Miami On a Budget
Miami is the second most populated city in Florida and the metropolitan area is the most populated in the state with more than 5.4 million people. It's also the 7th largest metro area in the country. The city sits between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Everglades to the west. It covers 110 miles north to south but is a narrow 20 miles east to west.
Miami sits at a low latitude, giving it a subtropical savannah climate. There are two seasons; the warm and dry season between November and April and the hot and wet season between May and October. The coldest months are between December and March when highs are in the upper 70 or low 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The summer months have highs in the upper 80s or 90s and lows in the mid 70s with high humidity.
SightsMany people enjoy spending time at the beach while they're in Miami, but once you have had your fill of the water, then there are plenty of cultural experiences around town. There are several top rated sights in Miami. Star Island is an artificial island near Miami Beach. The Venetian Pool is a nice limestone quarry which has been made into a pool with a water fall. Oleta River State Recreation Park is a great place to canoe or kayak. Zoo Miami has over 1,200 animals and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is a beautiful European inspired estate.
NeighborhoodsIn downtown Miami you will find the Central Business District, Park West, Omni, and Brickell. In the northern part of the city you'll find Midtown, Overtown, the Design District, Little Haiti, and Upper Eastside. In the west and southern parts of the city you'll find Little Havana, West Miami, Coral Way, Coconut Grove, and Kendall.
Miami Beach is actually a different municipality from Miami. It sits on a barrier island that is to the east of the city and Biscayne Bay.
ActivitiesMiami is world famous as a party destination and as such, it has plenty of festivals that are worth visiting. Some of these include the Ultra Music Festival, Calle Ocho, a historic street festival, Carnaval Miami, Miami Fashion Week, and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, among many others.
Food and DiningThere is no shortage of excellent dining options in Miami. Some of the best chefs in the United States have opened restaurants here. You'll find plenty of top five star restaurants, but also some great street food options in the form of hot dogs or ice cream. Obviously, seafood is another excellent food option in Miami as well and there is no shortage of seafood restaurants. Miami is also known for it's Latin cuisine, and Cuban restaurants are quite popular and good. You'll also find dishes from countries throughout South America. Other ethnic foods found around town include Chinese, Japanese and Middle Eastern.
TransportationMost people choose to fly into Miami International Airport, although Fort Lauderdale International Airport is not far away, less than an hours drive depending on traffic. If you choose to drive to Miami, it is important to realize that traffic can be crazy and chaotic. Driving is generally not a relaxing experience. There is a more elaborate public transportation system in Miami than in any other city in Florida, but it is still frustratingly slow and inconvenient. The bus system covers the entire metropolitan area and connects Broward County and the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. Heavy traffic congestion means that buses can be slow and are often behind schedule.
The Metrorail has the Green and the Orange Line. It's an elevated system that has 23 stations. Tourists may find this system convenient because it connects downtown Miami, Miami International Airport, Dadeland Mall, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Lowe Art Museum, Miami Museum of Science, Village at Merick Park, and many shopping areas.
If you have no shortage of time, then public transportation is an option, but otherwise you want to take taxis or drive yourself to your destinations. Taxis can be expensive and will typically require a phone call for pick up.