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Travel Guide and Things to Do in Miami, Florida: Nine Highlights

THE ONLY WALK

On my first morning staying at the Hilton Miami Downtown, the concierge suggested I take a walk along the Venetian Causeway, just around the corner from the hotel. Connecting mainland Miami to Miami Beach, the causeway has 12 bridges connecting 11 man-made islands and takes about an hour to walk. It’s popular with locals, who use it for jogging, cycling, roller-skating, etc., and it’s a good way to get a sense of the city’s geography. Take in sweeping views of Biscayne Bay and experience jaw-dropping real estate. Who doesn’t need a waterfront home with a place to park their yacht?

THE UNIQUE BIKE SHARING PROGRAM

The Citibike sharing program, like the Velibs in Paris and the Boris Bikes in London, is a wonderful way to see the city. There are over 165 bike stations throughout the metropolitan area and on the beaches, so you’ll never be short of a bike. The bikes are well maintained and easy to use, traffic in the city isn’t too bad – and made safer by a plethora of dedicated cycle lanes. You can sign up for a month (US$35/$48) or use your credit card to rent bikes in 30-minute and hourly increments. Download the Station Maps app and you’re good to go. See citibikemiami.com

THE UNIQUE EXPERIENTIAL ARTS CENTER

One and only Miami satapr30miami Superblue Single Print and Online use only Approved for use in Traveler only

Yes, you read that right: experiential art center. That’s because Superblue Miami isn’t exactly an art gallery and it certainly isn’t a museum. There is a reasonable explanation on its website: “Superblue was created in response…to the needs of artists working outside the realm of object-based practices. Housed in a building that appears to have fallen from the sky and landed in an abandoned industrial area, Superblue is a maze of large-scale, immersive yet ephemeral works. During my visit there were works by revered light artist James Turrell, the labyrinthine mirror maze by Es Devlin, the interactive Every Wall is a Door, and teamLab’s Cloud Room, a fun experience that requires a lot of tweaking. put on slippers, a protective poncho and goggles. Trippy and bold, Superblue has the wow factor. See superblue.com/miami

THE UNIQUE ART GALLERY

For a more traditional, but no less interesting showcase of contemporary art, head to the Perez Art Museum on the waterfront in Museum Park. Officially, it’s the Jorge M. Pérez Museum of Art of Miami-Dade County, but to save your tongue swallowing, you can call it PAMM for short. Housed in a purpose-built three-story building that opened in 2013, the works inside focus on 20th-century and contemporary art and will make your heart sing or drive you crazy. My favorite pieces are not IN the gallery but are part of the free sculpture garden to admire outside the park. Check out the 12-meter head (Looking Into My Dreams, Awilda by Jaume Plensa) and Penetrable BBL Blue – a square of suspended blue PVC pipes that you can walk through – by Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto. See pamm.org

THE UNIQUE MUSEUM

Sitting side-by-side with the Perez Art Museum, the Phillip & Patricia Frost Museum of Science is made up of five floors of, you guessed it, science stuff. There is a planetarium, a three-tier 500,000 gallon (1.9 liter) aquarium, and space for rotating exhibits. While I was there, these included a fascinating look at the skin and another small but perfectly formed fish x-ray gallery. Don’t forget to check out the manta ray pool if you have kids and the top-floor observation deck for great views of Biscayne Bay. See frostscience.org

THE ONE DESIGN DISTRICT

Once a pineapple farm, this area is now a luxurious destination filled with luxury designer boutiques such as Balenciaga, Christian Louboutin and Louis Vuitton. It’s the kind of place where people pay a million dollars for clothes and still look like they’ve been pulled back through a topiary elephant. Perfect for window shopping and watching the haves and well-fed rock their Prada handbags. Once you’ve done that, head to Mia Market, a bustling food hall that won’t break the bank. The central bar is surrounded by small takeaway vendors. Go for the three tacos for US$14 at Hot Lime or the more sliced ​​porchetta sandwich (US$18) at Foirette. Or? Who am I kidding – I got both. See miamarket.com

THE ONE ART WALK

Wynwood during the day and Wynwood at night are two totally different beasts. At night, the main thoroughfare of this once ramshackle industrial area is a funky riot of noise and color full of bars, restaurants and takeaways whose patrons spill onto the sidewalks. I hiked its length early in the evening, came back the same way later that night and could swear I was stoned by the time the buzz was behind me. During the day it is a different kettle and is famous for the murals of Wynwood Walls, a large open-air urban graffiti art museum. It’s what put the area on the map in 2009 and is well worth a few hours of your time as the works on display are amazing. Street art isn’t limited to the walls, however, and much of the area is adorned with graffiti large and small. If you are there on the second Saturday of the month, take a guided Art Walk tour of the area. See thewynwoodwalls.com

THE FOOD TOUR

One and only Miami satapr30miami Little Havana food tour Unique print and online use only Approved for use in travelers only

Once a thriving Jewish neighborhood in the 1930s, this bustling, bustling and eclectic area slowly grew to accommodate people fleeing Fidel Castro’s revolution in the 1960s, hence its name. In the 1970s, the region was 85% Cuban and became the cultural and political capital of Cuban exiles. Today, that percentage is down a lot, but it’s still predominantly Hispanic. Which means lots of Spanish spoken and…lots of delicious food and drink. The tour lasts about two and a half hours and only covers a short section of Calle Ocho (aka SW 8th Street / the Tamiami Trail), so it’s not too strenuous on the feet. Expect churros, locally made Azucar ice cream, Cuban sandwiches and mojitos at La Terraza restaurant, empanadas, cigar shops, loud music at bars such as the Ball & Chain, coffee quite strong and sweet to burn your nose hairs – but at least you’ll walk away knowing the difference between a cafecito, a cortadito and a colada. There is also a fascinating story told by our entertaining and knowledgeable guide Gina Castaldo. See miamiculinarytours.com

THE ONE FOOD HALL

Right next to the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall on the way to Miami Beach is the Time Out Market food hall. Like its counterpart in the Design District, it is a collection of take-out restaurants clustered around a central bar. You name it and it’s here: Chick ‘n’ Jones (go to the Jonesing Hot sandwich with its honey fried chicken), Baklava for desserts and Middle Eastern pancakes, King Patty’s Jamaican patties, pizza at the Detroit of Square Pie City, Pho Mo, and 33 Kitchen Peruvian (believe me, if you try hard enough, you can put their excellent corvina ceviche in your belly next to the Jonesing Hot sandwich). It’s a great place to sample some of the world’s great cuisines. See timeoutmarket.com/miami

ONE MORE THING

No visit to Miami is complete without visiting Miami Beach’s historic Art Deco District. This distinctive architectural style, with its smooth lines, curves and pastel colors, appears throughout the region, but most examples are found in Miami Beach between 5th and 23rd Streets along Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue and Washington Avenue. Visit the Art Deco Visitor Center at 1001 Ocean Drive for information on guided or self-guided tours. See miamiandbeaches.com

The writer traveled as a guest of Seabourn Cruise Line and with the assistance of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. See seabourn.com and miamiandbeaches.com