Miami, Florida

You are about to see why 14.5 million people a year visit Miami and the surrounding areas of Miami Beach, South Beach, Coconut Grove, Virginia Key and Key Biscayne. You can spend every day sightseeing or just spend them on a beach.

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1 Cityscape of Downtown Miami, Florida

Welcome to Miami, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. It offers a warm climate, thriving business community, rows of condominium towers, vibrant cultural venues, four professional sports teams, over 80 public parks and pristine beaches along the Atlantic coast. It also has the largest cruise ship port in the world.

1 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149

2 Vizcaya Museum Main House in Miami, Florida

One look at the Villa Vizcaya and you would not be surprised if it was a palazzo built along the Grand Canal in Venice by a wealthy aristocrat. It even has colorful striped pali mooring poles. Instead, this was the former winter mansion of James Deering when built in the 1920s. This National Historic Landmark located in Coconut Grove has been called the Hearst Castle of the East. Today, Villa Vizcaya is a museum managed by Miami-Dade County.

3251 S Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33129

3 Vizcaya Museum Italian Barge in Miami, Florida

Paul Chalfin, the designer of the Vizcaya estate, spared no expense in creating intricate details such as this 158 foot long stone Italian barge. It sits in Biscayne Bay with the skyline of Miami behind it. The winged female sculptures and mermaids are the work of Alexander Calder. The fifty acre property is also beautified with elaborate gardens and is surrounded by the Rockland Hammock natural forest.

3251 S Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33129

4 Brickell Financial District Skyscraper in Miami, Florida

As you drive along Brickell Avenue in Miami, the 1450 Brickell tower is one of the first, all-glass skyscrapers to greet you to the Financial District. The 540 foot office building was built in 2010, one of several that has helped to reshape the city’s skyline during the recent construction boom. Miami now has over 307 high-rises.

1450 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131

5 Tallest Building with Humble Church in Miami, Florida

One reason I enjoy photographing architecture is because I think it mirrors a city’s character and this photo helps to portray Miami’s contrasts. In the background is the Four Seasons Hotel and Tower, the tallest skyscraper in Florida. Inside its 789 feet of glass are a hotel, commercial space and condos. In the foreground is the St. Jude Melkite Church. Its façade of Indiana Bedford limestone was built in 1946. It may appear humble, but it’s loved by its Melkite Greek Catholic congregation. Interestingly, Madonna’s daughter was baptized here in 1997.

126 SE 15th Rd, Miami, FL 33129

6 Growing Financial Services Hub in Miami, Florida

Miami has become a major hub for financial companies, most of which have their regional headquarters in the downtown Bickell Financial District. The domestic leader in Southern Florida is Wells Fargo followed by B of A and Citibank. Several international banks are also represented here to serve the area’s growing diversity. Plus there are about 150 non-traditional banks and investment funds in the city. In addition, approximately 200 “family office” groups manage money for families with a minimum net worth of $50 million.

1200 Brickell Ave, Miami, FL 33131

7 Florida’s Marine Life Mural by Wyland in Miami, Florida

I typically try to visit one of Robert Wyland’s Whaling Walls if the city I am traveling in is lucky enough to have one. In Miami, this mural called Florida’s Marine Life is located on the side of Marcy’s department store on East Flagler Street. Unfortunately, #78 in his series of 100 global murals is obstructed by a light train rail. The best view of these humpback whales is from the third floor of the Colonnade Parking garage.

22 E Flagler St, Miami, FL 33131

8 Flagler Street Architecture in Miami, Florida

Flagler Street is the main road dividing other streets in Miami-Dade County as either north or south. Part of its 12 mile path runs through the Downtown Miami Historic District or what most people call old downtown Miami. Much of it looks tired. However, architecture buffs will find over 50 buildings from the 1920s and earlier … a sharp contrast to the city’s glass towers. This building – the former 777 International Mall – was built in 1947 and has retained its movie theater marquee.

141 East Flagler St, Miami Beach, FL

9 The Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida

The Metropolis Building was the home of The Miami News from 1925 through 1957. In 1962, the U.S. government converted it into the Cuban Assistance Center to provide aid and assistance for those seeking asylum from Fidel Castro’s regime. “Freedom Flights” flew refugees to Miami five days a week until 1974 and they were processed in this landmark called The Freedom Tower. Today, it is an art museum on the Miami Dade College campus in downtown Miami.

