WELCOME TO MIAMI

Welcome to MIAMI
"The Magic City"

The city of Miami is one of the world's most exciting and international metropolitan areas. This is one of the youngest major cities of North America, barely 100 years old. With substantial influence from the Hispanic financial and political world, many consider it the "Capital of Latin America". In other circles it is seen somewhat as a maverick city; encouraged by the cocaine cowboys of the 80's, Miami Vice and more recently CSI Miami; Dexter; rude drivers; corrupt government; wild night life; exotic pastimes, it is no wonder that back in 1981, it was also called the Casablanca of North America. All this, and not a grain of sand. A little known fact is that the City of Miami has no beaches. The vast extension of superb white sand beach that stretches thousands of miles down the US eastern seaboard is virtually all located on barrier islands. Miami Beach is on the island, the City of Miami is on the mainland. Plenty of water views, but no beach. Within its boundaries lie the international airport; the world's largest cruise port; a downtown area full of spectacular skyscrapers and shopping opportunities at vibrant Bayside Marketplace; Brickell Avenue, the Hispanic "Wall Street"; American Airlines Arena; The Orange Bowl Stadium, now sadly demolished and replaced by a sparkling new baseball stadium for the Miami Marlins; the Sun Life (ex. Dolphin) Stadium; the superb Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Centre; Little Havana and famous "Calle Ocho".

Welcome to MIAMI BEACH "Sun, Surf and Sand"

Just across the clear waters of Biscayne Bay lies the fabulous oasis of Miami Beach. This is a separate city in its own right; a different mayor, different police department; a different fire service; in fact everything makes it different from anything you have ever seen before.

Miami Beach was originally a mangrove swamp and is in fact a barrier island connected to the mainland by five causeways and bridges. The swamp is only a memory replaced by 15 miles of sparkling white sand beach from upscale Golden Beach right down to upbeat South Beach. Several large beachfront parks are accessible to the public, the rest of the beach is hemmed in by hotels and condos That being said the public has free access to the full 15 miles if one can find ones way between the buildings. Learn all about this in our section on beaches.

Miami Beach is also renowned for the South Beach action spots of Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road. The day and night life is so hectic that locals say you need a 25-hour day when you stay in Miami Beach, something that only happens once a year here. The city also boasts the huge Miami Beach Convention Center; The Art Deco Historical District is unique in the world; Bass Museum of Art, becoming world class by hosting the winter Art Basel exhibition. Miami City Ballet and the New World Symphony Orchestra claim the Beach as home. NWS's stunning new Frank Ghery-designed theatre is Miami's newest landmark.

Welcome to CORAL GABLES "The City Beautiful"

Coral Gables, another independent city within the county, stands out as a rare pearl in the region, a cohesive community built on a grand scale that blends color, detail, and the Mediterranean Revival architectural style that has created a grace and grandeur perfectly in harmony with the environment. Created in 1925, town planning is prevalent, with lots of green areas and trees, no large commercial signs allowed and very restricive building codes makes this a city well worth visting. Within its confines is the Venetian Pool, which must be one of the most romantic public swimming pools anywhere; Fairchild Tropical Garden, the largest tropical botanical garden in North America; Miracle Mile, the region's the upmarket shopping street and Merrick Park, an elegant enclosed shopping mall; the fabled historic Biltmore Hotel.

Welcome to COCONUT GROVE
"Miami's Village"

One of the oldest inhabited areas of the region, this was a town in its own right until annexed by the City of Miami in 1920. It still has a feeling of yesterday, and maintains many aspects of village life. Visit Coconut Grove for the shopping, restaurant and club scene. Shopping and entertainment at Coco Walk; historical Barnacle, one of the first houses in Miami; lively Commodore Plaza; Coconut Grove Playhouse (presently closed); lovely Plymouth Congregational Church and beautiful Kampong National Tropical Garden.

Welcome to HIALEAH
"The City of Progress"

This is the fifth largest city in the State of Florida. Incorporated in 1925, it now has a population of around 240,000, with 92% claiming Spanish as their first language. This makes Hialeah the largest Hispanic city not located in a Spanish-speaking country. Hialeah is a residential and industrial city with little of interest to the visitor. Nevertheless, it was once home the what was considered the world's most beautiful race course, Hialeah Park. Closed in 2001, it has since reopened, but is still listed among the 10 most endangered historical places in the United States.

Welcome to HOMESTEAD
Located in the deep south of the county on the way to The Keys and the Everglades National Park, this small agricultural town is the center of an extensive farming area called the Redland. It is known for production of winter vegetables and fruit, and is the only area in the continental United States where mangos and avocados grow. It has the southernmost winery in the USA and a NASCAR Championship Auto Speedway. Biscayne National Park within sight of downtown Miami, yet worlds apart, protects a rare combination of aquamarine waters, emerald islands, and fish-bejeweled coral reefs. Covering the southern reaches of Biscayne Bay and the upper keys, diving and snorkelling trips are offered, as well as a glass-bottom boat for those who prefer to keep their feet dry.

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