While Orlando is the destination made for kids, Miami is the nearby sister city offering ideal beach relaxation as well as a variety of sizzling attractions perfect for adults. With some of the top beaches you’ll find in the South, Miami is widely known as the Cruise Capital of the World, providing entry to the hottest Caribbean destinations. But beyond its white sandy beaches, this city has many fascinating places that top the must-see list for any first-time visitor.
With a heavy Latin American influence, Miami has its own unique style and modern beat, which far distinguishes it from any ordinary beach destination. From its extraordinary fine dining, dancing, and arts and culture scene, you’ll discover its wild side that will spice up any vacation. Even in the early winter, it’s easy to forget the time of year. In December, you’ll be struck with amusement in seeing the city’s big Christmas tree surrounded by palm trees.
Star Island: Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
Just off the coast from southern Miami, the renowned Star Island is the exclusive area lined with numerous mansions which have been owned by celebrities including Shaquille O’Neal, Julio Iglesias, Sylvester Stallone, Elizabeth Taylor, and one-hit wonder Vanilla Ice. You may also recognize a few properties used for the big screen such as the Addams Family films and “Scarface”. Considering an exciting venue for your next big party or wedding? One of the mansions is rented out for the most luxurious, private events – at a high price worthy of its location.
A Slice of Culture in Little Havana and South Beach
Little Havana is home to more than one million Cubans and other Latinos, who make up more than half of the city’s residents. You’ll find several store fronts, covered food markets, and authentic Cuban coffee blends and cuisine. Nearby South Beach is the ideal place for booking your hotel, since it is walking distance to the best shopping and dining. At night, all of South Beach’s cafes turn into nightclubs, welcoming crowds until the early hours of morning. The neighborhood boasts a little fame, such as the Versace mansion on Washington Ave., and on-screen sites of “Scarface” and “The Birdcage”.
Picturesque Places: Coconut Grove and Coral Gables
Dating back to 1873, Coconut Grove is one of Florida’s oldest settlements and served as a community that attracted many artists, writers, and scientists. Although this neighborhood has grown into an upscale, modern area, Coconut Grove manages to preserve quite an eclectic combination with its rustic cottages and chic estates.
In Coral Gables, you’ll see how this part of the city was once envisioned to be an American Venice, with its canals and gracious homes spreading across the district. As you cross the west side of the river, you’ll notice the recreational benefits of this neighborhood nestled around the bend of the waterway. Coral Gables is known for its unique Spanish and Italian street names and architectural influences.