Miami | A wonderland in so many ways

Welcome to Miami, an Alice in Wonderland-like paradise in so many ways. This is a place where the very beautiful collides with the very weird to create a diverse and bustling city full of contradictions and enough excitement to keep any holidaymaker busy for several weeks.

A group of interconnected neighbourhoods flung into the south east of Florida makes up this distinctive city – from Coral Gables in the south to Bal Harbour in the north, there is miles of coastline to discover and plenty of inland attractions too.

The Marilyn Monroe of the US, Miami is stunningly beautiful and possesses plenty of golden beaches – a major pull for those on tours of America who are looking to enjoy some sun-worshipping. Like any Hollywood starlet, she can also party with the best of them and still look like a million dollars the next morning. And like Miss Monroe, it also feels as though everyone wants a piece of Miami.

Miami colourful building

Miami colourful building

You’ll also find that startling diversity exists here, and that’s only a good thing. Enterprising Caribbean immigrants, Jewish Holocaust survivors and their children, a fantastic gay party scene, and  A-list, B-list, C-list and D-list celebrities – you’ll come across them all.

It’s interesting just lying on the beach and soaking up the atmosphere of this bustling place, but there are a number of specific attractions you should make an effort to visit as well. Get along to Downtown Miami and sample the shopping scene before tucking in to some five-star cuisine from a rooftop restaurant.

For culture vultures, there is a vast selection of museums, of which Vizcaya is perhaps the most beautiful. Housing an extraordinary number of artefacts and artworks inside an Italian villa, its gardens are equally as spectacular as its exhibits.

If you don’t want to head inside just yet, however, it’s worth checking out the Cuban Memorials, which hint at America’s complicated relationship with this communist nation. Failing that, just while away the time in Maximo Gomez Park, where you can soak up the local scene with elderly men playing boules and chess.

Miami Skyline

Miami Skyline

Art fanatics are encouraged to try the Wynwood Design District Arts Walks, which allow you to take in a number of galleries with like-minded people. An added bonus is that the entire evening has the atmosphere of a pub crawl, and since wine is included in the ticket price, you can’t really go wrong.

Wildlife fiends will be similarly impressed with Miami, despite its urban nature. The Miami Seaquarium was one of the first aquatic centres set up in the USA and it remains completely dedicated towards helping preserve the habitats of many marvellous creatures.

Miami remains one of America’s most hustling, bustling and above all, surprising cities. While the above attractions are most certainly worth a visit, nothing beats strolling around and taking in the atmosphere. Sunny days are very likely thanks to the warm climate – ideal for taking a stroll along the beach. It’s just one of those destinations that caters for all. But don’t just take our word for it – find out more at

Miami photos: Bill Dickinson, Asad.

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