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Miami
There are plenty of places with beautiful beaches, award-winning cuisine, and fabulous shopping, but Miami has all this plus a rich history of art and design, along with a unique fusion of cultures. Whether you are walking the glittery streets of South Beach or the sidewalks of Little Havana, you’ll always stumble on something uncommon and beautiful. Go beyond the neon lights and experience Miami like a local.
Miami has beautiful weather throughout the entire year. Avoid the tourist season to have Miami to yourself. Visit during September or late January for great weather and fewer crowds.

Miami is one of the biggest cities in the United States. There are direct flights to the city from many airports, domestic and international. When driving, it’s a straight shot down I-95, the major expressway that runs along the eastern seaboard. For a more scenic route, take A1A.

Miami has great public transportation. To access the main downtown neighborhoods, including Brickell, Midtown, Wynwood. and the Design District, you can take the Metro Mover and the city trolley for free. On South Beach, there are hundreds of cabs available 24 hours a day. Car2Go is a new option in Miami, allowing you to rent a Smart Car and pay as you go.

New Year’s Eve at Bayfront Park is a perfect Miami moment. While everyone in New York City is bundled up in Times Square, the locals of Miami crowd around the InterContinental Hotel and watch the ball drop in very different attire. You’ll sip Champagne, dance to Latin music, and sample cheesy arepas hot off the grill. For a view, you’ll have the city skyline on one side and breezy Biscayne Bay on the other. Afterward, join the dance party or walk over to one of the many bars and restaurants in the area.
Miami is a culinary wonderland, with options ranging from Michelin-starred restaurants to hole-in-the-wall eateries in Little Havana. To avoid the expensive pricing at some of the city’s trendy places, dine during Miami Spice, a citywide event that takes place in the fall. You’ll get to enjoy food and drink at some of the celebrity hot-spot restaurants on a set menu for a discounted price. It’s the best way to try the top-tier cuisine that Miami is known for without breaking the bank.

With the wide diversity of immigrants who live in South Florida, Miami is its own unique culture. Travelers should seek out experiences such as the parties in Little Havana, Haitian celebrations on weekends, the Greek Festival, and other cultural events. Take some time to sample of the art, cuisine, music, and culture of the locals.

Due to the variety of cultures that make up the population of Miami, you’ll find festivals and community events almost all year round. The Miami New Times is the best source for entertainment in the city. One of the biggest city attractions is Art Basel in December. View original works by internationally renowned artists along Miami Beach, Wynwood, and the Design District. Gather at the Miami Beach Convention Center to view gallery spaces and exhibits. The creative vibe really brings the celebrity and the local crowd to the city. Other festivals include the Ultra Music Festival, where you'll hear the best in EDM from the bay front in Downtown Miami. Be sure to also check out the Miami Film Festival at the Olympia Theater on historic Flagler Street. You'll view new films within the 1920s style theater, filled with elegant statues and classic art.

Miami is undergoing a huge renaissance. The city really emerged in the 1990s when South Beach became known for its youthful vibe. Now, a new generation is entering Miami in the up-and-coming arts neighborhoods of Wynwood and the Design District. Locals are heading away from the beach toward a hip, urban downtown area filled with galleries, lofts, and warehouses. Over the last couple of years, bars, restaurants, galleries, and shops have opened amid the graffiti-clad streets, adding an artful, bohemian side to downtown.
GiAnna Wyatt Miami Local Expert

 

GiAnna Wyatt is a blogger, writer and editor focusing on food, music, travel and local culture. Her passions include boutique hotels, exotic destinations, and out-of-the-box travel experiences. See her work at her website.