Immigration has played a major role in Miami's explosive growth over the last 80 years, and this has naturally had a great influence on the shape of Miami today. Its people make Miami pulsate with a large and vibrant multicultural art scene, while its location at the sea and in the sun has attracted life-indulging pleasure-seekers from all over the world: the lazy beach culture by day gives way to infectious musical rhythms by night.
Miami – in this guide also referring to Miami Beach, which is built on a sandbar across Biscayne Bay – is a city of contrasts: across the street from one of the country's most exclusive nightclubs, visitors in the know can catch a gritty open mic night, and salsa clubs and musical theatre of the highest calibre exist here side by side.
Little Havana and Little Haiti are the centres of Caribbean life in the city, while the Art Deco architecture near South Beach exhibits Miami’s heyday in the roaring 20s, mixed with today’s latest fashion in dining, wining, living and clubbing. Miami Beach exudes celebrity lifestyle, while Miami itself has fast become an international cultural hot spot as a centre of Latin and North American art and gastronomy with inspiration taken from all corners of the world.
Miami has picturesque beaches, an exceptional nightlife, plentiful shopping opportunities and delicious dining options. Although there is an abundance of things to do in the city and on the beach, visitors should not pass up the chance of taking one-day excursions to see some of the breathtaking natural surroundings.
Miami has unlimited ways to charm visitors, as the city's natural beauty and its surroundings are breathtaking while its great climate offers chances in outdoor activities pretty much all year round. While staying close to the city will allow you to enjoy some of the best beaches in the planet, do also explore a little further from the city proper and visit the wonders of the Everglades or the Florida Keys. Even though the weather nearly forces you to stroll around in the sun, Miami's architectural past and its vibrant art scene will tempt you to spend some time indoors, and the warmth of the vastly international population will make you want to stay here for good.
Like its people, Miami's cuisine is an infusion of flavours. Greatly influenced by the city’s ethnic mix and its location by the Atlantic Ocean, creative chefs have merged Miami’s seafood with Asian, Caribbean, European and South American flavours, and the result is a limitless array of options, ranging from world-class chefs and their fusion experiments to family-run holes-in-the-wall serving up specialties from around the globe. And one cannot leave town before trying the deliciously refreshing local dessert: Key Lime pie.
Coffee culture in Miami is eclectic, and it draws on European, American and Caribbean influences. As coffee in general, and especially here, is best enjoyed outside in the refreshing breeze while admiring the scenery and passers-by, take an espresso by the sands of South Beach, a cappuccino in Coral Gables, or a cafecito in the heart of Little Havana.
Miami's nightlife offers much more than tantalizing and glamourous VIP nightclubs at South Beach, as Latin dance clubs at Española Way and fancy martini bars in the Design District attract locals and tourists alike. Next to laid-back bars for post-sun bathing drinks abound, the live music scene, especially, offers plenty of options to choose from: bars with jazz, flamenco or salsa culture, and when looking only little harder, you can also find poetry slams, world-class theatres and art performances to tune up your nights.
Varied and enjoyable shopping opportunities await you in breezy open-air venues, closed air-conditioned megamalls, and regular department stores all alike. While interior design, and art and furniture flourish in the Design District as well as shopping on Miami Beach’s Collins Avenue can be paired with celebrity-spotting, visiting designer boutiques at Bal Harbour offer unique designs and mainstream chains at Bayside Marketplace classic shopping experience. For more exotic tastes, check out Little Havana or Española Way on Sunday afternoons.
Passport / Visa
Citizens of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Kingdom of Brunei can visit the United States for up to 90 days without applying for a visa (as well as citizens of Andorra, Lichtenstein, Monaco and San Marino). Citizens of these countries must obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before traveling. All other travelers must obtain a visa before visiting the United States. International travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the country.
