Essential Travel Tips: Miami
Pack the suntan lotion and flip flops! Miami is a vibrant city on the southern tip of Florida and one of the hottest cities in America with plenty to do on and off the beach. Miami is also the capital of Latin America and home to 5.5 million, many of which are Spanish-speaking. The Latin influence in Miami has given way to a world-class centre of Latin cuisine, dancing, and countless street festivals. There really is something for everyone, so here’s a rundown of what to do, how to get around and money-saving tips for your trip to Miami!
There are few methods of transportation that can take you anywhere in the city. One is by trolley; this is a fun way to explore Miami’s neighbourhoods and the best part: it’s absolutely free! The trolleys loop around Downtown Miami as well as routes through the Brickell, Wynwood neighbourhoods and the Design District.
Miami does not have a subway because of its low elevation and the threat of flooding, but there are the Metrorail and Metromover light rail system. Metrorail is a 22-mile, 22-station rail line that stretches from West Miami to downtown and on down to South Miami. It costs $2.25 USD per ride and requires a pre-paid, rechargeable EASY Card or EASY Ticket which you can get at most Metrorail stations. The Metromover, on the other hand, is free to ride and has a smaller loop around Downtown Miami as well as routes stretching into the suburbs.
From art to sandy beaches, Miami has it all. Here are some must-do activities while you’re in Miami:
Take a walk through Wynwood. This eclectic neighbourhood is a moving feast with artistic graffiti everywhere and plenty of galleries. Take a walk through the Emerson Dorsch gallery where you will find off-the-wall exhibits and engaging talks with local and international artists. You should also head to the neighbourhood for “Second Saturdays,” a popular event for locals held on the second Saturday of every month, where you get the chance to explore the local galleries, food trucks, bars and restaurants with an event on every corner!
What’s a trip to Florida without seeing a few gators? Take a ride on an airboat tour through south Florida’s famous Everglades where you will zoom past hungry reptiles in their natural habitat. Rides depart every few minutes so there’s no need to book ahead!
Of course, you will want to have a little R&R on South Beach. Known as “SoBe” by locals, the beach stretches across several barrier islands and great for a dip, a volleyball game or simply soaking up the sun sprawled out on your towel.
When it comes to wining and dining in Miami, there’s everything…From steakhouses like the uber-popular Capital Grille to countless food trucks roaming around the city. Some notable locales to grab a bite are Zuma, a high-end sushi restaurant, and of course, tacos at Coyo Taco. Then hit the town at night for some of the best dance clubs in the world!
If you’re traveling on a budget, you can easily have a great time. As mentioned above, there are tonnes of food trucks in Downtown Miami and of course, the beach is free. You also stay in hostels close to the beach that quite cheap. When it comes to nightlife, you can check out Bin 18 where there’s a $35 pre-theatre dinner that includes wine and choice of appetizer, main and dessert.
Unless it’s an emergency, avoid exchanging currency at hotels or airport kiosks as they will have higher transaction fees. Exchange for U.S. dollars at your bank before departing. If you cannot do so, Knightsbridge FX offers exchange rates that are better than the big banks!
Miami has a relatively high crime rate so always exercise caution on the street, on the beach and especially at night. Always keep your belongings close.
There is a heavy police presence at all major tourist attractions and crowded areas. Also, you should avoid unfamiliar neighbourhoods at night. However, most locals are actually quite nice and will be happy to provide you with directions or recommendations.