No other place is like Miami. Once a mangrove-infested jungle, the city in its 120-plus year history has evolved into a vibrant and colorful international destination. Surrounded by turquoise waters and year-round tropical weather, the allure of beach life is Miami's main attraction and industry. Nicknamed the "Gateway of the Americas" because of its close proximity to Latin America and significant Spanish-speaking population, it is the diversity of five decades of migration from Cuba, the Caribbean and Central America that gives Miami its palpable, authentic flavor. The culture is so authentic that you might even pick up a few words of Spanish, Creole or Portuguese along the way.
Once a haven for retirees and spring breakers, Miami is the vacation spot of choice for snowbirds from Quebec, New York and Massachusetts, beach bums and Western Europeans. For wealthy South Americans, Miami represents a home away from home and the opportunity to live the entrepreneurial dream. Undoubtedly, a big part of the vibe is the ultra-hip, 24/7 partying—Pitbull, Flo Rida and Gloria Estefan have all sung about it. There is another low-key side to Miami that is not seen in visitor brochures including off-the-beaten path restaurants and shops and hidden gems—like Schnebly’s, the southernmost winery of the U.S.
Myriad attractions, museums, festivals and art fairs add a spicy sense of fun. Sultry by day, Miami gets even steamier in the evenings when the dance clubs, lounges and other late-night spots invite revelers to party the night away. Beyond the beaches and nightlife, Miami has also become a culinary and art hotspot. For 15 years, Miami has been the home of the largest national star-studded extravaganza, the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, attracting culinary personalities, foodies and tastemakers to the sands of South Beach. Miami is also host to the world’s premier art fair, Art Basel every December, the largest literary fete, in downtown Miami, the Miami Book Fair International and the epicenter of electronic dance music—Ultra Music Festival.
From a day at the beach to people watching on Ocean Drive, Miami’s sunshine beckons visitors to spend endless time outdoors. For a walk on the wild side, there’s Zoo Miami, Jungle Island or the Miami Seaquarium, with one-of-a-kind encounters to swim with the dolphins or trek through coral reefs. A visit to popular neighborhoods such as Little Havana and Little Haiti, are amazing places to soak up Latin American culture, or treat yourself to a Cuban coffee and tasty croquette. For a walk on the trendy side, there’s the Miami Design District, home to high-end shopping and the hipster neighborhood of Wynwood filled with creative experiences day-or-night.