Historic buildings in the Art Deco district
This city will show you a good time
Historic buildings in the Art Deco district
Families, couples, friends, lend Miami your ears – this city is ready to give you a sunny, sophisticated break. Everything really is better by the sea.
With miles and miles of beautiful beachfront from South Beach all the way up to Fort Lauderdale, you’d be hard-pressed to find a hotel without great seaside access and a chic pool deck. If you’re not a poolside paperback kind of holidaymaker, then there are plenty of things to do. Explore the biggest Art Deco district in the world, or inspect the quality of contemporary art galleries, from the Wolfsonian to the Bass. Shop in reinvigorated Lincoln Road, or the achingly upmarket Bal Harbour.
Between South Beach and Miami Beach, the city is perfectly walkable – grab your boardshorts and get on the boardwalk. Hail an Uber to take you to Wynwood. If it’s a fly drive holiday you’re after, hire a car and do things your way. Kick the dust and drive through the leafy Everglades or trickle down to the Florida Keys. Book flights to Miami now.
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It’s a fact: Miami has some of the most glamorous hotels of any beachside city in America. We’re talking hotels with gold-plated sculptures, fancy-pants restaurants and underground ice rinks. Discover the hotels the celebrities love. Well, if it’s good enough for Beyoncé…
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Miami is just the beginning: this stylish city sits bang in the middle of some of Florida’s most extraordinary wildlife. Why not drive to the Everglades, or bomb down Highway One to see the mainland USA’s only coral reef? Hire a car in Miami and discover the rest of Florida on one of these five Miami fly-drives.
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Tips for how to master Miami
Do: Use Lyft and Uber to pop over to Downtown – it’s the easiest way to travel the five miles inland from Miami Beach, crossing the Intracoastal Waterway.
Don't: Lose your temper at traffic jams or bad parking, which are both comedically common in the city. Instead, focus on Miami’s road system, which can take a little while to get your head around.
Do: Check the dress codes for the clubs. You don't want to be turned away from LIV for rocking up in flip flops.
Don't: Go to certain areas of South Beach during Spring Break unless you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.
Do: Tip well – 15 to 20% – you’re in the States. But make sure service hasn’t already been added to your bill, it's a common scam to trick you into ‘double tipping’. Also, check the price before you order ‘today’s special’.
Don't: Expect good value for money in the restaurants on Ocean Drive. Don't miss out on trying Cuban, South American and Caribbean food – some of the best around.
Do: Wear your sunscreen – you’re close to the equator and Miami’s sun is unforgiving. Hat, t-shirt and sunglasses are also highly recommended.
Don't: Swim if the lifeguards are flying red flags – currents and surf could be making the water unsafe. Check with the on-duty lifeguard – you’ll find them in their stylish Art Deco lightguard stations.
Miami has an odd next-door neighbour: the Florida Keys. These laid-back islands provide a fitting foil to all those difficult club bouncers. Embark on an adventure down where life is simple, you don’t need your shoes, and there’s all-you-can-eat Key Lime Pie.
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Secure your holiday with a low deposit and flexible installments – you can decide when you make the payments and how much they are.
This can be an expensive place to stay, if you have expensive tastes. But in this big hot city there are plenty of things to do without waving your wallet around. Once you get to know your way around, you’ll realise that most people aren’t millionaires, and they have their own cool scene. Decide whether you want the five-star experience or the hidden gems, then plan accordingly.
Circa 39 has a lovely Caribbean island feel to its décor. This boutique hotel has 97 rooms, a small pool, and a great daily Happy Hour. It’s one street back from Miami’s Mid-Beach, so it’s easy-peasy to spend an inexpensive day on the sand.Book a stay
The Wynwood Yard street vans in the Wynwood District serve inexpensive food that you can easily eat with one hand as you wander around. There's Brazilian chicken, home-made pesto, healthy salads... it's easy to eat one's way around the world without even leaving the city.
The beach of course, is a no-brainer for those on a budget. When you’re sick of sand, hail an Uber (or rent a Citi Bike) to take you over to Wynwood Art District, home to an evolving outdoor street art exhibition, the Wynwood Walls. Afterwards, there are some great breweries nearby for refreshments.
The Palms is a family-run four star with a leafy garden and cosy décor throughout. It’s got a lovely beachfront location.Book a stay
Joe’s Stone Crab is an open secret – a restaurant that sells the best crab claws. You can’t book ahead, you can only queue and hope.
Do a spot of shopping on pedestrianised Lincoln Road: 11 blocks of shops near South Beach that are a hotbed for holiday outfits.
The Miami Beach EDITION provides five-star luxury for the younger generations. You’ll be bragging about its basement ice rink.Book a stay
You don’t need to wander far for great food on Miami Beach; much of it is based in the area’s wonderful hotels. Faena has something a little different – a pre-theatre menu at Pao by Paul Qui that you can enjoy before you see a show at the hotel’s 150-seater auditorium.Book a stay
Steel your nerves and take on the city's nightclubs. The Miami Beach scene is particularly elegant, though there’s still seas of silicone, stilettos, sunglasses and short sleeved shirts to swim through to get to the bar.
Miami Beach has some of the most glamorous beachfront real estate in Florida – The Confidante is luxurious, decorated to perfection and sits on ample beach front.
Everybody wants a slice of South Beach – hotels here are easy to come by, and many look out onto the sand. The area is defined by its original art deco beachfront strip. The SoBe hotels might not all be ‘deco’, but they are all decadent.
Downtown Miami is the city’s business district, and Brickell its up-and-coming neighbour. With more and more Miamians moving here, it’s increasingly residential. There are hip, young hotels here to suit those who are happy to travel the short distance to the beach. Try the Mandarin Oriental at Brickell Key.
The glamorous beachfront stretches north to Aventura, where golfers will love Turnberry Isle and shoppers will zone in on upmarket Aventura Mall. If you head south, Key Biscayne offers a leafy city escape with its own swanky Ritz-Carlton, just south of South Beach.
Outside the city, Coral Gables hotels have more space, plus all the quirky features of the area. It’s residential and less ‘happening’, but comfortable with its reputation. Anyone who skips it by is missing out on great shopping and quirky cafes. Stay at the famous Biltmore.
A lot of the best restaurants are attached to hotels: like the Basque and Spanish dishes at Bazaar, the James Beard-approved restaurant at SLS South Beach. Little Haiti is slowly gentrifying, and the excellent Mandolin Aegean Bistro is a recent hotspot in the area. For a true romantic spectacular, dine at The Villa Casa Casuarina – the old Versace mansion has turned its courtyard into an intimate, iconic, but seriously pricy restaurant.
That’s not heat you’re feeling, that’s humidity. Miami sits only two degrees above the tropic of Cancer, firmly in tropical climes, with an average temperature of 24 degrees. Crowds flock in spring and summer, though it can get quite humid by July. Summer rainfall might be heavy, but it’s usually over quickly – and might even feel quite refreshing once it clears the air. Go early in March for a light breeze, pleasant temperature and less humidity. Hurricane season (June to November) isn’t usually a problem for tourists and autumn is a nice, warm time to visit. In winter, the 'Magic City' is quieter and you can get some great rates on hotel rooms.
This is one cool corner of Florida, flanked by two national parks and only a few hour’s drive to the Florida Keys. Further afield there are Florida’s famous theme parks and the shell-strewn beaches of the Gulf Coast. Take a road trip down to Key West and spot some memorable marine characters on the drive south along the island chain. Alternatively, drive up the famous gold coast towards Delray Beach – your gas will run out before the beaches do.Customise your trip
Miami may be most known as aplayground for young adults, butit’s a great family destination too