Why you should visit Miami
Miami is a fantastic melting pot of everything you could want from a destination. It has year-round sunshine, is a wonderfully cosmopolitan city and there is an abundance of natural landscapes. But Miami is not just a place to get a tan and party the night away. If you are into art, the city is well known for having some of the best contemporary art in the world and is home to the world-famous art event Art Basel. It is also a great destination for shopping, especially if you are seeking out vintage and second-hand bargains, with popular spots being The Rabbit Hole and Consign of the Times. For more conventional shopping experiences, there are loads of shopping malls offering all manner of goods.
Foodies will absolutely adore Miami. Due to its proximity with the sea, it has some fantastic seafood. As the area also has a significant Latin American population, you will find amazing Latin and Caribbean cuisine, especially Cuban. However, it is really easy to find cuisine from all over the globe in Miami, from Thai, Japanese and Chinese to steakhouses and Italian.
Miami is also known as party central. Like many things in the city, the clubs and bars have a distinctly Latin feel to them. Downtown Miami has some of the oldest bars in the city, whereas you will find trendier places in Wynwood and Midtown.
What you must see and do in Miami
Hit the beach
Miami has some of the best beaches in the world. South Beach may be the most famous – it offers the quintessential Miami beach experience and delivers in spades – but there are plenty of others for you to choose from. Lummus Park Beach, North Beach, Surfside, Haulover Beach and Hobie Beach all offer something different to visiting sun worshippers.
Explore the Everglades National Park
Located to the west of Miami, this huge, famous national park consists of 1.5 million square metres of swampland, forest and prairies and offers great opportunities for wildlife spotting. The park is home to 14 endangered species, including the Florida panther, American crocodile, American alligator, West Indian manatee, black bear and bottle-nosed dolphin. Many companies offer boat tours of the Everglades, but it is also possible to canoe, camp and walk if you want to spend a bit longer in the park.
Visit the Seaquarium
You could easily spend a day at this fantastic outdoor aquarium. Located smack in the middle of the tourist area, there are many experiences to be had, including: swimming with dolphins and seals; seeing the penguins at Penguin Isle and even opportunities for close-up encounters; touch pools with bamboo sharks and cleaner fish; and the Sea Trek Reef Encounter, where you don a dive helmet to walk freely under the sea.
Run wild with monkeys at Monkey Jungle
A unique wildlife park where the monkeys run free in 30 acres of land identical to their natural habitat, there are many walkways which take you through the park and enable you to see these amazing animals up close. There are also a number of tours and talks you can participate in, such as the Rainforest Adventure tour, the wild monkey swimming pool and trail, the Cameroon gorilla forest and Wings of Love, a sanctuary for displaced parrots or those whose owners can no longer take care of them.
Visit Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
No trip to Miami is complete without a visit to this stunning European-style mansion. Previously the home and estate of businessman James Deering, it houses many European antiques and offers a real insight into life in Florida at the turn of the century. The villa sits in 50 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. There are guided tours, audio tours and garden tours to take advantage of.
Check out the street art in Wynwood
Wynwood is an old industrial area which has been transformed into one of the best districts for graffiti. The famous Wynwood Walls feature murals from some of the world’s best artists and the district is also home to institutions such as the Marguiles Collection at the Warehouse and Rubell Family Collection. You will also find great cafes, bars, restaurants and boutiques here.
See the animals roam free at Zoo Miami
The largest and oldest zoo in Florida, you can see over 1,200 animals here, such as lions, elephants, apes, leopards and giraffes. The best thing is that the zoo is completely cage-free, meaning the animals can wander around freely. Because of the climate in Florida, it is possible for the zoo to keep a wide range of animals from around the world, including from the continents of Asia, Africa and Australia.
Relax at Bayfront Park
A popular venue for concerts and festivities, including the city’s annual ‘America’s Birthday Bash’ on Independence Day. It is also a great place to just hang out by the water, as well as being home to a number of memorials and monuments.
When to book flights to Miami
The sun beats down on Miami all year round, so there is never a really bad time to visit; it just depends on how hot you like your weather. It has two general seasons: a hot, wet season from May to October, and a warm, dry season from November to April. The best time to visit Miami is spring, between March and May when the weather is not so overbearing. It is also the time with fewer visitors, along with the autumn months. Winter tends to get the most visitors so it can get overcrowded and the prices of accommodation will also be higher at this time. Summer gets very hot and humid. The rain usually only lasts between 15 minutes to an hour and then the sun comes out again.
June to November is hurricane season in Florida. This is no reason to forgo visiting during this time; hurricanes are not a given, you just have to make sure that you are prepared in case they do happen. Make sure your travel insurance covers hurricanes if you decide to travel at this time.
