City Highlight: Miami

Published on: Wednesday, November 22, 2017
City Highlight: Miami - South Beach, Miami, Florida


Sunny weather, sandy beaches, a wild party scene and awesome festivals draw millions of visitors to Miami every year, read on to discover the hidden gems

Miami is hot and sexy, a strong reflection of its Latino culture – in fact, many would say that Miami is more Latin American than simply American, but the truth is the city has been successfully absorbing different cultural elements from its multi-ethnic population. It’s also becoming a hub for arts too – the Wynwood Arts District and Miami Design District are two fine artistic neighbourhoods and well worth a visit.

When to go

Spring (March-May) is the best time to visit Miami as temperatures stay in the comfortable 22C to 26C range. Coincide your visit with Calle Ocho, a fun-filled Cuban-American festival with street parties and fantastic street food.

Summer (June-August) is warm and gorgeous. Put on your best shades and join one of the many pool parties or Sunday night parties – Miamians know how to have fun and you’ll never be bored.

Autumn (September-November) is rainy with a risk of hurricanes and tropical storms. You can get cheap hotels in Miami during this time.

Winter (December-January) is best for a cultural experience. The Art Deco Weekend and Coconut Grove Arts Festival kick off in January, while South Beach Wine & Food Festival starts in February.

Getting around

Miami is vast, so your transport options depend entirely on where you want to go. If you are visiting downtown Miami, the best option is to use the driverless Metromover – and it’s free. To visit cool neighbourhoods like the Design District, Wynwood and Coconut Grove, a cab can take you there hassle-free. For attractions near Marlins Park, Brickell, Biscayne Bay, Overtown and Allapattah, the Miami Trolley is the best choice. And if you are staying in South Beach, it’s best to walk, cycle (CitiBikes), or use the bus South Beach Local which is cheap and efficient. For more information, check out the Getting Around Miami guide.

Must-see attractions

Miami Beach
Come here to sunbathe and for world-class water sports. The best beaches start at Lincoln Road Mall and extend northwards to 87th Street. Haulover Beach, located on the north side, is a famous nude beach.

Coconut Grove
A trendy, leafy district with a plethora of galleries, restaurants and nightclubs, this area is also home to the iconic Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, a beautiful Italian Renaissance-style palace.

Little Havana
This colourful district has galleries and studios on the main drag Calle Ocho (SW 8th St), with cigar-smoking locals and tourists playing domino games together.

See our Things to see in Miami guide for more must-see recommendations.

Quirky & offbeat

World Erotic Art Museum
Located in the Art Deco District, this place boasts over 4,000 works of all things erotic dating from 300BC to today. The collection includes paintings, sculptures and photographs from famous artists like Rembrandt and Picasso.

Neptune Memorial Reef
Take a boat trip or head out on a dive trip to see the spectacular underwater mausoleum at Neptune Memorial Reef, the largest man-made reef in the world, located just 3 miles east of Key Biscayne.

For other quirky ideas, see our Things to do in Miami guide for recommendations.

Travel tips

Must-try foods in Miami

  • Arepas – flat, round patties stuffed with cheese, shredded meat or vegetables; it’s delicious.
  • Chicharrón – seasoned and fried pork belly or fried pork rinds are a firm favourite among locals.
  • Cuban sandwich – roasted pork and ham with cheese and a generous layer of mustard served on flat Cuban bread, this humble sandwich has graced the Instagram of Anthony Bourdain.
  • Key lime pie – sweet, tart, and creamy; a must-try dessert when you’re in Miami.

To find out where you can get a great Cuban sandwich, or where to eat sustainably-caught seafood in Miami, check out our Restaurants in Miami guide.

Tipping: a 20% tip is expected. The restaurants in Miami Beach usually add the tip to your bill so check it to avoid double tipping.

Hotels in Miami

Due to Hurricane Irma in September 2017, many luxury hotels in South Beach sustained much damage and are now closed for renovation. Stick to downtown Miami where you’ll be able to find hotels ranging from luxury to budget options. Click on the banner below to find the best Miami hotel deals.

Nightlife in Miami

Cocktail hour, cool bars and sunset views go hand in hand in Miami. The Broken Shaker is an award-winning bar which serves fantastic cocktails, while Liv and Basement are two ‘mega dope’ clubs to dance the night away. For other recommendations, see the Miami Nightlife guide.

Shopping in Miami

Coral Gables, with its Promenade and Miracle Mile, and Coconut Grove’s open-air mall CocoWalk are havens for shopping fanatics. The Design District is king for art and fashionable homeware. From malls to markets, our Shopping in Miami guide has it all.

Visa requirements to Miami, Florida, USA

Nationals from the UK, Australia and Canada do not need a visa to visit the USA for stays of up to 90 days – but must apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) beforehand. EU nationals from certain countries also don’t need a visa. For more information on USA entry visas and where to apply for them, please see the United States of America Passport and Visa guide, or see this Do you need a visa to the United States page.

Editor’s note:
Did you know that Port Miami is the busiest cruise port in the world? And the city has over 300 high-rises? Its Brickell Avenue has the largest concentration of international banks in the US? And Spanish is spoken more widely than English in South Beach? To learn more about Miami, see our complete Miami Travel Guide before your trip.