Monday, June 3, 2013

Miami, Florida, USA

Visitor’s Guide to Miami – The Magic City

By Frederick S Blackmon

South Beach
The crown jewel of Miami is South Beach. This world-renowned strip of beach is a delight to the senses. There are beautiful people everywhere you look. That is actually an activity here: people watching on South Beach. The strip is dotted with art deco hotels, boutique shops and restaurants. The club scene here is vibrant and electric. It’s an all night party on South Beach and locals often don’t get started until after midnight. Just remember, you had better bring your wallet. Everything is more expensive on South Beach. A bottle of water in a South Beach night club might run you six or seven dollars. You have to always keep in mind that you’re paying for the caliente atmosphere. South Beach is all about the experience.

Miami is one of the event capitals of the world. So when you plan your trip to Miami, be sure to find out what events are taking place during your stay. Miami plays host to the Winter Music Festival and Ultra Festival in the spring, which are week long dance and music events that bring out the wild side of the city. Fashion Week in Miami draws people from all over the world to see the latest trends and styles. There are fashion shows, club promotions and beautiful models everywhere you look. Art Basil is another event that brings fine art from all around the world and uses the city itself as a canvas. Everything from graffiti street art to thousand dollar paintings is on display at venues across the city. For locals, these festivals and events help bolster the economy. For tourists, they offer a theme for your visit. It’s a great way to see the city because everyone gets involved.

The food scene in Miami is an eclectic blend of cultural influences. Miami is a melting pot. You have Cuban, Haitian, and Jamaican flavors competing for your taste buds at every turn. To classify the food as “island” or “Latin” is a huge disservice to the sub-cultural persuasions of the city. Here in
Miami, you can find Peruvian restaurants, Dominican food carts, and Brazilian eateries, just to name a
few. Eating in this city is a culinary tour of Latin America and the entire Caribbean. For fast food, locals tend to stay away from the obvious burger and taco joints. Restaurants like Pollo Tropical and Miami Subs tend to cater to the locals’ need for variety. These places offer several different fast food versions of traditional dishes that locals grew up on.

Dangers for Tourists
There is a side of Miami that is less than stellar. Many people see images of South Beach in magazines and TV shows and think this represents Miami as a whole. It doesn’t. The locals in Miami identify themselves according to the smaller cities or townships they live in. Not all of them are visitor friendly. One wrong exit off the highway could land you in a serious situation. Certain neighborhoods like Liberty City and Carol City are tucked away behind the glamour and glitz of the city. One wrong turn and you could get lost in a dangerous area of town. It’s best not to detour. If you find yourself in one of these situations, just get back on I95 as quickly as possible.

The key to enjoying your visit to Miami is keeping your schedule flexible. Don’t try to stay fixed to a particular set of locations or events. The weather plays an important part in what happens in Miami. It is quite fickle. One minute, it can be hot and sunny and in an instant that can change. A downpour can occur without much warning so you need to have a back up plan for your daily itinerary. This is the secret of Miami natives. They adapt to the ever-changing weather conditions. It could be pouring rain in your area, but a few miles up the road it’s business as usual.

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