Miami is a major city in the south-eastern United States and part of the largest metropolitan area in Florida. Part of the South Florida region, it's 20 miles from Fort Lauderdale, 68 miles from West Palm Beach, 106 miles from Naples (Florida) and 156 miles from Key West. It is famous for its gay pride event White Party Miami which is annual.
Although tourists generally consider Miami Beach to be part of Miami, it is its own municipality. Located on a barrier island east of Miami and Biscayne Bay, it is home to a large number of beach resorts and was one of the most popular spring break party destinations in the world.
Although Miami is the second most populous city in Florida, the Miami metropolitan area is the largest in the state. Due to being sandwiched in by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Everglades wetland area to the west, the Miami metropolitan area is a lengthy 110 miles (180km) north to south, but never more than 20 miles (32km) east to west.
Flagler’s railroad sparked a wave of expansion in areas such as Miami Beach, Homestead and Cutler. Soon after the railroad was built, the Overseas Highway was created. This highway connected the Florida Keys to the mainland. Growth and progress in Miami continued through World War I as well as into the mid-1920s.
A devastating hurricane in 1926 halted Miami’s growth and temporarily put the city, as well as Miami Beach, in a recession. It was the city’s support of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal that helped the city rebuild. Roosevelt almost lost his life, however, when Giuseppe Zangara attempted to assassinate Roosevelt when he came to Miami to thank the city for its support of the New Deal.
When a German U-boat sank a US tanker off Florida’s coast, the majority of South Florida was converted into military headquarters for the remainder of World War II. The Army’s WWII legacy in Miami is a school designed for Anti U-boat warfare.
Because of its low latitude Miami has a semi-tropical monsoon climate. There are two seasons in Miami, a warm and dry season from November through mid April....and a hot and wet season from May through October. The wet or summer months of June-September will see most daytime highs in the upper 80s Fahrenheit with lows in the low to mid 70's with high humidity. The coldest winter months from December through March have highs in the upper 70's and lows near 60°F, with sunny and dry weather with often very low humidity. At times winter can be quite dry with water restrictions.
Miami has the largest Latin American population outside of Latin America. English however remains the predominant language.
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 business and government. Some locals do not speak English, but this is usually centered among shops and restaurants in residential communities and rarely the case in large tourist areas or the downtown district. Even when encountering a local who does not speak English, you can easily find another local to help with translation if needed, since most of the population is fluently bilingual. In certain neighborhoods, such as Little Havana and Hialeah, most locals will address a person first in Spanish and then in English. "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 and occasionally replacing a common English word for its Spanish equivalent.
Haitian Creole is another language heard primarily in northern Miami. It is common for a person to hear a conversation in Creole when riding public transportation or sitting at a restaurant. Many signs and public announcements are in English, Spanish and Creole because of Miami's diverse immigrant population. Unlike Spanish, Haitian Creole is generally centered among the Haitian neighborhoods in northern Miami. Most Haitians are more adapted to English than their Hispanic neighbors. Portuguese and French are other languages that may be encountered in Miami. These languages tend to be spoken mainly around tourist areas. Most speakers of these languages speak English as well.
The simplest way to get a response in English is to use the "approach rule," where most locals will respond only in the language spoken to unless they are not able to speak it. This rule can be used on anyone whether or not their first language is Spanish, English or any other language.
Miami International Airport (ICAO: KMIA is located just west of the city in an unincorporated suburban area. It's an important hub for traffic between Europe, North America and Latin America. The international traffic makes MIA a large and congested place. Be sure to allow extra time when departing MIA, particularly if flying internationally, as you may face an hour-long line just to check your bags. Curbside check-in is an excellent idea.
International airlines that fly transatlantic include British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
If you are approaching or leaving MIA via the Airport Expressway (Florida State Road 112), beware of the at-grade railroad crossing on the ramps connecting the Expressway to the airport terminals. Normally such crossings are grade-separated, but this one sits directly east of one of the runways. Thus, be prepared for the possibility of a 10-15 minute delay if a train happens to be there at the same time as you.
The predominant carrier at MIA is American Airlines, which has direct flights to most major cities in the Americas, and several European cities as well. European, Latin American and Caribbean carriers are well-represented at MIA. The airport has no non-stop service to Asia, Africa or Oceania with the exception of Qatar Airways which offers nonstop service to Doha, Royal Air Maroc with nonstop service to Casablanca, and El Al with nonstop service to Tel Aviv. The recent construction of two new terminals at MIA has helped with the airport's passenger capacities as well as the efficiency in going through customs and baggage claim.