600 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

10 AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida

Home court for the Miami Heat, a National Basketball Association team, is the AmericanAirlines Arena. This downtown Miami stadium, which opened in 1999, is also a frequent venue for concerts and other entertainment events. Most are conducted within the complex’s Waterfront Theater.

601 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

11 Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, Florida

This photo shows a portion of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami. The Center’s 570,000 square feet is so large that its two buildings straddle both sides of Biscayne Boulevard. It contains three theaters: the Ziff Ballet Opera House, The Knight Concert Hall and the Carnival Studio Theater. The white dome on the right is one of several cultural construction projects that are being built as part of Museum Park along Biscayne Bay in downtown. It will be a planetarium at the new Museum of Science that is scheduled to open in 2016.

1300 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

12 Frost Museum of Science Building in Miami, Florida

The Miami Science Museum was founded in 1949 and was located near downtown on South Miami Avenue in Coconut Grove. In 2017, this became the new headquarters for the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Museum Park. The MiaSci contains a 250,000 square feet within its three-story, modern design complex, including the 500,000 gallon Gulf Stream Tank exhibiting marine life. Miamian Phillip Frost donated $35 million for the project.

1101 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33132

13 Pérez Art Museum Miami in Miami, Florida

The Center for the Fine Arts was founded in Miami in1984, later became the Miami Art Museum and was renamed again after this new building opened in 2013. It is located at the growing, 30 acre site of Museum Park along the downtown waterfront. This contemporary art museum was named after one of its major benefactors, Jorge M. Pérez. PAMM has an extensive, permanent collection of international artwork from the 20th and 21st centuries.

1103 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

14 Simón Bolívar Statue at Bayfront Park in Miami, Florida

This statue of Simón Bolivar pays tribute to his military leadership in liberating first Venezuela and then several other Latin America countries from Spanish rule during the early 19th century. He is still revered by many Hispanic Americans for his patriotism and legacy as a champion for freedom. The eight-foot sculpture of The Liberator, which was a gift from the Venezuela government in 1979, stands in Bayfront Park in Miami.

301 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

15 Miamarina at Bayside Marketplace in Miami, Florida

Bayside Marketplace is a shopping and entertainment complex located next to the Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. Don’t expect a high-end experience … the merchandise and stores cater to tourists and lots of them. But I’d recommend you spend some time at an outside restaurant or bar that overlooks the Miamarina. There is usually live music playing to accompany your conversation as you watch yachts float to and from Biscayne Bay.

401 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33132

16 Miami Tower in Miami, Florida

This 47 floor building in downtown Miami was built for the CenTrust Savings & Loan in 1987. It has had several names since then but in 2010 it was renamed simply as Miami Tower. It’s unique, three-tier design has a $1.5 million LED lighting system that allows it to be bathed in different color schemes. For another optical treat, try staring at its horizontal lines in this photo. After a while they can create dizziness that borders on vertigo.

100 SE 2nd St, Miami, FL 33131

17 Mark Cuban’s Superyacht Docked in Miami, Florida

This may sound like a rich person’s problem but I’d imagine it is difficult to find a place to dock your superyacht. Yet Mark Cuban, the businessman that owns the Dallas Mavericks and is a regular investor on the TV program “Shark Tank,” luckily found an open spot on the Miami River Canal for his 288 foot ship called the Fountainhead. I am sure he compares notes with Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, because he owns the sister ship called the Mushashi. They are both ranked the 45th largest yachts in the world.

River Walk Trail, Miami, FL 33111

18 Epic Residences & Hotel on Miami River in Miami, Florida

Most people think of Miami as being along the Atlantic Coast but are unaware of the Miami River. It originates in the Everglades and flows for about 5.5 miles before emptying into a canal at the Port of Miami. Near the river’s mouth in downtown is the Epic Residences & Hotel. On the opposite bank is the Miami Riverwalk. This delightful pedestrian path stretches for about a mile and is lined with cafes and boutique shops.

200 Biscayne Blvd Way, Miami, FL 33131

19 Condo Towers on Brickell Key in Miami, Florida

From the River Walk Trail you are looking across the channel at a few of the dozen high-rise condominium towers on Brickell Key. It is a triangular-shaped island initially created in 1896. Also called the Claughton Island, it is only 44 acres in size yet it has a population of almost 2,200 people. This gated community is just off the coast from downtown Miami and offers spectacular views of Biscayne Bay.

