Architectural Jewel Box
Even if there was no beach, Miami would still have undeniable allure. The gorgeous 1930s hotels lining Ocean Dr are part of the world’s greatest collection of art-deco buildings. Tropical motifs, whimsical nautical elements and those iconic pastel shades create a cinematic backdrop for exploring the streets of Miami Beach. Of course, you don’t have to see these architectural beauties at arm’s length. Lavishly restored, Miami’s art-deco and mid-century modern hotels are also the playground for locals and out-of-towners alike, with sunny poolside terraces, artfully designed dining rooms and plush nightclubs.
Creativity, Miami Style
Chalk it up to Miami’s diverse population, or perhaps its love of always being on the cutting-edge. Whatever the reason, creativity is one of the great hallmarks of this city. From art and design to global cuisine, Miami remains ever on the search for bold new ideas, which manifest themselves in surprising ways. You’ll find brilliantly inventive chefs blending Eastern and Western cooking styles, sustainably designed buildings inspired by South Florida ecosystems and open-air galleries where museum-quality artwork covers once derelict warehouses. The one constant in Miami is its uncanny ability to astonish.
Nights in the City
When the sun sets and the brilliant colors of a South Florida sunset fill the sky, that’s when the best part of the day begins for Miami’s party people. By moonlight, all the magic of the city unfolds, in its salsa-filled dance halls, swanky candlelit lounges, and rooftop bars with sweeping views over Biscayne Bay and the glittering city skyline. While there’s plenty of bling on display, Miami has something for all, from backyard bars full of indie rockers to hidden dens of debauchery concealed behind neon-lit taco stands.
The Great Outdoors
Few cities are as blessed as Miami when it comes to natural beauty. Sparkling shores lapped by aquamarine waters set the stage for a memorable array of adventures, from sunrise strolls along peaceful stretches of Mid-Beach to scenic paddles in search of manatees off Virginia Key. You can look for colorful bird species while walking the trails of Oleta River State Park, or simply enjoy some downtown greenery while lounging in Bayfront Park. With year-round sunshine, and a love for celebration, the open-air is also where Miami’s biggest parties unfold – whether at massive music and dance festivals or the neighborhood fiestas that pack Miami’s cultural calendar.
A hundred worlds – from magic kingdoms and Latin American and Caribbean capitals to mangrove islands, wild wetlands and artist colonies – are all contained within this flat peninsula.
Maybe there’s no mystery to what makes the Florida peninsula so intoxicating. Beaches as fine and sweet as powdered sugar, warm waters, rustling mangroves: all conspire to melt our workaday selves. We come to Florida to let go – of worries and winter, of inhibitions and reality. Some desire a beachy getaway of swimming, seafood and sunsets. Others seek the hedonism of South Beach, spring break and Key West. Still more hope to lose themselves within the phantasmagorical realms of Walt Disney World and Orlando’s theme parks.
Within Florida’s semitropical wilderness, alligators prowl the waterways, herons strut through ponds, manatees winter in springs and sea turtles nest in summer. Osprey and eagles, dolphins and tarpon, coral-reef forests, oceans of saw grass: despite the best efforts of 21st-century humans, overwhelming portions of Florida remain untamed. In a nation where natural beauty is often measured by topography, flat Florida is underappreciated by outdoors fanatics, but here you can paddle a kayak over the back of a sleeping Jurassic-era alligator, and meet loggerheads and manatees underwater, eye to eye.
While many know Florida for beaches and theme parks, few understand that this is one of the most populous states in the country, a bellwether for the American experiment. And that experiment – and this state – is more diverse than ever. From rural hunters and trappers in the geographically northern, culturally Southern climes, to Jewish transplants sitting side by side with Latin arrivals from every Spanish-speaking nation in the world, it’s hard to beat Florida when it comes to experiencing the human tapestry at its most colorful and vibrant.
Culture By the Coast
Tan, tropical Florida is smarter and more culturally savvy than its appearance suggests. This state, particularly South Florida, has a reputation for attracting eccentrics and idiosyncratic types from across the US, Latin America and Europe. Many of these folks, and their descendants, have gone on to create or provide patronage for the arts, as evidenced by enormous concert spaces in Miami, a glut of museums on the Gulf Coast, and a long, literary tradition – Florida has produced more than its fair share of great American authors.