Miami is a major center and leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. The metro area is by far the largest urban economy in Florida and the 12th largest in the United States, with a GDP of $344.9 billion as of 2017.In 2018, Miami was classified as an Alpha level global city by the GaWC. In 2019, Miami ranked seventh in the United States and 31st among global cities in terms of business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement. According to a 2018 UBS study of 77 world cities, the city was ranked as the third-richest in the United States and the eighth-richest in the world in terms of purchasing power. Miami is nicknamed the “Capital of Latin America” and is the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.
Greater Downtown Miami has one of the largest concentrations of international banks in the United States, and is home to many large national and international companies. The Health District is a major center for hospitals, clinics, and the biotechnology and medical research industries. PortMiami is the busiest cruise port in the world in both passenger traffic and cruise lines, and refers to itself as the “Cruise Capital of the World”. Miami is also a major tourism hub for international visitors, ranking second in the country after New York City.
Miami history and heritage
Miami is known mostly as a new city, where the buildings are new and the history is young, but that’s not the whole story. Before Miami was the city that it is today, a young and new city that’s a center of international business and seaside playground, Miami was a riverside settlement and a native land.
For more than 10,000 years, South Florida has attracted people to its sunny shores. Lured by the warmth of the sun and the promise of a better day, they arrived from many places, forged a new way of living in our tropical paradise and left their mark.
The Miami River, throughout the course of several thousand years, hosted a large Tequesta Indian settlement; Spanish missions; slave plantations; army forts; the home of Julia Tuttle, modern Miami’s “mother”; and Henry M. Flagler’s magnificent Royal Palm Hotel. Flagler, after accepting attractive offers of land from Tuttle and the Brickell family, who lived across the river, brought his Florida East Coast Railway to Miami in 1896, jump-starting the transformation of a tiny river community into a connected city.
The first inhabitants of Miami, besides the plants and animals that have lived here far longer than any humans, were Paleo-Indians. Later, the Tequesta Indians made this area of South Florida, the area known today as Greater Miami, their home. There were about 350,000 of them until the Spanish arrived in 1513, a short 250 years later they were virtually extinct. The Spanish retained control over Florida for the next three hundreds years straight with just a small stint of British rule in the late eighteenth century.
The United States took control of Florida in 1821 when the Spanish sold it to them for five million dollars.
The Seminole Wars brought great devastation to the Florida area and severely dwindled the state’s population. By 1891, things starting changing, pioneers of today’s Florida like Julia Tuttle and William and Mary Brickell and moved here and built homes with their families. Henry M. Flagler and John D. Rockefeller extended their railroad into Florida and all the way down to Miami establishing cities and trade centers along the route.
It wasn’t until around WWI when Miami became a popular tourism destination. Visitors found the near perfect year around weather and the ample land opportunity to make Miami a home or second home. A bevy of mansions were built along Brickell Avenue that came to be known “Millionaire’s Row.” Built between 1914 and 1916, James Deering’s Villa Vizcaya, known today as Vizcaya Museums and Garden, was a jaw-dropping Renaissance-era palace imported from abroad. Vizcaya was so huge and had such an impact on the young Miami economy, that legend has it ten percent of Miami’s population was employed by the project.
When it comes to historic architecture, Miami boasts simple pioneer bungalows made of coral rock and Dade County pine, swimming pools resembling Venetian lagoons and Spanish Mediterranean mansions that defy imagination. A little known fact, the oldest structure in the Western Hemisphere is right here on Miami Beach.
By the 1920’s Miami was experiencing the boom that would lay the foundation for the structure of the city we know today. Municipalities like Coral Gables and Miami Shores quickly developed. Miami expanded by size nearly three times over.
World War II turned Miami into a military town. The Navy taught out of the Port of Miami, today’s PortMiami, and the Air Force took over the airport.
History buffs shouldn’t skip the Ancient Spanish Monastery, a building constructed in Spain in 1133 AD, then occupied by Cistercian monks, then bought by William Randolph Hearst and transplanted in pieces to Brooklyn and then Miami where services are still held there today.
