MIAMI BEACH, Fla.–()–With summer here, now is the time to throw some Beats on your iPod and head down to the tropics to experience the flavor of Miami Beach like a local. On its surface, Miami Beach is a hub for international jetsetters and celebs, but for the residents of Miami Beach the city is a tropical metropolis — a perfectly blended cocktail of nature, commerce and style. A city of good eats and history, Miami Beach’s true spark is its walkability — it is, after all, an island. In one morning you can pick exotic fruits, buy a designer outfit or/and dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean…no car needed. Take a weekend to live like a local and you’ll see why year after year, people flock to Miami Beach.
1020 Ocean Drive
Get right into the party mood as soon when you hit Miami Beach. It’s easy at South Beach’s #1 party hotel, The Clevelander. The heartbeat of Ocean Drive and a popular meeting spot for locals, the hotel recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation with upgrades to the public areas and guestrooms. The Clevelander Pool + Patio, C-Level Rooftop Terrace and the SPF4 Sun Deck offer great music, endless sports on television and places to chill with your travel companions. The C-Level Rooftop Terrace features 360 degree panoramic views of Ocean Drive. A brand new chic retreat high atop the Clevelander, the Rooftop Terrace has step-in waterfalls, private cabanas, sun beds and loungers which are also available for non-hotel guests with a day pass.
The SPF4 Sun Deck is a second elevated party terrace atop the new Clevelander. Relax on couches, refresh yourself in cool water features, sip specialty drinks and take advantage of the full cafe menu at this lofty enclave. Facing busy Lummus Park and the Art Deco Welcome Center, the Clevelander is ground zero for South Beach’s best live music – hot electro, house and dance DJs, twilight R&B sessions and SOULcentriCITY Sundays with Latin-inspired Jazz – inside at the 1020 Lounge or outside on its famed patio.
GET STONED AT MONTY’S
Miami Beach Marina
300 Alton Road
Dock your Deco bike near the Miami Beach Marina and cool off at Miami Beach’s happiest happy hour: Monty’s Raw Bar. Tourists and locals mingle noshing on the one thing that unites all: delicious and prudently priced stone crabs. Paired with a fruity rum drink, it’s just the thing you need to get your vacation started.
500 17th Street
Love going to the movies but feel guilty about missing out on the balmy Miami Beach weather? Well, watch movies outside with the Soundscape Cinema Series at the New World Center (NWC) Soundscape Park at the affordable price of free! Shows often start at 8:30pm or later and sit anywhere as the 7,000 sq. foot projection on the wall of the NWC can be seen all across the park. Spread out on the artfully landscaped green with a picnic dinner from the popular Le Sandwicherie for a relaxing and unique cinematic experience with hundreds of your closest friends under nothing but a starlit sky.
700 Collins Avenue
No matter what city you’re visiting, everyone knows there’s nothing like a local secret when you want to eat out. Well, shhhh….. Enjoy a delicious meal and embrace the local culture (at local prices!) at Puerto Sagua, a Miami Beach favorite for traditional Cuban cuisine serving favorites for breakfast (desayuno), lunch, or dinner.
HIT THE COURTS
11th Street and Jefferson Avenue
Flamingo Park is an athlete’s paradise with clay tennis courts, a swimming pool, a running track, basketball and racquetball courts as well as a playground for small children. The park is also home to the Boys and Girls Club of Miami-Dade County. Once host to the Junior Orange Bowl Tournament, Flamingo Park offers its services to non-residents at $8/hour. Classes are also available for only $20. Don’t have equipment? No problem. The park has on-location pro shops capable of meeting all of your needs.
1108 15th Street
After a great workout, take a shower and then take a walk over to Bloom Boutique, one of the cutest clothing boutiques on South Beach and a local favorite. The store boasts an eclectic mix of clothing in the latest styles including brightly hued dresses that range from long and flowy to short and summery, t-shirts and tops, colorful skinny jeans, striped tanks and sexy tunics with plunging backs. Dotted across store shelves are faux leather purses and totes, flip-flops, platforms and high heels.
THE ROAD TO HAPPINESS
1104 Lincoln Road
Owned by Kevin Aoki, the son of Benihana founder, Rocky Aoki, Doraku sushi restaurant has been a South Beach favorite for years. Combining the flavors of Latin and Pan Asian cuisine with the Japanese foods of his youth, Aoki’s Doraku is packed with locals who love the restaurant’s family style service, uber-popular Happy Hours and extensive Sake selections, one of the largest lists in the U.S. Doraku, which means “the road to happiness,” in Japanese, is a Miami Beach must-stop during your vacation.
1426a 14TH Court
Behind an unmarked door on an easy-to-overlook side street off Alton Road, you’ll find a secret hideout brimming with neighborhood charm; oh, and vintage guns. To find Foxhole, an invisible-to-the-naked-eye cocktail lounge, you’ll need to make your way to the back of the Domino’s on Alton and 14th Court (always the beginning of a memorable night). Look for the unmarked gray door, walk through and your night begins. Don’t let the location fool you. The place is pretty slick — a polished cement bar, plenty of deep leather booths and an Internet-enabled jukebox that ensures they’ll have whatever James Brown deep cut you’re longing to hear.
7337 Harding Avenue
Before leaving town, you have to check out one of the best places to dine in Miami Beach right now: Lou’s Beer Garden for a Beer Brunch. Chef and Miamian Luis ‘Lou’ Ramirez presents a laid-back gastropub that can satisfy food critics and beer snobs alike. The carefully curated micro-brewed beers and dishes are all imagined by Lou and change with the seasons. A real Miami Beach treat: Mango Mojito’s from Lou’s mango tree.
Wherever you are on Miami Beach, you don’t need a pair of binoculars to enjoy some of the best people watching in Florida. A walk down Ocean Drive will prove there is no shortage of characters providing endless entertainment and great material for your next film. Look closely and you may even catch a celebrity in action. Also, check out Lummus Park, the historic News Café or head over to Nespresso on Lincoln Road for exciting people watching where you’ll see Miami Beach’s finest — and strangest characters!
About Miami Beach
With an average year-round temperature of 75 degrees, Miami Beach has an unrivaled reputation for culinary offerings, nightlife, culture, fashion, and luxurious hotels. Also a popular destination among travelers, Miami Beach was recently ranked by Trip Advisor as number one on its Top Winter Sun Vacation Rental Getaway Destinations for 2011 list and was included on both the Top 25 Beaches in the World and Top 25 Destinations in the U.S. lists. Boasting seven miles of breathtaking beaches, Miami Beach is easily accessible from the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport. The City of Miami Beach has just been named one of the top cities worldwide for ‘walkability’ and is equally easy to navigate by bike or by boat. Home to unique museums, to the New World Symphony and Miami City Ballet, to over 17,000 luxury, boutique and resort hotel rooms, 12 public parks and to the Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Beach is a destination for all seasons. Miami Beach is like no other place in the world!