Miami Hotels Guide

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Miami Guide

Flamingo pink, lime green, fuzzy sunny orange and Caribbean blue are only few of many colors of multicolored bright Miami. Its natural wilderness, Mediterranean architecture blended with contemporary skyline, beautiful weather and luxury hotels drove here 11 million vacationers annually. Miami and Miami Beach are interchangeable in the minds of most tourists, but in reality Miami is more than just Miami Beach, it is culturally and commercially diversified metropolis.
South Miami
Monkey Jungle with the monkeys frolic free, Fairchild Tropical Garden, Fruit and Spice Park, Miami Metrozoo and the Gold Coast Railroad Museum are fascinating and unique attraction of South Miami. Within an hour's drive of Greater Miami is the largest wilderness in the eastern United States, supporting a unique and fragile ecosystem. The Everglades is truly a river of grass - fresh water six inches deep and 50 miles wide creeping seaward from Lake Okeechobee to empty into Florida Bay. Everglades National Park, set aside in 1947 as one of the nation's largest parks, is home to many rare and endangered species. Enter the Park at Shark Valley just off the Tamiami Trail 30 miles west of Greater Miami and hike, bike or take a two-hour guided tram ride. Or, for a different view of the Everglades start from the Visitor Center at the Park entrance southwest of Florida City and drive the 38 miles through Long Pine Key to Flamingo, which overlooks Florida Bay. A lodge, restaurant and marina mark this outpost. Flamingo is a popular base for experiencing the raw beauty of the Everglades by canoe or on guided excursions through nature trails and mangrove islands. Biscayne National Park, surrounding the northernmost coral reef in the U.S., is 95 percent underwater and best explored by boat. Glass-bottomed boat tours run regularly. Diving and snorkeling are also available. At Miccosukee Indian Village & Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation you can skim through the sawgrass in swamp buggies or on air boats & observe exhibitions of alligator wrestling. At the Everglades Alligator Farm, you can see 2500 alligators, snakes & reptiles on a working farm.
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Bal Harbour
Bal Harbour is the smallest but one of the best known for its luxury and elegance municipalities in Miami-Dade County. Covering a third of a square mile, the village is an exclusive community of fine homes, hotels and upscale shopping in Neiman Marcus & Saks Fifth Avenue stores, and shops such as Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, Hermes, Chanel, Tiffany & Co., Bulgari and Prada.
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Coconut Grove
Located on Biscayne Bay just ten minutes south of Downtown Miami, The Grove is unlike any other neighborhood in Greater Miami and the Beaches. Coconut Grove's waterfront parks offer the best vantage points for observing manatees, wildlife and the sailboats in Biscayne Bay. Dinner Key, originally the base for seaplane flights from Greater Miami in the 1930s, now is home to Miami City Hall which is housed in converted Pan American World Airways' hangar. The grandest home of all is Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the Italian Renaissance-style villa built by millionaire James Deering in 1916. Vizcaya was purchased by Miami-Dade County in 1952 and opened to the public as museum. Nearby, the Miami Museum of Science & Space Transit Planetarium features hands-on exhibits on everything from robotic dinosaurs to virtual reality basketball, as well as star and space shows. Festivals and street fairs such as the extraordinary Coconut Grove Arts Festival; the Coconut Grove Food and Music Festival (formerly Taste of the Grove); the Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival and the Banyan Arts Festival, add to Coconut Grove's excitement. The Coconut Grove is also exciting shopping and dining area.
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Miami Beach
Miami Beach's lush, tropical environment is famous not only by sizzling clubs, bars, restaurants but cultural institutions as well. It houses the Bass Museum of Art with a permanent collection of important European art, the Wolfsonian/FIU with the eclectic collection of more than 70,000 objects inside, the Sanford L. Ziff Jewish Museum of Florida in a beautifully restored Art Deco synagogue, the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens with collection of exotic plants and palms. Collins Avenue, Washington Avenue and Ocean Drive are full of stores and boutiques. Lincoln Road Shopping District, once known as "the Fifth Avenue of the South," is now a pedestrian-only oasis of tropical vegetation, Art Deco structures and street theater. High-style stores, art galleries and restaurants attract visitors until late at night. On weekends, an outdoor Antique & Collectibles Market & a Farmer's Market take places among the funky stores on Spanish-inspired Espanola Way. Outdoor eating is appealing all over, where watching "the world go by" is as fascinating as the cuisine.
