As everyone knows Miami, Florida is synonymous with sunshine, palm trees and beautiful people. You’ll get all of that and more as you tour The Magic City. Here are just a few of the must see, must do and must go places to visit:
Where to go:
Bayside Marketplace (www.baysidemarketplace.com)
Just south of the American Airlines Arena you will come face to face with good food, tons of live entertainment, and shopping all overlooking gorgeous Biscayne Bay. Where else could you bask in the sweet Miami sunshine, while sipping a perfect mojito, and enjoy delectable treats straight from the fisherman’s boats? When not jamming out to one of the many live bands that performs there, take a water tour of the city on one of their seven sightseeing boats. Even a brisk walk past the piers just to watch the pelicans dive and the bottlenose dolphins swim by is a fantastic treat. See full article on Bayside Marketplace here.
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (www.fairchildgarden.org)
This is the place for shutterbugs. Eighty-three acres of lush tropical trees, flowers, and rare plants make for some of the best photographic opportunities this side of the Amazon rainforest. Start off with the tram ride that takes you around the whole park to get an idea of the places you want to check out more closely. Then wander the paths to awe over the tranquil waterfalls, the huge colorful butterflies, and the truly unique flowers that cover the grounds. Make sure to walk through Windows to the Tropics for a look at some of the rarest and fantastic orchids you have ever laid eyes on. There’s also a great photo op at the huge African Baobab tree. You’re sure to see some incredible wildlife and leave with art quality photographs.
LGBT Miami (www.gogaymiami.com)
The cultural diversity found in Miami has allowed it to blossom into one of the friendliest and best LGBT destinations out there. From festivals like the Miami Gay and Lesbian Festival, Aqua Girl, and White Party Week to LGBT-centric hot spots like Twist and The Palace on South Beach there is no shortage of tantalizing treats to entertain. Rest and relax at one of the many spas and resorts that abound or even take a winery tour at Schnebly Redland’s Winery offering a taste of unique and delicious tropical wines that are sure to excite your palate. The perfect vacation spot for singles, couples, and families Miami welcomes all with open arms.
Everglades National Park (www.nps.gov/ever/index.htm)
A World Heritage Site, the 1.5 million acre Everglades National Park is a unique wonderland. Inhabited since around 10,000 B.C. these wetlands have provided an abundance of peoples the sustenance and ability to not only survive but to thrive. Many companies offer airboat tours which are one of the best ways to see the Florida of yesteryear. Be prepared to spot alligators, egrets, turtles, herons, and maybe even a deer or two on your journey. There are four visitor centers open 365 days a year to help you determine where to begin your exploration. From walking tours, to camping, kayaking, and fishing there is an abundance of adventure waiting for you.
Smith & Wollensky (www.smithandwollenskysteakhouses.com)
The world famous Smith and Wollensky steakhouse has opened its doors on the banks of Government Cut in South Beach allowing you to take in the spectacular views of the turquoise blue waters of Miami while dining on the finest hand cut USDA Prime steaks you have ever tasted. Their outdoor patio area lets you feel the warm ocean breezes as you sip on any one of the myriad tropical drinks offered at the Deco bar. The service is beyond reproach and every meal is a guaranteed winner. For an interesting but delectable experience, try the Watermelon and Feta salad with a sweet balsamic glaze. If you are down between October 15 and May 15, you have to get your hands on some of their unbelievable Stone Crabs. With the water lapping feet from your table you know they’re fresh and oh so delicious. The desert selection varies, but with a dedicated pastry chef on site you know you’re in for a delight.
Zoo Miami (www.miamimetrozoo.com)
A fully accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Zoo Miami is committed not only to the conservation of wildlife around the world, but is also partnered with the local school system to provide science education to children to help protect the amazing animals they house for generations to come. Covering 740 acres, Zoo Miami is home to over 400 species of animal; about 10 percent of which are on the endangered species list. The recently added “Amazon and Beyond” exhibit is the largest display of tropical plants and animals native to the Western Hemisphere in the United States. You can see giant river otters, jaguars, and even anacondas. Kids can take a spin on the Wildlife Carousel, ride a dromedary camel, or meet Diego from Nick Jr.’s Go Diego Go! For adults, there’s the chance to be a zookeeper for a day working along side one of Zoo Miami’s highly trained zookeepers learning about what it takes to care for these majestic creatures.
What to see:
South Beach (www.visitsouthbeachonline.com)
It is impossible to run out of things to do on South Beach. Located at the southern end of Miami Beach, there are miles of beautiful sandy beaches, shops, restaurants, galleries, theaters, and more. Lincoln Road is and outdoor walking mall located on Lincoln Road between Lenox and Washington Avenues. Home to fabulous cafes, exclusive boutiques, and gorgeous Art Deco architecture you will never want to leave. Ocean Drive plays host to some of Miami’s most famous clubs and hot spots like The Clevelander, Nikki Beach, and Mango’s. Put on your dancing shoes and be prepared to have the time of your life. After a night of partying, lie out on the warm soft sand and melt into the surroundings. You may even spot a fashion shoot or a film crew preparing for one of the may television shows or movies filmed here. Never a dull moment, but always beautiful and exciting.
Freedom Tower/Downtown Miami
Designated as a United States National Historic Landmark, this Spanish Renaissance Revival style building is a pinnacle of splendor in the middle to Downtown Miami. Originally the headquarters of the now defunct Miami News and Metropolis newspaper in the 1960s it was used by the government to process and serve the thousands of Cuban refugees fleeing the newly Communist regime ushered in by Fidel Castro in 1959. It now serves as a monument to all those who suffered and fled to freedom in America. Along with a museum and library dedicated to the plight of the Cuban refugees, since the tower was donated to Miami Dade College it has also played host to exhibitions of fine art from such greats as Salvador Dali and Leonardo DaVinci.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens (www.vizcayamuseum.org)
A wondrous Mediterranean/Italian Renaissance style building surrounded by lush gardens and fantastic bay views is the height of the magnificence Miami has to offer. See full article on Vizcaya Museum and Gardens here.