Miami holiday highlights

With miles of stunning shoreline and luxe glamour you’ll be forgiven for not wanting to stray far from the ocean. But walk SoBe’s Art Deco District or take a stroll around Wynwood’s iconic artist-commissioned graffiti Walls and you’ll start to see the innovative and architectural rewards of occasionally leaving your stand-up paddleboard behind.

Between Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue you’re treated to plenty of Art Deco and Miami Modern designs from the likes of Henry Hohauser and L. Murray Dixon. A 20-minute taxi ride over the McArthur Causeway takes you into the core of Miami to the Design District’s hip art galleries, street art installations and high-end shops. Mix a trip to Prada and Fendi with viewings in the Institute of Contemporary Art and shop like a billionaire art collector in the magnificently curated de la Cruz Collection. Whilst over this side, an architectural detour to the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens on Biscayne Bay leads you to an extraordinary Mediterranean estate with 10 acres of grand European-style gardens, fountains and terraces.

Back at Miami Beach you’re going to spend most of your time on South Beach for oversized cocktails, upscale restaurants and rooftop bars, with the best things happening between 5th and 15th Streets. White-sand beaches are standard here, and SoBe runs parallel to Ocean Drive. Other worthy beach contenders include Key Biscayne for Cape Florida Lighthouse, family-friendly shallow waters and watersports; Mid Beach for the stylish pool clubs and its elevated boardwalk; and the northern tip of Bal Harbour Beach for uncrowded white sands and a spot of shopping at Chanel before it’s back to stand-up paddleboarding.

Where is Miami?
Miami is in the state of Florida and consists of the City of Miami and the iconic ‘coastal city within a city’ of Miami Beach. It sits between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean part of the Atlantic Ocean, with the Florida Everglades to the west and Biscayne Bay to the east. Biscayne Bay separates Miami City from Miami Beach.

Getting around

If you want to travel the length of the coastline or head across to the city and Downtown Miami, then you’ll be relying on taxis, buses or a rental car. Getting around South Beach itself is easy with Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road and Washington Avenue all walkable, or you can use the South Beach Local bus service, which runs throughout the day. Taxis are the best method of transport for bar and restaurant hopping. The Miami Hop On/Hop Off takes you all over Miami, from the beach to Downtown and Coral Gables to the Design District. You’ll find the Trolley electric bus in neighbourhoods including Coconut Grove, Wynwood and Little Havana. The Metrorail and Metrobus have good value seven days passes if you plan on using public transport a lot during your stay. If you fancy a more unique method of transport, water taxis will take you along Biscayne Bay and Downtown. 

Shopping

There’s the flashy new Brickell City Centre plaza and the mega shopping malls of Aventura and Dadeland for high-street, luxury brands and tech gifts all in one spot, but we also recommend the Design District and the Biscayne corridor for alfresco shopping with a mix of luxury brands including Cartier, Hermes and Louis Vuitton and an eclectic choice of art galleries, cafes and independent designer boutiques. Bal Harbour Shops on Collins Avenue is equivalent to Rodeo Drive – a high-end outdoor mall with the big department stores of Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue too. In the heart of South Beach, Lincoln Road’s pedestrianised stretch is where everyone flocks for both mainstream and up market shops. Expect to pick up everything from cute swimwear to glam sunglasses and cool cover-ups to floaty sundresses.

Food & drink

Gourmet coffee shops, high-end candy stores, small-batch roasts, artisanal bakeries, seafood feasts and epicurean classics… experience it all in Miami. Sunset Harbour is where local South Beach residents hang out for post-SoulCycle cocktails, tapas and wood-fired pizzas, and you’ll find an enticing blend of Nuevo Latino cuisine and American classics pretty much every where you go. With plenty of acclaimed chef’s restaurants as well as legendary local favourite Joe’s Stone Crab, Miami certainly isn’t short on gourmet treats. The rooftop bars on Lincoln Road and West Avenue are a glitzy choice for craft cocktails and sunset views, but head to the Design District when you just can’t decide – ice-cream and crepes; casual pizzerias or seriously stylish restaurants from well known faces such as the Estefan’s and Joel Robuchon.

Miami key facts

Time difference

GMT -5 hours

Currency

US Dollar ($)

Flying time to destination

9¾ hours

Language

English is the official language, although many other languages are widely spoken in certain cities and communities. America has its own written US English spellings.

Passport & visas

•  Brits must have a full 10-year British Passport that's valid for six months after you return to the UK.
•  You will also need a USA visa or waiver form/ESTA. Apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before travelling (http://esta.cbp.dhs.gov).

Voltage & electricity

The domestic electrical supply is 110V, 60 cycles AC. Sockets are for plugs with two flat pins.

Miami good to know

Tipping

Tipping is an established and accepted custom in America. For good service, waiters and taxi drivers expect 15-20%, and counter and bar staff 10-15%. Porters can expect from $3-$5 per case, while tour guides can be given the equivalent of £2-£3 per day.

What to wear

Florida is warm all year round but light jumpers or jackets are useful during the winter months, especially in the evening. If you are going to be visiting the theme parks then a hat and comfortable shoes are a must. In the Everglades you will want long sleeves and trousers to avoid being bitten. Strong closed toe shoes are also a must.

Public holidays

• 1 January: New Year's Day

• Third Monday in January: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

• Third Monday in February: Presidents Day

• Last Monday in May: Memorial Day

• 4 July: Independence Day

• First Monday in September: Labor Day

• Second Monday in October: Columbus Day

• 11 November: Veterans Day

• Fourth Thursday in November: Thanksgiving Day

• 25 December: Christmas Day