Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Welcome to Miami! Bienvenido a Miami! South Beach is bringing the heat. The city that attracted everyone from Will Smith to Shaquille O'Neal and one that will draw you in to from its beautiful beaches to scintillating sunlight. This place is home to all nations, Spanish, Haitian, Indian, Jamaican, Black, White, Cuban or Asian. OK, enough of the Will Smith lyrics, how about some facts? In 2008 'Forbes' magazine named Miami the 'Cleanest City In America' and with beautiful streets and a great atmosphere it's also one of the freshest places in the entire United States. So don your least and brightest and take a walk round this city while we show you the bare essentials of the sensational South Beach.

As soon as you touch down in this town the amazing atmosphere and humidity hits you, even at night giving this city a fresh, new feeling. Some may not be able to stand it, but this feeling really helps you take in this place and make you realise you really are on holiday and somewhere else. So as you hitch a ride downtown in a cab (see if you can find one that isn't a hummer these days) it's time to lay your hat. Miami has any hip and happening hotels and hostels to stay in from the art deco to the constantly developing 'Manhattanized' high rise buildings. Our pick however is the affordable yet idyllic Indian Creek Hotel. It's quaint, friendly and a pebbles throw away from the beach and everything after. Plus it has a grand garden in the middle and you'll be sure not to lose the cool alligator room keys.

After your first nights sleep and before you get this travel show on the road its time to fuel up. So why not take a rest stop at one of the many brilliant diners, cafes and/or eateries which house a great way to get full and spend an hour or two? Our choice from the menu is the 'Big Pink' restaurant, which is perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even cocktails (I had a corn beef hash with scrambled eggs there which is among the biggest, best things I've ever chowed down). This diverse, do it all giant place may have a dodgy name but it is coloured by bright and friendly staff. Plus if your in to your big portions you have to try the mammoth corned beef hash and scrambled eggs, ready for anytime of the day. Now if you can handle that you have to go hard and try one of the many delicious desserts. Nobody does portions like the U.S. or them in the Pink. The proof in the big pudding is in the ordering and of course the tasting.

Now you have to leave time to digest for this next one as its time to hit the beach for one of your trips highlights. From the stunning sun to the beautiful people South Beach keeps the good times going from dusk 'till dawn. As a matter of fact watching the clear sky turn from day to night on the shore of this beach is one of the most beautiful, inspiring things you'll ever see-but safety first-this isn't the best place to be at night. Still from wonderful white sand to the sublime turquoise sea, you'll fall in love with this city the moment you have to pour sand out of your shoes.

Even going under the boardwalk like the Four Tops or sitting on the dock of the bay like Otis Redding gives you more memorable moments in South Beach, you'll feel a million miles away but strangely at home with all the twists and turns this place has to offer if you take a walking tour. From watching grand hotel complexes being built to seeing beautiful boats and yachts chug by it's clear a lot of money is going in to the development of this city, a place definitely worth investing your time in.

South Beach has more to offer than just sand and sea however. The South Beach strip is also home to one of America's most hip and happening nights out with clubs and bars adorning the street and facing the ocean. You can do everything from grabbing a quiet drink and listening to some alive, live music to dancing the night and the morning away in some of South Beaches best nightspots. Our ideal night out however is 'The Clevelander'. What better in a hot city like this then an outside club? Now just try getting rejected or thrown out of this place. Plus with great music, people and surroundings this really does make for one of South Beaches most memorable moments whether your a clubber or not.

Still if this really isn't for you then why not save South Beach for the next morning and check out some shops. With streets and streets of famous stores and boutiques this retail sector really offers everything to your credit card. The Kardashian's even have made a 'Dash' here. Still if this isn't your reality the streets have much more to offer with cinemas and beautiful, white-stone buildings galore. From the feel of art deco, to modern neon lights South Beach glitters in all it's colorful gold. Seriously this place even has one of the brightest looking banks you'll ever see, now you can draw a lot from that.

Then again if you'd like to get away from the South Beach scene you could always head downtown, where even more developments are happening and coming along in the heart of Miami. The streets are lined with murals and new building projects as the city looks more and more like New York by the day. Also from the Port Of Miami to the beautiful Bayside you will see some of the best perspectives of this town and all that's down here. This 'Cruise Capital Of The World' has great markets and imported and exported promise. The Freedom Tower and the Miami Tower really do stand above everything though, looking grand and eye-catching whether it be in the heat of the day or the bright neon of the night.

Downtown is also home to the American Airlines Arena and its Miami Heat basketball team one of the best forms of sports events and entertainment in the state of Florida. This team really is giant with their new big three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. So make sure you take your tickets down to South beach so you can really feel the Heat and one of the best teams in the NBA If roundball isn't your sport however then why not make a pitch for the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise and call down to see how formidable this football franchise really is.

After this gridiron trip there's still plenty more afield to see in Dade County, so make sure you pack plenty of oranges and get your passport Miami inked because in the heart of Florida there's not much more that beats faster. From famous streets like Ocean Drive to the classic area of Coconut Grove and more beautiful neighbourhoods. Next door too, Miami is only a few tricks away from the magic kingdom of Orlando and a beautiful drive away from the tranquil Florida keys this cities reach spreads far and wide across the Atlantic. With a futuristic skyline and a present-day feeling of comfort and peace this is one place you don't want to pass up on. It's time to give in to temptation and visit vice city. TIM DAVID HARVEY

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