Hailed as the “Magic City” visitors to this cosmopolitan hotspot quickly become awestruck by the sparkle of the city’s streets and the allure of its beaches. Claimed by the Spanish in 1566, the city has since grown and grown and become the 4th largest urban area in the United States, with a population of around 5.5 million.
Ranked as an alpha world city, Miami is a major player in the global economic system and a bustling trading spot. The city is home to a diverse cultural scene, offering a huge variety of theatres, museums, performing arts centres, parks and entertainment venues. Its music and clubbing scene is unrivalled across the country.
Where to Stay
The Grand Beach Hotel is a luxurious choice that won’t burn too big a hole in your wallet. Overlooking a stretch of white sandy beach, this hotel offers rooms with panoramic sunset views and has seven swimming pools and a gym.
Party-goers would do well to check in at The Angler’s Boutique Resort. Situated two blocks from all the major clubs and bars on South Beach, this chic hotel is in a fantastic location and offers stylishly fitted rooms with custom designed beds.
The newest hostel in the heart of South Beach, the bikini hostel has a pool and Jacuzzi and is only moments away from the sea. Rooms are private apartments fitted with en-suite bathrooms and kitchens and are all air-conditioned.
Another good budget choice is the Shalimar Motel, which is less than ten miles from the attractions of Miami’s buzzing South Beach. Each room is fitted with a kitchenette.
Hitting the Forbes Magazine’s list for the “top 10 most anticipated openings of 2012,” Miami Beach’s James Royal Palm is the go-to choice for anyone looking for the ultimate luxury. The hotel sits on the beach and offers a range of amenities including fishing.
What to Do
Art Deco Ocean Drive is charming beyond belief. This array of 1920s architecture is a great place to start off wandering around the city’s Art Deco District, which is home to over 800 buildings which were built in the 1930s and 40s.
For a glimpse of the Cuban influence in the city, head to Little Havana. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled to this area following Fidel Castro’s rise to power in 1959, and made it their own, establishing many businesses similar to the ones they had left behind.
The Miami Seaquarium hosts a variety of marine shows featuring dolphins, sea turtles, seals and sea-lions, and is a great family day out. A visit to Miami is not complete without hitting up one of South Beach’s legendary bars or clubs. Dress to get noticed in this glamorous clubbing district, and head to venues like the Florida Room or Cameo.
The Miami Museum of Science is a great place to go for an interesting and cultural day out. Offering an array of exhibitions, and home to the Miami Planetarium and the Wildlife Centre, there is plenty to keep you busy at this venue.
Where to Eat
Its takes a lot for a Spanish restaurant to stand out from the crowd in Miami’s restaurant scene, but Xixon manages to do it. There is a mixture of influences from the Basque country to trendy hip-hop on this restaurant, which serves up great tapas, and is located in the trendy Coconut Grove area.
CJ’s Crab Shack is the place for anyone hankering after some tasty crustaceans. Get there for happy hour and you can order half a dozen oysters for just $5.
Using organic, locally sourced ingredients, Michy’s serves up international cuisine in a cool and collected ambience. The emphasis in this trendy joint is on sharing, so diners are encouraged to order several dishes from the eclectic menu and enjoy it all together.
Celebrity spotters will want to head down to Tantra, one of South Beach’s hot spots frequented by the rich and famous. Guests can enjoy large portions of fusion cuisine and sip aphrodisiac cocktails in this trendy restaurant bar.
When to Visit
With good weather year round, visitors can enjoy Miami any time of year. Prices peak from January to April. For ten days every March is the Carnival Miami, which is as epic as festivals come.
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