MIA also has several restaurants ranging from local chains such as La Carreta to national chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and Starbucks. Be aware that some restaurants serve beer, wine and/or cocktails. If you drink too much the airlines can refuse your boarding on a plane. MIA also has several retail stores, including several magazine stands and bookstores (including a Borders). Other retail stores include, but are not limited to, Brookstone, K-B Toys and Ron Jon Surf Shop. There is also a hotel connected to the airport.
Money can be exchanged for US dollars at the airport. Wi-Fi is available throughout the terminal - you can opt for time-limited ad-sponsored access for free, or pay for unrestricted access.
At MIA, public transportation includes a free shuttle to the nearby Tri-Rail station, as well as to Metrorail . Your best option is to take a taxi from the airport or rent a car, depending on where you're staying at (if you need to get around parts of Miami with no nearby Metrorail stations). MIA's car rental facilities have now all been centralized into a very large garage known as the Rental Car Center which can be accessed directly from the terminal via a free automated tram called the MIA Mover. FLL's facilities are located in the parking garage adjacent to the terminals.
Also, riders can take the Miami Beach Airport Flyer Bus on Rt#150 ($2.25 one way fare purchased at the bus station or on the bus - exact change only!) if they are staying in Miami Beach. To get to Downtown Miami, riders can take the Metrorail directly to the Government Center station (the Metrorail also serves other parts of Miami, including Coconut Grove). From the Government Center stop passengers can transfer to other buses  going to other destinations from Downtown Miami or the Metromover to get around downtown. Many hotels are along the MetroMover route which is one level down from the MetroRail Government Center station. Consult a map for the closest MetroMover station or bus route to your hotel.
Riders can also take the J Line bus to Biscayne Boulevard and transfer to a southbound bus to downtown, although this would likely take you a long time and isn't a well-publicized option. Likewise one can stay on the bus and continue to Miami Beach at 41st & Collins. Another option is the #7 bus from Miami Airport to the Government Center station through Little Havana. If taking this option, make sure to get a bus towards the airport, and not one towards the Dolphin Mall.
Currently at MIA, construction of the new Miami Intermodal Center is slated to become Miami's Grand Central station with hub connections of Amtrak, Metrorail, Tri-Rail, taxis, Metrobus, and all car-rental facilities .
Miami offers different fare types for different amounts of rides. Beware that unless you purchase an EASY Card or EASY Ticket, you will have to pay twice in order to transfer between buses and between the bus and MetroRail. The full list of available fares can be found at 
EASY Cards and EASY Tickets can be bought at ticket vending machines outside the Metrorail Station at the Miami Intermodal Center/Rental Car Center (after riding the MIA Mover out of the terminal).
A map of transit run by Miami-Dade is available here.
Fort Lauderdale International Airport (IATA: FLL)  is 25-40 minutes north of Miami proper, depending on traffic, and does not have nearly as many international routes. It only offers a small variety. However, it is smaller and less trafficked than MIA, making customs, immigration and security a bit easier to go through. Southwest Airlines, Virgin America, JetBlue, Allegiant, Spirit Airlines (predominate at this airport) and other low-cost carriers generally use Miami's other airport, FLL, instead of MIA, making FLL a cheaper alternative in many cases as well.
Public transport is available to MIA and FLL. If you are arriving from FLL, there is a free shuttle to the Tri-Rail train station nearby. Tri-Rail trains connect West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Miami (note that this leaves you at the Miami Airport station, not downtown Miami). From the Miami Airport station transfer to the Metro train to get downtown or the airport shuttle train to the MIA terminals. The cheapest way to get to Miami is to take the #1 bus south to Aventura Mall (via Federal Hwy on US-1); transfer to the #3 (via Biscayne Blvd), #9 or S Line (via Collins Ave in Miami Beach) to downtown Miami. See this link for other bus lines in Broward County.
A map of Broward County Transit (which runs the #1 from Fort Lauterdale Airport) is available online.
Opa-Locka Executive (ICAO: KOPF) is popular for general aviation and business jet travelers out of the Miami area, located just 16 miles north of downtown Miami. Miami Executive Airport (ICAO: KTMB), formerly known as Tamiami Executive, is another business jet hub located 24 miles southwest. Air taxi and air charter companies such as AERIAL Jets , Opa Locka Jet Charter , Miami Beach Jet Charter , Monarch Air Group , and Mercury jets  fly a variety of private charter aircraft and jets, from charter luxury Gulfstreams down to economical piston twins for small groups and individuals.
