ROL Cruise recommends...
1. Soak up the Miami sun
Miami is famous for its beaches, and while places like Virginia South Beach and Haulover Beach (the city’s only legal nude beach) are worth visiting, South Beach is the central hotspot to see and be seen. Filled with shops and bars, with effortlessly cool models and rollerbladers thronging the sands and boardwalks: engaging in a spot of people-watching here is a quintessential Miami experience.
2. Gaze at Ocean Drive’s Art Deco architecture
Pale pastel buildings are iconic in Miami: there are more than 800 listed properties from the 1920s to 1940s clustered along 18th Street, Ocean Drive and nearby Collins Avenue, allowing Miami’s Art Deco district to claim a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Some of the best include The Webster, a former hotel turned high-end fashion boutique filled with neon; the Cadillac Hotel (complete with ‘chrome trim’); and The McAlpin, an often photographed building due to its perfect, pastel painted symmetry and a subtly hidden face formed from windows and lines. Take a Segway tour to breeze along these candy coloured streets, or grab a self-guided audio tour from the Art Deco Welcome Center.
3. Visit Little Havana
Miami has a strong Cuban heritage, best seen in Little Havana, where hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled their homeland when Fidel Castro came to power in 1959. Nowadays, rocking chairs creak on porches and the smell of cigar smoke wafts through the air past groups of elderly domino players in Maximo Gomez Park. ‘Calle Ocho’ is the vibrant main street where you can practice your salsa dancing, gaze at brightly painted murals and hunt down a tasty Cubano sandwich filled with ham, pork, Swiss cheese, mustard and pickles.
4. Sample millionaire life in Biscayne Bay
Along the Miami River waterfront and set against Biscayne Bay is a millionaires’ playground. If you haven’t already guessed from the expensive high-rises and luxurious yachts, this is where some of the world’s most rich and famous live – like Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias and at one time, the notorious gangster Al Capone – but the area is also historically significant, with archeological sites that are 2,000 years old. Wandering the Miami Riverwalk is the perfect spot to gaze at the city skyline as you explore Biscayne Bay’s restaurants, the fish market, and the aquarium. Water lovers can board a speedboat tour of the bay, go sailing, go fishing, or even try flyboarding – an air-and-water-propelled jetpack which lets you walk and fly on water.