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Florida Neighborhoods &
Historic Florida

You have probably seen TV shows like “Miami Vice” – so be aware that crime does happen and in Miami there are times and places not to go to – so check with your hotel staff if you have a concern or question about safety in Miami. There are a number of neighborhoods and each have their own ambience.

  • South Beach –has the great white sand beach, palm trees and action along Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue, and it attracts crowds of people too. It is where people come to see and be seen. It has the trendy sometimes glamourous beach side atmosphere but can also be trashy as the night progresses, when the bars are full and the drinkers are cruising.
  • Downtown – This is where high rise buildings dominate the foreshore and business takes place. There are also a number of hotels and resident condominiums here, and even a college campus in one of the high rise buildings. The skyline lights up at night and makes a great photo. Look for the Gusman Performing Arts Center, where there’s always a show happening, and the Bayside Marketplace shops, boats in the Bay, as well as the Bayfront Park too. If you like jewelry head to the Seybold Building (see www.seaboltjewelry.com) at 36 NE 1st Street. The building was built in the 1920’s and has 10 floors of jewelry stores selling both high end watches, rings, diamonds and cheaper ones too. There are 2 restaurants here too.
  • Coral Gables – calls itself “City Beautiful” – with its tree lined streets of Banyan trees and a history going back to 1925 when it was first built as a ‘planned city’. Head to Aragon Avenue to see ‘Books & Books’ (at 265 Aragon Ave) and to Coral Way and the ‘Miracle Mile’ shops. Also look to see ‘City Hall’ located at 405 Biltmore Way, Balboa Plaza, Venetian Pool (see above) and Merrick House.  The historic Hotel Biltmore and golf course is also located in Coral Gables at 1200 Anastasia Avenue (See www.biltmorehotel.com ).
  • Design District – is located in North Miami between NE 2nd and NE40th Streets. Here you will find design in furniture, home design, kitchens, bathrooms, lighting, interiors, clothing, studios, galleries, food and more on Decorators’ Row. This former factory/warehouse area has become a center for design in all its forms. Check out the Buick Building at 3841 NE 2nd St and the Moore Building at 4040 NE 2nd St.
  • In Wynwood  a must see is the Wynwood Walls at 2516 NW 2nd Avenue  (between 25th and 26th Streets)– where the Avenue is lined with wall to wall art.  Also see the Rubell Family Collection at 95 NW 29th St (See www.rfc.museum ) an amazing art collection, and also the Marguilies Collection at 591 NW 27th St. (great exhibitions of contemporary art) (See www.marguilieswarehouse.com ). For big name music stars, concerts and plays see the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts at 1300 Biscayne Boulevard (See www.drshtcenter.org Tel: 305 949 6722).
  • Coconut Grove – This is where the 3 day Coconut Grove Arts Festival is held each year on the President’s Day weekend (around 14th Feb) with hundreds of artists and crafts people taking part. It is located in the streets around 2700 S. Bayshore Drive. (See www.cgaf.com  ). Coconut Grove has restaurants, shops and offices – one of the popular shopping places being CocoWalk (See www.cocowalk.net), another being around the corner of Grand Avenue and McFarlane Road.  Also see the Kampong Topical Gardens at 4013 South Douglas Rd, and Barnacle Historic State Park (see Architecture and historic homes above).
  • Little Havana – “La Pequeña Habana”. This is where Cuban culture meets Miami, the main street being “Calle Ocho” (8th Street) between SW 12th and SW 17th Avenues. Head to the small Mάximo Gomez Park, better known as Domino Park (80 SW 15th Avenue) to get a feel for old Cuba, where you can see the game of Dominos still being played. In and around the streets in Little Havana you can get a feel for Cuba, and if you have time take a look at the small community center Bay of Pigs Museum at 1821 SW 9th Street (Tel305 649 4719) dedicated to the disastrous  Bay of Pigs invasion that took place in 1961. Cuba has Spanish history dating back to 1511 when they first arrived to settle there, following on from Christopher Columbus first sighting the island in 1492.

Historic Florida

See Florida History section to read more. Miami is the center for art deco buildings, but for early Spanish history and architecture the best place to see it is St Augustine

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