Amtrak's Silver Service operates two trains daily to Miami from New York City, Washington, D.C. and other cities along the Eastern Seaboard. The ride from New York is about 24 hours but is often subject to delays, as Amtrak uses poorer-quality freight lines south of Washington and must cope with slow freight trains along the way.
There are frequent (at least 1 per hour) Tri-Rail trains every day to Miami from West Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale on weekdays. However, on the weekends, the trains come every 2 hours. The weekday fare varies by distance but the weekend fare is $5 between any two stations on the line.
There are three main highways coming into Miami. I-95 runs along the Atlantic coast of the United States and terminates in Miami. I-75 comes in from the midwestern United States and runs through Atlanta and Tampa before terminating in Miami. Florida's Turnpike is a toll road mainly useful for those driving in from Orlando. The only southbound route from Miami is U.S. Highway 1, which runs through the Florida Keys all the way to Key West.
By public transit
Miami's public transit system is the most diverse and extensive of any locality in Florida. In short, if travel time is not a priority, it is possible to travel to all commercial areas and major attractions within Miami without a car.
Miami's bus system (Metrobus) covers the entire county and connects to bus lines serving Broward County and the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. Recent developments have made the bus system more reliable than in the past. Even with the changes, and because of high local traffic, buses tend to have a hard time remaining on schedule. However, buses run often enough through each route so as not to be a nuisance. Many of the major bus routes operate 24 hours a day, seven days week, including the Route S bus, which connects downtown Miami to all of Miami Beach, terminating at Aventura Mall in north Miami-Dade.
The Metrorail is a dual line, Green and Orange Line, elevated rail system serving Miami and surrounding cities, running 24.9 mi with 23 stations. It connects many areas of tourist interest, including downtown Miami, Miami International Airport (Orange Line - Only) Dadeland Mall, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Lowe Art Museum, Miami Museum of Science, Village at Merrick Park and many other nearby shopping areas. Coconut Grove and downtown Coral Gables can be reached via short shuttle bus from various stations. Metrorail operates between roughly 5AM and midnight, with a bus serving all Metrorail stations operating in the overnight hours, effectively providing 24-hour service.
Recently, state and federal funding has allowed for planned expansions to the Metrorail to take better shape. A connection to Miami International Airport started construction in late 2009, opened July 2012.
Metrorail Green Line runs from Palmetto Station to Dadeland South with Orange Line trains traveling from Miami International Airport to Dadeland South. Both lines service the main trunk line from Earlington Heights Station to Dadeland South. Main line trunk service operates from 5AM to Midnight, seven days a week. Trains run as frequently as every 5 minutes to as infrequently as every 15 minutes along the main trunk. Mid-Day Weekday service along the main trunk averages seven minute service.
Fare for a single trip on both Metrorail and Metrobus is $2.25 per ride ($1.10 for persons with disabilities or on Medicare). Daily, weekly, and monthly pass are available. In early 2010, Miami-Dade Transit implemented a fare card system known as EASY Card. Though exact change/cash is still accepted on all Metrobus routes, an EASY Card or EASY Ticket is required for riding the Metrorail, and for utilizing the free transfers offered between an unlimited number of bus routes, and a single Metrorail ride. Currently, the fare card software does not allow passbacks. Any remaining transit tokens you may have can no longer be exchanged for EASY Card credit, and are not accepted as fare. Additional information on fares, routes and schedules can be found at , or by calling +1 305 770-3131.
Downtown Miami is served by a free elevated people mover system known as Metromover, which connects to Metrorail at two stations at Government Center in the central business district and at Brickell Station in Brickell. Metromover is free of charge and is the most efficient way to move around Downtown Miami. It is a great way to take a rest when walking around downtown, and a great time to take pictures of the skyscrapers and growing Miami skyline from above.
The City of Miami Trolley offers free trolley bus routes which loop around different neighbourhoods. Most trolley routes have a connection at or near a Metrorail station.
South Florida’s Regional Transportation Authority (SFRTA) can be reached at , or by calling +1 800 tri-rail. During the week, there are frequent trains (at least one per an hour) to one of the four major destinations, Broward County, Miami-Dade County, Palm Beach County and South Florida Education Center (SFEC)/ Davie Campus Transit Routes. Each of these four destinations have many different stops. Be sure to check the website for each stop and a schedule. There are employer discount programs on the website as well as fares.
