Immigration has played a major role in Miami's explosive growth over the last 80 years, and this has naturally had a great influence on the shape of Miami today. Its people make the city pulsate with a large and vibrant multicultural art scene, while its location at the sea and in the sun has attracted life-indulging pleasure-seekers from all over the world: the lazy beach culture by day gives way to infectious musical rhythms by night.
Miami – in this guide also referring to Miami Beach, which is built on a sandbar across Biscayne Bay – is a city of contrasts: across the street from one of the country's most exclusive nightclubs, visitors in the know can catch a gritty open mic night, and salsa clubs and musical theatre of the highest caliber exist here side by side.
Little Havana and Little Haiti are the centers of Caribbean life in the city, while the Art Deco architecture near South Beach showcases Miami's heyday in the roaring 20s, mixed with today's latest fashion in dining, wining, living, and clubbing. Miami Beach exudes a celebrity lifestyle, while Miami itself has fast become an international cultural hot spot as a center of Latin and North American art and gastronomy with inspiration taken from all corners of the world.
Miami has picturesque beaches, exceptional nightlife, plentiful shopping opportunities, and delicious dining options. Although there is an abundance of things to do in the city and on the beach, visitors should not pass up the chance of taking one-day excursions to see some of the breathtaking natural surroundings.
Like its people, Miami's cuisine is an infusion of flavors. Greatly influenced by the city’s ethnic mix and its location by the Atlantic Ocean, creative chefs have merged Miami’s seafood with Asian, Caribbean, European, and South American flavors, and the result is a limitless array of options, ranging from world-class chefs and their fusion experiments to family-run holes-in-the-wall serving up specialties from around the globe. And one cannot leave town before trying the deliciously refreshing local dessert: Key Lime pie.
Miami's nightlife offers much more than the alluring and extravagant VIP nightclubs of South Beach. Locals and tourists alike are drawn to the Latin dance clubs of Española Way and the sophisticated martini bars in the Design District.
In addition to laid-back bars for post-sun bathing drinks, the live music scene offers a plethora of options, including bars featuring jazz, flamenco, or salsa. With just a bit of effort, one can also discover poetry slams, world-class theaters, and art performances to elevate their evenings.
Whether you prefer outdoor shopping in a breezy environment, browsing megamalls with air-conditioned comfort, or exploring department stores, there are plenty of options to choose from in Miami.
If you're looking for unique and stylish home decor, furniture, or art, the Design District and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach are the places to be. Meanwhile, Bal Harbour is the go-to spot for high-end designer boutiques, and Bayside Marketplace offers a classic shopping experience with popular chain stores. For a more exotic shopping experience, be sure to check out Little Havana or Española Way on Sunday afternoons.
Passport / Visa
Citizens of the Schengen countries, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Kingdom of Brunei can visit the United States for up to 90 days without applying for a visa (as well as citizens of Andorra, Lichtenstein, Monaco and San Marino). Citizens of these countries must obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) before traveling. All other travelers must obtain a visa before visiting the United States. International travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the country.
Frequently Asked Questions about Miami (FAQs)
- What is the best time to visit Miami?
As Miami has a long and beautiful season of summer all year long, deciding on when to visit Miami mainly depends on what you are looking for and what you expect: while spring is ideal for enjoying outdoor activities and venues, the summer gets quite hot and somewhat deserted – keep in mind that these seasons have the highest threat of hurricanes.
During the fall, Miami comes to life again with its many events, such as the Miami Art Week, while the winter attracts most visitors with its ever-lasting sunshine and many events and adventures that are yet to come.
- Is Miami safe?
Overall, Miami is a safe city for tourists. However, like most U.S. large cities, Miami does have a few safety issues, especially regarding drugs, gangs, and crime. But visitors shouldn’t worry about that since the most dangerous areas, such as Overtown, Model City, Downtown, Little Haiti, and Allapattah are not ordinarily on tourists’ itineraries.
Pickpocketing can be an issue, so do not look too vulnerable and always use common sense when exploring the city.
