Miami Cheat Sheet

When you think of Miami, you think of the beaches, and of course they're amazing. But the city's inland sites-everything from food, nightclubs, shopping and even museums-are equally spectacular. Nicknamed "The Magic City," Miami is vibrant, playful, luxurious and trendy.

What You Have to See
A trip to Miami just isn't worth it unless you check out these popular spots:
  • South Beach: There's the beach, the hottest nightclubs, amazing live entertainment and celebrities. You could spend your entire trip there and not miss a thing.
  • Miami Design District: Here you'll find 100+ luxury shops, eateries and art galleries. Savor gourmet foods or indulge in high-end retail therapy.
  • The Downtown Miami skyline: it's comprised of more than 300 high-rise buildings (and is ranked the third best skyline in the nation).
Not Worth the Time
Zoo Miami is another awesome attraction, but it's a long drive. The ride to the zoo ranges from 35 minutes to two hours depending on the traffic. Plus, you'd need several hours there to really take everything in. It's more suitable for a longer visit.

Food Essential
Cuban food is one of Miami's cultural staples. The place to experience Cuba on a plate is Versailles Restaurant, located in the Little Havana neighborhood. Popular menu items include Vaca Fritta (shredded beef with onions in Cuban Mojo), Ropa Vieja (shredded beef in wine and tomato sauce), Moros (rice with black beans), fresh Cuban coffee and the ever popular Cuban sandwich.

Drink Essential
South Beach and Coconut Grove (bordered by Biscayne Bay) offer a nice variety of bars where you can enjoy the beauty of the South Florida coastline. Last call runs as late as 5 a.m. at several establishments.

What Things Cost
  • Miami-Dade Transit (Metrobus/Metrorail): $2.25
  • Taxi from the airport: $32
  • Weekend night at a 4-star hotel: $309
  • Pint of beer (at standard bar): $5-$8
  • Haulover Park: $7 cars; $15 buses/RVs
Best Spot to Instagram
The Rickenbacker Causeway Bridge gives you a panoramic view of the amazing Downtown Miami skyline, the waves of Biscayne Bay and the cruise ships when they're in port. The view is especially spectacular at night, punctuated by the twinkling lights and vivid neon colors reflecting off many of the buildings.

305 #cervelo #s5 #easton #miami #keybiscayne #cycling

A photo posted by Zark Fatah (@zark17) on

Local Terms to Know
  • Spanglish: A term used to explain using both English and Spanish words in the same sentence or conversation.
  • Wade County: A play on words recognizing Miami Heat Star Dwyane Wade. Miami is located in what used to be called Dade County (now Miami-Dade County).
  • Bro (pronounced "brah): A term used in casual conversation to get one's attention.
  • Chanks: A shortened version of the Spanish word "chancleta," meaning flip-flops or sandals.

Shawanda James is a freelance writer from Miami. Cruising is her favorite way to travel. She's written local and national travel articles for CBS. Follow Shawanda on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.