Taxis are generally expensive with a surcharge of $2.95 for the pick-up and an additional $0.85 for each sixth of a mile traveled for the first mile and $0.40 for each sixth of a mile after that. Almost all cab companies in the area have pre-determined rates for travel into the barrier islands of Miami Beach and other beach and nightclub communities popular with tourists which can range from $30-$60 depending on arrival location. For example, South Beach may be the most expensive while a residential neighborhood in Miami Beach may be the cheapest. The charge is the same regardless of pick-up location on the mainland. All taxis are fitted with maps of the barrier islands which state the cost per location. The same applies for passengers leaving the islands onto the mainland, though normal rates apply for person traveling by taxi within the islands or within the mainland.
Service is available throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe counties regardless of pick-up location. The normal service charges apply for these four counties, but it is wise to ask for a pre-determined price beforehand if leaving the county as this will in most cases turn out to be cheaper and most drivers are willing to negotiate when leaving the county. If you wish to be taxied to a location outside of those four counties, you must negotiate a price and advise the cab company first. Drivers may refuse to drive outside of the metropolitan area if they are not advised to do so beforehand.
Usually you will have to call a cab company and request a pick-up. Taxis operated by the major companies are not normally allowed to pick up passengers at random locations for safety and legal reasons except at MIA, the Port of Miami and train stations. Some individual taxi drivers will not follow this rule, however. You can try hailing a taxi in the street. A significant and notable exception to this rule is the South Beach section of Miami Beach. For all intents and purposes, taxis can be flagged from the street on the island in a very similar way to what one might expect in New York City. This trend has begun spreading into the downtown area of Miami, but is primarily due to the increased redevelopment and foot traffic downtown, and should not be relied upon if you have a schedule to keep.
All taxi drivers must have a valid license to operate. It is uncommon to hear of crimes involving unlicensed taxis anywhere in the metropolitan area since Dade County keeps track of all taxi activity in and around Miami and cooperates with other counties in getting this information. If you enter a cab and do not see a valid license placed in front of the passenger's seat, you should not enter the taxi and instead call another cab company regardless of what the driver says. If you willingly enter a taxi without a license or with an expired license and there is an incident or accident, it is possible that you may not be able to hold the driver accountable by law. When entering a cab you should make note of the driver's name, license number and cab number if any problems arise during the trip. This information should be easily found inside the taxi. It may be able to help you identify the cab driver to the police or the cab company.
Unless you plan to stay downtown, Miami Beach/South Beach, or in a single location elsewhere, you will find that a car is very convenient in Miami, and car rentals are cheap (from $14) in comparison to other major US cities.
Surface roads in Miami are usually easy to navigate. The area's roads are designed around a grid system, where most roads are numbered based on their distance from the city center. The two main axis roads are Miami Avenue (running north to south) and Flagler Street (running east to west). These two roads intersect in downtown Miami, the county's symbolic center. All avenues run north to south, while all streets run east to west. For example, the address, "9500 NW 30th Street" would be at the intersection of NW 30th Street (to the west of Miami Avenue, and 30 blocks north of Flagler Street) and NW 95th Avenue (north of Flagler Street, and 95 blocks west of Miami Avenue). Most roads in Miami conform to this nomenclature, but due to the more than 30 municipalities within Miami-Dade County, there are a few exceptions to be aware of. Examples include Coral Gables, the Coconut Grove section of Miami (city proper), Miami Lakes, and Hialeah. Hialeah is particularly notorious since it uses its own grid system, in addition to the overall county system. For example, NW 103rd Street is also marked as E 49th Street, or W 49th Street in Hialeah.
Note that if you cross into Broward County, the roads will be numbered based on their distance from the Fort Lauderdale city center, which is generally the same going east-west but will be very different going north-south. Most of the municipalities in Broward County use their own limited grid systems as well. Some street names also change at the county line. The coastline highway, A1A, is known as "Collins Avenue" in Miami Beach, but becomes "Ocean Drive" in Broward County. Likewise, "Red Road" in Miami becomes "Flamingo Road" in Broward.
