Within Walking Distance
Bayfront Park on Biscayne Bay is near the departure point for Carnival cruises from Miami. The park has great views, a small beach, a tropical garden, and a double-helix memorial dedicated to the crew of the Challenger space shuttle.
Beyond the Port Area
The famous South Beach Art Deco District is a magnet for visitors, photographers, scenesters, and visiting celebs. The pastel hues, ornamental details, and historic hotel signage lend the entire neighborhood a chic vintage feel. Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, and Lincoln Road are the best for spotting architecture from the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. For a look at even older art forms, step into the district’s Bass Museum of Art to see works by European masters Rubens and Botticelli.
The Little Havana neighborhood centers on the shops and cafes of 8th Street, or Calle Ocho, a Cuban culture hot spot. On a neighborhood walking tour, you can see nimble cigar rollers creating authentic Cuban cigars, sip a cafecito with your Cuban pork sandwich at lunch, and learn a few tricks to the locals’ favorite game, dominoes.
Step through the elaborate stone gateways heralding the entrance to Mediterranean-styled Coral Gables. Once inside this “City Beautiful,” head for the spa or golf course at the elaborate Biltmore Hotel. For lush greenery, lose yourself in the Fairchild Tropical Garden, which holds a conservatory, a rainforest, and a surprising number of succulent plants. For a midday respite from the hot Miami sun, plunge beneath the cooling waterfalls at the Venetian Pool, a manmade coral lagoon surrounded by lush palm trees and Italian-style buildings from the 1920s. Just across the causeway on an offshore key, you can swim with dolphins at the Miami Seaquarium.
Inland of Miami, Florida are the famous Everglades wetlands. An airboat tour of the Everglades puts you on a low-riding cruise through the marshy swamps and grassy waters, home to American alligators.
Beaches in Miami
Beach life is Miami. Miami Beach runs 10 miles, from the Art Deco lifeguard huts of South Beach to the wide, surf-friendly sands of Bal Harbour and Haulover Beach. The best spots to sizzle in the Miami, Florida sun are Key Biscayne, which also has the historic lighthouse of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Beach; the lagoon-like Crandon Park Beach; and the Virginia Key Beach Park.
Shopping in Miami
The waterfront Bayside Marketplace is the closest shopping scene to where Miami cruises dock; look for cigars, stylish sunglasses, and colorful handbags in the specialty shops or sip a Cuban daiquiri in an outdoor restaurant while gazing into the turquoise bay. Hip local boutiques and fashionable art galleries fill South Beach’s Lincoln Road and the Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.
Dining & Nightlife in Miami
The hottest dining and nightlife scene in Miami, Florida is on Ocean Drive in South Beach. Though restaurants and clubs that attract the brightest visiting stars are nearly impossible to get into, you’ll have plenty of options and low-key places to choose from. A bit north, the grand Fontainebleau Hotel is like an entertainment district to itself, holding a dozen restaurants, bars, and clubs.