Photograph by Catherine Karnow
A seaside paradise and the nation’s youngest big city (founded in 1896), Miami, Florida is America’s Casablanca—capital of the exotic, inhabited by a larger percentage of foreign-born than any other city, according to the United Nations. Called the “Gateway to Latin America” the area’s population is 60 percent Hispanic, made up of Cubans, Nicaraguans, Colombians, Puerto Ricans, and Venezuelans—all influencing the city’s rich cultural offerings. Considered an international hub, Miami has reached a sophistication to rival Manhattan’s with hip Miami Beach at its heart boasting a classic Art Deco District and North Beach’s Miami Modern architecture. In Miami itself, a melange of worthwhile neighborhoods welcome visitors including the Cuban-inspired Little Havana, the art-driven Design District, architecturally rich Coral Gables, and the laid-back beachfront community of Coconut Grove. The area’s tropical climate makes it a year-round destination.
Miami has more than its fair share of glitz and glam, but the city’s oceanside setting, vibrant multicultural communities, and wealth of art and architecture mean there’s plenty to keep visitors on a budget happy.
When a planned day at the beach goes cloudy, plenty of alternatives can make a day off the sand worthwhile.
See our gallery of the best hikes within an hour of U.S. cities where the only prerequisite for exploring is a pair of sneakers.
The Miami of today may not look like any place my grandparents would recognize–at least from the outside. But Magic City’s big heart and carousing spirit are here to stay.
Here are a few of our Urban Insider's suggestions for places to go to get taste of a lower-key Miami.
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