River Walk Trail, Miami, FL 33131

20 Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Brickell Key in Miami, Florida

Approximately 14.5 million people visit the Greater Miami Area annually and there are over 1,400 hotels ready to serve them. Together, they have about 50,000 rooms. It is not surprising to learn that about one third of these are located in Miami Beach. However, tourists looking for a quieter experience select luxury hotels such as the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Brickell Key, a small man-made island near downtown.

500 Brickell Key Dr, Miami, FL 33131

21 Lummus Park in Miami Beach, Florida

Miami Beach can become very crowded especially parallel to all of the art deco buildings on Ocean Drive. So if you want to enjoy the Atlantic Ocean without sharing the sand with so many people, head towards the east side between 5th and 15th Streets. Here you will find the 74-acre Lummus Park. After too much sun, you can then sit on the grassy areas that are shaded by palm trees. There is also a long pedestrian walkway that is called the Promenade.

1130 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

22 Temperature Gauge Above 90° in Miami Beach, Florida

When the temperature at the Art Deco Welcome Center in South Beach reads above 90°, it is a very safe bet that the sand along the Atlantic Ocean is crowded with tourists and locals. But maybe I misread this gauge. Instead of being in Fahrenheit, perhaps this indicator is measuring what percent of the beach is completely covered with people.

1001 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

23 Crowds Sunning at South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida

During the cold winter months, snowbirds of every shape, size and age flock to South Beach, exchange their parkas for their swimsuits and then lay back on the sand to soak up the sun. By the end of the day, it is very easy to tell whose pasty-white skin was not covered with sunblock because they become various shades of scarlet.

1500 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

24 Giant Margarita with Two Upside Down Beers in Miami Beach, Florida

The outdoor cafes and bars along Ocean Drive in South Beach compete for mixing oversized alcohol concoctions and then giving them strange names. An example is the “Famous Bulldog” which is served at the Ocean’s Ten Bar. It is a giant margarita with two upside-down Bud Lights floating in it. If you survive that, you can also try their Mudslide, Run Runner or Miami Vice.

960 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

25 Lifeguard Tower at South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida

This colorful lifeguard tower is a very common sight along the shores of Miami Beach because there are twenty-five of them. The Ocean Rescue group, which is operated by the Fire Department at the City of Miami Beach, calculates they watch nearly 14 million annual visitors to the seven miles of beach. They also rescue an average of 300 drowning victims a year.

1418 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

26 Former Versace Mansion in Miami Beach, Florida

In 1930, this elegant mansion on Ocean Drive in South Beach was built for Adlen Freeman, a partial heir to the Standard Oil Trust. In 1992, famous Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace purchased this and an adjacent property. He then invested $33 million into the estate before being assassinated on the front steps in 1997. It is now part of The Villa by Barton G, an ultra-luxury hotel. The new owners paid $41.5 million for the property. Suites start at $800 per night and range up to $2,200.

1116 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

27 Il Villaggio Condominium Tower in Miami Beach, Florida

One look at the skylines of Miami and South Beach will tell you that there are a lot of condominium towers similar to the Il Villaggio on Ocean Drive. But of the nearly 60,000 units, only about 21% are homesteaded. This means the majority are owned by seasonal residents and absentee owners who rent out their unit. And with all of the recent development, there is an eleven year supply of new condos on the market.

1455 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

28 Young Woman Striking a Pose in Miami Beach, Florida

The Florida coastline has long been a magnet for college students during spring break. That is especially true at South Beach. By day, crowds of young people sunbathe, frolic in the Atlantic and pose for pictures that they can immediately post on social media. At night, they fill the clubs and bars along Ocean Drive. Presumably they return to school in need of rest.

1130 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

29 Mango’s Tropical Cafe South Beach Neon Sign in Miami Beach, Florida

Look up nightlife in the dictionary and you’ll see a picture of South Beach, Florida. Rumored to have the most female models per square mile, it blisters with action day and night. Fancy cars cruise along Ocean Drive while watching the bikinis on the beach and the fancy clothes in front of the art deco buildings. At night, the music and dancing reach a feverish pitch in the bars and clubs. And your nightlife itinerary should include a stop at Mango’s Tropical Café for some chicken wings while soaking up the dance music and shows.