Don’t forget that Miami’s History stretches back tens of thousands of years further than the deco designs that you’ll see on South Beach. Take some time during your trip and go back in time. Explore Miami and celebrate time, place and people. Begin your journey as nature did in the vastness of the sea and swamp …
Our Tropical Paradise: “There is only one Everglades,” the legendary Marjory Stoneman Douglas reminded us. Next, beautiful Biscayne National Park and South Miami-Dade’s pioneer communities, encompassing tropical verdure and agricultural fields, offer a glimpse into another time and place
Village By The Bay: Amid modern development, Coconut Grove, Miami’s oldest community, holds fast to the scattered remnants of its frontier “Era of the Bay.”
The Magic City: Downtown Miami is known for its incredible collection of both historic and modern buildings, and a history of connecting people to place amid a whirlwind of change.
Inspired by the past: Long before Miami had a large Hispanic population, it looked to the Mediterranean for inspiration. This romantic style, so beautifully articulated in the 1920’s Boomtime suburbs, continues to be re-defined in modern buildings.
Thoroughly Modern Miami: Next, it is back to the future where one can be surrounded and thrilled with our singular collection of 1930’s and 1940’s Art Deco treasures and newly appreciated Miami Modern [MiMo] masterpieces.
An Enduring Spirit: South Florida’s unique blend of Black neighborhoods – some more than 100 years old and some less than 30 – reflect Caribbean, West African and old southern roots.
Undeniably Latin: South Florida has always had a Latin presence but beginning with the arrival of the Cuban refugees in the early 1960’s, the area has been transformed into an exciting multicultural city with a distinctly Latin flavor.
The New Pioneers: Old-time Miamians welcome the influx of new urban pioneers who are busily transforming once declining neighborhoods into arts oriented, trendy historic districts. Nearby, pioneers from the Caribbean have created a vibrant “Little Haiti,” well worth a visit.
Hello my beautiful friends! As you know Oleh, vitali, sergi and I were really surprised by how much we enjoyed Miami when last visited in 2020, so I was super excited to be visiting again for a longer period of time. I’m so glad we returned, as I found myself falling in love with Miami more and more with every day that passed!
The vibe in Miami is amazing with beautiful palm tree-lined beaches, incredible sunrises and sunsets, and glorious warm weather.
Here is a guide for your trip that consists of places we’ve discovered on our two visits to Miami. It will help you make the most of your time in Miami.
WHERE TO EAT
The food scene in Miami is really buzzing and thanks to Olex he made sure that we visited all the best ‘foodie’ places in town! Make sure to book all the below restaurants well in advance as they are very popular.
We loved the original Le Sirenuse in one of our favourite destinations in the world – Positano, Italy- so we were very excited to try its Miami outpost! We enjoyed breakfast here which was delicious. It’s also a truly lovely setting in the beautiful Four Season
We really enjoyed our experience at the new Miami Beach hotspot, Stubborn Seed. The chef, Jeremy Ford, who was actually the winner of the Top Chef TV show a couple of years ago, focuses on fresh ingredients and turning them into stunning works of culinary art. We had an amazing dinner here! The food was really high quality with very unique flavours.
The exciting South Florida outpost of chef Justin Smillie’s smash-hit New York City restaurant, Upland introduces Smillie’s California-inspired culinary philosophy to South Beach. The restaurant had a great vibe, with really delicious modern American cuisine. We can’t wait to try the New York site when we’re next in the Big Apple!
Latin influences can be found throughout Miami, and at Matador Room, Jean- Georges Vongerichten offers his modern, distinctive interpretation of Spanish, Caribbean and South American flavours. It’s set within the beautiful EDITION hotel and also offers great outdoor seating for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with beachfront views. We found the selection of food on offer to be fantastic, so we would highly recommend visiting if you’re in town.
And finally, if you’re venturing out of South Beach and into Wynwood, then I would highly recommend visiting Kyu. We loved this Asian-fusion restaurant and shared delicious small plates from its wood-fired grill.
WHERE TO STAY
Another great place to stay on Miami Beach is Soho Beach House. It’s the Miami outpost of the London creative members’ club Soho House. Housed in a restored Art Deco building, it gives you the feeling of ‘old Miami’ but with all the amenities of a contemporary hotel. Many areas are open only to club members and hotel guests, which gives a feeling of exclusivity. During the day, hang out at the private beach club and by night, dine at the onsite restaurant Cecconi’s, which serves delicious modern Venetian style food and in a beautifully lit courtyard.
