Escape to a beach

miami

Watch the sun rise and set over the water at Bill Baggs Beach, ranked one of America’s top 10 beaches. Located in Key Biscayne, the southernmost of Miami’s barrier islands, it has white coral sands, emerald-green waters and gentle surf. The Cape Florida Lighthouse (above) here is the city’s oldest standing structure.

Visit a neighbourhood transformed by art

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The once down-at-the-heel Wynwood district started to turn around when massive murals first appeared on defunct warehouse walls. Now, you’ll find about 70 galleries and museums, with restaurants and nightspots for enthusiastic fans. “Second Saturday” Art Walks are prime time, and The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse (above) showcases works by contemporary art heavy-hitters.

Sample food at farmers’ markets

Among the farmers’ markets (above) bringing Florida’s tropical bounty to city folk, the favourite is arguably Saturdays in Wynwood, which sells everything from fresh coconut water to granola and baked goods. Sundays in the Coconut Grove neighbourhood offer all these, as well as artisans offering homemade honey and jewellery.

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Groove to the salsa beat

Ball & Chain (above), in the heart of Little Havana since 1935, forgoes today’s generic hip hop for a very Miami mix of Latin rhythms and salsa. Learn a few steps, sip a mojito and dance the night away, Caribbean style.

Take in the culture

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It’s not only Latin rhythms that have the city swinging; find high culture too at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Miami offers stages for ballet, opera, symphonic music and Broadway touring productions (above), along with rock and soul acts as well as occasional performances of Spanish flamenco and gospel music on Sundays.

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Stroll through Vizcaya Museum & Gardens

miami

This extravagant mansion of America’s Gilded Age (above), which was built in 1916, draws crowds for its eclectic collection of Italian furniture and interiors. The 73ha gardens contain one of Miami’s last vestiges of virgin forest, plus sculptures by artists such as the architect who created the Pantheon fountain in Rome, as well as 20th-century masters.

Feast on seafood

Captain Jim’s doesn’t look like much, in an inland mall in north Miami, but that’s forgotten over the grouper sandwich with hush puppies (cornmeal fritters), clams with garlic or classic shrimp and grits (above). All that, along with a cold beer and a slice of key lime pie, and you’re really in Florida.

See also: 7 amazing hotel swimming pools around the world

Get away to the Keys

miami

Locals looking to escape the fray drive south to the Florida Keys (above), an archipelago jutting into the Gulf of Mexico like a strand of pearls in azure waters. Causeways run almost 160km to Key West, the southernmost point in continental America. Umbrella drinks and reggae music await.

Photos: 123rf.com, Instagram

This story first appeared on silverkris.com