Miami for First Timers

Cape Florida

If you’re visiting Miami, there’s a good chance that you’ve been drawn in by the promise of sparkling beaches and glorious sunshine. Although the Magic City has deservedly carved out a thriving tourism industry on the back of its summery climate and pristine coastline, it’s also teeming with things to see that tend to get overshadowed by the charms of Miami Beach. That’s why we’ve put together out E&V guide for newcomers – giving you a true taste of the city on your very first visit.


Miami is well known for its distinctive Art Deco buildings, and the Architectural District, located in South Beach, is a must-see for those interested in the aesthetic history of the city. The Art Deco Welcome Center is a good place to start exploring, with exhibits and an extensive gift shop as well as guided walking tours of the District. Don’t miss the 1930s Park Central Hotel at 640 Ocean Drive – a.k.a. the ‘Blue Jewel.’
When you’ve had your fill of Art Deco, head to Upper Eastside to see the ‘MiMo District.’ Miami Modernist Architecture, a response to the perceived austerity of Art Deco and European Modernism, emerged in the 1950s and is the other major influence on Miami’s skyline. Keep an eye out for festivals like MiMo Art in the Park and MiMo Madness, dedicated to celebrating the district’s unique character.

Galleries and museums

Despite its reputation for glamour and hedonistic nightlife, Miami is also a city for culture lovers in search of more low-key forms of entertainment. The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Beach regularly gives space to provocative new artists, while the Miami Science Museum is unmissable if you’re bringing the family, with fascinating exhibits and activities for all ages. The Bass Museum’s art collection spans continents and centuries with an emphasis on inspiring discussion and debate, and the stunning Vizcaya Museum and Gardens create a perfect place to wander on a summery day. Previously belonging to industrialist and art collector James Deering, the mansion opened its doors to the public in 1953. As well as displaying Deering’s extensive collection, the site itself is a work of art, boasting Renaissance-influenced architecture and elaborate gardens spanning 40,000 square metres.

Best of the rest

Take in a slice of Cuba with a visit to Little Havana, which has been a fixture of Miami since the late 50s. Its assorted record shops and cafés create a unique atmosphere in a neighbourhood that functions at a different pace to the rest of the city. Book lovers can look for one of the three Books & Books stores dotted around the city – this independent chain hosts 60 author events a month. Finally, indulge yourself with a ‘restorative treatment’ at the Ritz Carlton’s South Beach Spa, before heading to one of those famous Miami beaches – by now, you’ve definitely earned it!
If you had a longer stay in Miami in mind, then Engel & Völkers can help you make the move and invest in American property. With a number of branches across the country and experienced agents to advise you every step of the way, you could soon be luxuriating in your very own beachside villa or Art Deco penthouse. Visit our E&V website to start searching now.

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