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South Beach
South Beach has been called the American Riviera and an Art Deco Playground. The area has taken on new life as a big, ultra-chic, non-stop street party. With its beautiful beach and whimsical architecture, the area has also become a favored location for films, music and television shows and a backdrop for fashion shoots. The Art Deco Historic District, with the largest concentration of 1920's and 1930s architecture in the world, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and recognized globally as one of Greater Miami and the Beaches' unique attractions. The area is full of performing arts centers: the Jackie Gleason Theater, where Broadway Shows come to town, the Miami Beach Convention Center, the Lincoln Theatre on Lincoln Road is home to the New World Symphony; the Colony Theater and the Alliance Cinema, specializing in foreign, art, documentary and independent films. Second Thursdays turn South Beach streets and venues into a monthly cultural celebration with open dance, music and theater rehearsals, lectures, art gallery opening and meet-the artist receptions. At night South Beach comes alive with crowds dressed in party-casual chic heading for the action in one of the liveliest night scenes found anywhere. Talented musicians and singers perform live in local night spots; dancers gyrate to throbbing house music in packed dance clubs and rock and jazz spills out of hotels, clubs and bars. Club hopping is the rule in the neon-lit darkness. In South Beach the possibilities are endless.
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Coral Gables
Coral Gables as a planned developed suburb is noted for its landscaped plazas and parkways, gateways of coral rock and royal Poinciana trees. The Spanish architecture, lagoons and grottoes of the Venetian Pool, a public swimming pool, the Dutch, South African, Chinese and French villages are main attractions of the area. Coral Gables is home to the University of Miami. The University enhances Coral Gables' cultural amenities with the on-campus Lowe Art Museum; The Gusman Concert Hall; the Bill Cosford Cinema and the Ring Theater.
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Downtown of Miami is commercial, cultural and leisure center. The area is full of historic low buildings, shopping arcades and storefronts. It is home to the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts - originally 1920s Olympia Theater, the Miami Art Museum and Historical Museum of Southern Florida. On Biscayne Boulevard, the Freedom Tower, built in 1925 as Miami's first skyscraper has been restored as a museum and Cuban cultural center. Across the Boulevard, Bayfront Park was designed as the "park for the people", featuring Isama Noguchi's famous "wedge of art" sculpture. On MacArthur Causeway there is Watson Island, where visitors can admire the flamingoes, giant tortoises and reptiles. Downtown Miami offers to visitors great shopping in Downtown Miami Shopping District from Southeast First Street to Northeast Third Street, one of the country's largest Jewelry District next to the Seybold Building, and the Miami Design District in the city's historic Buena Vista Village. Fine restaurants, grills, bistros and bayside cafes are all making Downtown Miami an area of good taste.
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North Miami Beach and Biscayne Bay
The scene is changing in this lively resort area. The atmosphere is still casual but the funky 50's motels and small beachfront hotels are giving way to luxury apartment towers and hotels. Small bistros welcome strollers for a casual meal. Shows and events take place at the oceanfront pink Community Center. Biscayne Bay Islands offer a lovely small town atmosphere. Bay Harbor's main street is defined by fashionable shops, art galleries and restaurants while North Bay Village offers the delights of waterfront dining with a variety of cuisines. Dodge Island is busy with the activity of the Port of Miami, the largest cruise-ship port in the world - luxury cruise ships in dock are awesome when viewed from the MacArthur Causeway. Just beyond the port and accessible only by ferry, boat or plane there is Fisher Island - the island of the upscale residences, resort and spa. The secluded island of Key Biscayne can be reached via the scenic Rickenbacker Causeway, which spans beautiful Biscayne Bay.
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