Going To Miami
It wasn’t my original plan to visit Miami on this trip to the USA. I was planning to road trip from Chicago back to Newport, RI, where I have based myself. It turns out that there is hardly a hostel between Chicago and Newport, so my accommodation budget was facing a blowout of epic proportions.
Instead I found a cheap flight to Miami – where budget accommodation is plentiful – so this detour was a no-brainer. As soon as I got off the plane and sucked in a breath of that sub-tropical air I knew I had made the right choice.
Rows of neon lit Art Deco hotels is the world famous image of Miami, and they can be found on South Beach. I knew Miami was famous for Art Deco, but I thought it might have been a dozen or so key buildings that survived the wrecker’s ball. South Beach in fact has over 700 Art Deco buildings, making it the undisputed Art Deco capital of the world.
Collins Ave Art Deco Hotels – South Beach Miami
South Beach seems to be the place to stay in Miami. I stayed the the Jazz on South Beach Hostel, which is one of the best hostels I have stayed at in the US. There are plenty of accommodation options in South Beach and it is easy to walk around. If you tire of walking there is a 25 cent local bus that runs a loop around South Beach. Then of course there is the beach, which is of the white sand and warm water variety.
South Beach is part of the Barrier Island of Miami Beach, and downtown Miami is on the mainland.
The downtown area looks as though it’s going through an urban renewal. It is mostly made up of new apartment blocks and the financial district, and there is not much in the way of shops there yet.
Freedom Tower – One of the few remaining old buildings of Downtown Miami.
Of course you don’t come to Miami for its downtown. It the beaches and waterways that make Miami famous.
Separating Miami and Miami Beach is Biscayne Bay. This waterway is sprinkled with man made islands and super yachts. I took a cruise of Biscayne Bay, which takes you past the homes of the rich and famous and gives you a better feel for the geography of Miami.
Al Capone’s Former Mansion.
This is the Miami I had in my mind’s eye. Perhaps my perception of Miami was influenced by Will Smith.
One thing you will notice about Miami is that Spanish is spoken everywhere. The Organization of American States may be headquartered in Washington, DC, but surely Miami is the true capital of the Americas. All of the nations of the Western Hemisphere are represented here. Walking around and listening to the accents from the region made me want to head south. I don’t have time to do that on this trip, but I will come back to Miami again to use it as a hub for Caribbean and Central American travels. If you can’t travel to Latin America, Miami is the next best thing.