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Florida Guide > Other Florida

Miami

Since our first trip to South Beach, we have visited Miami 3 times and actually spent a fortnight there 2 years ago so we had the chance to explore it in more depth. We decided to book into one of the chains at the bottom end of South Beach rather than the Art Deco hotel we stayed in on our first visit to South Beach much to the bank manager’s relief! It was right on the beach and offered a great location. Holidaying in Miami is more expensive than Orlando generally. For us it was worth the money as we had a fabulous holiday and we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and would recommend at least a few days here.

Miami is the most glamorous city in Florida. 2 million people live there and almost half of them are Hispanic with the majority being Cubans. The Spanish influence is everywhere; you can go for ages without hearing English spoken, you could easily forget at times you were in the United States!! As well as Cubans, there are people from Haiti, Mexico and many other locations in South America. Many tourist visit Miami noticeably were the Germans and French and of course us Brits. In the past Miami has had a reputation of violence with tourist killings in the late 80s early 90s when it had the highest murder rate in the United States. It has however cleaned up its act and if you take the same precautions as any city you will feel quite safe.

Miami attracts the glamour set from Models, to TV stars to wannabes and it would be easy to have an inferiority complex here!!! Whilst we were there they had beach volleyball competitions, models doing a swimwear photo shoots, numerous body beautiful competition and pop concerts on the beach. TV crews are frequently filming in Miami remember ‘Miami Vice’? More recently ‘CSI Miami’ and ‘Miami Slice’ keeps it on the TV on a weekly basis!!

Miami has so much to offer because of the diversity of the culture found there. Wanting to see as much of it as we would we decided to drive to Little Havana, we have always wanted to go to Cuba but had not yet managed yet as we could not get the USA bug out of our system and this was the next best thing! When we arrived it was like arriving in another Country. All the street signs were in Spanish and it was very ‘authentic’. Miami Cubans still consider themselves to be in exile. We drove round for a while soaking up the atmosphere, when lunchtime arrived we found a wee café and had a Cuban sandwich which was delicious. These cafes do not look like the places where you would normally find tourists but they are worth a visit as the food is really good. Obviously it is a lot cheaper in these areas also. I would however recommend that you visit during the day.

Many of the Holocaust survivors and their families live in Miami Beach area. The Holocaust Memorial is a somber sight. This is located near the visitors centre at Dade Boulevard and worth a visit.

The Florida Marlins, the pro baseball team is based here; they actually won the World Series in 1997 in only their 4th season. The Miami Dolphins also hang out here; they are the only pro football team in the state!!

Shopping in Miami is great, as well as all the normal stores and outlet stores it caters to the upper end of the market with designer boutiques everywhere! Take out a mortgage if you fancy a spree!

The nightlife in Miami is absolutely fantastic, with something for all tastes. If you have a look at the South Beach article on here that describes what is available there. Downtown Miami offers the usual run of the mill eateries. Seafood is in abundance as you would expect. Again the Cuban influence is everywhere from Coffee to sandwiches to pork and rice and beans. Nuevo Cubano offers a lighter version of the traditional offerings. There is a big Hard Rock Café which is worth a visit.

Miami is also a good stop off point if you are planning to visit the Florida Keys. If you have never visited before I thoroughly recommend it.

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