Miami is a tropical metropolis located on the Atlantic coast of the southern US state of Florida. The area has been inhabited by indigenous cultures for thousands of years – in the 16th century Europeans arrived in Florida and the area was controlled by Spain and Britain before it became part of the United States in 1821. Miami itself was founded in the late 19th century by a woman – Julia Tuttle – who convinced a railroad tycoon to extend his line to the area.
Nowadays Miami is known as a winter playground – popular with Americans and international visitors alike – with a strong Hispanic culture. From the UK you can fly direct to Miami International Airport (or to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport 21 miles away) daily, from a number of gateway airports.
Miami Beach is the epitome of cool. The area, which lies on barrier islands lapped by the azure waters of Biscayne Bay ,combines cosmopolitan sophistication with coastal relaxation. Art Deco and MiMo (Miami Modern) style buildings, ocean front resorts, wide open beaches lined with swaying palms – plus a park with 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean – give you plenty to enjoy by day. High end restaurants serve the freshest seafood daily, and there are luxurious spas or golf courses to relax on once you’ve browsed the boutique shops for mementos of your visit.
By night, Miami Beach is one of the best places to party in the city. North Beach is mellow yet funky place to play – more chilled out that its famous counterpart South Beach. Nicknamed ‘the American Riviera’, South Beach is best known for being the heartland of Miami’s nightlife. Marvel at Ocean Drive’s famous skyline, and dress up to visit its bars, restaurants and superclubs – these are the places to see and be seen in the city.
Miami’s Latin American vibe is best discovered by visiting Little Havana. Found to the west of Downtown Miami, this is the place to say ‘hola’ to Miami’s Cuban culture. Off the bustling main street Calle Ocho you’ll find colourful murals, cigar shops, domino games, Cuan coffee and a real dose of Hispanic culture.
Other areas of interest are Coconut Grove – a laidback bohemian waterfront village – and Coral Gables which was planned out in the 1920s and is now the place to go for boutique shopping (especially bridal-wear) and fine dining.
Outside of Miami itself, the Everglades are an hour’s drive from Miami. Everglades National Park is the third-largest in the continental USA and its largest subtropical wilderness – home to an array of birdlife and reptiles, and best explored on an iconic airboat.
Miami is a party city. From the coolest new bars and superclubs to historic Rat-Pack hangouts, live music venues or Salsa hotspots, there’s something for every taste – and a host of delicious restaurants to whet your appetite for the night ahead too. Most of the city’s trendiest bars, restaurants and clubs are found in and around Miami Beach – South Beach being a particularly hot spot for nightlife.