami, Florida in order to make your cruise vacation truly spectacular.

Currency

  • The US dollar is the currency, as it is throughout the United States.
  • ATMs are found everywhere in Los Angeles.
  • Credit cards are accepted at most places, making it unnecessary to carry large amounts of cash.

Tipping Etiquette

  • Restaurants: The usual is 10 – 15%
  • Porters: $2-$10
  • Taxi’s: 10% – 20% of the fare

Time Difference

Miami follows Eastern Standard Time or Eastern Daylight Time and observes Daylight Saving Time.
Clocks are turned 1 hour forward (March – November), and 1 hour backward (November – March of the following year.)

Things to Do in the Miami Area

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