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Miami holidays

This city will show you a good time

Historic buildings in the Art Deco district

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Holidays in Miami

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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How to visit Miami on a budget

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.

Stay

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.

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Eat

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.

Do

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.

Stay

The Palms is a family-run four star with a leafy garden and cosy décor throughout. It’s got a lovely beachfront location.

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Eat

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

Do a spot of shopping on pedestrianised Lincoln Road: 11 blocks of shops near South Beach that are a hotbed for holiday outfits.

Stay

The Miami Beach EDITION provides five-star luxury for the younger generations. You’ll be bragging about its basement ice rink.

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Eat

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.

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Do

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.

Make the most of your holiday

Where are the best places to stay in Miami?

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.

Aerial view of Brickell Avenue. ©ALEAIMAGE

What's Miami's food scene like?

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.

When's the best time to go to Miami?

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.

Top five things to do in Miami

Sign on the beach at Key West. ©cristianl

Multi-city holidays

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.

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Fly-drive holidays

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Miami may be most known as aplayground for young adults, butit’s a great family destination too

Hannah Louise Summers,  Travel writer

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