A Miami travel guide – luxury beach hotels, Cuban culture, and Art Deco heaven
White sand, cool pools and glamorous Miami hotels are all part of a Miami vacation. Explore new-wave art galleries, colorful 1930s Art Deco architecture and lively Latino neighborhoods.
Get your bearings
The yacht-filled waters of Biscayne Bay separate Downtown Miami from South Beach, Miami Beach and Key Biscayne island, linked by causeways. Art Deco hotels and trendy bars line South Beach’s Atlantic shores, spilling over to Miami Beach. Downtown Miami, seven miles from Miami International Airport, is home to Bayside Marketplace’s shops and eateries and the Cuban quarter, Little Havana. South lie affluent Coral Gables and Coconut Grove and beyond, the suburb of South Miami.
Rest and relaxation
Most people take a Miami vacation to relax on golden sands of South Beach and Miami Beach. Boisterous beach bars, lazy brunch spots and pastel-colored Art Deco hotels line Ocean Drive’s Atlantic seafront. Brickell Key, off the coast of Downtown Miami, is home to Miami’s only five-star spa at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Cool down on a Biscayne Bay sailing boat trip or escape the urban buzz in the 32-acre Bayfront Park in Downtown.
From old Latino neighborhoods to high-rise beach view apartments, Miami’s history is mirrored in its urban landscape. Miami’s Cuban neighborhood, Little Havana is on 8th Street, (Calle Ocho) where old men play dominos, Spanish tunes blast from stereos and English is a second language. Miami’s architecture is eye-catching, from the sleek, high-rise condominiums on Miami Beach and Art Deco structures in South Beach to the ornate, country club-style Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
Miami is known for its ‘Floribbean’ gastronomy -- Florida flavors blended with Caribbean cuisine. In this beach-body-conscious city, food is light with a focus on seafood. Dine in world-conquering South Beach eateries like Nobu or head to long-time favorite, Joe’s Stone Crab Restaurant, (open mid-October to mid-May). Tiny hole-in-the-wall Cuban cafes serve fearsomely strong coffees to fuel those South Beach bar hops.
Sleek lobby bars, rooftop terraces with outdoor beds and open-air beach clubs compete for A-list guests and designer interiors. Nikki Beach Miami on Ocean Drive, the Moroccan-inspired Skybar at the Shore Club on Collins Avenue and deco lobby of the Raleigh Hotel are South Beach picks. Away from beachside haunts, head to Miami’s oldest bar, Tobacco Road, in Downtown Miami for jazz and blues.
Quirky boutiques, expansive malls and designer stores all have their place in Miami. South Beach is fashion central, in particular Lincoln Road Mall and the southern end of Collins Avenue. Cash-rich shoppers head for Bal Harbour’s exclusive shops on northern Miami Beach. For freshly rolled Cuban cigars, head to Little Havana’s Calle Ocho. Coconut Grove’s alfresco mall, Cocowalk is home to chain stores and boutiques.
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