Miami Information & Travel Tipps – learn what makes Miami the ideal place for your next vacation.
Best Sights and Attractions
Known as the “Magic City” during the construction boom in Prohibition times, Miami had a dubious reputation for a long time. During the 80s, the city was known as an epicenter of the drug trade between Latin America and the USA: Films and TV series immortalized this image in popular culture: Scarface, Miami Vice, high-rises, fast cars, pastel suits and sunglasses – Miami was the epitome of coolness. Today, the city that bears the Indian name for “big water” draws in guests with its futuristic skyline, boardwalks lined with palm trees and the laid-back atmosphere. Here, in the heart of the Sunshine State, life happens outdoors: at scenic beaches, well-maintained parks and numerous sport venues.
Needless to say, Miami boasts a wide variety of sights like zoos, waterparks, museums and historical buildings that keep visitors occupied for days on end. Miami’s food scene offers a unique blend of American and Caribbean flavors, and many upcoming artists are on display in the city’s galleries.
Multi-cultural influences, a vibrating art scene and hip quarters characterize Miami’s north. Here you find the aptly named Designer District, known for its handcrafted furniture, exclusive boutiques and jewelry stores. Nearby Wynwood has made a remarkable transition from industrial area to trending district with thousands of shopping opportunities. Many of its inhabitants come from Puerto Rico, which is apparent in the restaurant scene. The district is also known for its murals that are still being painted today. Year after year the Art Basel Festivals draws in culture lovers from far and wide, and on the weekend Wynwood´s streets turn into one giant party with live music and street art.
The Little Haiti Community Garden is perfect for buying organic fruits and vegetables, while rapidly growing Midtown is known for the Biscayne Boulevard with its many shopping opportunities. An architectural highlight is the Bacardi Building, formerly used as the headquarters of the famous rum brand. The area is also a perfect gateway for Airboat tours into the Everglades or day trips to Key West.
Not many people know that Florida has its own Hollywood. The city between Miami and Fort Lauderdale might not match its California counterpart in size, but amazes with sandy beaches that have been awarded for outstanding cleanliness. The many joggers and rollerbladers in the car-free beach zone present a scene that is typical for Miami. International musicians perform at the Hollywood Beach Theater, and golfers can choose between seven courses.
Besides being the city’s economic and financial center, Downtown also houses Miami’s tallest buildings. On Bayside Promenade you can enjoy particularly nice views of the skyline against the backdrop of turquoise waters. The nearby marina is perfect for visitors who want to go on fishing trips.
Downtown also features extensive green areas like Bayfront Park, a popular venue for open air concerts. One of Downtown’s most important architectural sights is the Freedom Tower of 1925. Today the building serves as a museum with exhibitions about the history of Cuban immigrants in Florida.
You can see more houses from the Golden Twenties in the Historic District, among them the city’s oldest Catholic church. The Gusman Center for the Performing Arts is known for its operas, and if you like contemporary art, the Perez Art Museum is the perfect place for you – not only due to its futuristic, unconventional architecture. The colorful and interactive exhibitions even fascinate guests who do not usually care about the fine arts.
The same complex also houses the Patricia Frost Museum of Science. Here, visitors can learn a lot about Florida’s wildlife and gaze at the stars in the planetarium. Many exhibitions are tailored to a young audience, for example the aquarium where you can feed stingrays and other fish. You could easily spend a whole day in the Museum Park without feeling bored.
Cross the bridge, and you will reach Watson Island. Here you find the Miami Children’s Museum, a place full of exciting science experiments for young visitors. The island also features the Jungle Island Zoo with its colorful parrots, monkeys, flamingos and penguins. Jungle Island Zoo is one of the few places where you can see “ligers”, a crossing between lions and tigers.
West- und South Miami
No place in Miami harbours more people with Cuban roots than Little Havana – Miami’s version of New York’s Chinatown and Little Italy. You rarely hear English spoken in the famous Domino Park where long-established Cubans enjoy themselves with their favorite pastime – domino. Driving further west, you reach the Grapeland Water Park with its exciting slides, lazy river and child-friendly splash zones.
A true historical gem is situated on the south coast of the Coral Way district. Villa Vizcaya was built for the magnate James Deering in 1916. If it were not for the palm trees of this Renaissance Palace, you could imagine yourself in Italy. After a walk through the lush garden you should definitely take a peek into the villa’s opulent interior. Nearby, guests can watch entertaining sea lion and dolphin shows at the Miami Seaquarium, once home to the famous TV star Flipper. Families with children should also visit Monkey Jungle, where you can see primates like gorillas and feed cute monkeys.