900 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach, FL 33139

30 St. Moritz Tower at South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida

South Beach is renowned for its fabulous art deco architecture. In fact, the Old Miami Beach Historic District contains over 800 of these beautiful buildings that were built during the late 1920s and into the 1940s. But clearly my favorite is the St. Moritz Tower on Collins Avenue. This classic, white high-rise was built in 1939 with spectacular views of the beach along the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of two buildings that now comprise the Loews Miami Beach Hotel.

1601 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139

31 Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach, Florida

When this art deco building was designed by Russel Pancoast in 1930, he made two decisions that gave it a distinctive appearance. The first was the use of fossilized Paleolithic coral for the façade. The second was the bas reliefs by Gustav Boland. The carvings include a depiction of the Spaniard’s conquest of Florida. This was originally the home of the Miami Beach Public Library and Arts Center. It is now the Bass Museum of Art.

2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

32 Wind Sculpture IV by Shonibare in Miami Beach, Florida

Art in Unexpected Places is a program sponsored by DWNTWN Miami Arts and Culture. They have placed public art in Miami Beach and throughout downtown Miami. An example is this colorful, abstract sculpture by Yinka Shonibare called Wind Sculpture IV. The steel structure was hand painted with fiberglass resin. It is one of several artworks displayed at the Collins Park gardens in front of the Bass Museum.

2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

33 Collins Park Rotunda in Miami Beach, Florida

The LED sign “Culture = Capital” by Chilean born artist Alfredo Jaar was installed on top of the Collins Park rotunda as part of the Art Basel exhibit in 2014. The annual fair started in Basel, Switzerland in 1970. Miami Beach began hosting the U.S. version in December 2002. In 2013, the event had grown to exhibit international art from over 250 galleries in 31 countries.

2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33140

34 Old Tree in Collins Park in Miami Beach, Florida

Back in the 1880s, when this old tree in Collins Park was considerably smaller, John A. Collins arrived from New Jersey and invested in a coconut farm on an island called Ocean Beach. After the venture failed, Collins plus his son and son-in-law created the Miami Beach Improvement Company in order to sell waterfront lots. Back then, the 580 acres were mostly mangrove trees and a swamp. Today it is Miami Beach.

2100 Collins Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

35 Temple Emanu-El Synagogue in Miami Beach, Florida

The stunning façade of the Temple Emanu-El in Miami Beach displays both Byzantine and Moorish architectural elements. When it was built in 1948, it was patterned after the Great Synagogue in Oran, Algeria. You do not have to be Jewish to visit and appreciate it. In fact, it has welcomed numerous world leaders such as Presidents Reagan and Clinton, the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. On the right is a section of a bronze sculpture called “The Dove of Peace” by Ken Treister. It was erected in 2010.

1701 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

36 Holocaust Memorial and Reflection Pond in Miami Beach, Florida

An estimated six million Jews were killed by the Germans during World War II. Miami has the largest population of survivors from those horrific times. So it seems very appropriate that several of them formed a committee to create this stunning monument to their friends, neighbors and relatives who perished. This Holocaust Memorial, which is in the center of a reflection pond, opened in Miami Beach in 1990. Interestingly, the address spans across 1933 to 1945 Meridian Avenue, the same years that the Nazis were in power.

1933-1945 Meridian Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

37 Hand Sculpture at Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach, Florida

This four-story arm that is reaching towards the sky is covered with anguished people who are clinging together in hope of survival. It is a sad and moving tribute to the Jews who suffered and then perished during World War II. The bronze sculpture was created by Kenneth Treister. It took him five years to research, design and create it.

1933-1945 Meridian Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

38 Downtown Miami Skyline View from Virginia Key, Florida

Miami’s tall buildings that stretch along Brickell Avenue and Biscayne Boulevard on the coast are a mix of commercial and residential, making it the third most populous downtown in the U.S. If you want tranquility, drive west on the Rickenbacker Causeway towards Virginia Key and Key Biscayne. The beaches and parks there are gorgeous, subdued and family oriented.

3201 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149

39 Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Sustain Building in Virginia Key, Florida

In 2013, the Alfred C. Glassell Jr. Sustain Building opened on the campus of the University of Miami’s Marine Technology and Life Sciences complex on Virginia Key, Florida. Inside is a wind-wave surge simulator that can generate the effects of a category 5 hurricane in three dimensions. Its benefactor was the founder of the Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company. He was also an avid sports fisherman. In 1953 he caught a 1,560 pound black marlin off the coast of Peru that still holds the record.

