Miami is the most famous of Florida cities and is a perfect day-trip destination, being approximately 30 miles south of Fort Lauderdale, and offering things to do from the ultimate in shopping, dining and dancing with the rich and famous, and simply being dazzled by this city with its amazing lifestyle and world-wide fame. As a tip, do not drive to Miami on I-95; take the scenic route down A1A along the coast, and you will arrive on Collins Avenue and right into Miami Beach in style.
South Beach at Ocean Drive — Photo courtesy of unfinishedman.com
The most famous of all visitor hot spots is South Beach. Located on a barrier island a short drive from Downtown, this exciting neighborhood will prove to be one jaw-dropping site after another. Starting at the most southern tip of the island is the ultra-chic South of Fifth neighborhood with multi-million dollar condo towers with their private marinas and amazing views of the ocean, Cruise Ship Alley and Downtown Miami silhouetted in the distance.
The Ultra-Chic South of Fifth Neighborhood — Photo courtesy of Dale Mack
It is in South Beach where the famous Art Deco buildings on the glitzy Ocean Boulevard have encapsulated the image of this city. Just steps from the beach, which is known to be a haven for the most beautiful sun worshippers in the world, you can hob nob with the rich and famous when you stop for breakfast at the celebrated News Cafe and sneak a peek for any celebrities sitting near-by, enjoying their bacon and eggs, too!
From there, head to the center of it all, Lincoln Road, also known as 17th Street. It is here where you find a great selection of fine restaurants, most with great outdoor seating and the very finest service, a line of amazing boutiques and specialty stores, and the great bookstore, Books & Books, which often sponsors well-known and bestselling authors for autograph sessions. Take your pick of nightclubs that make you say, "Oh, yes, I've heard of this place!" Lincoln Road is also great for star searching, as many celebrities are known to frequent this walking-only street.
But don't just spend all day in South Beach. Head to the city's Downtown area on the MacArthur Causeway. This busy road transports drivers over the playful Biscayne Bay and offers amazing views of Star Island to the north with its over-the-top mansions that house celebrities such as Gloria Estefan, Shaquille O'Neal, Rosey O'Donnell and Lenny Kravitz. Just south of the drive is Cruise Ship Alley which alone can entice you to contact your travel agent immediately and book a cruise of your own!
Exciting Downtown Miami — Photo courtesy of Dale Mack
Downtown will be equally amazing as it has been going through its own renaissance of sorts. New and glitzy high-rise condo towers stand together and have brought in new and exciting residents who are responsible for the resurgence of life to this once rather run-down hub of the city itself. Here you can peruse the many shopping options from the magnificent Bayside Marketplace, specialty boutique shops and the near-by Target. Plan lunch at one of many new dining establishments and even stick around for some of the best nightlife in South Florida, all right here in Downtown.
Miami is a city unlike any other in the United States. It is a hub of business and cultural activity that represents much of Latin and South America, and is fast becoming home to more and more Europeans who choose to make this their home away from home.
Lastly, you may hear it said that no one speaks English in Miami anymore. Not true. While Spanish is widely spoken here, English-speaking visitors find that there really is no major language barrier.