It’s not all toasted hooters and Cuban politics. Bienvenidos a Miami – you sure ain’t in Kansas anymore, Dorothy! This hustle n’ muscle, deco and condo wonderland of white sands and big blue is the gateway to Latin America, and doorbitch to hedonism. Just add a rockin’ int’l art scene and jetset fash… Carla, get your kaftan.
So you know South Beach (SoBe), the iconic southern half of the Miami Beach isle. Downtown and Brickell biz district sit along Biscayne Bay, Little Havana lies west, Coconut Grove and Coral Gables extend southwest, then edgycool arts enclave Wynwood, the Design District and Upper East Side stretch north. Vamos!
Need to Know
- Weather: Balmy Dec-Apr is a whirlwind of people and parties; hot, moist and blowy hurricane season hits Jun-Nov, crowds depart and businesses close (or cut hours)
- Airport: Miami Int’l Airport to SoBe is 20 mins / $32 fixed fare + tips + fuel surcharge by taxi
- Transport: Taxis (or Uber) are best for SoBe, but there’s much more to Miami, so rent a car, get out and explore – or take advantage of the handy DecoBike hourly bike-sharing scheme with stations all over Miami Beach
- Sales Tax: At 7%, it’s among the lowest in the US, so get ready to get spendy, Wendy
- Dress Code: Ladies, skimp on quantity, not quality when it comes to dressing, and gents, look sharp but ditch the tie
- Clubbing: Pace yourself papi, bars close at 5am in SoBe and 3am in Miami – you’ve a long night ahead
- Language: Try to be bi – English and Spanish are equally and widely used, don’t be intimidated if you rock up to a Cuban spot and there’s no Eng just point at what you want and smile
- Events: Art Basel, yes, but Miami Art Week actually encompasses multiple art fairs and expos, and is when big museums and indie galleries alike debut their best shows (Dec)
- Explore: We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again – it’s Miami-Dade county, and it’s a whole lot more than just the T’s and A’s on South Beach
- Coffee: Cortadito = Cuban expresso; cafe con leche = espresso served alongside hot milk, where you pour the coffee into the milk
- Cuban Time: AKA things tend to run late
- Beach Confidential: Most hotels have their own beach setup. If not, Boucher Brothers / boucherbrothers.com / has the monopoly on beach loungers. Topless bathing is OK in Miami Beach, while wearing Speedos will brand you as European, or gay. 12th St opposite the Tides is happy as Larry, Haulover is the nude beach, Crandon Park is kid-friendly, and Ocean Beach Park is the choice of cluey, hip locals