|Miami and South Beach actually have many things to see and do which appeal to people of all ages and cultural backgrounds. Those who have an affinity for flowers will appreciate the Villa Vizcaya Museum and Gardens often referred to as the “Hearst Castle of the East.” The Miccosukee Indian Village provides an opportunity to visit a real Indian reservation (where there are also gambling and cheap cigarettes). Other notable sites include the Holocaust Memorial, the Spanish Monastery Cloisters, the Venetian Pool (where Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller engaged in their well-known water athletics), and yes, for those interested in the plight of the little Cuban boy named Elian, there is the United in Elian House where the boy lived until he was returned to his father in Cuba .
As wild and crazy as South Beach is during the day, it is even more so at night, and this is one of this destination's biggest appeals. With trendy hotels offering many types of amenities, you might be surprised to learn that the Hotel Chelsea has décor based upon the Japanese art of Feng Shui and offers complimentary beach yoga classes to further help you relax. Yet at night, it's all about excitement and the Hotel Chelsea goes full circle and provides guests with free passes to South Beach 's hottest nightclubs! The Breakwater Hotel also has a café with entertainment nightly that is popular with the South Beach nocturnal crowd.
Since clubs and bars open and close faster than you can say “South Beach,” the best way to orient yourself to the vibrant nightlife of Miami and South Beach is to pick up a copy of the Miami Herald's “Weekend” section on Fridays. This will give you a good idea of what is happening where, particularly if you are interested in a performance which requires a ticket purchase in advance.
If you are a mall maven, Aventura is worth checking out…but definitely bring your credit card. This mega mall has 250 stores including Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor plus a playground for kids and a 24-screen movie theater.
For true South Florida ambiance, plan to stroll along Coconut Grove. Coco Walk is located here, a mini outdoor mall with name brand giants as well as specialty stores worth checking out. There is also a movie theater and some outdoor cafes if your feet are tired and you would rather have a cold drink and people-watch for an hour or so before it's time for more shopping.