WELCOME TO GREATER MIAMI AND THE BEACHES
International in every sense — culture, language, transportation and commerce — Greater Miami and the Beaches fascinates travelers on the go. The original winter playground for migrating snowbirds, Greater Miami has evolved into a worldwide destination.
A natural charmer, Miami’s attractions range from the exotic wildlife of the Everglades to the exotic nightlife of South Beach, from a deep blue ocean to a shallow emerald bay, from the mangrove forests of watery Biscayne National Park to the sawgrass prairies of giant Everglades National Park.
More than 20 miles of beaches line the coast from Cape Florida down south to Golden Beach up north, with world-famous Miami Beach in between, offering easy access to swimming, sunning and other recreation. Miles of more secluded sands can be reached only by boat.
DOWNTOWN MIAMI, BRICKELL & KEY BISCAYNE
Once known only for the steel-and-glass landscape of the Central Business District, Downtown Miami is now working overtime with upscale condos, plus all the great shopping, fine dining, good sports and fun nightlife that go with them.
The Entertainment District is anchored by American Airlines Arena, the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, one of only four U.S. venues with dedicated halls for ballet, opera, theater and symphonic music.
Between business and entertainment is Historic Overtown, center of the early-20th century African-American community. Its rich history has been preserved in the Lyric Theater, where jazz greats performed, and the D.A. Dorsey House, home of Miami’s first black millionaire.
Brickell Avenue starts at the Miami River, marches south through a canyon of glass towers, housing a multitude of international banks, then morphs into a neighborhood of million-dollar bayside condos. Take Rickenbacker Causeway across the bay to Key Biscayne, home to vast marinas, seaside golf and tennis, parks and more great beaches.
WYNWOOD, MIAMI DESIGN DISTRICT & LITTLE HAITI
Just north of Downtown Miami, the Wynwood Art District is dotted with dozens of cutting-edge art galleries and private collections. Wynwood Walls is an outdoor exhibition featuring the world’s premier collection of urban murals, with works by renowned graffiti and street artists.
Miami Design District lives up to its name, as blocks of showrooms display the latest in textiles, furnishings, and other environmental arts. The avant-garde district has evolved into a popular dining and shopping hub, boasting celebrated eateries and luxury retailers. In Little Haiti, exotic art and architecture recall the eponymous French-flavored island.
In tranquil Miami Shores, tree-shaded homes recall the 1920s. In North Miami, music, film and TV production thrive. In North Miami Beach, enjoy nature preserves including Greynolds Park and Oleta River State Recreation Area. Finally, the high-rise, high-style city of Aventura, named after an enormous mall, is famed for towering condos, luxurious yachts and a beautiful golf course.
MIAMI BEACH, BAL HARBOUR & SUNNY ISLES BEACH
Miami’s world-famous beaches start in Miami Beach at South Pointe and run north for miles. By day, South Beach buzzes with shopping, sightseeing and dining, particularly on Lincoln Road, a pretty pedestrian promenade of boutiques, galleries, theaters, clubs and cafes. Nearby, Ocean Drive is the Art Deco icon of Miami Beach.
When the sun goes down, South Beach heats up. Trendy clubs and cafes hit their stride as celebrities, models, artists and tourists flood the streets to see and be seen. Up the coast, bygone glamour and modern renewal converge in North Beach, site of legendary resorts, tucked-away dining gems and a family-friendly beachside recreation area.
Beyond Miami Beach, the town of Surfside offers eclectic shopping and dining, and farther north awaits Bal Harbour, one of the world’s most elegant shopping, residential and vacation enclaves. Next, expansive Haulover Park enables seaside recreation with a marina, picnic facilities and a beach that includes a secluded clothing-optional section.
Last stop: Sunny Isles Beach, busily replacing mid-20th-century motels and diners with gleaming new high-rise resorts and fine dining restaurants, and über-exclusive Golden Beach, where single-family houses still sit right on the ocean.
COCONUT GROVE, LITTLE HAVANA, CORAL GABLES & BEYOND
Nestled on Biscayne Bay, Coconut Grove presents a bohemian village of posh boutiques, artsy galleries, eclectic shops, fine eateries, historical sites and thousands of boats. Modern Miami began in the Grove, where visitors can see the bayside home of pioneer Commodore Ralph Monroe. In Coconut Grove Village West, explore the area’s rich Bahamian heritage.
Little Havana remains the soul of the Cuban community. Its main drag, Calle Ocho (Southwest 8th Street), is a party for the senses — enjoy the rich aroma of handmade cigars, the strong taste of café cubano, the rhythmic sound of salsa, and the unique sight of grizzled men wearing guayaberas and playing dominoes. Every March, a million people descend on Calle Ocho for the world’s biggest block party.
South of Little Havana — and a world apart — is Coral Gables, conceived a century ago by George Merrick, who envisioned the Spanish Mediterranean as he planned his city of stately villas, flowing fountains, broad plazas and meandering waterways. Locals love to shop and dine along the city’s signature boulevard, Miracle Mile.
Near South Miami, recreational shoppers find a huge shopping center, Dadeland Mall. Fanning out in all directions are endless residential communities, which make the southwest the largest quarter, from suburban Kendall to agricultural South Miami-Dade and Homestead, including the gateway to the Everglades.