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Immigration has played a major role in Miami's explosive growth over the last 80 years, and this has naturally had a great influence on the shape of Miami today. Its people make Miami pulsate with a large and vibrant multicultural art scene, while its location at the sea and in the sun has attracted life-indulging pleasure-seekers from all over the world: the lazy beach culture by day gives way to infectious musical rhythms by night. Miami – in this guide also referring to Miami Beach, which is built on a sandbar across Biscayne Bay – is a city of contrasts: across the street from one of the country's most exclusive nightclubs, visitors in the know can catch a gritty open mic night, and salsa clubs and musical theatre of the highest calibre exist here side by side. Little Havana and Little Haiti are the centres of Caribbean life in the city, while the Art Deco architecture near South Beach exhibits Miami’s heyday in the roaring 20s, mixed with today’s latest fashion in dining, wining, living and clubbing. Miami Beach exudes celebrity lifestyle, while Miami itself has fast become an international cultural hot spot as a centre of Latin and North American art and gastronomy with inspiration taken from all corners of the world. Miami has picturesque beaches, an exceptional nightlife, plentiful shopping opportunities and delicious dining options. Although there is an abundance of things to do in the city and on the beach, visitors should not pass up the chance of taking one-day excursions to see some of the breathtaking natural surroundings.
Miami has unlimited ways to charm visitors, as the city's natural beauty and its surroundings are breathtaking while its great climate offers chances in outdoor activities pretty much all year round. While staying close to the city will allow you to enjoy some of the best beaches in the planet, do also explore a little further from the city proper and visit the wonders of the Everglades or the Florida Keys. Even though the weather nearly forces you to stroll around in the sun, Miami's architectural past and its vibrant art scene will tempt you to spend some time indoors, and the warmth of the vastly international population will make you want to stay here for good.
Like its people, Miami's cuisine is an infusion of flavours. Greatly influenced by the city’s ethnic mix and its location by the Atlantic Ocean, creative chefs have merged Miami’s seafood with Asian, Caribbean, European and South American flavours, and the result is a limitless array of options, ranging from world-class chefs and their fusion experiments to family-run holes-in-the-wall serving up specialties from around the globe. And one cannot leave town before trying the deliciously refreshing local dessert: Key Lime pie.
Coffee culture in Miami is eclectic, and it draws on European, American and Caribbean influences. As coffee in general, and especially here, is best enjoyed outside in the refreshing breeze while admiring the scenery and passers-by, take an espresso by the sands of South Beach, a cappuccino in Coral Gables, or a cafecito in the heart of Little Havana.
Miami's nightlife offers much more than tantalizing and glamourous VIP nightclubs at South Beach, as Latin dance clubs at Española Way and fancy martini bars in the Design District attract locals and tourists alike. Next to laid-back bars for post-sun bathing drinks abound, the live music scene, especially, offers plenty of options to choose from: bars with jazz, flamenco or salsa culture, and when looking only little harder, you can also find poetry slams, world-class theatres and art performances to tune up your nights.
Varied and enjoyable shopping opportunities await you in breezy open-air venues, closed air-conditioned megamalls, and regular department stores all alike. While interior design, and art and furniture flourish in the Design District as well as shopping on Miami Beach’s Collins Avenue can be paired with celebrity-spotting, visiting designer boutiques at Bal Harbour offer unique designs and mainstream chains at Bayside Marketplace classic shopping experience. For more exotic tastes, check out Little Havana or Española Way on Sunday afternoons.
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