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Visit Miami

The City Of Miami

Say "Miami" , and almost everyone thinks beaches, sunshine, and palm trees - an old image that rests on essential truth. The name "Miami" comes from Mayaimi (a lake - now referred to as Lake Okeechobee), which means "very large."

In the midst of a tropical paradise, one of America's most dynamic cities is greeting the 21st century with a burst of passion, creativity, and international flair.

Miami is at a vibrant cultural crossroads, and for the last 20 years, Miami-Dade County's cultural community has grown more rapidly than any other American city.

Much of the area's success is due to its diverse neighborhoods, whose residents contribute in their own singular way to making Greater Miami and the Beaches one of the best - and most fascinating - places to live in the world.

Low buildings, shopping arcades and storefronts tightly packed with merchandise evoke Miami's origins as a trading town.

On West Flagler Street the original 1920s Olympia Theater has become the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts, a worthy venue for concerts and performances.

A few blocks away, a broad Mediterranean piazza is at the heart of the Miami-Dade Cultural Center, bordered by the graceful arches, barrel tile roofs and cream-colored stucco of the main public library.

Also on the piazza, the Miami Art Museum showcases changing exhibits of international art, while the Historical Museum of Southern Florida interweaves the tapestry of local and regional history through permanent and special exhibits.

Biscayne Boulevard

On Biscayne Boulevard, the Freedom Tower, built in1925 as Miami's first skyscraper, recorded city events when it housed the offices of the Miami Daily News.

It then played a starring role as the gateway to freedom for thousands of Cuban refugees.

Across the Boulevard, the modern sculpted curves of the American Airlines Arena mark the home of the NBA's Miami Heat.

Football is played in the Orange Bowl, home of the University of Miami Hurricanes team.

Downtown Miami

Downtown Miami offers big city shopping with an urban flair.

Department stores and emporiums that sell clothes, electronics, sporting goods and more, fill the historic Downtown Miami Shopping District (from SE 1st Street to NE 3rd Street).

Spanish and Portuguese are routinely overheard, and the aroma of Cuban coffee wafts through the air.

Downtown is also the place for jewelry, with dazzling displays in the stores and workshops that comprise one of the largest jewelry districts in the U.S.

Bayside Marketplace

On Biscayne Boulevard, next to Bayfront Park, Bayside Marketplace borrows from the past as it looks towards the future.

The open-air shopping and entertainment complex was built on the site of the former Pier 5 fishing pier (one of Miami's most popular tourist spots in the 1950s), and is now a waterfront destination for shopping, dining and outdoor performances.

Here you can browse through shops and vendors' pushcarts, where everything from T-shirts to one-of-a-kind souvenirs is sold.

The Design District

Just a few minutes north of downtown, the city's historic Buena Vista Village, is the charming setting for the Miami Design District, which overflows with interior design showrooms and stores; art studios and galleries; movie production and theatrical costume companies and much more.

Distinctive furniture, rugs, lighting, fabric and cutting-edge design accessories are all presented in a stylish shopping environment.

Don't miss the unique opportunity to explore the area's vast galleries during Gallery Night at the Miami Design District, which is held the second Friday of each month.

Coral Gables

A Coral Gables walking tour will take you past some of the meticulously preserved landmarks that grace this old "city within a city ".

Coral Gables City Hall, the city's most important publicly owned building, is decorated with interesting interior murals and a distinctive portico.

Not far away, two fountains mark the ornate entrance to the Country Club of Coral Gables Historic District, typical of the master-planned city.

Just beyond, residential areas featuring well-appointed houses can be viewed.

The Venetian Pool, carved out of a spring-fed coral rock quarry, is a local landmark and popular attraction.

Other Coral Gables landmarks include the University of Miami; the oldest university in the Greater Miami area, which dates back to 1925.

The University of Miami enhances Coral Gables' cultural amenities with the on-campus Lowe Art Museum, The Gusman Concert Hall, the Bill Cosford Cinema and the Ring Theater.

Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove's waterfront parks offer the best vantage points for observing manatees, wildlife and sailboats in Biscayne Bay.

Dinner Key, originally the base for Pan American World Airways' seaplane flights from Greater Miami in the 1930s, now houses Miami City Hall, which was converted from the original hangar.

Earlier Grove history is also evident at The Barnacle, the 110-year-old home of pioneer Commodore Ralph Munroe.

The grandest home of them all is now the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, an Italian Renaissance-style villa built by millionaire James Deering in 1916.

Set on 10 acres of formal gardens and fountains - with Biscayne Bay as backdrop - the 70-room estate is filled with fabulous furnishings and antiques. In 1952, Vizcaya was purchased by Miami-Dade County and opened to the public as museum.

Nearby, the Miami Museum of Science & Space Transit Planetarium features hands-on exhibits of everything from robotic dinosaurs to virtual reality basketball, as well as star and space shows.

Festivals and street fairs such as the extraordinary Coconut Grove Arts Festival; the Coconut Grove Food and Music Festival (formerly Taste of the Grove); the Miami/Bahamas Goombay Festival and the Banyan Arts Festival, add to Coconut Grove's excitement.

Bal Harbour

Bal Harbour may be one of the smallest municipalities in Miami-Dade County, but it is also one of the best known.

Covering a third of a square mile, the village has long been the favored hideaway of the rich and famous (including a recent American president), and celebrity spotting here is easy.

In Bal Harbour, Collins Avenue becomes a wide boulevard graced by stately palm trees and greenery.

Heading north out of Bal Harbour the road rises to a crest over the Haulover Bridge and the park beyond.

Bal Harbour Shops is the village's crown jewel. This upscale mall is open to the sky, but designed to protect shoppers from the elements in a tropical garden setting swathed in scarlet and purple bougainvillea.

Be sure to browse amongst a unique collection of internationally renowned boutiques and stores evoking the style centers of New York, Paris, Milan and London.

The latest designer fashions and accessories, precious gems, and fine decorative objects may be found in Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as in stores such as Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, Hermes, Georg Jensen, Chanel, Christofle, Tiffany & Co., Bulgari, Prada and Pratesi.

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