Best Time to Visit
As Miami has a long and beautiful season of summer all year long, deciding on when to visit Miami mainly depends on what you are looking for and what you expect: while spring is ideal for enjoying outdoor activities and venues, the summer gets quite hot and somewhat deserted – keep in mind that these seasons have the highest threat of hurricanes. During the fall, Miami comes to life again with its many events such as the Miami Art Week, while the winter attracts most visitors with its ever lasting sunshine and many events and adventures that are yet to come.
Miami International Airport (MIA)
Miami International Airport (MIA), located about 9 miles (14 km) northwest of Miami, is one of the busiest airports in the world. An Info-Center can be found on level 2 in Concourse E, which also hosts a bank, post office, pharmacy, baggage storage, ATMs and several car rental companies.
Before planning routes to and from the city, ask at your hotel reception about whether they offer a shuttle service from and to the airport. For leaving the airport, taxis are available just outside the baggage claim, and there is also a 24-hour ‘Super Shuttle’ van service at the very same spot, while bus services link the airport to all areas of Miami-Dade County. The ‘Tri-Rail’ train can be reached on the Airport Station just east of the airport.
Address: Miami International Airport, Miami
Phone: +1 305 876 700 0
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport (FFL)
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FFL) is located 40 kilometres from downtown Miami, and yellow cab taxis are available on demand at all times, as in general, the four terminals in the Fort Lauderdale Airport also offer the same amenities as Miami International Airport. At the transportation podium located outside the baggage area on the lower level at the curb of each terminal, you can find rate comparison charts posted on the wall.
While Feeder buses take you from the airport terminals to the Tri-Rail commuter train to Miami, there is also a car rental centre with many of the major car rental companies.
Address: Fort Lauderdale Airport
Phone: +1 866 435 935 5
Miami still has huge offer in public transport opportunities although taking the car or a cab is still most common and popular.
The Metromover is an excellent way of moving around in downtown Miami, and it is free and runs from 5am until midnight every day. Metrorail runs from the north to the south of Miami across downtown, and the service runs every day from 5am until midnight. The Metrobus service covers all of the Greater Miami area, and several buses operate 24/7. Fares can be paid with small change either on board of the bus or before entering the Metrorail – in addition, the EASY Card can be bought in certain specified outlets across the city and loaded with money or for a period of time.
The South Beach Local is the cheapest and most scenic way to travel along South Beach. The shuttle comes to numerous bus stops every 12-20 minutes.
Phone: +1 305 468 590
Cabs can be hailed from the street but also met at several taxi stands. Make sure to take licensed one, and the easiest way to check is by spotting the words "taxi", "cab" or "taxicab" displayed on both sides of the car, as well as the driver's license and rate card inside the car. One of the licensed cab companies is Central Cab but there are several other ones across town:
+1 305 444 444 4
Flit Cab Miami
+1 855 710 091 5
Phone: +1 305 532 555 5
Post offices can be found across the whole city: while smaller shops and kiosks sometimes offer selected services only, United States Postal Service (USPS) and Miami Postal Service (MPS) offices serve in every district and for every need. A main office of USPS is located at NW 72nd Avenue but there are several other venues:
Miami Postal Pack & Ship
12864 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami
+1 305 899 819 0
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-6pm. Sat 10am-2pm
United States Postal Service
1101 Brickell Avenue, Miami
+1 800 275 877 7
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
Address: 5600 Northwest 72nd Avenue, Miami
Phone: +1 800 275 877 7
Pharmacies can be found across the whole city, and they are normally marked by individual logos. A quite known pharmacy chain is Walgreens pharmacy, and a central venue can be found at Alton Road, but there are both other chains and other shops of varying size and with different opening hours:
690 Northwest 57th Avenue, Miami
+1 305 264 348 5
Opening hours: 24/7
1000 Southwest 1st Street, Miami
+1 305 324 877 7
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am-5pm. Sat 8:30am-2pm
Address: 1845 Alton Road, Miami Beach
Phone: +1 305 531 886 8
Country Code: +1
Area Code: 305
120 V, 60 Hz, A/B