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Insider Tips to Help You Experience Miami Beach Like a Local

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Miami Beach’s popularity is owed as much to its miles of pristine sandy beaches as its architectural heritage, wild nightlife, and kid-friendly atmosphere. Its renowned festivals like the Art Basel Miami Beach fair and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival are testament to the city’s dedication to culture, while its celebrated live music scene, and thriving theatre and dance companies mean you’ll never be short of vibrant entertainment.

Best time to travel

 

Starting in November, South Florida attracts part-time residents from colder regions of the U.S. and Canada looking to spend the winter in the sun. This is also the end of hurricane season, which starts in May, and temperatures drop to the high 70 degrees F (26 C). December through March brings cooler, drier air and temperatures in the mid-70 degrees F (24 C). As the summer heat surges in June and continues through September, temperatures climb to the high 80 degrees F (32 C) and humidity fills the air. June sees the most rain throughout the year.

Not to miss

 

South Beach remains the city's must-see neighbourhood. The shopping, dining, and people watching on Lincoln Road, Ocean Drive, and Collins Avenue are second to none. The beaches are this city’s main draw, however, and you can choose from crowded spots or more secluded areas. Make sure to hit up Lummus Park, where you’ll see bodybuilders working out on pull-up and parallel bars, and swimsuit models. At the end of the day, you can enjoy a romantic dinner on enchanting Española Way, order a creative cocktail at a swanky hotel bar, or dance until daybreak at a pulsating nightclub.

 

Getting around

 

Miami International Airport (MIA) is one of the world’s busiest airports and offers non-stop service to more than 70 cities. Cruise ships make PortMiami another heavily used access point. Mainland Miami’s Tri-Rail, Metrorail, and Metromover systems carry riders from the suburbs to an array of stations within the city, although Miami Beach is only accessible by Metrobus lines, car, or boat. Within Miami Beach, the South Beach Local (SBL) bus connects to other transportation lines. To enjoy Miami’s spectacular weather, you can pick up a bike at a bike sharing station located throughout the city for a minimal fee.

 

Cuisine

 

Miami Beach benefits from a rich immigrant history and the impact these cultures have made on its gastronomic scene. You’ll find Cuban specialties such as vaca frita (fried steak) with taro root in garlic sauce, regional Bahian seafood stews from Brazil, and Peruvian ceviche. Other continental influences include classic Jewish deli standbys like corned beef and pastrami, and Southeast Asian dishes. For a truly local meal, you can order up a fresh catch of the day at nearly any restaurant throughout the city.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

As this is a beach city, dressing casually is often the name of the game, and flip-flops and T-shirts are a common sight. But Miami Beach is also a fashionable, sophisticated town. As such, upscale hotel restaurants and bars, and most dance clubs, enforce a dress code that strictly forbids sandals for men and flip-flops for women, among other things. The general rule of thumb is to dress to impress. It’s also worth noting that some bars and restaurants will include the service gratuity in the check, so read it carefully before throwing down your card.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 88000
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  • Spoken languages: English, Spanish, with some Portuguese
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  • Electrical: 110 volts, 60 Hz, plug type A, B
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  • Phone calling code: 305
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  • Emergency number: 911