It is a good idea to keep an eye on major events and festivals that take place throughout the year as they will be some of the busiest times, meaning accommodation prices will be higher. These events include: Miami International Boat Show (February), South Beach Wine and Food Festival (February), Winter Party Festival (March), Miami International Book Fair (November) and Art Basel (December).
Which airlines fly to Miami
Miami has two airports: Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale International Airport. Miami International Airport is the bigger of the two and handles the majority of international flights, whereas Fort Lauderdale has fewer international routes and as such is quicker to get through customs.
Miami International Aiport
The following airlines fly to Miami International:
American Airlines, British Airways,Virgin Atlantic, Delta, United, Iberia, Lufthansa, Qatar Airways, Air France, Aer Lingus, Turkish Airlines, SWISS, Air Canada, TAP Air Portugal, Alitalia, Eurowings, Avianca, Austrian Airlines, Aeroflot, LATAM Airlines Brasil, EL AL Israel Airlines, Aeromexico, SAS, Air Europa, Air Italy, Singapore Airlines
Fort Lauderdale International Airport
The following airlines fly to Fort Lauderdale:
British Airways, Norwegian Air, Delta, United, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates, Air Canada, WestJet, Avianca, Singapore Airlines, Air Transat
How long is the flight to Miami
Of course, how long your flight takes will depend on where you depart from. Here’s a list of major cities and the flight times:
- London to Miami: approximately 9 hours 20 minutes
- Paris to Miami: approximately 10 hours 5 minutes
- Berlin to Miami: approximately 10 hours 35 minutes
- New York to Miami: approximately 2 hours 55 minutes
- Los Angeles to Miami: approximately 4 hours 45 minutes
- Toronto to Miami: approximately 3 hours 15 minutes
- Sydney to Miami: approximately 19 hours 49 minutes
How to find the best deals on flights to Miami
A number of comparison sites offer good deals on flights to Miami. The ones which usually offer the best prices are:
According to Skyscanner, the cheapest deals on tickets to Miami are those booked in January and February, with September and October being the next best options. March is apparently the most expensive month to book, so you may want to avoid buying your tickets during that time.
Although it is sometimes possible to get good deals when you book last minute, it is actually better to book in advance, if you can, to get the best deals. Aim to buy your flight at least one to two months before your trip for the best prices.
When searching for your flights, you can use various different methods to try and get the price down. If you can be flexible with your departure dates, opt for a flexi-date search so you can see which days offer the cheapest flights over the month you want to travel. It is also possible to set up price alerts from the different comparison sites; if the prices drop for your specific dates, they will email you or send you a push notification to your mobile so you can take advantage of that deal.
What you should pack for a flight to Miami
Miami has a hot climate, so it is best to pack lightweight clothes for walking around in. If you are heading to the beaches, swimsuits and/or bikinis are essential. During rainy season an umbrella may be handy, although you can probably pick one up cheap enough in the city itself. Comfortable shoes, long-sleeved tops, long-leg trousers and insect repellent are a must when visiting the Everglades.
How to get around Miami
Miami has a comprehensive public transport system. From Miami International Airport, there are a number of ways to get downtown: Metrorail, Miami Beach Bus, Tri-Rail and Metrobus. Buses and Tri-Rail operate from Fort Lauderdale. There are also plenty of options for taxis, Uber, shuttle buses and rental cars.
Once in Miami, as the public transport system is so good, there is no need to rent a car unless you are staying outside downtown or are planning to visit places outside of the main city area. Metrobus have routes all over the county and are very reliable. The Metrorail and City of Miami Trolley buses are also good options for getting around.
Taxis are generally very expensive so you may want to consider not using them while in the city centre. If you do choose to use taxis, note that you will need to call one and have them pick you up; it is illegal for taxi drivers to pick people up off the street.
Due to lots of resorts and accommodation being outside of the city center and also the number of attractions in the surrounding areas, hiring a rental car is a good option. Many companies offer this service, such as Hertz, Dollar, Budget, Enterprise and Alamo.
Tips for visiting Miami
As has been mentioned before, Miami gets very hot, especially in summer. Make sure you are wearing appropriate clothing and use sunscreen to protect your skin from burning.
Miami now has many districts which are gentrified, but walk just a few blocks out of your way and you can find yourself in some very unsavoury places. For safety, it is best to keep to well-lit areas after dark, and it is advised not to visit the beaches after dark as well.
If you are travelling with children, there is a curfew of 11pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends for minors, although this is not strictly enforced. If children are accompanied by an adult, this is no issue.
Miami makes a great destination for a vacation whatever time of year. And with the world getting a lot smaller these days because of cheap flights, there is no reason why you should not book a trip to Miami right now.