An Introduction to Miami
Miami is a cosmopolitan city in Southern Florida famous for its beautiful beaches, lively nightlife, fine dining, and cultural influences from all over Latin America. Across Biscayne Bay from mainland Miami is Miami Beach. The South Beach neighborhood of Miami Beach is known for its art deco architecture and trendy nightclubs. Whether you come for the beaches, the nightlife, or the cuisine, you won’t be disappointed by Miami.
Top Attractions in Miami
Miami is a city filled with things to do. For a truly unique cultural experience, head to Calle Ocho in Little Havana. This area is packed with colors and Mediterranean-style buildings. You’ll smell tobacco from the cigar shops, hear Latin music playing, and taste traditional Cuban food.
A trip to Miami isn’t complete without a day in South Beach. In this neighborhood, nicknamed “the American Riviera,” you’ll find not only beautiful beaches, but also high-end boutique shopping, first-class restaurants, and fun nightclubs. Be sure to stop and take in the art deco architecture along Ocean Drive.
If you really want to transport yourself, head to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens. You’ll feel like you just stepped into a European villa. The gardens of this Renaissance-style estate are enchanting, and the inside is filled with European antiques from the 16th to 19th centuries. Admission is $18 for adults, $6 for children between 6 and 12, and free for children under 6.
If the crowded South Beach area isn’t for you, there are still plenty of other beaches to enjoy. Haulover Beach is over 12 miles long, and since it’s a bit of a drive from downtown, it’s much less frequented by tourists. The beach is backed by plenty of coastal vegetation, giving Haulover more privacy and some isolation from the street traffic.
Bill Baggs State Park is another great beach spot to check out. At the south end of Key Biscayne, it’s home to the Cape Florida Lighthouse. Take a free guided tour of the lighthouse at either 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. Thursday through Monday to learn more about the history and importance of this area, or simply find a spot in the sand and soak up the sun.
To mingle with the locals, head to Virginia Key Beach, located off of the Rickenbacker Causeway near the Miami Seaquarium. It can get busy on weekends, but if you’re willing to walk along the sand, you’ll find more secluded areas.
Eating and Drinking
The food scene in Miami is diverse and delectable, from Southern favorites like gator bites to Latin fusion foods like pastelitos and fritos. Fritos are like Cuban hamburgers. The meat is seasoned with spices and topped with fried match-stick potatoes and a secret sauce, then served on plump Cuban bread. Locals love El Mago de las Fritas for this popular dish.
If you want some Southern food, head to Yardbird Southern Table & Bar for chicken and watermelon and waffles. They take this classic Southern dish and make it classy. Orders are topped with Vermont sharp cheddar, honey hot sauce, and Bourbon maple syrup.
If you’re in Miami between October and March, be sure to find a restaurant serving Stone Crab. Stone Crab, a southern Florida specialty, is tender and succulent. The best place to eat it is Joe’s Stone Crab along Miami Beach.
Expect to pay between $15 and $20 for a lunchtime meal and about $25 per head in a midrange restaurant for dinner, not including any drinks you might order.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Miami is renowned for its high-energy nightlife. If you’re looking for a dance club, you’ll find at least one, if not more, to match your musical taste in Miami. If you want to dance the salsa, merengue, or bachata, you have to go to Mango’s Tropical Cafe on Ocean Drive. The music is loud, and you can dance until the wee hours of the morning.
If you want to do some celebrity-spotting or hear music from surprise guests like Lenny Kravitz or Justin Timberlake, Rockwell on Washington Avenue is the place for you. This place is all glitz and glamor, so pack your best wardrobe and get ready to dance. Be prepared to wait in line, though, because it’s a very popular spot.
Hipsters and music lovers should flock to Do Not Sit on the Furniture. They have live music almost every night of the week, with everything from Indie bands to EDM DJs. The setting is small and intimate, so everyone inside can always see the stage. The cocktails look good and taste even better.
Miami is an easy city to get into and around. From the airport, there are plenty of options. You can either take a taxi, a shuttle, the Tri-Rail commuter train, the Airport Flyer Express Bus, or [rent a car](https://www.skyscanner.com/car-hire-from/mia/car-hire-from-miami-international-airport.html) and drive into the city yourself.
Once in the city, cars are a good way to explore the area. If you don’t plan on leaving the city, there are a few public transportation options. If you’re staying around Miami Beach, you can walk, take a taxi, or rent a Citi Bike. If you’re staying in the downtown area, you can take the Metrorail, the Metrobus, or the computer-driven train called the “Metromover.”Search for cheap flights to Miami
Miami has a tropical monsoon climate with warm, dry winters and hot and humid summers. January is the coldest month, when temperatures average 65 degrees Fahrenheit. In the evenings, it can fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The wet season starts in May and continues through October, with the wettest month being August. Temperatures during the wet season are usually between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
When to Go
The best time to visit Miami is between March and May. There’s very little rain then, and temperatures hover between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is also one of the cheaper times to visit the city, since winter is peak tourist time, with higher prices between December and February. If you do come during the busy winter period, be sure to book your hotel well in advance.
Flying to Miami
You can book cheap flights to Miami from cities all over the U.S. and indeed the world. Miami International Airport is only about 8 miles from the city center, making it the closest airport to the city. For flights further afield, the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is also a great option. It’s less than an hour from Miami.