For such a unique city, Miami, Florida seems to get overshadowed by other American destinations. Cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles often command more attention, and even those in search of coastal getaways find other options. On the West Coast that might mean San Diego or Seattle, both of which possess unique and fascinating character while on the East Coast it might mean a smaller and more charming beach town like Charleston, South Carolina.
But in a way, Miami possesses the very best of U.S. travel. Whether you’re looking for an urban environment, beautiful beaches, posh resorts, or dynamic blends of culture and attractions, it’s a wonderful place to be. Here are a few more specific reasons you might want to put it on your travel list for the coming year.
1. Lay Out On South Beach
It’s one of the world’s most famous beaches, and it got its reputation for a reason—or rather, many of them. South Beach is usually crowded, but it has remained beautiful over the years for a very public stretch of sand. Eccentrically colored lifeguard stands and a multicultural blend of beachgoers always keep things interesting out on the shore. The striking buildings, pedestrian walkways, and beach cafés along Ocean Drive also contribute to the vibe of South Beach that is somehow laid back and energetic at once.
2. Strolling Through Shopping Districts
For a fairly large and spread out city, Miami is actually very friendly to pedestrians. It’s become known for its outdoor malls and high-end boutiques, and you’ll find plenty of charming spots at Lincoln Road in particular. Formerly known a haven for artists to display their work, Lincoln Road now packs in a little bit of everything, from the same old art stores to bakeries and lunchtime restaurants. It’s a great place to spend a few hours on a sunny day.
3. Exploring Beach Neighborhoods
The beaches themselves are the biggest draw for tourists in Miami, but there’s also something to be said for touring the numerous beachside neighborhoods that are as diverse as the city’s tourists. From the opulent SoFi neighborhood that houses some of the rich and famous who frequent South Beach, to the “Village of Parks” at Palmetto Bay, there’s something to see and admire in each of these neighborhoods, even if some of them are more residential. Seeing these areas and soaking in their varied, unique atmospheres is almost like Miami’s own special brand of sightseeing.
4. Checking Out Little Havana
Little Havana in Miami is a stunningly authentic representation of its namesake. Indeed, you almost feel as if you can experience Cuba in this little neighborhood. Cuban-Americans sit in rocking chairs on their front porches, cigar shops abound, and there’s even a park in which people regularly play dominos. It’s like stepping away from a bustling American beach city and straight into another country.
5. Trying An Architectural Tour
With all the focus on the beach and the high-rise condos, the artistic architecture of Miami can sometimes become an afterthought. But it’s actually worth taking the time to find a tour that can show you some of the more famous architecture in the Miami area, including countless art deco buildings and even a little bit of influence from the legendary architect Frank Gehry.
All told, it’s quite clear that Miami is more than just another big city or beach town. It’s both at once, and a particularly interesting example of both at that.
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