• Miami International Airport, MIA - Miami's primary airport is located just west of the city in an unincorporated, suburban area. This is a very high passenger airport making customs, immigration, and security facilities highly congested though its large airfield operations make aircraft traffic and taxi times less of a hassle. Domestic flights offer an alternative to passenger congestion.
• Fort Lauderdale International Airport, FLL - Depending on flights, it may be easier and/or cheaper to fly into nearby Fort Lauderdale and drive 40 to 45 minutes south into Miami proper, though the size of the airport compared to the number of flights often make waiting times for the runway lengthy during high traffic periods. This airport has a lower passenger count than MIA, and thus is less problematic in terms of customs, immigration and security options compared to MIA.
Miami has two primary expressways, SR826 (known as the Palmetto Expressway to the locals), which encircles the city and runs North-South and northward becomes East-West and joins to I-95.
The other major one is SR836 (also known as the Dolphin), which runs East-West along Miami International Airport and joins the Florida Turnpike Expressway.
Interstate 95 (I-95) runs North-South along the East side of the city through downtown after which it becomes State Road US1 on its way to South Miami, Homestead and the Florida Keys.
The Florida Turnpike runs North-South along the west side of the city, connecting Miami to Orlando and points North as well as leading to US1, through Homestead and into the Florida Keys. For many Taking Interstate 75 (I-75) is convenient if traveling from cities along the west coast even central Florida, such as Tampa and Orlando. After making it to South Florida it is easy to merge onto I-95 and/or the two State roads.
There are many things to do in Miami, if not in Miami itself the travel to Fort Lauderdale and the Keys is not far off. The Miami area is home to many beautiful beaches, such as world-famous South Beach in nearby Miami Beach, and a fun and lively night life. There are numerous dining places and night clubs as well as a drive in theatre for those who want privacy when watching a newly released film. There are lively, outgoing, smiling faces at every corner. For the daytime there are malls, flea markets, and museums to visit. There is also the Sea Aquarium for those who enjoy seeing and learning more about sea life.
• Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition
• Tropical Park Equestrian Center
• Eco-Adventure Tours
• Canoe Trips
• Kayaking and Snorkeling
• Bike Tours
Emergency telephone number for fire, police and rescue emergencies is 911.
Night skyline, Miami
The local Latin population is mostly Cuban exiles (which have now become second and third generation locals,) with South Americans from various countries gaining ground. There is also a large Haitian community as well, and many signs and public announcements are in English, Spanish and Creole. There is also a large Caribbean population. Most of them originally from the islands of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Virgin Islands.
Miami has a huge Latin American population, and Spanish is a language often used for day-to-day discourse in many places, although English is the language of preference, especially when dealing with businesses and government. In certain neighborhoods, such as Little Havana and South Miami, most locals will address a person first in Spanish, then in English, rather than the other way around. Spanglish, a mixture of English and Spanish, is a somewhat common occurrence (but less so than in the American Southwest), with bilingual locals switching between English and Spanish mid-sentence.
Miami has a large and elaborate public bus system which covers the entire county and connects, at northern points, to the bus system in Greater Fort Lauderdale. The bus system was, for a long time, notorious for being unreliable, though recent developments have changed this. Despite these changes, and due to high local traffic, buses tend to have a harder time remaining on schedule, though buses run often enough through each route so as not to be a nuisance. Schedules and routes are available from the Miami-Dade Transit's website ( ) or by calling (305) 770-3131.
The city's public transit train is an elevated rail known as the Metrorail. Due to low funding, the service has not been greatly expanded since its opening in 1985, and only serves major metropolitan centers around the county, though each station is efficiently covered by the county's bus system. The Metro rail runs through most areas of tourist interest, including Downtown Miami. Service to Miami Beach and other barrier islands can be reached by bus. The Downtown Miami area is also served by a light rail system known as Metromover, which is free of charge. The Metromover system is the most efficient way to move around Downtown Miami. Currently, a funding boost has set forth a large expansion for the Metrorail system, which will soon connect to Miami International Airport and many western suburbs. Further expansion will be considered in 2016.
Taxis are generally expensive, but available at almost any time and place.
Car rentals are the most convenient for of transportation for visitors, with local companies offering better prices but national chains offering more convenience vis-à-vis return policies and times.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens European-inspired estate. Includes a main house filled with art and furnishings and ten acres of gardens on Biscayne Bay
If you are in town the weekend after New Years, do check out the King Mango Strut, a parade/parody of the events of the year, held every year in Coconut Grove.
Some visitors, particularly from South America, come to Miami exclusively to shop. Sometimes it is said that the main two things to do in Miami are to go shopping and going to the beach.
