Across Biscayne Bay from Downtown is Miami’s main attraction, South Beach. Seafront Ocean Drive is classic Miami, and Collins Avenue, or the Strip, is lined with colorful Art Deco hotels. Past 21st Street is Miami Beach, its MiMo (Miami Modern) architecture a bolder version of Art Deco. The six-mile long Boardwalk is popular with joggers and walkers. Check out the showy Fontainebleau Hilton Resort and designer shopping at Bal Harbour mall.
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Downtown Miami lies across Biscayne Bay, west of South Beach and Miami Beach. It is home to the Brickell Avenue financial district, the American Airlines Arena and Bayside Marketplace’s shops and restaurants. In Little Havana’s Calle Ocho, west of Downtown, saunter along the Cuban Memorial Boulevard, stock up in the cigar shops and join the domino players in Máximo Gómez Park. North of Downtown are the art galleries and restaurants of the Design District, bordered by colorful Little Haiti.
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South of Downtown Miami are the wealthy Coral Gables and Coconut Grove suburbs. Once a bohemian village, Coconut Grove is now better known for its alfresco Cocowalk shopping-restaurant complex and Broadway shows at the 1950s Coconut Grove Playhouse. Coral Gables, the vision of developer George Merrick in the early 1900s, is an ostentatious collection of Mediterranean-style homes and exclusive shops. A dip in the palm-fringed 1920s Venetian Pool is hard to beat.
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The city suburb of South Miami, south of Downtown, borders the University of Miami’s main campus and Coral Gables. A big draw is the cage-less Miami MetroZoo, home to over 1,200 animals and a giraffe feeding house. At Bayside’s 444-acre archaeological park, the Deering Estate at Cutler, activities include canoe rides and butterfly-spotting hikes. The 400 resident primates at the Monkey Jungle keep the entertainment level high.
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Linked to Coral Gables via the Rickenbacker Causeway and Virginia Key is the tropical island of Key Biscayne, lapped by the waters of Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve. In the south Cape Florida’s prized beaches fan out while water sports enthusiasts head to the aquatic playground of Biscayne Bay. The 38-acre Miami Seaquarium marine life park is a big draw for families too.
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