Miami Travel Guide
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ATTRACTIONS

Little Havana
The spirited Cuban neighborhood of Miami where the sights, sounds and smells are intoxicating. Be sure to sample a traditional Cuban meal or grab a quick sandwich cubano and some empanadas at any of the walk up counters. The heart of Little Havana is Calle Ocho (KAH-yeh AW-cho), Spanish for SW 8th St (actually it's Spanish just for 8th St, but what the hell). The entire length of Calle Ocho is lined with Cuban shops, cafes, record stores, pharmacies, and clothing and (most amusing) bridal shops.

Little Haiti
Primarily a community of Haitian immigrants that have settled into the area once known as Lemon City. Descriptive words like vibrant, interesting, and exotic are sometimes used to mask the hazards of this area.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area
At the southern end of Key Biscayne, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area offers acres of exotic plants and nature trails bordered by white-sand beaches. At the park's southern tip is the Cape Florida Lighthouse, built in 1845. Key Biscayne is 5 miles (8km) southeast of mainland Miami.

Miami Beach
For a city beach, Miami Beach is one of the best around. The water is clear and warm, the sand relatively white and, best of all, it's wide enough and long enough to accommodate the throngs. The Promenade is a Deco-ish, wavy ribbon of concrete at the Beach's westernmost edge. If you've ever looked at a fashion magazine, you've seen it: it's the photo shoot site. If you show up early in the morning, you're likely to see shoots in progress. This is also the hot spot for in-line skaters, bicyclists, skateboarders, dog walkers and people watchers to mill about bumping into each other.

Bass Museum of Art
The Bass Museum of Art has expanded and received a dramatically new look, rendering it Miami's most progressive art museum. World-renowned Japanese architect Arata Isozaki designed the magnificent new facility, which has triple the former exhibition space, and added an outdoor sculpture terrace, a museum cafe and courtyard, and a museum shop, among other improvements.

Miami Art Museum at the Miami-Dade Cultural Center
The Miami Art Museum (MAM) features an eclectic mix of modern and contemporary works by such artists as Eric Fischl, Max Beckmann, Jim Dine, and Stuart Davis. Rotating exhibitions span the ages and styles, and often focus on Latin American or Caribbean artists. The Miami-Dade Cultural Center, where the museum is housed, is a fortresslike complex designed by Phillip Johnson. In addition to the acclaimed Miami Art Museum, the center houses the main branch of the Miami-Dade Public Library, which sometimes features art and cultural exhibits, and the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, which highlights the fascinating history of the area.

Miami Metrozoo
This 290-acre, sparsely landscaped complex (it was devastated by Hurricane Andrew) is quite a distance from Miami proper and the beaches--about 45 minutes--but worth the trip. Isolated and never really crowded, it's also completely cageless--animals are kept at bay by cleverly designed moats. Because the zoo can be miserably hot during summer months, plan these visits in the early morning or late afternoon.

Venetian Pool
Miami's most beautiful and unusual swimming pool, dating from 1924, is hidden behind pastel stucco walls and is honored with a listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Underground artesian wells feed the free-form lagoon, which is shaded by three-story Spanish porticos and features both fountains and waterfalls.

Coral Castle
There's plenty of competition, but Coral Castle is probably the strangest attraction in Florida. In 1923, the story goes, a 26-year-old crazed Latvian, suffering from unrequited love of a 16-year-old who left him at the altar, immigrated to South Miami and spent the next 25 years of his life carving huge boulders into a prehistoric-looking roofless "castle." It seems impossible that one rather short man could have done all this, but there are scores of affidavits on display from neighbors who swear it happened.


Everglades National Park
From the brackish waters of the mangrove and cypress swamps, to hardwood hammocks, sawgrass flats and Dade County pinelands, there is simply no place in the world like the Everglades. These marshes are home to crocodiles and alligators, bottle-nosed dolphins, manatees, snowy egrets, bald eagles and ospreys. You can visit for an afternoon or get totally absorbed for days canoeing around the 10,000 Islands and along the Wilderness Waterway.

Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale has a surprising number of cultural and historical sites... for a party town. In recent years, the Spring Break capital of the universe has smartened up its image - but only a little. That Fort Lauderdale is so well-endowed in the museum and gallery department shows how serious its denizens are about moving on from spring-breakarama. Art, science and history are well-represented, although incurable gossips should make for the National Enquirer Headquarters.

Key West
Key West, also known as the “Conch Republic” is the southernmost point
in the United States. Key West is located 150 miles from Miami
(approximately 4-1/2 hours drive on US 1 South) and only 90 miles from
Havana. If you're driving to Key West there are many interesting sights for nature
lovers along the way, including Everglades National Park - a birdwatcher’
s paradise just 28 miles north via Florida City. The park's mangroves are
home to many species of birds, such as osprey, herons and roseate
spoonbills. During your visit to the lush island of Key West, you'll find many quaint
restaurants, local pubs, art galleries, shops and museums. The small
town of Key West has a quaint 19th-century architecture and a fascinating
mix of history. While touring Duval Street (the main street through town),
you will see many shops, which draw tourists as well as the people from
the gigantic cruise ships. The lifestyle is very laid-back.

 

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