THINGS TO DO
Go to the beach … you are in Miami 🙂
Go visit and hangout at the Wynwood Walls. The art is really cool and you can potentially grab lunch at Kyu as it’s in the area.
Grab a Citibike – cycling is a great way to see South Beach. If you don’t mind bridges, cycle along the Venetian Islands to check out the amazing villas!
Go for an early morning run along the Boardwalk like the locals!
Visit the Everglades. This has been on our list but we still haven’t done it! It consists of 1.5 million acres of watery grasslands, and is home to a myriad of birds, mammals, and their most famous resident, alligators! Emma highly recommends biking through Shark Valley and if you ride quietly, you may even see alligators along the way – just be sure to keep your distance! Wherever you visit in the Everglades, make sure to bring lots of insect repellent!
Now that we have Alexa, a great grocery store is an essential for us on any trip!
Whole Foods on South Beach was great – and be sure to stock up on Hu Chocolate bars! 🙂
Day 1: Hometown – New York City – Night Tour
Arrive to New York City, and go to the hotel together with your tour escort. The check-in time is after 3PM. Note that airport pick up is available for: EWR, JFK, or LGA airport, and is free only between 9:00am-10:00pm.
If you arrive earlier and want to meet the tour at the airport, please refer to the following meet points:
JFK – Terminal # 7 “Hudson News” newsstand
EWR – Terminal C, Baggage Claim Area of American Airlines
LGA – Terminal B, Baggage Claim Area of American Airlines
You may also choose to be picked up from Chinatown(87 Bowery st. #202, New York, NY 10002) before 6:00pm. At the end of the tour, you could also be dropped off at Chinatown. You can also choose the pick up point at Flushing(133-31 39th Ave, Flushing, New York, NY 11354). Please make a comment when you make reservation. If you arrive at the JFK and LGA meeting point before 3:00PM, you will receive an additional gift – experiencing Flushing, Queens, an extremely safe and booming neighborhood with many shopping and eating options. After you visit Flushing and surroundings, please return to the assembly point in time from where we will drive you to your hotel.
Content: At Flushing, apart from traditional large-scale stores, you will be able to visit a lot of smaller ones, and if you get hungry you can always find nearly all name brands of fast food chains, as well as hundreds of options of authentic Asian food.
For those of you who prefer EWR, upon arrival you can either take our shuttle to the hotel – or pay $10 extra and be transferred to Jersey Gardens Mall for shopping. If you manage to arrive before 5:00PM, you are invited to join our delicately tailored night tour for just $25 to get an initial contact with this “City that Never Sleeps” – a 3-hour tour stopping at the Times Square, and the skyline profile from across the Hudson River. Starting with the Rockefeller Center, you wll pass by the Rockefeller, enjoy the Times Square, and observe the panoramic view of the famous skyline of Manhattan. Please keep in mind that this optional NYC night tour has limited seating and depends on the weather and number of registrations.
Hotel: Sheraton/Hilton/Doubletree/Radisson/Hotel Somerset/Crowne Plaza/Courtyard/Hilton Garden/Holiday inn or similar.
Day 2: New York City Tour (Full Day)
Make the best out of this full day in the NYC – doubtless, the capital of the world! Its unsurpassed architecture, museums, historic places will enchant you, and there are also a lot of opportunities for shopping, dining and fun. You will see: Wall Street and its symbolic Charging Bull, cruise on the Hudson river to take photographs with Stature of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge, panoramic view of the whole city including Central Park from the observatory deck on Empire State Building, a guided tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an exploration of the newly transformed USS Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, and taking pictures with hundreds of elites’ wax figure in Madame Tussauds’ Museum, the United Nations Headquarters, the Rockefeller Center, Fifth Avenue, the Freedom Tower.
Hotel: Sheraton/Hilton/Doubletree/Radisson/Hotel Somerset/Crowne Plaza/Courtyard/Hilton Garden/Holiday inn or similar
Day 3: New York – Philadelphia – Washington D.C.