- Is Miami worth a visit?
Yes, definitely! Miami is worth a visit not only for its year-round pleasantly warm weather, pristine beaches, and energetic nightlife but also for its astonishingly rich cultural life.
- Does Miami get hurricanes?
Yes. Southeast Florida, where Miami is situated along with West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale, is very susceptible to hurricanes. Hurricane season in Florida usually occurs between August through late October.
Miami International Airport (MIA)
Miami International Airport (MIA), located about 9 miles (14 km) northwest of Miami, is one of the busiest airports in the world. An Info-Center can be found on level 2 in Concourse E, which also hosts a bank, post office, pharmacy, baggage storage, ATMs, and several car rental companies.
Before planning routes to and from the city, ask your hotel reception whether they offer a shuttle service from and to the airport. For leaving the airport, taxis are available just outside the baggage claim, and there is also a 24-hour ‘Super Shuttle’ van service at the very same spot, while bus services link the airport to all areas of Miami-Dade County. The ‘Tri-Rail’ train can be reached at the Airport Station just east of the airport.
Address: Miami International Airport, Miami
Phone: +1 305 876 7000
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport (FLL)
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is located 40 kilometers from downtown Miami, and yellow cab taxis are available on demand at all times. In general, the four terminals in the Fort Lauderdale Airport also offer the same amenities as Miami International Airport. At the transportation podium located outside the baggage area on the lower level at the curb of each terminal, you can find rate comparison charts posted on the wall.
While Feeder buses take you from the airport terminals to the Tri-Rail commuter train to Miami, there is also a car rental centre with many of the major car rental companies.
Address: Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Fort Lauderdale
Phone: +1 954 359 1200
Despite the popularity of driving or taking a cab, Miami still provides ample opportunities for public transportation.
The Metromover is an excellent way of moving around in downtown Miami. It is free and runs from 5 am until midnight seven days a week.
The Metrorail runs from the north to the south of Miami across downtown and operates every day from 5 am until midnight. Easy Tickets can be purchased at any Metrorail station.
The Metrobus service covers all of the Greater Miami areas, and several buses operate 24/7. Fares can be paid with small change either on board the bus, or before entering the Metrorail – in addition, the EASY Card can be bought in certain specified outlets across the city and loaded with money or for a period of time.
The South Beach Local is the cheapest and most scenic way to travel along South Beach. The route covers the Art Deco District, making stops at more than 20 points of interest. The bus travels along Washington and West Avenues, from South Pointe to 17th Street and the Convention Center, with service running every 10-15 minutes from 8 am until 1 am on weekdays and Saturdays, and from 10 am until 1 am on Sundays and holidays.
Cabs can be hailed from the street but are also found at several taxi stands. Make sure to take a licensed one, and the easiest way to check is by spotting the words "taxi", "cab" or "taxicab" displayed on both sides of the car, as well as the driver's license and rate card inside the car. Here are a couple of licensed cab companies in Miami:
Miami Taxi Services
+1 786 309 8805
Taxi Miami Hotels Area Cab
+1 786 366 6111
Rideshare companies, such as Uber and Lyft, are another option for getting around in Miami.
Post offices can be found across the whole city: while smaller shops and kiosks sometimes offer selected services only, the United States Postal Service (USPS) and Miami Postal Service (MPS) offices serve in every district and for every need.
Address: USPS, 2200 Northwest 72nd Avenue, Miami
Phone: +1 800 275 8777
Pharmacies can be found across the whole city, and they are normally marked by individual logos. A quite known pharmacy chain is Walgreens, and a central venue can be found at:
1845 Alton Road, Miami Beach
Opening hours: 7am-midnight
+1 305 531 8868
But there are other chains and shops of varying size and with different opening hours:
690 Northwest 57th Avenue, Miami
Opening hours: 24/7
+1 305 264 3485
1000 Southwest 1st Street, Miami
+1 305 324 8777
Opening hours: Mon–Fri 8:30am–5pm, Sat 8:30am–2pm
Country Code: +1
Area Code: 305
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