4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, FL 33149-1031

40 Miami Seaquarium Entrance in Virginia Key, Florida

The Miami Seaquarium opened in 1955 and is still delighting over a half million visitors a year with marine life exhibits. It’s most popular show is with Lolita, the killer whale who arrived at the park in 1970. But this orca has not always been the most famous resident. That title goes to a bottlenose dolphin. During the 1960s, the TV series “Flipper” was filmed at this entertainment center on Virginia Key.

4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne, FL 33149

41 Boats Docked at Crandon Park Marina in Key Biscayne, Florida

Crandon Park Marina is the gateway for boats and yachts to Biscayne Bay and then a day on the Atlantic Ocean. Located on Key Biscayne, which is only minutes from downtown Miami, the area around the island also offers a popular beach, a public golf course, a tennis center, walking paths and all the amenities you’ll need for a day in the Florida sun.

4000 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149

42 Players on Tee at Crandon Golf Course in Key Biscayne, Florida

It is not surprising to learn that Florida has the most golf courses of any other state. But did you know there are 1,481 of them? The only one on the island of Key Biscayne is the Crandon Golf Course. It is an 18-hole, par 72 public course that offers great views of the Miami skyline. Waterholes include saltwater lakes, a subtropical lagoon and Biscayne Bay.

6700 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149

43 Cape Florida Light at Key Biscayne, Florida

The Cape Florida Light had a rich history before becoming part of the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park in 1966. The lighthouse was built in 1825, attacked and burned by Seminole Indians in 1836 and was rebuilt in 1847. The beacon for helping ships to navigate the coral reefs was operated by a keeper until 1878. This 95 foot, white brick conical tower is now a popular attraction among tourists to Key Biscayne, Florida.

1200 S Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149

44 Lake Iguana at Zoo Miami in Miami, Florida

Miami’s first zoo began in 1948 and was relocated to a former naval air station in 1980. Zoo Miami exhibits about 3,000 animals within it 325 acres of developed land. In the center of the zoological park and garden is Lake Iguana. This is the perfect setting to rest under a shade tree for a few minutes or soak up some Florida sun. Paddle boats are also available for a self-propelled tour of the lake.

12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177

45 Mom and Child Riding Camel at Zoo Miami in Miami, Florida

A special treat for kids and their parents at Zoo Miami is the Humpy’s Camel Rides near the Children’s Zoo section. For a small fee, you can climb aboard either Charlie or Fluffy and be lead around a path by the animal’s keeper. You will feel like you are traveling through an Arabian desert, just like when the nomads began using them for transportation over 4,000 years ago. Today all dromedary camels are domestic. None have lived in the wild since the time of Christ.

12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177

46 Lioness Cuddling with Lion at Zoo Miami in Miami, Florida

Most large cats, even domestic ones, prefer living in relative solitude. In contrast, lions are very social as evident by this tender interaction between a lioness and her mate. But don’t mistake affection for submissive. In the wild, the female African lion does most of the hunting and is the core of the pride. This living structure numbers from three up to 30 lions. Only one or two males are part of a typical pride while the rest are nomadic.

12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177

47 Samburu Giraffe Feeding Station at Zoo Miami in Miami, Florida

A highlight of the Zoo Miami is the Samburu Giraffe Feeding Station. From a tall wooden platform you can be eye-to-eye with a herd of reticulated giraffes. This interactive attraction allows you to hand out greens and watch as an enormous black tongue measuring 14 to 18 inches removes the snack from your hand. Do not worry if you arrive late in the afternoon. These Somali giraffes will still be hungry. Males have a capacity to eat 75 pounds of food a day

12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177

48 Young Girl Under Mister at Zoo Miami in Miami, Florida

It takes a minimum of three hours to explore the five sections of Zoo Miami. Most families spend the better part of a day enjoying the 500 species of animals. You will be delighted to see the majority of exhibits are in large, open spaces mimicking natural habitat. This is great for the animals. But walking around can get hot in the Florida sun. This little girl had the perfect solution. Stand under a mister and let it rain refreshing cold water.

12400 SW 152nd St, Miami, FL 33177