Photograph by Nikreates, Alamy Stock Photo
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The Colony Hotel glows at dusk in South Beach, Miami.

Photograph by Nikreates, Alamy Stock Photo

Everything to Know About Miami

Here's how to plan the best possible trip to the Magic City.

Part nightlife destination, part beach paradise, Miami distinguishes itself from any other U.S. metropolis with its vibrant culture and Latin American influences. The climate creates a tropical feel, and the city is rich with history, art, music, and environmental wonders unique to South Florida. While some might recognize Miami for its art deco architecture or famous music clubs, the city is primarily filled with longtime locals who are passionate about their city.

When to Go

Winters in Miami are warm and dry—and packed with tourists. Skip peak season and opt to visit between late March and early June. The temperature hovers around a comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and prices are slightly cheaper than in winter. Late summer and fall bring hot, muggy weather and hurricane season. Don’t be spooked by rainy forecasts; South Florida is known for its intense but short afternoon thunderstorms.

Celebrate

Contemporary art lovers flock to Miami Beach’s Art Basel, an international modern art festival that draws 70,000 visitors from around the globe. Held in December, it features paintings, installations, films, photography, and more from over 4,000 artists. For a taste of Miami’s Latin Americans influence, visit the Calle Ocho street festival in March. Performers, food vendors, and musicians take over the Little Havana neighborhood for the largest Hispanic street festival in the southeastern U.S.

What to Eat

Miami is a diverse buffet of southeastern U.S. staples and rich Latin American fare. From fried chicken and gator bites to empanadas and arepas, Miami’s cuisine is packed with flavors you’re hard-pressed to find in other parts of the country. Don’t leave Miami without sampling its fresh-from-the-boat seafood—it's known for its stone crabs. And, of course, top it off with a Rum Runner.

Souvenir to Take Home

Nothing says South Florida like the taste of key lime. The tart and tangy citrus fruit is used in any number of foods, including cookies, milkshakes, tea, jam, and candies. And, of course, pie. Sample one at Fireman Derek's World Famous Pies Bake Shop or Blue Collar, then take one home for later.

Sustainable Travel Tip

Take care of Miami’s best feature—the ocean. Marine debris is a massive threat to critters like turtles, fish, and dolphins, so be a respectful beachgoer by properly disposing of your trash. When snorkeling or swimming, wear reef-safe sunscreen and never touch coral or other marine wildlife.

Instagram-Worthy View

It’s tempting to snap a photo of a candy-colored drink by the ocean, but if you’re looking for a shot that’s distinctly Miami, head to the Wynwood neighborhood. Its scores of street murals centered on Second Avenue will give you plenty of options to choose from, from bright geometric prints to more psychedelic scenes. For a classic Miami skyline shot, try the Venetian Causeway. You can’t beat the views of the Miami lights after dark.