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Miami Beach is a beautiful destination for both locals and visitors alike. Miami Beach has something for everyone with its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and world-class restaurants. In this guide, we'll take you through all the must-see attractions, the best places to stay, and top tips for getting the most out of your stay in Miami Beach.
Miami Beach, Florida, sits on an island barrier between Biscayne Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The Tequesta first inhabited the area, then later the Seminole Indians. The site was also once a mangrove swamp. There, growers tried but without success for coconut plantations. However, they had more success with avocado groves. John S. Collins and Carl Fisher, as well as John and James Lummus, were the first to develop real estate in the area. Also, in 1920, a bridge was constructed across the bay, followed by a causeway. Dredging also added more land to the island. Incorporated as Ocean Beach in 1915, the city's name was later changed to Miami Beach the year after.
However, the collapse of Florida's land boom in 1926 and the Great Depression hampered growth. But, the city's fortunes were reversible by the construction of many Art Deco-style buildings in the mid-1930s. The city's tourist industry was again severely affected by World War II, but it became a popular destination when many hotels were requisitioned for army training. After the war, the region became a popular tourist destination and retirement area.
Miami Beach is a luxury area for resorts, plus a convention center that operates year-round. There are no other industries or transportation options than the road to Miami. The city also has museums of Jewish culture and art collections, reflecting its large Jewish community. Moreover, the Holocaust Memorial features a bronze sculpture measuring 40 feet (12 m) that depicts a hand reaching for the ground and panels listing the names and addresses of those who died. They also restored a large area of Art Deco buildings in South Beach. This area is one of the most popular areas of Miami Beach. Biscayne National park is approximately 10 miles south.
It is best to visit between March and May when the sun shines, and temperatures are in the 70s to 80s during the day. You can also avoid the peak winter rates by visiting Miami Beach in spring. Moreover, Florida's subtropical climate means that it is usually warm all year and occasionally rainy.
Moreover, bring an umbrella if you visit in the summer or fall. At most, you will experience afternoon showers. However, you could get torrential downpours in the worst-case scenario. Furthermore, the Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November.
Below are some of the best places to visit and things to do in Miami Beach.
This shopping center is just a few blocks away from the beach house. Besides, it has almost everything you need. This pedestrian-only promenade gives the mall an entirely Floridian feel. You can enjoy the warm, tropical atmosphere of the mall while you shop under palm trees or make a few purchases. Visitors can enjoy a drink in the sun at one of the many cafes and bars that line the walkway. You should also visit the galleries.
The clothing-optional Haulover is a long-standing favorite among laissez-faire residents and vacationers. But there are more things to do than just nude sunbathing. This shore is north of Bal Harbour. It offers opportunities to fly kites, charter fish, and play volleyball. You don't have to wear your birthday suit to enjoy the area. There are also areas for beach bathing in swimsuits. The northern section of the beach is for nude sunbathers.
Haulover Park was a popular choice for travelers, with most stating that they enjoyed their stay. Some travelers are also surprised at the friendliness of the people on the beach. But, expect to pay a fee for beach chairs and another equipment rental.
The downtown district of Miami Beach has unique architecture that will draw your attention. Ocean Drive and surrounding streets in the Art Deco District are filled with old houses and hotels. These buildings gleam in the sunlight and illuminate the night sky with a neon rainbow. Moreover, the bustling crowd that gathers under the facades of these buildings creates a unique atmosphere.
This monastery is in North Miami Beach and has a long history. The Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux is the official name. Construction began in A.D.1133 in northern Spain. They completed it eight years later. The monastery was home to monks for almost 700 years. However, it was sold after the 1830 revolution.
William Randolph Hearst purchased the cloisters of the monastery and the remainder of it in 1925 and shipped them to the United States. The monastery was then rebuilt in 19 months. They reopened it in 1964 to the public as a tourist attraction. It was described by Time magazine as "The World's Largest Jigsaw Puzzle" because it used 35,000 stones. However, it was not a popular tourist attraction, so they sold it to the local diocese. As such, they built a church. It's now an active congregation that welcomes visitors to the church. It also acts as an attraction that highlights the monastery's stunning architecture and the surrounding gardens.
It's worth getting out of the hustle and bustle of South Beach to visit this serene monastery. Its grounds are quiet, historic, and peaceful, which is what visitors love about it.
The Holocaust Memorial sits near the intersection between Dade Boulevard and Meridian Avenue. It is a poignant tribute to Holocaust survivors and victims. A small group of survivors came up with the idea and officially opened it to the public in 1990. There are also several statues, architectural pieces, and a meditation garden. The central sculpture depicts dozens of people in extreme poverty reaching out to each other for help. They also form a broad arm reaching toward the sky.
Recent visitors agree with one another that Miami's Holocaust Memorial moved and inspired them never to forget the tragedy. Many travelers also agree it is worth stopping by the memorial while in the area. They also recommend informative photo panels, which offer additional information about the terrible event. In addition, a brochure with self-guided tours is available for a small fee.
The stunning stretch of sand is alive with people of all ages who frequent the beaches during the day and hit the bars and clubs at night. South Pointe Park offers a break from the sand by providing a green oasis next to the ocean. This neighborhood is also full of fun people. You may also need your bathing suit. Besides, there is a lot of traffic, with skateboarders and rollerbladers cruising down Ocean Drive.