Miami has four primary expressways. In addition to I-95 and Florida’s Turnpike, there is state highway 836 (also known as the Dolphin Expressway) and state highway 826 (also known as the Palmetto Expressway). The Dolphin Expressway runs west from downtown Miami along the edge of Miami International Airport. The Palmetto Expressway and Florida's Turnpike form "F"-shaped loops around the city. The Turnpike continues north, roughly parallel to I-95, and will take you to Orlando if you keep driving. I-95, the Palmetto and the Turnpike intersect at a junction in North Miami called the Golden Glades. You may find driving in the Glades challenging, especially if you have little experience driving in it.
New visitors to Miami should be aware that the area's drivers are particularly aggressive. AutoVantage.com's Road Rage Survey has rated Miami drivers the rudest in the country. This shouldn't discourage anyone from using the roadways, but a passive approach to Miami driving can save you from an unwanted exchange with another driver, or even worse an accident. Posted speed limits are ignored by most drivers, especially on larger roads with lower speed limits. Two examples are I-95 and state road 826 (The Palmetto Expressway). The eastern portion of state road 836 (The Dolphin Expressway) between Miami International Airport and downtown Miami handles traffic that exceeds its capacity, and contains several left-hand exits, including the eastbound off-ramp to Lejuene Road (NW 42nd Avenue), which is the posted route, and the quickest route to Miami International Airport.
Visitors should also note that most toll roads in Miami including the Airport Expressway (SR 112), Dolphin Expressway (SR 836), Don Shula Expressway (SR 874), Sawgrass Expressway (SR 869), and the Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike are all electronic and cash is not accepted. Driver's who do not possess a SunPass transponder are sent a bill in the mail. Toll payments can be paid online or with cash at a few select retail outlets. Toll By Plate
Of course, if you're in Miami, you'll want to spend some time on the beach. Miami Beach is on a barrier reef across Biscayne Bay, and its sandy, sunny beaches from party-hearty South Beach continues all the way north along the coast of Florida. As Miami has pretty temperate weather, the beaches will be active all year round. Topless sunbathing is tolerated, if not strictly legal, in Miami Beach and South Beach. If you want to take it all off, go to Haulover Beach Park in North Beach.
There are very few city-wide events planned during July and August because of the high temperatures during the summer in Miami.
If you are not from the U.S., you will need a work visa. If you try to work while holding a tourist visa, you will be considered in violation of the terms of your admission to the United States and may be potentially removable (i.e., deportable). U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) may conduct frequent illegal immigrant checks in Miami businesses since Miami has several refugees from Cuba, Haiti and other nearby countries. If you don’t have the right visa, you may not get a job in Miami.
There is an exception to getting work without a visa in Miami, however. Since yachts and cruise ships sail on international waters, these companies can freely hire any person they like. Non-US citizens will still require a valid seaman's visa, however, to land in US ports.
Sales tax is 7% in Miami.
Most clothing shops located away from major Miami area shopping centers are located in South Beach.
Groceries and other basics
The major supermarket chains in Miami are Publix, Walmart, Winn Dixie, Sedanos, and Aldi. In addition many specialty and organic supermarkets such as Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe's, and Fresh Market can also be found in Miami.
Foodies and chefs alike herald Miami for its unique New World cuisine. Created in the 1990's, the cuisine alternatively known as New World, Nuevo Latino or Florribean cuisine blends local produce, Latin American and Caribbean culinary tradition and the technical skills required in European cooking. Nuevo Latino is said to be the brainchild of four chefs: Allen Susser, Norman Van Aken, Mark Militello and Douglas Rodriguez. All of them still work in Miami and most of them work at the restaurants they created in the 1990's. New World is not restricted to these chefs’ menus. This cuisine influences several restaurants around the city to this day.
Miami may be known for its Latin cuisine, especially its Cuban cuisine but also cuisines from South American countries such as Colombia, but there are other different kinds of restaurants to be found around the city. In addition to stand-alone restaurants offering up various cuisines from Chinese and Japanese and Middle Eastern and Italian (among other cuisines), there are cafés, steakhouses and restaurants operating from boutique hotels as well as chain restaurants such as TGI Fridays and Ben & Jerry’s.
Miami is known for having nightclubs double as restaurants throughout the city. Most of these restaurants, such as Tantra (which had one of their chefs recently appear on Top Chef: Miami), BED and the Pearl Restaurant and Champagne Lounge (attached to Nikki Beach), are located throughout South Beach. However, some of these restaurants/nightclubs like Grass Lounge can be found in the Design District (north of downtown but south of North Miami).
