Downtown Miami. The shopping and business centre abounds with tall skyscrapers, government buildings and cultural centres. It is also home to the world’s biggest cruise ship port, as well as the bustling Bayside Marketplace, a shopping and leisure complex right on the seafront, set around a small pier dotted with bars, shops, restaurants, a variety of stalls and docks offering boats for hire.
This is the main stop for water taxis and the boarding point for boats offering tours around the bay.
The coastal skyline is dominated by the American Airlines Arena, a stadium regularly packed to the rafters with more than 20.000 spectators during Miami Heat NBA games and music concerts. The Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, the flamboyant venue of the Miami Film Festival and other cultural events, is also located nearby.
Bricknell Avenue, which less than a century ago was merely a developing settlement, is now lined with the biggest banks and international company head offices.
The Metromover, a raised automatic monorail that operates without a driver, allows fantastic views of the heart of the metropolis. Some of the financial district’s towering giants include the Wachovia Financial Centre and the Bank of America, noted for their changing night-lighting.
The Cuban exile capital since the 1960s, every inch of Little Havana radiates patriotic nostalgia. The first Caribbeans to reach the coast settled in the south east of Calle Ocho, adapting their surroundings to remind them of their beloved homeland.
Cuba is brought closer to Miami thanks to the intense aroma of coffee, guava trees, the sound of dominos, local restaurants, and the smell of Havana and Capilla cigars wafting down the main road.
The famous Calle Ocho is the commercial focal point of this area, although Máximo Gómez Park – commonly known as Domino Park for its heated domino games – is also brimming with life. Further on, Little Havana is noto- rious for the distinctive Paseo de la Fama, dedicated to a near-thirty Latin American celebrities including Rocio Jurado, Luis Miguel, Thalia and Julio Iglesias, not to mention other actors, boxers, stylists and television presenters.
Please don’t go there at night.
Amid downtown in the east and Coral Gables in the west, Little Havana has become an increasingly diverse society since the arrival of Columbians, Peruvians, Mexicans and Argentineans. It is precisely this blend of cultures that gives this neighbourhood so much character.
Other eye-catching features include the vibrant colour that penetrates every inch of Little Havana, which can be seen, for example, in murals that depict scenes from Cuba. Then there’s the roadside food stalls serving baho (Cuban stew) and natural fruit juices.
And lastly, the streets filled with anti-Castro monuments, which come to life in a packed party atmosphere during the March carnival – one of the most-visited popular events in the United States.
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As well as the large Cuban community, Miami is also home – metaphorically speaking – to a Little Bogota, a Little Managua and a Little Caracas. Of all these small Latin American developments we recommend Little Haiti, located just north of Little Havana.
This refuge for Haitian immigrants is characterised by its colourful Caribbean houses painted yellow, red, green and blue. The epicentre of this district lies on NE 2nd Avenue, between 54th Street and 79th Street.
Voodoo references, wood workshops in the Caribbean.
(a Puerto Principe-style open-air market), dried fish from overseas and combinations of tropical fruits transport you to the exotic Caribbean.
For your own safety, it’s advisable not to wander around this area alone or at night.
For real glitz and glamour, this area – better known as SoBe – is the most fashionable part of the city, and a magnet for the famous and the fun-loving. Its streets, with a strong cosmopolitan flavour, are lined with designer shops and the most avant-garde late night bars playing both salsa beats and techno tunes.
South Beach, with its white sugar sand, towering palm trees and crystal blue waters, stret- ches from Lincoln Road Mall to South Pointe Park: the southernmost tip, perfect for surfing, fishing or taking in the sunset. Don’t get lost in this historic district, brimming with art deco and boasting some 800 architectural gems. Miami’s self-assured yet hedonistic side is particularly evident in this part of town, home to actors, singers, models and drag queens.
The beach has a diverse atmosphere with surfers, coastguards, bathers, rollerbladers and joggers all over.
Located on the border of Biscayne Bay, south of Miami city centre, this is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. This area’s bo- hemian roots perhaps have something to do with its appeal, attracting artists, intellectuals and new-age hippies looking for a summer retreat.
Coconut Grove was developed at the beginning of the last century as a winter tourist resort for rich northerners.
For a time, the area laid claim to possessing the only hotel in the city, built in 1880. It is now a popular spot, largely thanks to its village feel, with art galleries, theatres, discos, restaurants, cafes and shops. The area is famous for being one of Miami’s best shopping districts, as proven by The Gallery at Cocowork – a stylish shopping centre packed with restaurants, bars, shops and even a cinema: a stark contrast to the Bahamian community living in humble abodes on Grand Avenue.
Their ancestors, living as sailors in search of salvaged treasure from wrecked vessels, arrived on the coast in the mid-19th century. This area comes to life in the Goombay Festival held in June: an marvellous display of Caribbean music, parades and an abundance of food.
Described as a town built by dreamers, spearheaded by the Merrick family, this elegant, Mediterranean-style residential area, loca- ted south east of Miami city centre, was founded by real estate developer George Merrick during the urban boom of the 1920s.
Nowadays, some of the city’s best architecture can be found in the midst of its wide avenues, canals and parks, examples of which include the Biltmore Hotel and the Venetian pool. The neighbourhood is also well known for its art galleries, golf courses and the exclusive Miracle Mile shopping street.
Connecting Miami with the Rickenbacker highway, this key combines typical Florida-style houses with ostentatious mansions, owned by the wealthiest residents in the area. It claims to have the best beaches in the state, as well as some of the finest parks including Bill Baggs, Cape Florida State, Recreation Area and Crandon Park.
The lighthouse alone makes a visit to the key worthwhile. Just before Key Biscane is the Virginia Key, home to the Miami SeaAquarium, which offers marine-life shows with sea lions, dolphins, and killer whales.
Sitting on a long island which connects to Miami via four different highways, this area of land is home to various costal towns. The white sand and lively promenade, perfect for jogging or just taking a stroll, are its main attractions.
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