Miami Beach hardly requires an introduction. One of the most iconic cities in the United States, miles of pristine sandy beaches, world-class museums, incredible nightlife, and a truly unique architectural style make this metropolis a must-visit destination. Only incorporated in 1915, this vibrant young city on the barrier islands outside Miami proper quickly became one of the nation’s most eminent beach resorts and an international port of call for sunbathers and revelers alike. This is truly the playground of the elite, and whether your interests lie in the arts, shopping, or sunshine, rest assured that Miami Beach has you covered.
Location: A Tropical Resort City just off the Mainland
Sitting on a series of barrier islands separating the lagoon of Biscayne Bay from the Atlantic Ocean, Miami Beach is lengthy enough to be generally broken into three districts – South, Mid, and North Beaches. Though sometimes lumped in as a part of the nearby main city by tourists, Miami and Miami Beach are in fact distinct municipalities. Reachable by the mainland via a series of bridges and serviced by Miami International Airport (MIA) and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), the Beach is easily navigable by car, taxi, bus, or bike.
Business: Condo Complexes and a Tourism Economy
Unsurprisingly, tourism and real estate are the major driving factors of the Miami Beach economy. Luxury condominiums dot the sandy shores, with South Beach and the South of Fifth neighborhood among the city’s most posh. A number of businesses cater to visiting tourists, offering all manners of waterside recreation, fine dining, and cushy lodging.
Culture: Societal Fusion and Influential Style
Miami Beach is a cultural melting pot, boasting considerable Jewish, Cuban, and Haitian populations – it is prominently known as the most Hispanic neighborhood north of Mexico. The city’s status as a luxury retreat location has lent itself to the development of some stunning and creative arts, and the Art Deco District – home to the world’s largest collection of Art Deco architecture – has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. Other landmarks include the Holocaust Memorial, Jackie Gleason Theater, and Wolfsonian-Florida International University – a museum and research center focused on arts and design.
Activities: Sun, Sand, and Surf!
Most visitors to Miami Beach are drawn by the stunning beaches and legendary nightlife, but there are a number of diverse activities available as well. Sightseeing is everywhere and highly recommended, from walking tours to an airboat cruise up and down the length of the isles. Take a run or leisurely stroll along the massive boardwalk, spanning roughly 77 blocks from the South to North Beaches. Culture seekers will enjoy shows by the New World Symphony, with its new Frank Gehry-designed campus, or the Miami City Ballet company.