If many of Miami’s premiere restaurants don’t fit into your daily budget, consider eating during Miami Restaurant Month (better known as Miami Spice ) in August and September. This year at 80 select restaurants, lunch costs $22 and dinner is $35.
Miami’s dining scene reflects burgeoning diversity, mixing exotic newcomer restaurants with long-standing institutions, often seasoned by Latin influence and hot winds of the Caribbean. New World cuisine, a culinary counterpart to accompany Miami’s New World Symphony, provides a loose fusion of Latin, Asian, and Caribbean flavors utilizing fresh, area-grown ingredients. Innovative restaurateurs and chefs similarly reel in patrons with Floribbean-flavored seafood fare, while keeping true to down-home Florida favorites.
Don't be fooled by the plethora of super lean model types you're likely to see posing throughout Miami. Contrary to popular belief, dining in this city is as much a sport as the in-line skating on Ocean Drive. With over 6,000 restaurants to choose from, dining out in Miami has become a passionate pastime for locals and visitors alike. Its star chefs have fused Californian-Asian with Caribbean and Latin elements to create a world-class flavor all its own: Floribbean. Think mango chutney splashed over fresh swordfish or a spicy sushi sauce served alongside Peruvian ceviche.
Whatever you're craving, Miami's got it -- with the exception of decent Chinese food and a New York-style slice of pizza. If you're craving a scene with your steak, then South Beach is the place to be. Like many cities in Europe and Latin America, it is fashionable to dine late in South Beach, preferably after 9PM, sometimes as late as midnight. Service on South Beach is notoriously slow and arrogant, but it comes with the turf (of course, it is possible to find restaurants that defy the notoriety and actually pride themselves on friendly service). On the mainland -- especially in Coral Gables, and, more recently, downtown and on Brickell Avenue -- you can also experience fine, creative dining without the pretense.
There are several Peruvian restaurants at SW 88th Street and SW 137th Avenue in Kendale Lakes. Take the 88 or 288 buses from Dadeland North train station. This is kind of out of the way, but it is worth it.
Nightlife in Miami consists of upscale hotel clubs, independent bars frequented by locals (including sports bars) and nightclubs. Most hotel bars and independent bars turn the other cheek at your physical appearance, but you have to dress to impress (which does not mean dress like a stripper) to get into a nightclub. Also remember to never, under any circumstances, insult the doormen and/or nightclub employees that will grant you entry or touch the velvet ropes or you may as well be sitting on the opposite side of the clamoring masses trying to get in. Attempting to tip the doormen and claiming that you know employees that work in the nightclubs (unless you actually called and reserved a table or a spot on the VIP list) is also considered an affront. Getting to the club unfashionably early and pushing through the crowd (and not the doormen) also can help make you stand out in the crowd.
The best way to gain admission to the best clubs is to have your hotel's concierge call the club and get on the guest list. The concierge's help is particularly important if you want to get into the exclusive VIP Room -- without having to reserve a table and pay for bottle service. If you're staying at a well-known hotel, the concierge can get you complimentary admission to any club most of the time. The exceptions are major holidays such as New Year's Eve. If you are a male (or two males), the other most effective way to get into clubs is to have beautiful, well-dressed women with you. That can be accomplished by scanning the line outside the club and offering the most beautiful woman or women you can find a couple of free drinks if they will serve as your "dates" to get into the club.
Finally, most nightclubs won’t admit groups of men unless those men are waiting in front of a gay bar. Bring some women or leave the pack if you’re desperate to get in. And once you get in, remember that the charge to get in these clubs can cost up to $80—cash only (some clubs, however, mercifully have ATMs—that can charge up to $7 for a withdrawal). Joining and organized nightlife tour like the ever-popular South Beach VIP Pub Crawl can help save some cash, and has the added benefit of new friends to party with all night. Popular drinks in Miami include the Cuba Libre and the mojito.
Miami is known for its boutique hotels (especially those in South Beach). Designers such as Ian Schrager (the Delano, Shore Club), André Balazs (Raleigh, Standard on Belle Isle) and Todd Oldham (the Hotel) helped put South Beach on the map with their creative hotel designs. The downside of many of the boutique hotels is that rooms can be small, particularly if the building was built during the height of the Art Deco period in Miami. If you value space, a boutique hotel may not be the type of hotel for you. If you don't need to stay in a boutique hotel (and value space), Miami has several upscale high-rise hotels north and south of South Beach, as well as near the downtown area. Miami does have its share of less costly chain hotels for those who value space and/or money.