During this tour you will get the chance to stand exactly at the location where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. You will see the original Bell in the Liberty Bell Center. Visit Washington, D.C. that is 150 miles south away from Philadelphia and take photos from outside of the White House, step onto Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials, pass by the amazing Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial. The National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, located in the same area called national Mall as the Capitol Hill, holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. And you surely will want to take our exclusive cruise on Potomac River to explore some of the city’s mysteries!
Hotel: Sheraton/Hilton/Radisson/Wyndham/Four Points/Crowne Plaza/Courtyard/Metro Points/ Tremont Plaza or similar
Day 4: Washington D.C. – Corning Glass Center – Niagara Falls
Drive through the hilly Pennsylvania and New York State while enjoying the peaceful rural scenes. Visit Corning Museum of Glass with its comprehensive collection of historic and art glass in the world: 35,000 glass pieces representing 35 centuries of glass craftsmanship. Enjoy the hot glass show performed by some most experienced technicians. Be amazed by the deafening roar of both the American and the Horseshoe Falls and enjoy a stroll in the State Park while the mist from both falls is spraying up in your face! Catch “Niagara: Legends of Adventure,” a dramatic 45-minute IMAX film. After that you may either stay in the Falls Park for self exploration, or have an in-depth tour ($25/Adult) and visit the Hydropower Station and Old Fort Niagara. You may also enjoy the Indian Cultural Show in Nigara Falls that lasts approximately 50 minutes (optional tour) – note that its schedule varies daily and is subject to final confirmation for your tour’s date.
The Optional tour fee (Adult): $20.00 , Child(6-12): $13.00
Hotel: Adam’s Mark/Radisson/ R.I.T/ Rochester Plaza/ Park Plaza//Holiday Inn/Clarion Hotel or similar
Day 5: Niagara Falls – Boston
All of the fantastic view of the rivers and mountains in central New York will be to your enjoyment! You will visit Boston, the Cultural Capital of our country, with its oldest university Harvard. See the Trinity Church, Public Library, Prudential Tower, and Boston Common, and have dinner (do not forget Boston’s famous fresh lobsters!)
Hotel: Sheraton/ DoubleTree/Radisson/Courtyard/Four Points/Wyndham/Holiday Inn or similar
Day 6: Boston – Miami
Take the harbor cruise while enjoying the fantastic view of Boston and have lunch at the Quincy Market before you take your flight heading south all the way to Miami.
NOTE: Please book flight after 1:30PM from Botson. The free airport pick-up in Miami is between 10AM-10PM.
Enjoy the perks of the night life at South Beach, take our night tour!
Hotel:Howard Johnson or similar.
Day 7: Everglades National Park – Miami City Tour
Everglades National Park is the unique natural environment with a variety of plants and animal life. Enjoy your adventure at the Airboat and see the crocodiles! In the afternoon, enjoy a harbor cruise in Miami and explore the world-famous DECO neighborhood.
Hotel: Howard Johnson or similar
Day 8: Key West Tour
Embark on a 170-mile journey literally driving on the ocean surface from Miami to the Key West. The longest among the 41 bridges you will cross is 7 miles! Once you are at Key West, the “most southern point” on the U.S. continent, you may explore Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Mallory Square, and a lot more.
Hotel: Howard Johnson or similar.
Day 9: Fort Lauderdale / Miami – Hometown
Without seeing it by yourself, you will never realize the significance of Fort Lauderdale in the United States. Not only it is the largest cruise port in the world, but it is also nicknamed “Venice in America”. Besides, it is interesting to note that it was selected by billionaires such as Bill Gates – its vacation house is really amazing. Note that the drop-off service is provided for both flights (FLL & MIA) and cruises departing after 2PM. So please arrange your flight to leave from Fort Lauderdale(FLL) / Miami(MIA) after 2:00PM.
Tour price $1029.00
Tour duration 9 days
Type of activity Bus/Coach, Flight
Start city New York, NY, USA
End city Fort Lauderdale, FL, USAMiami, FL, USA
Operating Apr 1st 2014 – Mar 31st 2016: Wed/Sat
Hotel: Sheraton/Hilton/Doubletree/Radisson/Hotel Somerset/Crowne Plaza/Courtyard/Hilton Garden/Holiday inn or similar