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Miami Beach is a city in Florida. This small barrier island near Miami was originally cleared of mangroves in the late 1800s to make way for a coconut farm, and was later incorporated as a city by real estate developers in 1915. Miami Beach has been one of America's pre-eminent beach resorts for almost a century.
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.
Southern tip of the island to about 23rd Street. The most popular part of the beach.
Often known just as "Miami Beach", this district refers to the "Mid-beach" area between 23rd Street and 63rd Street.
Northern tip of the island, from about 63rd Street on up.
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 (who 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 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. Today the entertainment, production and arts communities of Miami Beach are stronger than ever.
Art museums, ballet performances, cultural events and entertainment are a part of this great city. Art Center at Lincoln Road has performance art exhibitions, as well as classes and courses including photography, jewelry-making and painting.
- Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, 1920 Meridian Avenue – Open M-F 9AM-6PM, Sa Su 10AM-4PM.
By planeMiami International Airport (MIA) is closest, but Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL) is only around 40 minutes away by shuttle (depending on traffic) and the plane tickets are often cheaper. Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport offers charter flights to the Miami area.
By carTake I-95 North or South to 395 over Biscayne Bay which turns into 5th Street.
By taxi/shuttleTaxi- Initial rate is $2.50, plus $0.40 for every 1/6 mile. There is a flat rate from the airport to Miami Beach based on 5 different zones, ranging from $24 to $52.
Shared Taxi/Shuttle Service- For a cheaper ride to your destination in South Beach, you can opt to use a "shared taxi/shuttle service". This costs about $18/person plus a tip (about $23/person). You can find the shuttles outside of the airport baggage claim area. No need for reservations. For your trip back to the airport, you can contact the company to pick you up from your hotel and take you back at the same rates.
From MIA, you can take the J or 150 bus to Miami Beach. The 150 continues to South Beach. The fare is approximately $2.
From FLL, you can take the #1 Broward County bus to Aventura Mall, and transfer there to the Miami-Dade S bus.
From downtown Miami, take the C or 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.
- 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.
- Miami-Dade Transit has several routes serving Miami Beach. The most useful is the S, which runs north-south along the entire length of the island, continuing to downtown Miami. The S runs every 12 minutes during the day, and hourly all night long. Schedules and routes are available from the 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.
By bikeMiami 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. 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).
phone: +1 305 532-9494address: 723 Washington Ave.Rent a bike from any of 100 stations in the city and simply drop off to any station when done. DecoBike provides maps for self-guided Art Deco bike tours. Available to both residents and visitors.
- Miami Beach Bicycle Center, 601 5th St, +1 305 674-0150.
- Two Wheel Drive, 1260 Washington Ave, +1 305 534-2177.
- Bike and Roll, 760 Washington, +1 305 538-2121 .
By free taxiThey 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. The Lincoln Road Mall and other shopping centers contain trendy retails stores that carry garments from international designers.
- Collins Avenue/Washington Avenue— Heralded as the designer district, here all your favorite designers labels are within walking distance from each others. Start at Collins and Fifth Avenues and walk north, toward 10th Street. Peek down the side streets and you will find smaller, one-of-a-kind boutiques.
- Lincoln Road— This seven block strip is closed to traffic but open to shoppers and pedestrians. There's the standard stores such as Bebe alongside unique boutiques such as Brownes & Co, an upscale spa/body and bath products store. Great for a stroll and people watching; and Art Deco fans will enjoy the architecture too. If you're looking for a place to eat, a number of excellent restaurants and cafes as well.
- Espanola Way— A pedestrian mall off Washington Avenue near 14th Street. Its charming architecture is reminiscent of a Spanish village, complete with red roofs. On Sundays, the street turns into something of a farmers’ market, with locals selling everything from freshly cut flowers to souvenirs in stalls.
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. Joining an organized nightlife tour like the ever-popular South Beach VIP Pub Crawl can save money, and has the added benefit of new friends and other travelers to socialize with.
Miami Beach is a tourist town and has many hotels, located mostly around the beach area. High season (fewer rooms, higher prices,) is during the winter months of November through February, with summer being the low season. There are hostels throughout the city. One may also be interested in a vacation rental.
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.
The cost of services in hotels can be pricey like in hotels elsewhere in the world, but you can seek out local services within walking distances or online such as the popular
Oliomlaundry service, which is only for hotel guests in Miami Beach.. Since you can pretty much walk or bike to anywhere in South Beach, trying out local services is the best way to get a feel of the place.
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.