Visiting the Coconut Grove district feels like stepping into a time capsule. Barnacle Historic State Park, for example, is home to a remarkable wooden house that was built by Ralph Middleton Munroe in 1891. The well-renowned yacht designer liked his land undeveloped, so guests can still walk under the shade of majestic trees today. Even more lush vegetation awaits you at the Botanic Garden Kampong, a green oasis in the middle of the city. The garden is maintained by an organization devoted to the protection of tropical plants. 1000 different species can be found in the 27 acres area.
Miami´s Best Beaches
White, sandy beaches, palm trees and luxurious sports cars – these things come to mind when people think of Miami Beach. Despite its name, Miami Beach is actually a city on its own, situated south of Miami. Even just driving there will reward you with astonishing ocean views. By far the most popular spot for sun worshippers is South Beach. Here you can watch Miami’s rich and famous relaxing. „See and be seen“ is the mantra here. Additionally, the district is home to many historical buildings in the Art Deco style – the latest trend in the 1920s. It was here along pastel-colored houses that Sunny Burnett and Ricardo Coopers chased the bad guys in the TV series Miami Vice.
One of the most iconic places in South Beach is Ocean Drive. This street is known for its Art Deco hotels and luxury mansions where the high society of Miami Beach resides. No photo tour would be complete without Versace Mansion, home to the fashion icon Gianni Versace until he was shot in front of it. Many cocktail bars make Ocean Drive perfect for an evening stroll. Granted, the prices are astronomical, but at least the cocktails come in jumbo size.
South Pointe Park amazes visitors with its fine sandy beach. Here you can watch the big ocean liners or ride the waves on a jet ski. Well-maintained green spaces are perfect for a walk in the shade. Fans of the TV series Miami Ink have another reason for visiting this part of the city: the Love Hate Tattoo Studio, where the series´ protagonists are still working – even though the studio moved to a bigger building nearby after shooting was done. A true haven for shopping fans is Lincoln Roads Mall, an extensive street laden with boutiques, cinemas, restaurants and cocktail bars by the sea. Miami Beach is also home to the Holocaust Memorial with its 42 feet bronze statue. The memorial serves as a grim reminder of atrocities during the Nazi regime.
If you are looking for a true retail haven, look no further than the Aventura Mall, Florida’s biggest shopping center. More than 300 stores on three floors sell the newest products, while the extensive food court serves a wide range of international dishes. Even if you do not need anything, you should visit Aventura Mall for its elegant design. A bit further from the city center stretches Sawgrass Mills, Florida´s second largest mall. 300 Shops fill an area the size of 30 football fields. Here you can go shopping all day without feeling bored – especially because of the rewarding discounts. Just take the shuttle bus from your hotel in Miami or Miami Beach directly to the mall. Tickets come with a coupon book and a map of the mall. For more shopping opportunities nearby, visit the Dolphin Mall or Bayside Marketplace.
North Miami’s Little Haiti welcomes guests with its laid-back Caribbean vibes and Creole cuisine. A relaxing bicycle ride brings you to the many cafés on the boardwalk. Little Havana in Southwest Miami is perfect for trying Cuban dishes and buying the famous Cuban cigars, not only because prices are significantly lower than in other parts of the city. High-quality steaks and exquisite wines await you at the Capital Grille in Downtown Miami. And of course, the city has no shortage of Fast Food joints as well as Italian, Chinese and many other restaurants.
Accommodation in Miami
Miami offers a wide range of accommodation options for every budget. The city is home to luxurious hotels like the Mandarin Oriental, The Palms and the Riu Hotel, as well as affordable hotel chains and charming vacation homes. Miami Beach is most known for its privately owned, creatively designed Boutique Hotels. But even in this hotspot, you can find cheap places to stay. As a rule of thumb, the further south you go, the higher the prices. Those looking for a discount should avoid the main season between November and April. The month of May is perfect if you are looking for a bargain but also want to enjoy endless sunshine.
Climate and Weather
Miami attracts visitors with its tropical climate and 250 sunny days a year. During October and March, temperatures can drop to 60.8° F for a short time, but it never really gets cold in this city. The dry season brings most pleasant conditions, making the months of March, April and May the best traveling time. However, even during rainy season the showers are predominantly short, so guests can still enjoy plenty of sunshine, as well as empty beaches.