Planning Your Time
Museums, attractions, galleries, shopping, nightlife, restaurants, beaches…you’ll need a while to take in all that Miami has to offer. You can easily get your fill of South Beach and Miami Beach in a day, but an extended weekend in the area will allow you to soak up the art deco architecture, explore the museums and shopping opportunities, hit a few stylish nightclubs, and sleep it all off on the beach.
If you’ve only got a couple of days, devote one to the beach areas and another to the sights of downtown Miami and Little Havana for a concise sampler of what Miami is all about. For a long four-day weekend, tack on a day to explore the sights south of Miami and another for shopping and strolling around Coconut Grove and Coral Gables.
However, that said, a week in Miami is really the minimum needed to get a true taste of the city and its peculiar blend of go-go mobility and tropical languor.
Miami-Dade County is a sprawling metropolis, but it is fairly easy to navigate. The municipalities of Miami, Coral Gables, and Coconut Grove are on the mainland, while the city of Miami Beach is on the other side of Biscayne Bay.
The barrier island of Miami Beach—the “Billion-dollar Sandbar”—is punctuated at its southern tip by South Beach, a semiofficial designation of the area south of Dade Boulevard. Everything north of that part is generally referred to as North Beach or just plain Miami Beach.
Downtown Miami hugs Biscayne Bay along north-south Biscayne Boulevard, and the 10 or so blocks south of 1st Street are generally seen as the main business district. Continuing a few miles along the shores of Biscayne Bay to the southwest is Coconut Grove.
Little Havana is almost due west from downtown along 8th Street, and Coral Gables is slightly southwest of Little Havana. SW 57th Avenue is generally seen as the westernmost border of central Miami. The town of Homestead is approximately 20 miles south-southwest of central Miami via U.S. 1.
Central Miami—including Little Havana, Coconut Grove, and downtown—is possessed of a remarkably straightforward grid layout. With a midpoint at the intersection of north-south Miami Avenue and east-west Flagler Street, all streets are numerically named, so if you’re in the 1100 block of NW 33rd Avenue, you’re 10 blocks north of Flagler Street and 33 blocks west of Miami Avenue. This naming system does not extend to Coral Gables.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition