VacationWiser Guide to Miami

VacationWiser.com Guide to Miami

Miami is the essence of all that’s fashionable – the incomparable shopping, the glittering nightlife and the endless golden beaches. It’s family friendly too, with the Seaquarium and Parrot Island Jungle thrilling kids of all ages. Lodging choices abound – from the luxurious to the intimate – on Miami Beach, South Beach and more. And with the shimmering lights of the nightlife as your guide, you’ll find an endless variety of mouth-watering restaurants, vibrant discos, and trendy nightclubs.

Miami is synonymous with diversity – in its people, its neighborhoods and its attractions.  Below, courtesy of the Miami Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, is a look at some of Miami’s more popular areas.

South Beach:  Often called the American Riviera and an Art Deco Playground. Yet there's more than fine white sand and colorful buildings to South Beach's fantasyland of exuberant Deco architecture. South Beach offers an eclectic mix of world-class boutiques, galleries and stores. It's also a culinary hot spot for everything from gourmet to casual beachside cuisine. At night, South Beach comes alive with crowds ready to go out and have a world-class evening out.

South Beach is the Miami of postcards; the skyline of Ocean Drive has been featured on television millions of times, and yes, the people are as beautiful as they look on the tube. South Beach may be a world class partying hotspot, and that's not to be overlooked, but the daytime destinations on the island are as notable, and perhaps, more memorable, than the nightlife. 

Mid-Beach: 24th Street & Collins Ave.  Five-star hotels, critically acclaimed restaurants, irresistible shopping, extravagant clubs, a world-class art scene, a universe of entertainment options and, of course, the miles of sparkling beach.  Where South Beach is vibrant, bold, and adventurous, its northern cousin takes life at a slightly slower speed. From the magic of the Faena District up towards North Beach you will find a bounty of incredible restaurants, nightlife, attractions and hotels as well as amazingly walkable streets and beaches. 

North Beach: Quieter than beaches to the south, but just as beautiful. South Beach has the bustle, the energy, the vibrant sense of adventure — but only a few short miles away, North Beach has the relaxation and the escape. You will find locals and visitors enjoying the sand and surf, with plenty of space to spread out. The beach is wide and sandy, with concessions and showers. The boardwalk becomes a flat trail here and winds its way up to Surfside on a path that’s popular with runners, bikers, and dog-walkers from the neighborhood.

The neighborhood boasts a unique collection of Miami Modern (MiMo) buildings, many of which have been restored and preserved as part of the North Shore Historic District, including the North Beach Bandshell that is the place to go for music and other entertainment.  

Downtown Miami: Miami’s bustling epicenter, packed with gleaming skyscrapers, sweeping bay views, and hidden places to explore. It’s a neighborhood of layers—decades of history overlapping and colliding; tourism destinations like Port of Miami alongside local favorites like American Airlines Arena, home to the Miami Heat; century-old buildings among new pockets of young residents who call the neighborhood home.

Where its southern neighbor Brickell is modern, towering, and dense, Downtown Miami is a mix of the old and the new. It was the site of one of Miami’s earliest international attractions, Henry Flagler’s Royal Palm Hotel, which opened in 1897 along the bank of the Miami River. Today, Downtown Miami’s population has doubled in fewer than 10 years, and those new residents have brought new restaurants, bars, shops, parks, and world-class museums.

Little Havana: Little Havana is the colorful center of Hispanic culture in Miami. The area’s riddled with Latin-inspired cafes, restaurants, venues and markets that give space and a voice to all the different backgrounds that have taken root in the neighborhood. Here you’ll find locals grabbing an afternoon cortado or a fresh fruit batido, talking politics over a game of dominoes, or eating authentic dishes from all over Latin America to a backdrop of ever-present Cuban beats. 

On the last Friday of each month, Little Havana hosts Viernes Culturales, or Cultural Fridays, a monthly gallery night showcasing the cultural arts scene of the neighborhood. Little Havana offers a taste of multicultural Miami at its best.

Other popular tourist areas:

·         Wynwood – from a neglected manufacturing district, Wynwood has transformed into one of the world’s hippest neighborhoods and the latest requisite stop while visiting Miami. 

·         Bal Harbour – fashionably fun and casually elegant, Bal Harbour is a quiet and exclusive beachside oasis at the Northern tip of Miami Beach.

·         Coconut Grove – a little Bohemian, a little Bahamian, “The Grove” is a Bayfront village where people can stroll quaint, tree-lined streets and savor a waterfront ambience.

·         Coral Gables – with its impressive arches, expansive plazas, boulevards and architecture recalling Old Spain, Coral Gables is a slice of Mediterranean.

·         Doral – anchored by one of the world’s great golf courses, Doral offers plenty of cosmopolitan pleasures.  It has become a mecca for jet-setters, designers, artists, architects, and boutique retail stores.


Where to stay in Miami

These are some of our suggested hotels in Miami.  For more information go to www.vacationwiser.com/miami.  Sample rates below are for a 3-night weekend stay for 2 people in October or a 4-night midweek stay. Prices include airfare (sample airfare from Chicago/O'hare Airport).  Actual price based on availability at time of booking.


