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Long esteemed by party-goers thanks to its thriving nightlife, Miami has plenty more to shout about. Palm-lined streets and soft-sand beaches that stretch for miles remind you of your proximity to the Caribbean, as does the strong Cuban presence living large in Little Havana. Here, you’ll find Cuban cigars and coffee, as well as Hispanic-inspired music and food.

The city’s creativity is captured in its mural-splattered walls and galleries, which you can tour with a guide. As you wander between districts, you’ll also notice the city’s distinct architectural styles. Beachside 1930s Art Deco hotels define Ocean Drive, while Miami Modern architecture (MiMo) is the signature of Miami’s extravagant resorts.

There’s no doubt that Miami is the place to go for a good time. Its flashy high-rises, miles of white sand and neon cocktail bars paint a hedonistic scene. But, this is a city that’s also full of history, art and culture.

Little Havana cigar craftsmanA palpable Caribbean and Hispanic feel to the city stems from the many Cubans who made a home here, particularly in the Little Havana district, after Fidel Castro rose to power.

We recommend taking a food tour of Little Havana with a local guide, who’ll lead you to the best places for trying Cuban coffee and Hispanic cuisine. As you walk, you’ll pass Cuban cigar shops, art galleries, and restaurants beating out Cuban drums, salsa and son cubano tunes.

Your guide will tell you about the history and culture of Miami’s multicultural residents, as you try delicacies they’ve brought to the city. You’ll be offered the likes of homemade plantain ice cream or tropical mango sorbet at Azucar, an ice-cream parlor owned by a family of Cuban descent, empanadas stuffed with picadillo (baked or fried spiced ground meat, tomatoes and vegetables) and guava pastelitos (puff pastry filled with a sweet guava paste and cream cheese).

You could spend a morning uncovering Miami’s burgeoning art scene by joining a guided tour of the city’s Midtown, Design District and Wynwood Art District. The rejuvenated areas now provide space for art galleries, cafés, acclaimed restaurants and craft breweries, as well as independent boutiques, in low-rise former warehouses.

As you wander the streets, your guide, an art curator, will point out the large murals emblazoned across once-derelict buildings. Together, you’ll visit several galleries and museums, where you can find out more about the city’s up-and-coming artists and their work, which covers painting, photography, sculpture and street art. You finish with a three-course meal at a local restaurant.

Arguably the best way to explore Miami Beach is by joining a guided bicycle ride. The flat 13 km (8 mile) route takes in the highlights of the area’s architecture, history, culture and beaches.

Miami Art DecoSetting off from the heart of South Beach — the city’s social hub — you cycle through the Art Deco quarter and stop to visit Casa Casuarina (the Versace Mansion), once the home of Gianni Versace.

You then ride along the beachfront to the Art Deco Lincoln Road Theater and the striking Holocaust Memorial. A giant sculpture of an arm stretching up from the ground to the sky, the monument is dedicated to the six million people murdered under the Nazi regime.

You can also make stops at the Miami Beach Botanical Garden, The Bass contemporary art museum, and Nikki Beach for a dip in the water.

March to September is baseball season in the States, when on given evenings you could head to Marlins Park to watch the Miami Marlins. Even if you’re not too familiar with the sport, the light-hearted atmosphere is contagious as you join up to 50,000 local fans in ordering a hot dog or nachos and cheering on the city’s celebrated team.

Afterwards, you could sink a cocktail or two in one of the bars along Ocean Drive, listening to the waves as they wash ashore.

Best time to visit Miami

Florida is generally hot and sunny. Visit between March and May for warm temperatures without the humidity of July and August, which also experience afternoon downpours.

For even lower humidity, low rainfall and mild temperatures, the winter months of December to February are also a good time to go.

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