Miami is an international mecca for travel, business and to establish residence.  Dating back to Spanish and Indian influences, over the past four centuries there have been many other contributors to the City's evolution culminating in the Miami  experience of today.  The '60s and '80s brought mind-boggling change as more than half-a-million Cuban exiles fled to Miami to start a new life. These enterprising refugees launched the area into its future as what many call the "Capital of the Americas."

Today, Greater Miami has overtaken New York's JFK as the nation's leading gateway for international arrivals with 5.1 million international travelers arriving in the U.S. through Miami in 1994.   Miami is one of the world's major ports of call.   The 1980s and early '90s brought a multi-billion dollar infusion of investment capital that produced a beautiful new Miami downtown skyline, a reborn Miami Beach, a modernized transportation infrastructure and a new way of life that features the arts, culture, sports and entertainment, all with an international accent.

First time visits for Miami for newcomers:

Miami is a sprawling metropolis comprised of many neighborhoods and difficult to get around by foot.  You'll need to select an area of interest and either rent a car or taxi to get you there.   Avis has car rentals at both the Port of Miami and the Miami Airport.

Bayside Marketplace is within walking distance to the Port of Miami and is a major destination for shopping, dining, and diversion.  If you are in the area stop by the adjacent Mildred and Claude Pepper Bayfront Park with its memorial to the Challenger astronauts, fountains, sculptures, and numerous other attractions.

A must for new visitors is a visit to the world-famous Miami South Beach .  Serious shoppers will want to head a few blocks west to Lincoln Road (at 17th Street) where theres a four block stretch of unique boutiques and restaurants.

If you have access to a car, Key Biscayne deserves a visit.  Here you'll find more beach, nature and marine enthusiasts can visit the Miami Seaquarium or Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Recreation Area.

Serious visitors of all interests will want to experience Coconut Grove - Miami's oldest section.   Some of the architecture dates back to the 1870s.  Shops are most chic in this district where upscale shoppers can find Nieman Marcus, Saks 5th Avenue, Carier, Louis Vuitton and Prada - just to name a few.   There are museums and theatres in the area if you're interests are in that direction.  Check out what's playing at the popular Coconut Grove Playhouse.  If you can do it you'll find a visit to the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens well worth it. 

Another garden to put on the list for tropical plant enthusiasts is Fairchild Tropical Garden.  Also, a visit to Little Havana and Calle Ocho - the area's main drag - is a great place to learn about cigar making as well as the Cuban influence that characterizes the neighborhood. 

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