The high season for hotels is around Nov to Apr because of the lower temperatures. However, Miami's lower temperatures, in comparison to the majority of the United States around this time, are still warm. High season is also marked by the advent of many Miami events, such as the Winter Music Conference and Spring Break. If you wish to reserve a room during Miami’s high season, especially at a boutique hotel and/or a hotel on South Beach, you should book months in advance.
Be aware that hotels have a 12.5% room tax and some hotels may add a 15% service charge which may or may not be added if you reserve a room through the hotel, through a travel agent/agency (either in person or using an online site such as or similar to Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity) or through an opaque (prices are given, but the name and location of the hotel is unknown) travel site such as Priceline or Hotwire.
Some hotels offer garage and/or valet parking; check with your hotel about parking before booking a room if you wish to drive around Miami.
The major area codes for Miami-Dade County are 305 and 786. The 305 area code also applies to the Florida Keys (Monroe County).
In addition to some of the places listed in Eat and Miami International Airport, several hotels have internet access—both LAN connections and wireless—but it is not free in all hotels. Check with your hotel to see if internet access is free or for a fee.
Several cafes have wireless internet connections, but depending on the café internet access may incur a fee. Unless it’s a nation-wide chain offering free internet access like Starbucks, check with your café to inquire about whether your internet access is charged separately from your meal.
Free wireless is now offered all around Miami Beach and few neighborhoods around the Miami area. Although you might have some trouble connecting, it will still be a good way to connect with others.
Miami is generally a fairly safe city and tourist mecca for many from the US and abroad. However tourists should know that Miami unfortunately has one of the highest violent and general crime rates in the country. Most tourists however don't have any issues and it is simple to avoid difficult situations if you just take some basic precautions.
Pickpockets and thiefs are not as present in Miami as they are in other tourist hotspots in the US but ALWAYS be careful of your belongings in crowded places like streets in the Downtown, buses, trains etc. If possible wear a money belt and don't have all of your cash in one place. And of course try not to look like a tourist and don't wear flashy jewellery or show off expensive cameras. Never leave anything unattended in the beach or in the airport. Be careful in bars and nightclubs; try not to get too drunk especially if you're a female as this may put you in a dangerous situation for potential criminals to exploit. Keep in mind that during Spring Break, as loads of students from all around the US come to Miami, nightclubs are absolutely packed and there are many drunk people wandering the streets (especially in Miami Beach) in the early morning hours. There is also a spike in street fights during this time of year.
Public Transport in Miami isn't as expansive or effective as in other metropolises in the country but it can still help you move around the city is easily. Be careful during the night in buses and don't enter empty train cars. Unlicensed taxis can sometimes be found roaming the city streets; always get into licensed cabs and be wary of unlicensed taxis in the airport. Driving in Miami can be quite stressful due to the sometimes packed roads and aggressive drivers.
Don't go to beaches that have purple flags. This indicates that dangerous pests like jellyfish, stingrays, and/or other venomous critters are in the water. Also, it's better to avoid beaches during the night; while they aren't necessarily dangerous they are less safe than other more crowded places.
When in Miami be mindful of the weather. Always use sunscreen and wear hats during the day and especially in beaches because some people do get sunburns as they get carried away by the fun and forget to take all necessary precautions. Hurricanes are also a big deal as Miami is in the path of hurricanes coming from the Atlantic and the Caribbean. The hurricane season lasts from June to November but most happen from late July until mid September. If possible avoid Miami and South Florida in general during this time of year and if you do visit always stay alert and watch the news. If a hurricane is heading towards the city during your stay call the Hurricane Hotline ahead of time for advice on what to do. There is one simple rule however; DON'T get out of your hotel or shelter during the storm.
Areas to avoid
Miami's rough areas stretch from Overtown to Miami Gardens. Parts of the Miami Riverfront (outside the city center) can also become unsafe at night. It's better to take cab to pass through these areas but if you want to walk (not recommended) be confident, know exactly where you're going and don't linger in the streets for too long. There is also an issue with homelessness in Miami and many shanty/makeshift towns are present around overhead passes; avoid them if you can.
The emergency telephone number for fire, police and rescue emergencies is 911. If you require non-emergency assistance, do not call 911. To contact police in a non-emergency situation, call +1 305 4POLICE.
There are a lot of consulates in the Miami area. This is only a small listing of them. Check the United States Department of State's Foreign Consular Offices website  for more consulates.