Flights to Miami (MIA)
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Just eight miles northwest of downtown Miami, Miami International Airport is the largest gateway between the United States and Latin America. Serving millions of passengers on an annual basis, the airport is well equipped with sit-down restaurants, grab-and-go food options, bars, retail shops and even spa services. As the primary airport serving the design-centric city of Miami, it also features a substantial collection of contemporary artwork throughout the passenger terminals.
Miami's number one draw is its scenic Miami Beach, situated on a barrier reef across Biscayne Bay. The barrier island is home to three major neighborhoods: South Beach, Mid Beach, and North Beach. Thanks to the warm weather of southern Florida, you can enjoy beach time all year round.
The miles of sand are ideal for castle building and sunbathing and the turquoise waters are perfect for diving, snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, windsurfing and fishing. You can even spot sea life and coral reefs from aboard a number of glass-bottom boat tours.
For an unusual view of Miami's sparkling beaches, consider a sea plane or hot air balloon ride to take in the vistas from above - or a rental yacht cruise to explore the waterways firsthand.
DESIGN AND CULTURE
Starting in the 1920s, sections of Miami Beach became associated with the Art Deco architectural style. In 1979, the Miami Art Deco District became the first 20th-century neighborhood to be recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. Erected between 1923 and 1943, the pastel apartment buildings and hotels defined what the ideal mid-century beach resort could be. Most of the 800 historically significant structures are characterized by details like porthole windows, ship-like railings, glass blocks, curving walls and shiny chrome.
Miami is also home to a number of museums and cultural offerings. Venues like the Arsht Center host ballet, opera, symphonies, musicals and modern dance. A number of art museums, including the Miami Art Museum, Frost Art Museum at FIU, Lowe Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art and the Bass Museum of Art showcase collections that range from ancient to modern art and design.
The best place to experience Miami’s Latin flavor is in Little Havana, the social, political and cultural epicenter of the city’s Cuban influence. The neighborhood’s most vibrant stretch, Calle Ocho, is lined with art galleries, souvenir shops, authentic restaurants and cigar shops where you can watch torcedores hand roll stogies grown from Cuban seeds. Swing by Domino Park, so named for Cuban retirees who come there daily to drink coffee and play dominoes.
Miami is known the world over for its one-of-a-kind New World (or Nuevo Latino) cuisine. Created in the 1990s, it's a fusion of Latin American and Caribbean tradition with local produce and European technique. In addition to this local fare, traditional beachside cafés and steakhouses abound, along with Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Peruvian and Italian restaurants. The city and its cuisine benefit not just from the seafood and local produce, but also a crop of celebrated chefs.
If farm-to-table dining is your thing, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink should be on your list. James Beard nominee chef Michael Schwartz’s philosophy is fresh, local, organic ingredients made into unpretentious dishes. Vegetarians, carnivores and pescatarians will all be equally pleased by the menu.
For a Miami institution that showcases the city’s Latin influence, try Chez Le Bebe, where Haitian fare melds with Spanish, French and African cuisines and Caribbean ingredients. Place your order at the counter and then wait for your food, which is presented simply ¾ usually over rice ¾ but features bold flavors of garlic, onions and hot pepper.
For all its Latin influence, Florida is still squarely located in the American South. To experience a modern take on some of the most iconic Southern dishes, from fried-green-tomato BLTs to brined and fried chicken, try Yardbird in South Beach.
After dinner, the nightclubs of South Beach come to life with a pulsing beat, inviting you to cut loose and shake it up with locals and A-listers from around the world. One tip: call ahead to get your name on the list if possible so you don’t have to spend time waiting in line.
It’s tough to pick a bad time of year to visit Miami - something that probably goes without saying in the most popular city located in the Sunshine State. Summers are of course hot and humid with an average July temperature of 83°F. But winters are short and warm with average January temperatures hovering near 70°F. Despite the year-round tropical climate, though, it is worth noting that the wet season begins in May and continues through mid-October, with hurricane risk peaking towards the end of that time frame.