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Miami Travel & Holiday Tips

The cultural diversity in Miami is apparent from the moment you venture onto its streets, and hear the rise and fall of a dozen different languages being spoken. It is an easygoing beachtown, a refugee camp, and a 24-hour party all at once. Whether you spend the day tanning on the beach or discovering the various shops and cultural attractions, there’s plenty to do in Miami.

Places of Interest

Miami Beach

When talking about Miami, the beach is the best place to start. In the 1940s, when vacationers began to arrive, Miami Beach was the centre of the action. Although years have passed and times have changed, the beach remains a perennial hot spot. Enormous luxury resorts such as Fontainebleau and Eden Roc rise majestically against the skyline, and shops and restaurants line the streets, next to the miles of white sandy beach.

South Beach

Once home to a number of retired citizens and starving artists, South Beach has now risen to international fame as a popular vacation destination. Every block is packed with restaurants, bars, shops and dance clubs, each trendier, more glamorous and cutting-edge than the last. One could spend days soaking in the sights and sounds of South Beach. Take a walking tour along Ocean Drive or down Lincoln Road, where the beautiful people come out to play. Whether it's three in the morning or three in the afternoon, there is bound to be plenty to do.

There are also many well-known museums in South Beach, such as the World Erotic Art Museum (WEAM), the R.J. Hohimer Signature Gallery and the Kennedy Gallery. The Holocaust Memorial is also located in South Beach.

Bal Harbour

Located on the northern end of Miami Beach, Bal Harbour is the most exclusive neighbourhood in Greater Miami. Luxury resorts sit serenely amid the lush foliage and palatial homes. No visit to this district is complete without a visit to the Bal Harbour Shops. Versace, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Prada are just a few of the fashion houses that have retail outlets in this shopping centre. Plenty of fine dining can be found in Bal Harbour. However, if you're on a budget, this isn't the place to dine or shop.

Downtown Miami

Although primarily a business district, there's a lot to see and do downtown. Tour the design district between Northeast 36th and 41st Streets, or check out the museums in the Metro-Dade Cultural Center. Shoppers will delight in the Bayside Marketplace with its retail shops, open-air crafts market, half-dozen restaurants and pier. The Port of Miami is next to Bayside, where you can easily find a boat to take you on a tour around the bay.

The Bayside Marketplace begins to wake up around 10am, when the first sightseers depart for a two-hour breakfast cruise around Biscayne Bay and the Port of Miami. Grab a bite at the 11th Street Diner. Take a stroll in Bayfront Park, which is right next to the Marketplace. The Park also contains the Bayfront Park Amphitheater, where there are frequent concerts and other events.

Coral Gables

Coral Gables is a gated enclave crisscrossed by canals, just a few minutes' drive from Downtown Miami. This small, tree-lined village is home to many of Miami's most famous attractions, including the Biltmore Hotel, Venetian Pool and Miracle Mile. Excellent shopping and dining can be found on the Miracle Mile as well as on the side streets surrounding it.

Take a dip in the Venetian Pool, in the early afternoon, when the heat of the day is at its peak. Grab a bite to eat at the café, then dry off, clean up, and head over to Biltmore Hotel. The Biltmore is both a designated national historic landmark and a five-star luxury hotel. This neighbourhood is also the site of the annual Festival Miami.

Wander down the Miracle Mile, where there is always a big event taking place. Jazz lovers should stop by the Satchmo Blues Bar & Grill, while theater fans can see what's playing at the Actors Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre. Ortanique is one of the most famous restaurants on this strip.

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