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Travel guide – Miami

Miami instantly conjures up a wild image - Beautiful beach people patrolling South Beach, palm-lined boulevards packed with revelers beneath Art Deco facades. Towering resorts right on the beach looking East to the Caribbean. All of this is true, yet there’s so much more to see in the Gateway to the Americas with all the best sights right here in the Finnair Miami travel guide. Heavy Latin American influences mingle with beachside USA to produce a very unique - and at times quirky - hotspot of excitement.

South Beach - Probably one of the best-known sights in Miami, this neighbourhood and 2 kilometre-long stretch of white sand runs from the southern tip of the Miami peninsula north to its junction with Miami beach. Millions of sun seekers flock to this beach each year for the clean waters, fine sand and buzzing atmosphere. If South beach is the face of Miami, then Ocean Drive is definitely the beating heart. Supercars, thumping music and neon lights abound, it’s alive day and night with diners, partiers, tourists and everyone in between enjoying the many restaurants, bars and clubs. For a slightly more toned-down Miami sight head to Lincoln Road Mall to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of a warm summer night among the crowds out shopping and dining.

Miami is very much tied to the water and this influence shows. The Miami Seaquarium gives visitors a view into the underwater world, with displays of colourful fish, coral and marine habitats. Get in the water yourself at the Venetian Pool, the largest freshwater pool in the US, built from an old rock quarry. Enjoy a variety of watersports on Miami’s beaches like jet-skiingstand-up paddling and even parasailing. Heading inland to Little Havana you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d just landed in Cuba as Latin music plays from the Cuban bars and eateries along Calle Ocho.

Shoppers rejoice, Miami has it all. A huge city with a lot of different tastes makes shopping in Miami a blast.You can find anything and everything here, especially clothing and fashion.

Lincoln Road Mall - The undisputed king of shopping in Miami. Lined on both sides with big brands and chain stores, small boutiques and eateries the serious shopper will undoubtedly find what they’re looking for here.

Washington Avenue - Running perpendicular to Lincoln Road Mall you can find many more shops on this long avenue leading north from South Beach. A large Macy’s department store offers great bargains on American and international brands.

Downtown Miami - Across the MacArthur Causeway you come to the financial heart of downtown Miami, downtown. Here you can find upmarket brands and designer labels nestled amongst the skyscrapers.

Design District - North of Downtown the Design District is the designated area for all things culture and design. Edgy boutiques, art installations, bookstores, design houses and hip cafés cram this area and offer a refreshing contrast from the glam of South Beach.

Food & drink in Miami is a meeting of influences; Latin American, Floridian, traditional American, Asian. There’s a dish for everyone among the multitude of flavours.

Chicharrón – Eaten in many Latin American countries these pork rinds are served hot with a variety of spicy sides.

Fried Conch – Pronounced “konk” this is a Florida Keys special; diced up and mixed with a vegetable filling then crumbed and deep fried - very filling.

Seafood – Fish, squid, clams, prawns - you name it, you can eat it in Miami. Excellent fish restaurants are easy to find especially in tourist areas. Seafood is a big feature of Miami food.

Tacos and tex-mex – This American staple is certainly present in Miami and makes a great filling snack on a night out. Modern trendy versions are starting to show up along with the more traditional styles you may already know.

Coffee – Very popular and available in every imaginable style. Try the Cuban variety, a very sweet Espresso.

Sushi – Sushi restaurants are everywhere, ranging from quick takeaways to modern white-linen dining.

Pupusa – An El Salvadorean snack of a corn tortilla stuffed with cheese and fillings.

Beer, Wine & Spirits – Widely available and with a wide variety of American and international brands.

Cape Canaveral – The legendary site of some of mankind’s greatest achievements on the way to space, this landmark of US scientific power lies 3 hours north of Miami by car. The Kennedy Space Centre educates the public on the wonders of the US space industry and allows viewings of rocket launches - an amazing sight.

Florida Keys – A necklace of island jewels extending south and west into the Caribbean, the Florida Keys are all about the water. Boating, beaches, fishing, diving - you can do it all here making it a great-value thing to see near Miami. End your trip down Route 1 in Key West, that iconic maritime town renowned for wild partying and great eating.

The Bahamas – Where else in the world can you hop on a plane or boat and be on a Caribbean island in time for lunch? Take advantage of this good fortune and dip into the sparkling waters of the Bahamas, 4 hours by boat or less than an hour away by plane.

Florida Everglades – Synonymous with Florida the Everglades are the green heart of the state, almost 2000 square kilometres of native wetland. Teeming with birds-, fish and wildlife you can zoom across the water in an airboat, paddle through mangroves in a kayak or simply walk along the boardwalks of the many educational sites in the area.

Walt Disney World – Visit Mickey Mouse and friends in The Happiest Place on Earth! 3 hours north of Miami in Orlando. Filled with rides, exhibits and excitement for days of family fun.

Places of interest in Miami can all be reached by public transport, though the city is spread out and can require some long walks. You can utilise the EASY card multi-ticket option to make paying for rides easier as it is valid on all forms of transport in Miami.

Bus – Public buses are a common sight in South Beach and throughout Miami itself, with many routes regularly running via important streets like Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. If paying by cash, exact change is required. An especially good option for South Beach is the South Beach Local which runs a circle route through the area for just 25c a ride.

Metrorail – A raised metro system running between 23 stops throughout Miami, many of which are of interest to tourists. Quick and easy to use, an EASY card is required to ride.

Taxi – Taxis are common and are, while expensive, safe and well-regulated. Prices are usually fixed when travelling between the most popular areas and taxi stands are placed throughout Miami to pick up passengers.

By foot – Walking is a great way of getting around Miami, especially in pedestrianised areas or along the beach. Paths are well marked and there is plenty of space. The further you venture out of the city the more public transport or a rental car makes sense.

Rental Car – Renting a car is easy in Miami with all major providers represented. Rates are reasonable. Driving in South Beach is possible but it is busy. A rental car is very useful when heading out of town for day trips as you can move to your own schedule.

Currency – US Dollar ($).

Electricity – 110 volts, 60hz, type-A plug.

Tips – Expected in service-related industries. 20% is considered customary but you may tip more or less for better or worse service. Hotel and restaurant workers expect to be tipped.

Payment / card – Accepted in most areas, cash is required when travelling by bus and is sometimes necessary for smaller purchases. Single dollar bills are handy for tipping.

Time zone – EST / UTC-5.

Water - Safe to drink.

Miami International Airport (MIA)

The airport is located 13km west of Miami

  • Finnair flights: check-in in Terminal E, flights from Terminal E
  • Check-in opens 3.5 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 1 hour before departure

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