Rated 4.5 of 5 on Trip Advisor

Payments starting from $38 weekly for 3-night weekend stay and $41 weekly for 4-night midweek stay

Resort fee: $39.90 per accommodation, per night is not included in rate

This elegant Art Deco-style hotel is conveniently situated in Mid-Beach in an oceanfront position alongside the beautiful white sandy beach. The Bass Museum of Art is within walking distance, South Beach with its famous Art Deco District, Ocean Drive with its multitude of restaurants and shops, New World Symphony, the historic Jackie Gleason Theater and Lincoln Road Mall are withineasy reach. Resort fee includes: Beach access, Beach, loungers, Beach towels, Fitness/yoga classes, Business center/computer access.  



Rated 4 of 5 on TripAdvisor

Payments starting from $38 weekly for 3-night weekend stay and $41 weekly for 4-night midweek stay  

Resort Fee of $37.62 per night not included in price

Fontainebleau is located directly on Miami Beach.  Situated on oceanfront Collins Avenue in the heart of Millionaires Row Fontainebleau Miami Beach is one of the most historically and architecturally significant hotels on Miami Beach Florida. Its iconic design is a spectacular blend of Miami's glamorous golden era and stylish modern luxury. A revered Miami Beach landmark for more than half a century Morris Lapidus emblematic curvilinear building sets a new standard for business and pleasure. The 22-acre oceanfront Miami Beach hotel features signature restaurants by award-winning chefs; two chic nightlife venues; a two-story spa- a virtually endless poolscape- miles of pristine beach and state-of-the-art conference and event facilities. Even before it opened in 1954- Fontainebleau had a rich history shaped by the rapid expansion of the Miami area and its popularity with celebrities. That same persona lingers on and we have no intention of changing it.


Rated 4.5 of 5 on TripAdvisor

Payments starting from $60 weekly for a 3-night weekend stay and $56 weekly for a 4-night midweek stay

Resort Fee of $45 per night not included.


Paying tribute to the vibrant culture and colorful history and glamour of Miami with sophisticated ease, The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach is your gracious host to the most exotic place in America. The influence of coastal Latin America is weaved throughout Fuego y Mar, the resort's main restaurant. Dishes draw from Mexican, Cuban, Venezuelan and Colombian cuisines, made with fresh, simple ingredients. The spirit of South Beach’s classic cocktail bars of years past is alive and thriving at Lapidus Bar. Guests will be greeted with bronze and brass accents, tableside cocktails and live music. Balance is both sought and delivered at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, South Beach. Based on a mindfulness approach to wellness, the spa offers holistic treatments, many incorporating indigenous South Florida ingredients, and journeys designed to promote rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. 




Rated 4.5 of 5 on TripAdvisor

Payments starting at $33 weekly for a 3-night weekend stay and $28 weekly for a 4-night midweek stay

Resort Fee of $18.18 per night not included


Your loftiest dreams become a reality when you step foot in the art deco-inspired haven that is Dream South Beach. Located on Collins Avenue, our hotel is surrounded by stylish boutiques, the hottest clubs and is just 50 yards from pristine white sand beaches. Right next door is another fashionable address, once known as the famed Versace Mansion. Close proximity to Ocean Drive, Lincoln Road and Espanola Way. Art Deco style meets French Moroccan chic, at Dream South Beach, which boasts 107 guestrooms and suites designed by Michael Czysz with modern amenities such as large flat screen TVs, high-speed Wi-Fi for a fee, fully-stocked minibars, C.O Bigelow bath amenities and much more. While here, be immersed in late 70's poolside glamour at our rooftop pool and lounge, indulge in Mexican fare at Celebrity Chef Ralph Pagano's Naked Taco restaurant, slip into ecstasy with a relaxing spa treatment, and enjoy an atmosphere that is both cosmopolitan and comfortable.



Rated 4.5 of 5 on TripAdvisor

Payments starting from $45 weekly for a 3-night weekend stay and $34 weekly for a 4-night midweek stay

Resort Fee of $38 per night not included


An oceanfront sanctuary in the heart of Miami Beach, just minutes from the South Beach entertainment district, The Palms Hotel & Spa combines refined service, laid-back sophistication and beachside serenity into a destination where wellness and environmental awareness are at the center of each guest experience. Enjoy elegant colonial flair in the airy lobby area, a lush tropical garden oasis with secluded relaxation areas, a large swimming pool and comfortable loungers, cabanas and umbrellas at the pool and beach. The Palms' Restaurant offers healthful and flavorful dishes presented in a fresh and sophisticated style. The Bar specializes on craft cocktails and sustainable wines while the Tiki Bar offers casual fare and classic pool cocktails. The Palms AVEDA Spa offers a full-service salon, retail area and holistic spa treatments, delivering a highly personalized experience with rituals to awaken the senses. Inspired by the pristine environment surrounding the resort, tropical nature inspires all facets of the hotel, from the décor, to the products & services offered and its commitment to green practices.

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