A Traveling Insider’s Guide To Miami
Follow along as our expert guide tells you everything you need to know about living it up in the Magic City. | By Paul Oswell | March 31, 2022
Welcome to Miami, Florida’s most glamorous destination. From world-class beaches to art deco architecture, pulsating nightlife and authentic Latin culture, you’ll find a wealth of exciting variety here. The city welcomes diversity and delivers dynamic entertainment, dining and arts scenes. Come to sunbathe on the world-famous sands, dance until dawn and feast on Cuban food and street art. Our insider’s guide to Miami proves that this is one city that truly has it all.
Here are our suggestions for making memories when you visit:
Beach life is key: Grab a towel and some sunscreen, and head to Miami Beach for some of the world’s most chic seaside living
Feel the beat: Passion percolates up through the many live music, art and nightlife opportunities the city has to offer
Bring your appetite: In addition to some of the best Cuban food outside of Havana, Miami has top-quality seafood and a culinary scene to rival anywhere in the world
Why visit Miami?
People come here to top up their tans while being around, or at least adjacent to, A-list glamour. South Beach is the place to pose and be seen posing, while Wynwood and the Miami Design District are alive with hip, artistic vibes. The dynamic music scene delivers everything from live salsa and samba to the electronica of the day and nightclubs. Shopping ranges from sophisticated boutiques to quirky and colorful markets. Escape your normal day-to-day, and gaze out over those turquoise blue ocean waters (from the Bentley Beach Club at Hilton Bentley Miami/South Beach.
The beaches might claim the spotlight, but don’t sleep on the incredible art deco architecture around South Beach — especially along Ocean Drive. The sleek, vintage-style makes for an evocative, retro look that’s perfect for your Instagram backdrop. Everyone coming to Miami undoubtedly leaves with a collection of awe-inspiring photo and video memories.
When is the best time for your trip to Miami?
The city really is a year-round destination. Its tropical monsoon climate makes for hot and humid summers and short, warm winters. The weather from November through April is as close to perfect as you’ll find, though December is the start of high season — and its huge festivals, (such as Art Basel Miami Beach — and it stays busy until after spring break). Beach and swimwear are the mainstays here, but bring layers for cooler evenings.
Getting to and around Miami
Miami International Airport is a busy place, given that the city is such a tourist destination, and the airport is also a hub for travel to South and Central America. Thankfully, the airport is close to the city, and it’s just a 15-minute drive to downtown or 20 minutes to South Beach. There are local bus and train services, but the cost of a taxi or rideshare service isn’t too much more.
Miami Beach is a much more pedestrian- and bike-friendly spot, while downtown will likely require frequent short cab rides. The city also has several free trolley routes connecting popular areas along Biscayne Bay, Brickell, Coconut Grove, Downtown Miami and Wynwood. In South Beach, walking is not only pleasant but preferable, so you can best take in the stylish buildings.
In short, eco-conscious travelers can easily navigate within the different neighborhoods by foot (and bicycle), but they should take a car between them. Car rental might be a good option if you plan day trips outside the city, but otherwise it’s a hassle. Traveler’s tip: Carry a reusable water bottle to keep hydrated in the heat, especially in the summer months.
Miami culture and customs
Miami is a diverse city with a fantastic mix of cultures, communities and generations from around the globe. Many bars and restaurants operate until late, and some are even open 24 hours. And speaking of the dining scene, this beachside paradise boasts some of the best cuisine around, from Joe’s in South Beach to the decadent desserts at Bachour in Coral Gables. Like craft beer? Head to Kush Wynwood, where the selection includes 18 taps, an occasional cask and an aged and reserve bottle list.
Miami is a friendly city for LGBTQ visitors and has huge Pride festivals and a host of gay nightlife to explore. Entertainment options include drag shows, seriously decadent nightclubs and high-energy pool parties, mostly in and around South Beach.
Miami’s style and energy ensures a memorable time. Whether you’re worshipping the sun, busy spotting celebrities, appreciating the art or fueling up on Cuban cuisine, the Magic City really has something for everyone. It’s time to have your day in the sun and make your next Miami memory.
Paul Oswell is an award-winning travel writer and has reported from all seven continents for dozens of internationally known publications. He is based in New Orleans and is the author of “The Bucket List North America: 1,000 Adventures Big and Small” and the editor of an online travel magazine.