Miami - Top Interesting Places & Interesting Things to Do (I)

What is it that makes Miami such a hot place to be? Cities with nice weather hold a name for itself, but Miami seems to pack a one-two punch for visitors who seem to always come back for more. Few places in the world have it all, but Miami has such a diverse appeal to many tourists. 

Miami Beaches

South Beach, surf capital of Miami is the place to enjoy yourself. No trip to Miami is complete until you spend a day in relaxing South Beach. The scene certainly lives up to the stereotype of Miami. You'll find surfers catching the waves in a turquoise ocean, models sauntering along golden sands and roller-blades gliding down Ocean Drive.

Spend the day enjoying the number one reason why tourists come back to Miami. Whether you call it "SoBe", the American Riviera or the Hollywood of The East, the beaches have been a playground for tourists of all varieties for years and years to come. 

You can also find here hyper-tanned celebrities rub oiled shoulders with hipsters in the sidewalk cafes, designer boutiques, lounge bars and dusk-til-dawn clubs. They make this a perfect place for chilling out after browsing through the World Erotic Art Museum. Among the quintessential hangouts are the Nikki Beach Club and the Opium Garden, while great restaurants include Joe's Stone Crab,  which is well known for its legendary lime pie.

Art Deco Historic District 

Now forget the sand and take a stroll around the art deco buildings on South Beach to catch its "Golden Era" of architecture. While Europe is known for cobblestone streets, Miami is architecturally known for its Art Deco style buildings. Here you will find a glamorous array of hotels, which grew up when a theatrical style swept the design world in the late 20's of the last century. Take a trip back to the 1930s in awe of these impressive structures; over 800 buildings that capture the style of the era.  Crowded along Ocean Drive are the best of these giddy individuals. Park Central Hotel and the Imperial, designed by New Yorkers Henry Hohauser and L Murray Dixon, feature bold bands of colour and window 'eyebrows', characteristic of this flamboyant style.

The "Road" with a "Sex and the City Flavour"

For those jaded by the preening crowds on Ocean Drive, the hippest place to visit is Lincoln Road Mall. Designed by iconic architectural guru Morris Lapidus in the 1950s, when it was dubbed the 'Fifth Avenue of the South', it's now simply known by locals as the 'Road'. Wall-to-wall sidewalk cafes, clubs and cultural venues stretch along its length (from Washington Avenue to Alton Road), looking glamorous thanks to a $16-million facelift. You could imagine the girls from 'Sex and the City' clicking their heels around its stylish boutiques. Among the best cafes are the Van Dyke and Balans. Highlights include the glam gay nightspot, the Score, The Lincoln Theater, home of the New World Symphony, and the Regal South Beach Stadium 18 movie theater. 

Little Havana 

Visit Little Havana for a real taste of Latin flavor. Little Havana is the closest Americans can get to Cuba. Miami Cubans are incredibly proud of this neighborhood, even if they don't live here. This neighborhood within the city of Miami is home to many Cuban immigrants. It got the name in the 1960s when a concentration of Cuban immigration skyrocketed. Here you'll find many restaurants and shops that are replicas of their ones back home.  Looking for "cafe con leche" (coffee with milk), traditional Cuban sandwiches and sizzling Salsa Clubs? Little Havana is the Latin capital of Miami.

 Click here to go to Part II


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