The most common malls are:
• Dadeland Mall in South Miami, accessible via MetroRail.
• Merrick Park in Coral Gables (exclusive and trendy stores), accessible via Metrorail and also by Trolley (free in Coral Gables)
• Lincoln Road Mall
• Bal Harbor Shops (also exclusive and trendy stores, much smaller than Merrick Park)
• Aventura Mall in Aventura
• Dolphin Mall in Doral (outlets)
• Sawgrass Mills Mall (outlets) located in Broward County, north of Miami
Many international cuisines are to be found, with a heavy leaning towards Latin foods, particularly Cuban cuisine. Cuban cuisine to try: a sandwich cubano (Cuban sandwich), and a cafecito (literally: little coffee, but compares to a strong, sweet expresso.)
Coral Gables is the fancy business district from Monday to Friday (Downtown being the Banking district) where many people use to work. It is loaded with places to eat, from cafes to great restaurants. It has much more life during the week, but the restaurants are also open on weekends.
Along the beach there are many places to eat. Ocean Drive (South Beach) has a street full of restaurants and nightclubs. Lincoln Road Mall (near 17th Street) has several stores and restaurants and is very typical of South Beach with its gay bars, restaurants and stores ones next to the others. Between 67th and 75th street and Collins Ave. there are different restaurants such as Argentineans, Chileans, Mexicans, Japanese, Italian, Peruvian, Venezuelan, French, Colombian, Greek (highly recommended), and so on. Around 96th Street (near Bal Harbour Shops) and Collins Ave. there are also a few international restaurants.
• For Cuban on a budget there are various La Carreta restaurants throughout the city, with low prices, a lot of food, and pleasant staff - be careful, though, as most only speak Spanish.
• 'Joe's Stone Crabs' on South Beach is famous for, obviously, its stone crabs, but the restaurant is seasonal. 'China Grill' on South Beach is also trendy. The food is good but the portions are small, and the price is mainly for the atmosphere. A full dinner for three-four people will run $250-300.
Most of the drinking nightlife is centered around South Beach or Coconut Grove. "Cuba Libre" is a popular drink, known to the rest of the world as plain old "Rum and Coke".
Miami is a tourist town and has many hotels, located mostly around the airport area and along Miami Beach. High season (fewer rooms, higher prices,) is during the winter months of November through February, with Summer being the low season. There are a few hostels, all located in South Beach.
• South Beach Hostel in Miami, 235 Washington Ave -
• Crowne Plaza Miami - Airport, 950 NW LeJeune Rd
• Embassy Suites Miami - Airport, 3974 NW South River Drive
• Summerfield Suites by Wyndham - Airport, 5710 Blue Lagoon Drive
• Wyndham Grand Bay Coconut Grove Hotel, 2669 South Bayshore Drive
• Wyndham Miami - Airport, 3900 NW 21st Street
• Kent Hotel - South Beach, 1131 Collins Avenue,
• InterContinental Miami Airport West - Conveniently close to Miami's business district and the various attractions, which include Coconut Grove and Miami Beach.
Miami, despite being heralded in the news as a center of crime and drug smuggling, is relatively safe for the passing tourist. One should use the same precautions as when traveling anywhere - try not to travel alone, avoid deserted areas at night, etc.
Traveling by day is almost completely innocuous, though the infrequent purse-snatching does occur in downtown. It is important to note that downtown Miami is quickly becoming increasingly gentrified with the construction of trendy, expensive high-rises and an influx in high-class European and South American buyers.
Areas like Little Havana, Little Haiti, and Hialeah can be especially dangerous, though it is unlikely that tourists would visit these areas.
Public transport, though it does not generally run after about 10 p.m., is not recommended to travel late at night, especially the MetroRail service. Traveling alone anywhere late at night, except for the strip on South Beach, Coconut Grove, and much of Key Biscayne, is not prudent. Though it is unlikely that much will actually occur, it is better to be safe, especially for a tourist unfamiliar with the geography of Miami.
Most of South Beach (Ocean Drive, Collins, etc.) are frequented by tourists at all hours, even until dawn, and are safe to peruse, as are the 'hot spot' areas of Coconut Grove. However, much of the rest of the Beach is not recommended to traverse after hours, and the beach itself is closed from midnight to 5 a.m.
Brickell Avenue in downtown is mainly safe to frequent at most hours of the night, but downtown generally is unsafe to venture late at night, as there is a large homeless population and mugging is a major risk, especially for a woman.
Also a threat is Grand Avenue, directly adjacent to Coconut Grove. The late Coconut Grove party-goer should never travel Grand Avenue at night by foot, or risk being mugged.
Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License
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