Difference between revisions of "Miami Beach"
Revision as of 12:57, 10 July 2012
Miami Beach is a city in Florida. This small barrier island near Miami was originally cleared of mangroves in the late 1800's to make way for a coconut farm, and was later incorporated as a city by real estate developers in 1915.
Although tourists generally consider Miami Beach to be part of Miami, it is in actuality 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 is one of the most popular spring break party destinations in the world. Because of its length, it is generally broken up into three districts.
Miami Beach is a barrier island connected to the mainland city of Miami by a series of bridges.
Miami Beach, like Miami, has a huge Latin American population, and Spanish is a language often used for day-to-day discourse in many places. However, English is the language of preference, particularly when dealing with businesses and government. Spanglish, a mixture of English and Spanish, is a somewhat common occurrence, with bilingual locals switching between English and Spanish mid-sentence. The local Latin population is mostly Cuban exiles (which have now become second and third generation locals,) with South Americans from various countries gaining ground. There is also a large Haitian community and many signs and public announcements are in English, Spanish and Creole.
Miami Beach has been one of America's pre-eminent beach resorts for almost a century. The city of Miami Beach is a barrier island connected to the mainland city of Miami by a series of bridges. The city is often referred to under the umbrella term of "Miami”, with a population of 87,925. As a world-class destination, Miami Beach offers several kinds of lodging options. The visitor can stay in a normal hotel or choose from a variety of Miami Beach vacation rentals. Visitors can plan to stay in a Miami Beach condo rental. Miami Beach has a rich history as a trend setting arts center from the world famous nightclubs of the 1950s, to the rich cultural life of today's modern South Beach. The City of Miami Beach has an identity that is intrinsically linked to the arts, and today the entertainment, production and arts communities are stronger than ever. Miami Beach is truly a major international entertainment and cultural destination.
If you come to Miami to shop, then Miami Beach can give you the best shopping experience ever. With the famous Lincoln Road Mall and glamorous shopping centers located in South Beach and all over the island, you’ll have great options to spend your time and money in the trendy retails stores that carry garments from international designers. Art museums, ballet performances, cultural events and entertainment are a part of this great city. You will have the chance to choose from a wide variety of Miami attractions. Art Center at Lincoln Road has performance art exhibitions. Classes and courses are available as well and they include photography, jewelry-making and painting.
Beyond the radiant sun, surf and sand, discover Miami Beach’s rich history as an entertainment and cultural destination, from world-famous Art Deco architecture to renowned nightclubs to designer fashions on Collins Ave and Lincoln Rd. There’s so much going on in Miami Beach, you will need an extra day to enjoy everything that makes this city so vibrant. Plan to lodge in an affordable Miami vacation home and completely enjoy the world’s elite playground. Miami Beach promises a 25-hour day, and whether you're an arts enthusiast, a socialite or a sun worshipper, there are plenty of options for where to spend that extra hour.
Miami International Airport (MIA) is closest, but Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) is only around 40 minutes away (depending on traffic) by shuttle and the rates are often better.
You can take the J or 150 Bus from Miami International Airport to Miami Beach. To Get to South Beach, then transfer to a southbound C, L, or S bus. The fare is approximately $2. If you get the 150, you can also transfer to the South Beach Local at the last stop.
From Fort Lauderdale Airport, you can take the #1 Broward County bus to Aventura Mall for the Miami-Dade S bus.
Taxis are generally expensive, but available at almost any time and place. Car rentals are the most convenient form of transportation for visitors, with local companies offering better prices but national chains offering more convenience regarding return policies and shop times.
When traveling within Miami Beach, a good choice is the South Beach Local , a shuttle bus that operates in a loop from 19th St to the southern end of Miami Beach (buses travel in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions). Fare is only 25 cents. Regional transit buses throughout the greater Miami area are available, but may be slow and inconvenient. Schedules and routes are available from the Miami-Dade Transit  website or by calling +1 305 770 3131.
By electric golf cart
South Beach Decocarts, 1000 5th St, +1 786 383 2278  is the newest addition with stylish Eco-friendly golf cart rentals. Hourly, daily and weekly rentals are available. Each Decocart can fit 4 adults (great for groups) and requires a driver's license. It can hold shopping bags and other items you won't be able to transport with a bike or scooter. Decocarts also offers trendy E-Bikes that don't require a license.
Miami Beach has become more bicycle friendly in recent years with the addition of new bike paths and bike lanes, although not as comprehensive as other major cities. Notable additions to the biking and pedestrian infrastructure include the paved "Beach Walk" which runs parallel to Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue and is directly on the beach, plus the new South Point Park along the bay. In Miami Beach and South Beach riding is permitted on sidewalks, which luckily are wider than average. That said, it doesn't stop many people from trying to utilize bicycles (including locals) to get around town. Pedestrians and drivers tend to be tolerant of bikers and willing to share the right of way. However, be prepared to slow down and go on foot, particularly on the congested streets closer to the beach. Absent heavy auto traffic, South Beach is biking bliss.
There are better attempts at bike-friendliness in the South Beach district, where most of the bike rental shops are located. Lummus Park and Lincoln Road Mall are great for bikers, and have plenty of bike racks throughout; meanwhile, if you are trying to go north or south, go a few blocks west and take one of the roads less traveled. Meridian Ave is a good choice: plenty of interesting Miami-style houses to see and a local park. If you didn't bring your own bike, bike rentals will run about $8/hour or $30/day (or 24-hour time period).
By free taxi
They say there's no such thing as a free ride, but that's exactly what SWOOP Miami  (+1 305 409-6636) is. Supported by advertisements, the SWOOP taxi is a six-passenger white electric golf cart that will pick you up and take you anywhere within South Beach — no fee or fare required, although the drivers will gladly accept tips. Call ahead to be picked up within 15 minutes, anytime between noon and 2AM daily. Unfortunately, though they have "Miami" in the name, they won't go outside the South Beach district.
Miami Beach is a fashionista's paradise, with strips dedicated to designer, from Versace to Missioni, from Vivienne Westwood to Chloe. Don your most comfortable shoes and indulge!
Those without a budget head to Bal Harbour (9700 Collins Ave., Bal Harbour) where the locals shop at the Versace boutique.
Many international cuisines are to be found, with a heavy leaning towards Latin foods, particularly Cuban cuisine. Some Cuban cuisine to try includes a sandwich cubano (Cuban sandwich) and a cafecito (literally it means little coffee, but compares to a strong, sweet espresso).
Most of Miami Beach's nightlife is concentrated in South Beach, but there are still a few places along the rest of the beach. If you go inland, Miami's nightlife will be centered on Coconut Grove. "Cuba Libre" is a popular drink, known to the rest of the world as plain old "Rum and Coke". Also popular is the "Mojito", a sugar/mint/soda-water and rum drink.
Do your homework when booking a hotel in South Beach. Nearly all of the hotels have a restaurant, at least a small one, out in front of the hotel. That appears to be what gets the hotel a three-star rating. However in many cases, the hotel by itself is far from three-stars. Read reviews from other travelers before booking or you might be very disappointed.
Emergency telephone number for fire, police and rescue emergencies is 911.
The main area code for Miami Beach is 305, with an overlay of the 786 area code.