This museum is on an island halfway between South Beach and downtown Miami. It is centered on interactive exhibits for children. It features a 6-foot-tall piggy bank, the Castle of Dreams (a colorful sand castle that inspires imagination), and the Music Makers Studio. At this studio, kids can learn how musical sounds are made. Miami Beach is a beautiful place to take your kids and families.
This area is home to one of the most prominent Cuban communities in the country. Many Miamians speak Spanish, and you can hear it everywhere. Cuban culture also influences the city's music, architecture, and food.
There is also a vibrant gay community in the city, focusing on South Beach, particularly between 11th-12th streets. The adult only Winter Party is a celebration for the LGBT community. It draws thousands every year. Miami Beach Gay Pride, held in April every year, is another big event.
High-end restaurants line Miami Beach's streets, often serving American, Caribbean, Asian, and Peruvian cuisines. Miami Beach has its own "fusion" name: "Floribbean." Expect to be amazed by the delicious tastes. Stone crab, ceviche, and empanadas are some of the most popular Miami Beach meals.
Joe's Stone Crab is a favorite among seafood lovers. The stone crab claws are delicious. However, this eatery does not take reservations. There is often a wait because of its popularity. But visitors say it is well worth the wait. Las Olas Cafe is also highly rated for its delicious traditional Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, plantains, and authentic cafe con Leche.
Some of Miami Beach's most prestigious hotels also house some of the best restaurants in the area. For example, OLA at the Eurostars Vintro Hotel serves Latin American cuisine, while Hakkasan at the Fontainebleau Hotel serves Cantonese and Dim Sum dishes. There are also many top-rated restaurants in Miami Beach, such as Scarpetta by Scott Conant and Jose Andres' The Bazaar.
Furthermore, the South Beach Food & Wine Festival is a great way to spice up your taste buds. Every February, the five-day festival attracts top celebrity chefs and innovative recipes.
Below are some of the best areas to stay in Miami Beach. There are plenty of luxury hotels. The beach resorts in Miami have large guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and great ocean views.
South Beach is correct at the tip of Miami Beach. Although it may seem small, it has a lot of personalities. Miami Beach is about quirky characters, neon nightlife, and Cuban culture. Moreover, you'll see the iconic Art Deco architecture along the streets in pastel pink against blue skies. It is punctuated with palm trees and tropicalia. This area is also buzzing with energy all day so this place might be for you.
There are also many hotels along South Beach's bustling boulevards, which include the famous Ocean Drive. You can find yourself relaxing in the swimming pool of an Art Deco hotel or enjoying the boutique hotels and resorts in the vicinity. South Beach has charming accommodations with elegant interiors straight out of a magazine. Moreover, just a few steps outside your hotel, you can be transported to a world full of chic shopping, stylish cafes, and tasty seafood restaurants.
South Beach is a small area. You can walk most of it, but if you're too hot to go out on the streets, you can take a taxi or get on the bus. This will take you to most places in the city.
Coconut Grove is one of Miami's oldest neighborhoods. It is the oldest continuously inhabited district in the city. As a result, this is where you'll find Miami's most historic buildings, such as the 1921 Woman's Club of Coconut Grove and the Art Deco Dinner Key, or the Villa Vizcaya, which was built in Mediterranean style in 1916.
However, it's not just architecture. This is Miami's most populous neighborhood, known locally as "The Grove." It's south of Brickell and is home to some of the best parks in Miami. The Kampong is the most famous, a 9-acre botanical garden. However, reservations are required to walk in awe of this little Eden.
You will find it a far cry from Downtown and the hustle. The upper middle range includes luxury studios, elegant apartments, beach clubs, and more expensive hotels.
Mid-Beach lies between North and South Beach. It was once home to the notorious Rat Pack. Moreover, many of the city's most iconic and famous historic hotels are located here.
You'll find a lot of architectural treasures dating back to the 1940s through the '60s, making it an excellent place for an Instagrammable stroll. There's also the Art Deco Welcome Center for those who can't stop looking.
You will also find chic restaurants and bars to complement the stylish hotels. There are many options for dining, from Southern cuisine at Bird & Bone to elegant Italian at Cecconi's.
North Beach is between 65th and 85th Streets on Miami Beach. Although it might not be as glamorous as South Beach or Mid-Beach due to its lack of tourists and a long stretch of sandy beaches, do not overlook it. North Beach is home to stylish, post-war Miami Modernist architecture. It's referred to as MiMo architecture.
North Beach in Miami is also a great spot for budget travelers. The accommodation is more affordable than in South Beach, making it a more attractive option for budget-minded travelers. There are also various hotel options, from locally owned 2-star hotels to 5-star luxury.
Walking is the best way to explore Miami Beach. South Beach is very pedestrian-friendly. You can rent bikes from many vendors or use Citi Bike, a bike-sharing service. But pack a lock or buy one. Bicycle theft can be a severe problem. Also, parking is often limited during peak hours so driving can cause headaches.
Miami-Dade Transit also operates buses. But it is better to hail a cab, Uber, or Lyft than wait at a bus stop. A taxi will transport you from Miami International Airport.
Visitors to Miami Beach are generally safe. However, pickpocketing is a significant concern, especially during rush hour and on busy Washington Street. Also, avoid unfamiliar areas by walking in groups at night. Finally, keep valuables hidden if you own a car in the city. This will prevent your vehicle from being stolen.
Swimming is safe if you are near a lifeguard station. Watch out for flags that indicate where to swim. The color purple indicates the presence of marine animals such as jellyfish. When a red flag is raised, it is forbidden to enter the water.