Miami/Downtown

Travel Guide North America USA Southern United States Florida Miami Miami/Downtown

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Introduction

Downtown Miami is a district in Miami, steel-and-glass buildings have sprung up around downtown, the heart of the city. By day there's plenty of activity downtown, as suited lawyers and bankers share the sidewalks with Latino merchants wearing open-neck, intricately embroidered shirts called guayaberas. But it's still pretty quiet when all the merchants close up Miami shops for the night.

Downtown Miami includes the Central Business District (CBD) and Brickell. The border between them is the Miami River. Within Bricknell, Broadway splits Upper and Lower Brickell apart.

Brickell, which includes the Financial District, is home to the majority of the major corporations and large businesses in Miami. Along Brickell Avenue, you will find headquarters for major banks, real estate companies and law firms. In contrast to South Beach, Brickell tends to be more "buttoned-up" during the day. However, there are plenty of places to eat and relax by beautiful Biscayne Bay.

Better known as Miami’s finance district with a great variety of international banks, Brickell is also home to many of the best Miami vacation rentals. These are mainly preferred by tourists who want to enjoy a relaxing vacation away from the hectic Miami nightlife yet close enough to Downtown Miami and a 15-minute drive to South Beach. Business travelers from all over the world also prefer the Miami hotels in Brickell for their convenient location.

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Sights and Activities

Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd. This park has two amphitheaters (one large and a one smaller) and hosts live performances. This park also has memorials for the astronauts who perished in the Challenger spaceship accident, former president John F. Kennedy (the JFK Torch of Friendship), and a fountain dedicated to Claude Pepper, a distinguished US congressman.
Miami Circle. An archaeological site - a 38 ft (12 m) circle of holes and wood claimed to date back somewhere between 1,700 and 2,000 years old.
Brickell Key (Claughton Island). An island community, attached to Brickell by a pedestrian friendly bridge. It is home to the famed Mandarin Oriental hotel. Strollers along Brickell Key often spot one of the many giant iguanas that make the island their home.
Jungle Island, 1111 Jungle Island Trail, ☏ +1 305 258-6453. Lush tropical garden that features animal shows and exhibits.
Miami Seaquarium, 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, ☏ +1 305 361-5705. This 38-acre tropical island paradise features marine shows and marine life exhibits. Expect to stay around two to three hours touring the large aquarium. 10 minutes from downtown Miami and directly adjacent to Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.
Miami Children's Museum.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Getting There

The Miami Metrorail offers convenient transportation from stops throughout Miami as well as Miami-Dade County, with connections to Tri-Rail to Miami International Airport, all Miami-Dade County bus lines, Tri-Rail and Amtrak. There are two main downtown stops: 1 Government Center station and Brickell station.

Most intercity buses terminate at the airport, from where you can take Metrorail to downtown.

The MiamiCentral train station has Brightline service from Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, further north in the greater Miami area.

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Getting Around

Public transportation in the downtown area is used more than in any other part of Miami and is a vital part of downtown life. The Metromover free of charge train system runs 3 lines through downtown (the downtown loop, the Omni loop, and the Brickell loop), and the Metrorail, Miami-Dade County's heavy rail system, makes 3 stops in the downtown area at the Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre Station, Government Center Station, and the Brickell Station. The MetroMover Brickell Branch has a stop at the MetroRail station as well as a few other stations in the area, and goes to Downtown Miami . Brickell Village, as it has come to be known, is a constantly evolving collection of not only brasseries and bistros, but also unique shops and services that reflect the wonderfully eclectic nature of Miami. The growth of office and residential space has also brought with it new supermarkets, pharmacies, dry cleaners and video stores to meet the needs of its residents. But Brickell Village's greatest assets are surely the natural beauty that surrounds it and the friendliness of its people.

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Eat

This particular area is bustling with tourist and "white collar" workers during the day. It is pretty desolate and quiet at night. Due to downtown's previous shady reputation, for many years locals and tourists avoided the Downtown area in general. Today Brickell is one of Miami's hot spots for good restaurants, dynamic nightlife, and luxurious hotels.

There are plenty of fine Miami restaurants in Brickell with the best menus by outstanding chefs. Beneath the towering architectural masterpieces that rise along the eastern edge of Brickell you will find quiet, shaded streets that offer a charm and relaxed atmosphere that is unheard of among major metropolitan areas. And accompanying the resurgence of this diverse Miami neighborhood is a substantial growth in the amenities available to its residents. Nowhere is this more notable than in the area of dining and entertainment. Whether you're looking for a sandwich at a sidewalk cafe or a sumptuous gourmet meal, you'll find something to satisfy your palate on the streets of Brickell.

La Estacion Cafe, 1390 Brickell Ave #100, ☏ +1 305-539-7465.
Novecento, 1414 Brickell Ave, ☏ +1 305-403-0900. A very popular Argentenian style food restaurant and bar. There are a variety of casual and fine dining options for you to choose from. This area has several luxury hotel chains due to its central location in Miami and its proximity Biscayne Bay. edit
Atrio, 1395 Brickell Ave (At the Conrad Hotel), ☏ +1 305-503-6500.
Morton's The Steakhouse, 1200 Brickell Ave #100.
The River Seafood Oyster Bar, 650 S Miami Ave, ☏ +1 305-530-1915.

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Sleep

Hilton Miami Downtown, 1601 Biscayne Blvd, ☏ +1 305-374-0000. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 12PM. 527-room hotel.
InterContinental Miami, 100 Chopin Plaza. 5 Star hotel. 641 newly redecorated rooms and 34 suites, offering views of the skyline and Biscayne Bay. 66,000 square feet of meeting space, including 30 meeting and conference rooms.
Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay, 1633 North Bayshore Dr, ☏ +1 305-374-3900. All of the rooms offer some sort of view of the bay with a balcony.
Hotel Urbano, 2500 Brickell Ave, ☏ +1 305 854-2070, toll-free: +1-888-657-3448. An urban boutique hotel that features stylish accommodations and exceptional services. $119-$299 per night.
Conrad Miami, 1395 Brickell Ave. Hilton's luxury chain.
Four Seasons Hotel Miami, 1435 Brickell Ave (in the Brickell business district), ☏ +1 305 358-3535, fax: +1 305 358-7758. Has a large pool deck at the seventh-floor lobby level with a view of Biscayne Bay. This hotel takes more on a art approach to impress you, having some rare paintings and the decor to go with it. Expect everything you will from any other Four Seasons. In your expectations include that the staff will have the "Miami-tude". $250-$3500 per night.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 500 Brickell Key Dr, ☏ +1 305-913-8288. From the Mandarin Hotel Group. This is considered the most luxurious (and expensive) of them all. The facilities are top notch and so are the staff (depending on when you go, their turnover is way higher than it should be for a luxury chain of this size and reputation). It is commonplace to find rappers and A-listers in the pool or walking through the lobby. It is also isolated on its own island (Brickell Key) which to some seems more of a hassle than an amenity.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 1. Last edited at 13:51 on Sep 27, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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