DOWNTOWN MIAMI

Tours By Bus |South Beach Local| Up Miami Beach

Downtown Miami and Bayside
From the corner of Lincoln Road and Washington Avenue take the bus A (101) westbound along scenic Venetian Causeway. After a 15-minute ride, the bus ends its trip at the Omni bus terminal.

The Venetian Causeway was built between 1925 and 1926. A series of twelve bridges connects the eleven islands to the mainland and the beach. Remarkably the submerged land for building was actually sold in 1922, long before any of the islands existed. It is a quiet road with a toll booth, so is mostly used for residential access only, and is ideal for cycling (more in that later). The causeway is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Accross the street from the terminal were the offices of the Miami Herald, now demolished to make way for a sparkling new multi-purpose resort. A block south on Biscayne Boulevard is the magnificent Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, which offers free conducted tours on Saturday and Monday at 12:00 noon.

Venetian Causeway
Venetian Causeway
Omni Bus Terminal
Omni Bus Terminal

Beside the bus terminal, stairs (and an elevator) mount to the Metromover platform. Metromover, similar to a bus travelling on an elevated roadway, is a free service of Metro Dade Transit, and runs every five minutes during the day. After five stations, alight at Government Center, though you might want to hop off at the next station, Museum Park station, to visit the stunning Perez Miami Art Museum.

The enjoyable elevated route takes you through downtown Miami past ultramodern condominium constructions and seedy downtown sections.

At Government Center you can visit the Miami-Dade Cultural Center. Designed by Philip Johnson, this Spanish-Mediterranean-styled downtown cultural centre serves as the home for the HistoryMiami Museum of Southern Florida and the Main Public Library.

History Museum
Diorama at the History Museum
Art Museum
Cultural Plaza, Miami Art Museum

At the same platform, continue on the Brickell Loop Metromover. Cross over the Miami River (great views) and continue to the end of the line. Alight at Financial District Station. Cross over Brickell Avenue and walk towards the bay.

Since the time William and Mary Brickell, the founders of Miami, named a tree-lined thoroughfare after their homestead, Brickell Avenue has been associated with wealth and prestige. Rising above the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay it is one of the most unique and identifiable skylines in the world and over 100 domestic and international financial institutions have earned Brickell a reputation as “Wall Street South.”

At the bayside enjoy the wonderful view of the impressive Brickell Area skyline. You can return to downtown Miami on the Metromover, but I would suggest you stroll back along the pedestrian bayfront walk (not totally finished yet) to view the international banking centre of the Americas.

Brickell Avenue
Brickell Avenue looking North
Brickell Waterfront
Brickell Waterfront, Biscayne Bay

It is about 10 blocks back to the Miami River, where Brickell Avenue crosses by means of a bascule bridge beside the Hyatt Regency hotel into downtown.

Just before you arrive at the bridge, look on your right for the diminutive Brickell Park where you will find the simple Brickell Family mausoleum.

On arriving at the bridge, look towards the bay. On the south shore of the Miami River you will see an attractive waterfront park which is the site of the strange Miami Circle at Brickell Point. It is the only known evidence of a prehistoric permanent structure cut into the bedrock in the United States, and considerably predates other known permanent settlements on the East Coast. It is believed to have been the location of a structure built by the native American Tequesta Tribe. Discovered in 1998, the site is believed to be somewhere between 1700 and 2000 years old. Administered by the HistoryMiami museum, the circle itself remains buried to protect it. Plans are for a small site museum, an audio tour and several panels describing the archaeological site.

Note the carved column on the right hand side of the bridge by world-renowned artist Manuel Carbonell. The statue depicts a Tequesta family. The column that holds the statue includes relief used to tell the story of Florida's native people as portrayed by French artist Jacques Lemoyne who came to Florida in 1564. The bas-reliefs honor six people who left their imprint on the city - Julia Tuttle, Henry M. Flagler, William and Mary Brickell, D.A. Dorsey and Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Brickell Bridge
Brickell Avenue Drawbridge
Station
The Station in a Building

Rather than traversing the bridge, return half a block and walk west on Fifth Street until you get to the Metromover station at 5th. Street station. After crossing the river, the little bus will turn sharp right at Riverwalk station and then go right through the middle of the 47-story Miami Tower, known for its elaborate night-time illuminations and its dramatic three glass tiers, has the world's only elevated metro station in a skyscraper.

The Metromover then descends past what was once the elegant Royal Palm Hotel, now an office-condo complex in construction, past the Intercontinental Hotel to Bayfront Park station back in downtown Miami. Alight here and head towards the bay for a delightful stroll along Miami's Bayfront Park

Bayside Park
Bayside Park from the Metromover
Flagler Street
Flagler. Main Street Miami

This fascinating plot of bay-side land was miraculously saved from the developers. Look for the art in public places, namely Isamu Noguchi's Slide Mantra, the Challenger Monument, the Claude Pepper fountain, the Liberty Column and the Tina Hills Playground.

Right next to the park is the wonderful Bayside Marketplace. This vibrant marketplace consists of exotic restaurants including Hard Rock Cafe, daily live entertainment, national brand name stores such as Brookstone, Disney Store, Victoria's Secret, Gap, Guess, etc. The marina is the base for the Island Queen Millionaire's Row Biscayne Bay cruises, amazing Thriller Speed Boats, El Loro Pirate Ship and the Heritage of Miami, a two mast topsail passenger schooner. Bayside's wealth of activity offers something for everyone.

Bayside Marketplace
Downtown Miami from Bayside Marketplace
Bus to Miami Beach
Bus "S" back to Miami Beach


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Across from Bayside Marketplace is the American Airlines Arena, Miami's premier venue for rock concerts and home of the Miami Heat basketball team and the Freedom Tower. The 17-story structure was modeled after the 16th-century Giralda Bell Tower in Seville, Spain., once a newspaper office, then a transit point for Cuban refugees and now dangerously located in a burgeoning area of monstrous condominiums.

Once you have enjoyed Bayside, find the bus stop on Biscayne Boulevard and wait for the S (119), which runs every 10 minutes. This will will whisk you back from downtown Miami to Miami Beach over the scenic Mc. Arthur Causeway. Sit on the right to see the giant ocean liners at the Port of Miami, the world's largest cruise port.

If you visit the museums, stroll down Flagler Street, downtown Miami's main street, or take a bay cruise, you could well stretch this into a full-day tour.

The cost? US$ 4.50 for two bus fares.

If you plan on travelling a lot by local public transportation you may find it easier and more economic to purchase a US$ 5.65 full-day or US$ 29.25 seven-day transit pass (called EASY Ticket).

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